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  Who Would You Shoot?  
Posted 2005-05-18 by Tony Walsh
ABC News reports that Iraqi rebels have created an online game called "Who Would You Shoot?" to train prospective real-life snipers. Unfortunately, the web site carrying the game isn't identified (ergo, no screen shots), but the game reportedly consists of Q&A-style play, so it's nowhere near as immersive as America's Army, an online game created by the U.S. Army that trains prospective real-life snipers.
  Gaming the U.S. Military  
Posted 2005-04-20 by Tony Walsh
The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative has realeased a report entitled "Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming: A Research Framework for Military Training and Education" which identifies trends in the use of games and simulations for education and training purposes and finds that multiplayer online gaming can lead to measurable learning outcomes.

The report says that "Millions of potential recruits have gone through 'basic training'" in the Army-developed game America's Army, and mentions how Full Spectrum Warrior, co-developed by the U.S. military's Institute of Creative Technology (ICT), "offers ideal supplemental training," and "has been used by the Afghan National Army to fight alongside U.S. troops." The report doesn't mention that Full Spectrum Warrior's value is debatable.

Continue reading: Gaming the U.S. Military
  Sin City  
Posted 2005-04-04 by Tony Walsh
I didn't read Frank Miller's Sin City graphic novels, but I did read his groundbreaking Dark Knight graphic novels. I mention the latter because, thematically, there are some core similarities between it and the former. Corny monologues, urban ultraviolence, aging warriors, teenage girls... modern pulp fiction predating Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Miller's work is (obviously) highly cinematic, but I'm not sure a movie version of Sin City was all that necessary.

While highly stylized, textured and atmospheric, the film is just too over the top for its own good: Cheeseball dialog, painfully-deliberate camera shots, nonstop gore and dozens of ass-cheeks. By the end of it all, I was certain that Sin City's remorseless trenchcoat-wearing macho men would make a fine role-model to the future perpetrators of the next Columbine massacre.
  Food Violence and Our Children  
Posted 2005-02-14 by Tony Walsh
A pre-teen Michigan boy reportedly stabbed his sister when she refused to hand over a microwavable chicken pot pie. This is only the latest in a string of near-deadly food-related attacks in America. Last fall, two Georgia schoolgirls allegedly served their classmates a deadly cake, while last summer a group of girls planned to create a computer game entitled "Dr. Evil Stinky and the Poison Cake."

Food has always been an influence on children, but it seems food-related violence is on the rise. The solution to this modern problem is to limit the exposure of young people to food. If governments will not regulate food-exposure, we must look to the food industry to self-regulate and either refrain from selling food to minors or clearly label food based on age-appropriateness. For example, "E" might indicate that the food is safe for Everyone, whereas an "M" might indicate that the food should only be sold to legal ("Mature") adults.

Clearly any sort of pie or cake should be an M-rated food.
  Gamers:  The Army Knows Where You Live  
Posted 2005-01-13 by Tony Walsh
Everyone hates a cheater. But the U.S. Army is angry, and is coming for them. Slashdot reports that due to cheating in the recruitment game America's Army, extreme countermeasures are possible: "We know who you are, and can track down where you play from. We have incontrovertible proof you did something illegal. The Army is angry, and we're coming for you."

Good to know the Army's attitude is consistent, even when dealing with American citizens. Any military expert can tell you that idle threats make an army look foolish, so I fully expect cheaters to be lined up and shot over this.
  Games and Fear, Part II  
Posted 2004-08-19 by Tony Walsh
See yesterday's post and comments for a preamble.

A Windsor, Ontario mom had that city's transit system remove an advertisement for the game Prince of Persia because its menacing imagery frightened her son [report]. So far there's been nothing but ridicule from the gaming community [Shacknews: "This was just too funny to pass up."] The Shacknews author is American (from Florida), and if I had to guess at the IGN commentor's country of origin I'd wager he's American, too. I feel that many Americans can't appreciate this Canadian situation due to U.S. gun culture. Canada's school system is teaching kids that violence and violent instruments are bad. I've seen the effects of this first-hand: some kids actually fear the sight of a gun or knife. Which is probably not an unhealthy reaction to something that can kill you. Furthermore, Prince of Persia is rated "Teen" by the ESRB, i.e. not appropriate for children. So, yeah, maybe we're all a bunch of wussies here in Canada, but we don't lose thousands of our people each year to gun violence. It's a tradeoff I can live with.

Continue reading: Games and Fear, Part II
  Media Orgy Over “Xbox-Related” Murders  
Posted 2004-08-09 by Tony Walsh
Six people were recently murdered in Deltona, Florida by baseball-bat-weilding teenagers. The murders were reportedly over a stolen Xbox console and clothing. There are several significant details in this case that might be headline-worthy, but its the Xbox that's getting top billing. I guess that's because Mainstream Media sees the Xbox as the most important element of the story despite details of equal or greater weight.

Game violence is so tired. Could we just get back to beheading-porn, please?
  Art Crimes:  Teen vs. Bush  
Posted 2004-04-30 by Tony Walsh
The US Secret Service was alerted last weekend due to the actions of a 15-year-old boy. The Washington-state high-school student had drawn sketches depicting violence against US President George W. Bush and pro-Green Party sentiment for an art assignment. His school called the police, who faxed the drawings to the Secret Service. The teen was disciplined by his school. Because expressing yourself is evil. [story]
  MTV’s Take on Game Violence  
Posted 2004-04-27 by Tony Walsh
Nomadic writer and producer Adrian Cook was approached by MTV to appear in a televised debate on the subject of "Videogames and Violence in Society," arguing for the side of "Videogames don't cause violence!" He's kindly reprinted the pre-screening questions they posed and his detailed answers. An interesting read, both for his opinions and experiences, and the fact that by approaching Cook, MTV just saved themselves having to do research on the topic.
  Shock and AWE  
Posted 2004-04-22 by Tony Walsh
The US Army brings their video-game obsession to a new dimension with their There-based Asymmetric Warfare Environment. chatted with chief scientist and technology officer of the US Army�s Simulation, Training and Instrumentation program, Dr. Michael Macedonia. Macedonia comments on the recruitment game America's Army and of course, their new AWE-simulation system.

Choice quotes:

"America�s Army is focused on recruiting. It�s really a marketing tool in a lot of ways--marketing and education, I should say." See? It's an educational game. Kids can learn how to unquestionably obey their superiors.

"In none of these games do you shoot. Well, you can role-play and shoot, but it�s not really focused on shooting."

"We built downtown Baghdad in this environment." Cool! I'm sure it's exactly like the real thing except that the concrete isn't painted in blood.

"What�s a soldier�s experience in Iraq or Afghanistan? Who�s the enemy? How do I get these people to not [necessarily] like me, but to relate to me?" How about starting with not shutting down their newspapers or beating them to death for carrying photographs of their leaders?
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