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Category Archives: Video Games

This isn’t an overly skeptical story, but it’s about tech and tech is cool.

Today I was browsing ye ol’ Interwebz and I came across a really cool story. Swinburne University in Melbourne are developing a new network administration tool that is bound to make their industry a whole lot more fun!

They are using the Quake 3 open source engine to create a visualization of network usage and activity! The project, named L3DGEWorld, will allow the user to walk through their network interacting with specific computers and files. They will be able to enforce firewall quarantines by shooting certain files and computers as well as, through bouncing objects and varying colours, tell how a node is operating.

I think one of the coolest things about this program is the virus scan functions. When a virus scan is made a ripple of energy can be seen traveling through the 3D world and washing over files like a shock wave. Imagine quietly tinkering away on a particular PC only to turn around and be faced by a huge slovenly worm virus, then having to blast it into oblivion. Sounds like some fun for a usually boring job filled with changing numbers, letters and black DOS screens.

Chicky check it out.

http://caia.swin.edu.au/urp/l3dge/tools/l3dgeworld_2.3/

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Computers are cool

It’s Friday afternoon 6:30pm, and on a piss stained seat on a bustling locamotive sits a young boy. His feet swing slowly back and forth as he peruses a newspaper. His innocent and youthful eyes flit over the articles of the paper until he finds something that catches his interest. His vibrant blue saucers widen with horror as he locks onto a frightening article. It reads –

“Gaming’s autism link.”

Shocked, the boy reads on.

“Obsessive computer game playing has been linked to a rare form of autism.”

The young boy snaps out of his shock and puts on his skeptical hat and examines the article more closely.

Ok, so as you have guessed the young boy is me. I wasn’t really shocked and awed when I saw the article but I was angry. As I read on it was apparent that the news paper had obviously either blown a study out of proportion or reported on a scientific study that is flawed. The article goes on –

“Doctors say hours spent on your console could give you the same negative character traits associated with Asperger’s syndrome.”

Right, so first the article says that gaming is linked to a rare form of autism now its referencing “doctors” who say that it can cause character traits similar to Asperger’s syndrome. Firstly, just because something is like something doesn’t mean it is that same thing. A cold is caused by a virus, but when you get a cold you don’t say, “Hory shit mang! I got a minor case of the AIDs!”. No, you don’t. That would be silly.

The kicker of the article was that it stated that –

“according to Dr John Charlton…In total, 3 per cent of those questioned (out of 400 gamers) during the study had signs of being addicted to game playing.”

3 per cent. Wow. So basically this study detected noise and if it did detect anything it detected that video game playing is very very mildly addictive to some people…like pretty much everything else. (Smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex etc.).

It is obvious that it was a slow news day in the MX news room on Friday so they had to fabricate a story that would seem scary in order to shock the mindless masses coming home from work at the end of the week.

This is exactly what we need (SARCASM DETECTOR ACTIVATED!). Not only do vaccinations seem to cause autism, now our beloved video games cause it to! RUN FOR THE HILLS! Heres hoping that this little gem flies under the radar and isn’t picked up by the autism/vaccination proponents who seem to latch onto any little thing that comes their way.

So basically what I want to say is, Go die in a fire MX news paper. They know their target market and they continue to push brain dead anti-science at them.

CS

Well, we have another step back on the censorship front for our great nation of Australia. The Attorney General of South Australia Michael Atkinson, is working hard to make sure there is no R-18 rating for video games in Australia! HURRAY!

His reason for this is, of course, to protect “our children from harmful material!”. Oh, perfect. Not only is this an blatant appeal to emotion it’s an obvious ploy to get parents on his side. I mean, who doesn’t want to protect our children from harmful material! A child’s parent will see this statement and, possibly out of ignorance of the gaming world, agree with the Attorney General.

Of course the Hon. Michael Atkinson is a devout christian who’s main interests were stated as “christian values”. Sigh. Here we go with the theists trying to impart their prudish beliefs on the masses yet again. Not only is this man obviously spouting an agenda he also doesn’t bother to do any research! He is quoted as saying,

“Games may pose a far greater problem than other media – particularly films – because their interactive nature could exacerbate their impact,”

“The risk of interactivity on players of computer games with highly violent content is increased aggressive behaviour.”

I would love to see the studies that come to this conclusion. So far to my knowledge, and Ron Curry’s, CEO of the games industry body, there has been no studies with definitive results pointing to this. Even if a study were to arise with a definite result indicating violent tendencies developing from violent games (there has been some studies that point to it) , video games still shouldn’t be censored! Throughout the ages media has instilled violence, even books have done that. Take the Bible and the Koran for example, lets ban those instead.

This being said, I’m all for keeping young or unstable children away from hard core violent or topically extreme games, but isn’t this a job for the parents? Just like with film, video and the internet, the censorship is up to the parent! It isn’t up to our government (or the religious) to protect children, it’s up to the parents to police what their kids are looking at. There is a reason for having these damn ratings in the first place!

In my opinion, keeping up with the rest of the world is something we should definitely be trying to do. So far Australia is the only developed country without an adults only rating. Sometimes it’s important to portray a topic in a certain way, and it’s not always daisies and bunny rabbits. Sometimes we have to show the shittiness of something. Video games are an art form (well, some of them are.) and censoring a whole art form and industry is not on.

(Update: It also seems that the majority of gamers are above the age of minors anyway…Well above! See here or here for a pdf. To me this seems to point towards the Attorney General not actually wanting to protect our children, but to stop older people from playing violent games. An R-18 rating would protect our children more so than not having one, but by banning an adults only rating it will stop mature age video game players from accessing extreme content video games.)