Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The New York Times on Manhunt 2: less violent than R rated movies

The "controversy" over Rockstar Games' and Take Two Interactive's Manhunt 2, a violent action game, set to be released later this year has gone through the roof in the last week or so.

The British and the Irish banned it outright, and ESRB, the US organization which rates video games, issued it an Adult Only (AO) rating, which effectively kills the game in the United States. The AO rating means Microsoft, Nintendo nor Sony will allow its release on their video game platforms since all of them have licensing agreements with developers that prohibit releasing AO rated games. All major retailers in the United States also do not carry AO rated video games.

The video gaming industry has been silently sitting idle watching the fireworks and trying to remain quiet as if not to attract too much attention afraid of something else "bad" might come out of speaking out.

A New York Times journalist, Seth Schiesel, however did not remain quiet. He has written an article comparing Manhunt 2 to modern horror movies, all of which are rated R, a much less restrictive rating than the AO rating for Manhunt 2.

He found out the R rated horror movies are far more violent than the video game that's currently been labeled as a "murder simulator" and the most violent video game to date. But such is the power of objective research, rather than letting yourself be influenced by alarmists with self-serving agendas and by fear of "not doing something".

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Whyville - making learning science cool with games

The Escapist Magazine has an interesting article about Whyville, a sort of virtual world for young kids to learn about science through playing mini-games and communicating with other kids of their age.

Whyville is a web based virtual community launched in 1998. It's being sponsored by organizations such as NASA.

Positive news from West Virginia's Dance Dance Revolution expirement continue to pile up

The Escapist Magazine writes about West Virginia's expirement to provide all public schools in the state with Dance Dance Revolution games to combat childhood obesity.

The article describes the positive results as experienced by Ryan Walker, a sixth grade student from Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Vicarious Visions - a video game developer based in Albany, NY speaks out against the New York State anti-video game bills

Karthik Bala, the CEO of Vicarious Visions, a video game developer based in Albany, NY, has written an editorial in Times Union, a newspaper serving the New York State's capital region.

He's speaking out against the two different anti-video game bills recently introduced in New York State Senate and Assembly. He's pointing out how similar bills in other states have been struck down on constitutional grounds, and warns the legislators not to go down the same route wasting tax payers' money.

He rather recommends politicians spend our money on educating parents about the video game rating system already in use and about parental controls available in every video game console platform currently on the market.

I couldn't agree more.