Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Practising non-violence makes me stabby.

We've been on a roll this week...

Here's a story from RegHardware, talking about a teen who allegedly attacked his father with regards to a video game. Now, it's not the usual link aka "violent video games cause violence in kids," but rather "parents of violent kid attempt to diffuse violence with video game, failing miserably."

The perhaps aptly-named Mario – aged 16 and from Rome – allegedly stabbed his father with a kitchen knife earlier this week following an argument about FIFA 2009. Online reports said Mario’s 46-year-old father, Fabrizio, tried to offer his son advice on tactics to improve junior's gameplay.

FIFA 2009, for those of you living under a rock but somehow manage to get access to my blog, is a soccer (football) game.

The man is currently recovering in hospital. Mario’s mother - 46-year-old Monica – told a local newspaper: “We bought him FIFA 2009 because we didn't want him playing violent games."

So, how far in someone's biography do we go to correlate violence/stimulus? Would one make the link between FIFA and the kid's violence in this case? Probably not... but if the circumstances were different one might have used such a case as reason to decry video games altogether.

Imagine if the kid had been playing Hello Kitty Online....

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Monday, January 25, 2010

So, gaming does NOT cause rickets.

As I ventured in the last blog entry, the story on games causing rickets was just plain "lazy journalism." The quote straight from the scientist who helped to write the report is now on record saying, "We do not say that gaming causes rickets."

How many times have we seen this happen? Come on, people. Be responsible--don't be moral panicking game haters. That's just "dodgy journalism."

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Rickets linked to excessive gaming

While blaming games for all imaginable ills in society is not a new phenomenon, this one is quite the leap: According to this article, researchers in the UK are focusing on the rise of British kids afflicted with rickets, correlated with excessive gaming indoors.

But Florence, correlation does not causation imply, you say?

What we know, thanks to research, is that lack of sunlight (vitamin D) and diet, and exercise is common trait amongst those with rickets.
I would agree that:
1) staying indoors all the time (regardless of what one is doing) would deprive someone of sunlight
2) Poor diet (and exercise) would also cause a general malaise, leaving one susceptible to all sorts of afflictions, amongst them rickets.

This does not, however, mean videogames are specifically the 'root cause.' I also doubt that the research article itself would make such a claim (rather, a quote, possibly taken out of context). A cheap strategy, but hey it got our attention, right?

I am continually in awe of the strength these biomedically aligned arguments against games have. Lack of good diet, sunlight, and exercise are always good things to encourage in people. But why the hate on videogames specifically? Because it's sexy? So, should I go play my DS on the beach then?

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 CGSA Symposium, May 28th-29th, Montreal

Holy Batman, here we are already wrapping up Week 2 of the new semester. Just finished up a barrage of tutorials for CMNS 353.
Happy New Year, btw. Too late for that? Well in the spirit of more time (and we all need more of it) the call for abstracts to this year's CGSA Symposium has been extended to a deadline of January 22nd. Wonderful news for those of you who might have gotten news of this a little late.

Details below:

The 2010 Canadian Games Studies Association annual conference will be held in Montréal this year from May 28-29, in conjunction with the Congress of the Social Sciences & Humanities. This year, the theme for the congress is "Le savoir branché/Connected understandings".

As usual, we invite both national and international paper proposals, on digital games research, broadly defined. In keeping with this year's Congress theme we also encourage work that arises from 'connections' among scholars, researchers, and player communities -- ie. that represents and reports on collaborative work across linguistic, institutional, and disciplinary boundaries.

Please send your extended abstracts, maximum 500 words, to either Jen Jenson (jjenson@edu.yorku.ca) or Nick Taylor (nickttayor@gmail.com) by January 22, 2010.

Looking forward to seeing you in Montréal!

Jennifer Jenson & Nick Taylor (Conference co-chairs)

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