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  Poll: Kids and Parents Don’t [Ok, Maybe They Do] Game Together  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Associated Press (via CNN) reports results from a poll released this week, which found that parents don't play computer and video games with kids:
  • 81% of kids aged 4 - 17 play games "at least occasionally."
  • 38% of adults play games "at least occasionally."
  • 44% of adults play online.
  • 43% of kids who play games don't play them with their parents. [Update: Matt Mihaly says the other 57% must be playing with their parents, meaning kids and parents DO play together.]
  • 30% of parents who play with their kids spend under 1 hour weekly doing so.
  • 50% of adults and kids play more than 2 hours of games weekly. 50% of adults and kids play less. Roughly 30% [not clear if it's both kids and adults] play 5 hours or more weekly.
  • 59% of adults aged 18 - 29 play "at least sometimes," said to be "double the rate" for adults aged 50 - 64
  • 31% of adults prefer casual games
  • Roughly 16% of adults prefer action games, "the next most popular alternative [to casual games]."
  • "About half of women cited casual games as their favorites, triple the number of men who did so, while twice as many males than females preferred action games."
  • "26 percent said they spent nothing on the pastime last year, another 46 percent spent up to $200 and 12 percent spent $500 or more, with men usually the bigger spenders."
  • "Price is the chief factor for people purchasing a gaming console, followed by the availability of games."
The poll, conducted by AP and AOL Games, surveyed just over 2,000 adults last month. 770 of these said they play digital games.

I'm not terribly surprised by the results finding parents and kids don't enjoy screen time together--not only does each group enjoy its own type of games, most computer games in a single household are played solo (you don't often find dad and son crouched behind the same computer screen). Furthermore, and this is simply my opinion, parents seem to be taking a less active role in the media consumption habits of their kids as each year passes. More family-oriented games, please.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Xbox 360 Family Timer’ Babysits Your Kids  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-07 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Microsoft announced today that new parental controls will soon be made available for the Xbox 360 game console. According to an emailed news release, the "Family Timer" can monitor and restrict screen-time for kids on a daily or weekly basis, turning off the console when the time-limit has been reached. The new system will be made available for download via Xbox Live in early December.

Microsoft cited a telephone survey it recently commissioned, which found "62 percent of [800 surveyed] parents would welcome a tool to control the amount of time children spend using the video game consoles in their homes." Personally, I don't know why a machine is doing a parent's job here. If a child can't be trusted to follow household rules, there are bigger problems afoot than any "Family Timer" is going to solve.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-11-02  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-02 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  I Mull Over ‘Manhunt 2’ On City News Tonight  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-31 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Roving reporter Amber MacArthur is doing a story on Manhunt 2 today, and roped me in for some soundbites. I was able to play about 10 minutes of the ultra-violent game while we chatted. Amber and I were treated to all sorts of Halloweenish sights during the first few minutes of game-play, including needle-stabbings and poop-flinging. Frankly, I was expecting more but based on what I've seen on YouTube, the action gets more disgusting as the game progresses.

If all goes according to plan, you'll be able to catch the segment tonight (6pm and 11pm Eastern, I believe) on City News, provided you're not already needle-stabbing or flinging poop at local kids during their trick-or-treating.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Monsterpocalypse’: The Miniature Giant Monster Game  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Back in high-school my friends and I developed a tabletop miniature game involving B-movie style giant monsters. We unimaginatively dubbed it The Monster Game and tinkered feverishly with its mechanics (and creating variants such as Monsterball) for at least a couple years. That's why the 14 year-old in me is giddy as a schoolboy at the news that Monsterpocalypse, a collectible miniatures game involving giant monsters, is planned for release next year by Privateer Press. Obviously there are going to be plenty of crazy-looking, pre-painted miniatures involved (something like 80 in the initial set), but I'm particularly excited at the prospect of miniature destructible buildings. Me smash! Rarrrr!

I'm rather out of the loop in terms of CMGs (collectible miniatures games), but the three things that strike me most about the genre are:
1) Isn't mass-producing these things an incredible waste of precious oil resources?
2) I pity the poor bastards who have to paint those things for my gaming pleasure. Sweatshops, I'm sure.
3) Proprietary, stats-locked systems like HeroClix cramp my style. If I can't tinker with it, I ain't buying it.
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-10-24  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-09-24  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Child Protection In ‘Second Life’ Isn’t A Software Issue  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Sparked by a moral panic earlier this year, two German firms have launched a contest for the creation of software intended to block minors from accessing adult content in Second Life.

Child protection in Second Life isn't a problem software can solve effectively. Second Life, like booze and porn, is meant for adults, not kids. Prior experience tells us kids can't be prevented from getting their hands on booze and porn. All parents can do is raise their children "virtual-street smart," establish and enforce sensible rules, keep their Second Life passwords to themselves, and hope for the best. And, like any purveyor of adult material, Linden Lab has little choice but to make Second Life more difficult for minors to access, even if it makes access by adults more cumbersome.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Keeping ‘vSide’ Clean  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-17 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Developer Doppleganger has annexed its original Lounge offering with the newer, larger virtual world vSide, but can the company maintain the same squeaky-clean standards it tried to apply to its initial offering? With a larger world comes a larger user-base, and from what I've read on official vSide message boards, Doppleganger takes an active, hands-on approach to moderating its community. Maybe it's only obvious to me, but hands-on community moderation not only doesn't scale well, but is often inconsistent (moderators don't necessarily share the same standards or opinions).

The User Guidelines for vSide state that users are expected to "be nice," "be respectful," and "have fun," while refrain from "hatin'," "cybering," and sharing personal information. The User Guidelines suggest (but don't state) that the target age for vSide users the same as The Lounge, which was open to users aged 13 and above. What I'm wondering is how long Doppleganger's moderation team can hold out against a growing, hormonal user-base. Will vSide's current User Guidelines and policing strategy work long-term? Only at substantial expense, in my opinion.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Lower Standards Permit Virtual-World Advertising to Kids  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-10 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Last month I wondered how virtual-world advertising aimed at kids too young to chat responsibly could be justified. The answer is simple: lower advertising standards so that the behavior becomes "acceptable." NewMediaAge reports that the Advertising Standards Authority (UK) will allow snack food brands to target kids, provided the brands operate "within their own paid-for space." Ads in the virtual equivalent of "public space" would reportedly still fall within ASA regulations. I don't think much of the relaxed standards, as I don't believe that young children can distinguish between branded and non-branded content.

I am not familiar with the Advertising Standards Authority and to whom the organization might answer to, but I find the lowering of standards here analogous to the move to broaden the definition of "organic" food or change the definition of chocolate in order to satisfy industry greed.

Continue reading: Lower Standards Permit Virtual-World Advertising to Kids
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


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in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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