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Comment Finally (Score 1) 94

My mom will appreciate games rather than just decrying their "destructive" and "pointless" nature. Took long enough.

Games have long been in the realm of explaining everything from economics to interesting visualizations of mathematical patterns (such as The Game of Life). However, outside of those who generally work in such spaces, and those who learn about them in connection with Computer Science/Mathematics/Economics degrees, very few people in the general public have ever fully appreciated games.

That has broken down a little with the release of Guitar Hero and other games that draw in the casual gamer with a sense of the familiar, but there are many who still see the vast majority of games (like GTA, Starcraft, and Half Life) as simple killing simulators. Great to see new mods that are pushing games into greater and greater (positive) exposure.

Comment In other news, 500 gamers in Seattle = good sample (Score 5, Insightful) 431

This sound familiar to the wonky research that was showcased a couple of weeks ago - that gamers are fat, depressed, and have an average age of 35. Data collection is everything. A sample of students taken only from Stanford, or Harvard, MIT, CalTech, is hardly representative of the nation as a whole. Those who get into these schools typically have SAT and ACT scores well above average - in both Math and English (viewing the demographics page at the study's homepage confirms this). In fact, if other research is to be believed, these are the types of people that are least likely to use Twitter, Facebook, etc excessively.

A more comprehensive study would grab a frequency weighted sample that looked at a larger number of students at large public universities, as well as a significant number of students from community colleges.

Unfortunately, when I go to the site, all of the pages under "methods" are giving me 404s.

Comment The Manual for this (Score 2, Insightful) 141

Better be written by Stephen Hawking. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around how exactly things will play out. If I destroy a unit production structure in the past - will that in turn destroy all of the units produced by said structure? Will it refund the credits used to create those units to the other player? It seems like they will have to limit consequences to only one or two steps - if I were to destroy a building in the past, removing its created units from the playing field, which in turn restores the units/buildings that they had destroyed, things would get way too complicated too quickly. Looking forward to this - hope they release a simplified version pre-Alpha so that people can play around with it and help tune many of these sorts of decisions.

Comment I want to see a follow up (Score 1) 137

One study that I want to see done, that is in the same spirit as this one, is to figure out what features people from different cultures focus on when identifying a person. While this study shows that Asians tend to focus on the eyes and Westerners look at the face holistically, I wonder if that ports to person identification. Might shed some light on the "You all look the same" comments from both sides.

The Right Amount of "Challenge" In IT & Gaming 103 writes "In an essay entitled 'An Epiphany I Had While Playing Pac-Man,' the author talks about how smart people need to find a certain amount of intellectual challenge from day to day. If they don't find it in their workplace, they'll end up playing complex, 'smart' games, like Civilization IV or Chess — and if they do find it in their workplace, they're more likely to sit down with a nice game of Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, or Peggle. Quoting: 'When I look back on my life, and I compare the times in my life when I was playing simple games compared to the times in my life when I was playing complex ones, a pattern emerges. The more complexity and mental stimulation I was getting from other activities — usually my day job at the time — the less I needed mental stimulation in my free time. Conversely, in times when I was working boring jobs, I'd be playing games that required a lot of thinking and mental gymnastics.' The author then goes on to speculate that some IT workers might subconsciously be giving themselves more challenges by choosing to deal with difficult problems, rather than performing simple (but boring) preventative maintenance and proactive network management."

Finding New and Unintended Ways of Playing Games 346

Ronald Diemicke writes "World of Warcraft players sometimes hang out in front of Ironforge and dance. Fallout 3 players seek out new and elaborate ways of destroying their avatar. Brawlers in Smash Brothers have an itchy pause finger, ready to catch any humiliatingly hilarious screengrabs. The thugs running rampant in Grand Theft Auto are putting Evil Knievel to shame by using a full assortment of vehicles to pull off some incredible stunt work. Personally, I like to collect and move things. My favorite is making piles of bodies in any game that lets me move them around. Ever catch yourself doing something in-game that isn't exactly part of the game, or just something really dumb?"

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