Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"The Escapist, Issue 8: Dungeons and Dollars" Now Available

Greg Costikyan calls for a new business model as his evaluation of the econony of the game industry reveals something quite opposite of Anderson's Long Tail effect: relying on a few hits to recoup huge losses results in tensions between creators and publishers, with content being compromised for slick packaging and mass appeal; Allen Varney proves that slow and steady wins the race as he shares how casual games make serious money; and Mark Wallace investigates commerce in virtual worlds like Second Life, EverQuest and Runescape and raises questions about the legalities and publishers copyrights. Check it out at

Video Game News, August 31, 2005

Couple Let Children Starve to Play Video Games
by John Innes, 8/31/05
"A married couple played computer games "day and night" while the four young children they looked after were left to starve in one of the worst cases of neglect imaginable."

Eli Goes to PAX and lives to tell the tale

I'm so jealous. Eli over at AADL got to go to the Penny Arcade Expo! His blow-by-blow account will make you jealous too. - and eager to try a mini tournament at your library!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Video Game News, August 30, 2005

Changing the Game
by Kurt Squires, Innovate Journal of Online Education, 8/30/05
"Over the past few years, games have gone from social pariahs to the darlings of the media, technology, and now educational industries."

Video Games Blamed for Boys Poor Grades

by Ciara O'Brien, Electric, 8/30/05
While girls use computers in their free time for homework and study, boys are opting to spend their spare time playing games, according to research carried out for the UK's Department for Education in Skills."

The Claim: Violent Video Games Make Young People Agressive

by Anahad O'Connor, New York Times, 8/30/05
THE FACTS Republicans and Democrats alike screamed government waste last March when a group of senators suggested spending $90 million to study how video games "and other electronic media" influenced children's behavior. Surely an important question, critics of the plan said, but $90 million?"

Video Games the Rage at the Park
by Kenya Woodward, Daytona Beach News, 8/30/05
Young Matt Mellow is eager to show off his well-honed video-gaming skills at the city's PlayStation Tournament next month -- and to shoot for prizes like Blockbuster Video Game gift cards."

Appetite for Simplicity Lands Old-School Video Games At Head of Class
by Justin Dickerson, USA Today, 8/30/05
You might not get much use out of your old Betamax video player or cassette recorder anymore, but if you hung onto your first video game console, you could be the hippest gamer on the block."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Video Game News, August 29, 2005

Playing As The Bad Guy: Game Developers Sound Off
Gamecloud, 8/26/05
"So the question remains: Does playing a game where your character is outright breaking the law a good thing? Gamecloud decided to contact a number of game developers to get their opinions on the matter. The results were a little surprising with a number of different views on this subject."

The Video Game Librarian: GameFest and the Bloomington Public Library
Gaming Target, 8/26/05
"Kelly is no stranger to teens, video games and making one amazing program out of it at the library. With the help of Matt Gullett from the library's Information Tech Services department, Kelly created GameFest, a quarterly program where teens get together and play games, chat and eat pizza. I had a chance to talk with Kelly and Matt about what makes GameFest tick and how libraries and games can co-exist for a long, long time."

(Full disclosure time: The above article was written by me, John Scalzo, and my interview subject was Kelly Czarnecki, another contributor to Game On).

DDR Extreme Wins VMA Best Video Game Soundtrack
by Simon Carless, Gamasutra, 8/29/05
"MTV has announced the winners for its 22nd annual Video Music Awards, and Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Extreme came out the winner in a 'Best Video Game Soundtrack' category, which was largely devoted to licensed soundtracks rather than original scores."

Teacher Bucks Trend Blaming Video Games
by Greg Kilne, The News-Gazette Online, 8/28/05
"An American Psychological Association report released this month claims violent video games rub off on kids and make them more aggressive."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Video Game News, August 26, 2005

Research Shows Vast Majority of Children Play Video Games
GameInfoWire, 8/26/05
"Playing videogames has turned into one of the most important activities amongst children and young adults. According to a recent study by JuniorSenior Research amongst 4.000 children aged up to 15 years old, the majority (61 %) of boys and girls play games on a daily basis."

Some Video Games Have a Positive Side

by Kate Shatzkin, Baltimore Sun 8/26/05
Video games have been blamed for making kids fat, introducing them to sex and violence, luring them away from family conversations and shortening their attention spans."

China Blocks Online Gamers from Playing for More Than 3 Consecutive Hours
by Faye Wang, Interfax China, 8/23/05
The Chinese Government unveiled a new system Tuesday to prevent individuals from playing online games for more than three consecutive hours, which must be installed for every online game in the country."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Video Game LITERACY News, August 25, 2005: Conference Announcements!

Event: Media Literacy Conference:“Building Critical Thinking Skills In Our Media Age"
Sponsor: Home Inc,
Date: Saturday Oct 22 2005, 8:00AM-4:00PM
Location: MIT building E-51, Cambridge MA
Agenda: Keynote speaker Henry Jenkins III, Director of Comparative Media Studies, MIT
Cost: FREE ($10 for lunch)
To register: contact Alan Michel, or by phone at 617.266.1386 by Oct 14; registration form online at

Event: Teens and Technology Institute and Video Game Night
Sponsor: YALSA
Date: Friday January 20, 2006 9:00AM-4:30PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
Agenda: Expansion of traditional literacy through chat, IM, wikis, blogging, and more
Cost: $210 YALSA members/$250 ALA members/$300 nonmembers
To register: Visit and click on "Events and Conferences" after September 1, 2005

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Video Game News, August 24, 2005

Growing Up: The Long, Strange Road to the Maturation of Video Games
by Nadia Oxford,, 8/22/05
"As children grow, they become paranoid about their identity and image. They'll quickly abandon a hobby as soon as their friends declare that it's not cool anymore. With the aid of external factors, games have irrevocably matured and evolved to match this trend, and survive."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Escapist, Issue 7: From '94 to Infinity: Beyond Halo Now Avialable

Jim Rossignol tells us what he learned from playing classic video games, marking pivotal moments in video game evolution; Allen Varnay writes about games as interactive fiction; Chris Dahlen reminisces about Planescape; and the lead story by Pat Miller gives props to innovative trendsetter Bungie, known for it's RPG's Marathon and Halo. Check it out online at

Video Game News, August 23, 2005

Why Violent Video Games are Good for Children: Letting players try their hand at carjacking helps them work out their aggression, the author of new a book tells David Stonehouse.
by David Stonehouse, The Ottawa Citizen 8/22/05
"Violent video games do not boost crime rates among youth -- they curb them by allowing teens to work out their aggressions in front of the computer screen, says the author of a book arguing that gaming also boosts intelligence."

Exercise-Based Video Games Combine Fitness and Fun
by Melania Zaharopoulos, Gilroy Dispatch 8/23/05
"The testimonials on seem like those for any other diet or exercise product..."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Video Game News, August 22, 2005

Computer Characters Mugged in Virtual Crime Spree
by Will Knight, New Scientist 8/18/05
"A man has been arrested in Japan on suspicion carrying out a virtual mugging spree by using software "bots" to beat up and rob characters in the online computer game Lineage II. The stolen virtual possessions were then exchanged for real cash."

Adam Singer's Keynote from the Serious Games Keynote

'Reality: Coming Soon to a Games Platform Near You’
Keynote Speech by Adam Singer, Group Chief Executive, The MCPS-PRS Alliance and Founder of Cordelia, a Management Consultancy at Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival, Edinburgh
on Thursday 11 August 2005

Transcript blogged by Ben Sawyer and posted at

Friday, August 19, 2005

Video Game News, August 19, 2005

Video Games Linked to Aggression in Boys
by Maggie Fox, Reuters, 8/19/05
"Most studies done on violence and video games support the conclusion that violent video games can increase aggressive behavior in children and adolescents, especially boys, researchers said on Friday."

SIGGRAPH 2005: Beyond the Gamepad

Gamasutra, 8/19/05
"At a SIGGRAPH 2005's session devoted entirely to the game industry, a panel of notable developers discussed the future of gaming, focusing specifically on third-party peripherals and the world beyond the hand-held game controller."

Video Game News , August 18, 2005

Germany Video Games Fair Opens Amid Image Problems
by Georgina Prodhan, Washington Post 8/18/05
" Europe's biggest computer games fair opened its doors to the public on Thursday, with its German hosts expecting more visitors than ever but still fighting an image problem in the country."

Old School Games Move to the Head of the Class
by Justin Dickerson, USA Today 8/17/05
":You might not get much use out of your old Betamax video player or cassette recorder anymore, but if you hung onto your first video game console, you could be the hippest gamer on the block."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Video Game News, August 17, 2005

Psychologists Want Less Violence in Games: Group also wants parents to teach more
AP, 8/17/05
"The American Psychological Association says violence in video games is bad for children's health. And the group is calling on the industry to cut back."

Resoultion on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media
by the American Psychological Association, 8/17/05

Serious Games Summit Adds New Sessions

Gamasutra, 8/17/05
"The organizer of the Serious Games Summit, to be held from October 31st to November 1st, 2005, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, have announced a number of new sessions to be added to the conference program."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Escapist, Issue 6: Grand Theft Adaptation

This week's issue focuses on games spun off from film. Allen Varney interviews designer/producer Warren Spencer, who confirms that games are the hot new IT girl of Hollywood and discusses licensing; Joe Blancato explains how genetic algorithms create smart AI in games and "learn" the behavior of players; Tom Chick examines games created for commercial purposes as marketing ploys; and Dana Massey reports on how a dream became a reality for Risto Remes.

Video Game News, August 16, 2005

Video Games Help Children at Florence Hospitals Manage Pain
by Jim Newman, WBTW Morning News Online (Florence, South Carolina) 8/16/05
"Whaddya know? Video games can actually be good for you - in moderation."

Video Games May Not Be All Bad: Parental involvement is the best form of 'police work'
by Tara Parker-Pope, Wall Street Journal 8/16/05
Sex and violence in videogames have many parents considering pulling the plug on the console, but banning videogames from the home probably isn't the answer."

Battle Over Video Games Rages On:
The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to regulate the sale of video games to minors.
by Victor Godinez, Dallas Morning News 8/16/05
The controversy over hidden sex scenes in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" may have subsided for the moment, but that doesn't mean it's over."

Monday, August 15, 2005

PODCAST: Game On: Vol 1 No 5 August 15, 2005: Addicted to Games

Scroll down to the player at the end of the post to listen.

Alternatively, you can download at by midnight tonight.

Size: 10.9 MB Length: 11:57

Show notes:

Card, Orson Scott. “Civilization Watch: Brain Training.” The Ornery American, June 26, 2005.

Castronova, Edmund. “Virtual Worlds: A First Hand Account of Market and Economy on the Cyberian Frontier.” The Gruter Institute Working Papers on Law, Economics and Evolutionary Biology: Berkeley Electronic Press, 2001.

EverQuest Widows.

Hines, Michael Joseph. “Ever as Everquest: How the features of Everquest, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, resulting in addictive play behavior. 2003.

Leigh, Karen. “When Video Games Control Kids.” WCCO/CBS. 8/10/05

Online Gamers Anonymous

Palma, Krista. “The Next Addiction” Eagle Tribune, Jan 12 2003.

Peele, Stanton. The Stanton Peele Addiction Website: The Nature of Addiction.

Suler, John. The Psychology of Cyberspace. Department of Psychology, Science and Technology Center, Rider University.

Thompson, Clive. “Game Theories: EverQuest: 77th Richest Country in the World.” Flat Rock, June 17, 2005.

Young, Kimberly S.. Caught in the Net. How to recognize the signs of Internet addiction and winning strategy for recovery. (Wiley, 1998)

Video Game News, August 15, 2005

Race, Video Games at Center of Appeal in Alabama Killings
by Jay Reeves, AP 8/15/05
"BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A black man sentenced to death for the murder of three Fayette police employees will likely appeal both the racial makeup of the all-white jury and a judge's decision to bar evidence linking the killings to "Grand Theft Auto" video games, his lawyer said Monday."

American McGee Signs Graphic Novel Deal for Game Properties: Well-known designer hands over key franchises for the comic book treatment

by Coery Brotherson, GamesIndustryBiz 8/15/05
"American McGee has signed an agreement with Cellar Door Publishing which will see a new range of graphic novels based on American McGee's games being published by the comic book firm."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Review: The Fantastic Food Challenge

The Fantastic Food Challenge (Comm Tech Lab, Michigan State University, 2005) is an edutainment game designed to motivate young adults to learn about nutrition, food safety, menu planning and food purchasing, consists of 4 games.

In "The Great Meal Deal," the player clicks on the dice to “roll” – 5 dice show selections from the USDA food pyramid’s groups: milk, meat, fruit, vegetable, & bread. The goal is to combine the die to create a snack, meal, or recommended daily allowance after dragging the die to the appropriate category. Placing a die in the wrong food group eliminates the die from the round. In each turn, the player can roll 3 times to get the best combination. The sixth side of the die is “Bonus,” and, the player gets a multiple-choice question about food categories or serving sizes. If the answer you select is incorrect, the game does not tell you the correct choice. If the answer is correct, you can select which side of the die you wish to use to build up the combination of your choice.

“Store it Safe” is an drog and drag food safety game where items drop towards a refrigerator, cupboard, and freezer at the bottom of the screen, while the player uses the arrow keys to move the item left or right. The goal is to prevent spoilage and food poisoning by storing the item in the correct location. An incorrect choice regulates the item to the trash, but there are opportunities to move items from the trash. A screen at the end goes over the incorrect answers. The items drop quickly.

A matching game called “What Can You Make?” has cards with items available from WIC, such as cheese and cereal, paired with recipes such as cheeseburger pie and snack mix. The goal is to match the dish with an ingredient that goes into it. Gameplay is against the computer, with each round becoming more challenging. Choices are sometimes confusing – tomato sauce could go in pizza or lasagna, while flour could be in pancakes or tortillas. Also, vegetables should be the number one choice in vegetarian enchiladas, but tortillas are the correct answer – the student must be familiar with ethnic foods to play this game. A few new recipes are introduced in each round. Each round concludes with bonus questions that gain no extra points, and again, no corrections are given for incorrect answers. At the end of the game, the recipes uncovered by the player are provided. Spelling and capitalization are erratic, but printer friendly format works well; each recipe includes a list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions and nutritional analysis; there is no access to recipes uncovered by the computer.

“Makes Cents” employs math skills by asking the player to divide cost by number of servings, or compare prices to determine which purchase is a better deal. The goal is to learn comparison-shopping and (indirectly) to learn how to shop on a budget by figuring cost per serving. The raw product is always a better buy than the processed prepackaged one.

A fast reading teen could complete all four games in less than an hour. Generally, the graphics are fast loading and the animations well executed, but the scanned photographs of generic brand foods are out of place with the cute illustration style of the background, props and characters, resulting in a discordant composition. There is no unifying graphic or vision to tie the nutrition theme together, although a game show style and robots are common elements in two games. The announcer’s voice is mild and enthusiastic throughout. Students accustomed to fancier graphics won’t be impressed by the rudimentary style, but this would be a fun way to extend a health lesson. Each game is designed as single player, so teens would have to team up, which might result in higher scores.

The Fantastic Food Challenge is available from MSU Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences. It costs $4.00, which includes shipping and handling. To order, contact us at:

MSU Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences
240 Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-353-9102
Fax: 517-353-4846

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Video Game News, August 13, 2005

The Future of Video Games? That's easy - it's women: High Tech I New Radical COO hopes to tap into that huge market
by Marke Andrews, Vancouver Sun 8/12/05
"Kelly Zmak, the new chief operating officer and senior vice-president of Vancouver's Radical Entertainment, doesn't need a crystal ball to see into the video game industry's future and where he wants his company to go."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Video Game News - August 12, 2005

Athletes, Military Find Video Games Educational
by Michael Machosky, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 8/12/05
" Video games are rarely acknowledged as learning tools. But many of them are, in ways that we are just beginning to understand."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Video Game News - August 11, 2005

'Grand Theft Auto' Cop Killer Found Guilty.
by Tony Hook, The Register 8/11/05
"Computer game Grand Theft Auto (GTA) has been let off the hook by an Alabama jury which this week found cop killer Devin Moore guilty on three counts of murder."

No strong link seen between agression and video games
by University of Illinois-Urbana, 8/11/05
"Results from the first long-term study of online videogame playing may be surprising.
Contrary to popular opinion and most previous research, the new study found that players' "robust exposure" to a highly violent online game did not cause any substantial real-world aggression."

Could Scotland Be the New Japan?
BBC, 8/11/05
A major interactive entertainment festival has launched in Edinburgh with the aim of encouraging Scotland's computer games industry to rival Japan."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Video Game News - August 10, 2005

When Video Games Control Kids
by Karen Leigh, WCCO/CBS 8/10/05
"Video games can be more than just fun -- they can be addicting."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"The Escapist, Issue 5: Fast Forward to 2020" Now Available

This week's issue looks at the future of gaming. Dana Massey reports on E-3 and the next generation consoles and pushes for innovation, Jim Rosingnol examines the evolution of the MMORPGs ("wikification, anyone?"), Joe Blancato attempts to put out the fires over recent video game controversies ("CDs burn at 451 degrees too"), John Tyne tells about the day he become an avatar, and Robert Coker speculates on how the senses will be integrated into technology and gameplay. Read on at

G-Phoria Airs Today!

Don't forget to tune in to G-Phoria, the 2005 video game awards show on G4-TV at 8 PM EST. Preshow starts at7:30 PM. Times vary significantly by time zone, so check the schedule at - scroll down to the bottom to select your time zone.

In addition to handing out awards to winners in categories like best soundtrack, best graphics and best innovation, we'll see game previews, bands, celebrity interviews, and console previews. Hosted by Wilmer Valderrama, with musical guests the Black Eyed Peas, the Bravery and TOny Yayo.

Video Game News, August 9, 2005

The Xbox Auteurs
by Clive Thompson. New York Times Magazine 8/7/05
"Like many young hipsters in Austin, Tex., Michael Burns wanted to make it big in some creative field -- perhaps writing comedy scripts in Hollywood. Instead, he wound up in a dead-end job, managing a call center."

Bible Games Instead of Grand Theft Auto?
Jennifer London, NBC 8/8/05
"BURBANK, Calif. — Transcending the blood and violence found in many popular video games, a small band of believers want to forsake guts and gore for God, trade bloodshed for the Bible."

Video Game Industry Seeking Minorities; More hereos and heroines instead of hoods and hoodlums
AP, MSNBC, 8/5/05
"ATLANTA - In the popular video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," players assume the lead character of Carl Johnson, a down-on-his-luck criminal who roams city streets, stealing cars and helping gang members knock off rivals in drive-by shootings."

S. Korean Man Dies After 50 Hours of Video Games
Reuters UK 8/9/05
"SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean man who played computer games for 50 hours almost non-stop died of heart failure minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an Internet cafe, authorities said on Tuesday."

Video Game News, August 8, 2005

U.S. Video Game Industry Tops $4 billion by mid-2005, says NPD group
NPD Teck Group, Tekrati, 8/8/05
"According to The NPD Group, retail sales of U.S. console and portable video games hardware, software and accessories saw an increase of 21 percent during the first half of 2005 (January - June), compared to the same time period last year."

Cain to Launch Fight Against Violent, Explicit Video Games.
staff report, Leesville Daily Leader, 8/8/05
DRY CREEK (TX) -- Senator James David Cain (R-Dry Creek), announced this week that he will introduce a bill in the next Regular Session to reign in the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Video Game News, August 6, 2005

Violent Video Games Drawing Fire: Local Players Say Not All Games Are Bad
by John Hernandez, Lafayette Daily Advertiser 8/6/05
"Many stores in Lafayette have pulled the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" off the shelves in the controversy following the discovery that a hidden line of code in the game contains an explicit sex scene."

Judge Restricts Testimony on Murder Trial
AP, Tuscaloosa News, AL 8/5/05
A judge ruled Friday that expert testimony on video games can't be presented in the trial of Devin Moore, who's accused of killing three members of the Fayette Police Department."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Video Game News, August 5, 2005

Check out this week's issue of the Economist - the cover story, "Breeding Evil: The Real Impact of Video Games," examines the social impact of video games.

Also, G-phoria, the video game awards ceremony, was taped a few days ago. It airs on August 9th on G-4 TV. Several sites reported on the show:

And the winners are:
Alt.Sports Award: NBA Street V3
Best Adaptation: LEGO Star Wars
Best Action Game: God of War
Best Boss: Halo 2 - Scarab Battle
Best Cinematic: God of War
Best Graphics: Half-Life 2
Best Handheld Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Best Innovation: Katamari Damacy
Best Licensed Soundtrack: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Best Multiplayer Game: Halo 2
Best Original Game: God of War
Best Original Soundtrack: Halo 2
Best Racing Game: Burnout 3: Takedown
Best RPG: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Best Shooter: Halo 2
Best Sound Design: Halo 2
Best Traditional Sports Game: Madden NFL 2005
Best Voice Performance - Female: Half-Life 2 - Merle Dandridge
Best Voice Performance - Male: Halo 2 - David Cross
EB Gamers' Choice Award: World of WarCraft
Favorite Character: God of War - Kratos
Game of the Year: Halo 2
Legend Award: Ralph Baer

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Video Game News, August 4, 2005

Video Games 101 Starts at MSU: University is offering two-year program as academic minor to fulfill demand in hot industry
by Oralander Brand-Williams, Detriot News, 8/3/05
Local students looking to make a living by designing video games now can attend a school close to home

Lawmaker Fights Uphill Battle Against Adult Content in Video Games
by Ed Thomas, Agape Press, 8/2/05
"Leland Yee, the Speaker Pro-tem of the California Assembly, has for the past several years been a leader in trying to get legislation passed in his state to control the sale of what he calls "ultra-violent" video games."

Putting Physics In Video Games

San Jose Mercury News, 3/8/05
"To a physics fan like Manju Hegde, even today's best video games look fake. "

Relatives: Moore was an Abused Child who Obsessively Played Video Games

AP, 8/3/05
"Relatives of Devin Darnell Moore testified Wednesday at his capital murder trial that he was severely beaten as a child and was a compulsive video game player who would often retreat within himself, staring blankly."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Video Game News - August 3, 2005

Hidden Content in Video Games
"Oklahoma lawmakers will soon consider restricting the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games during a legislative study."

CBC Arts: Lucus Plans to Make Games with Artificial Intelligence
CBC CA Arts, 8/2/05
George Lucas – creator of the Star Wars films and head of the Lucasfilm entertainment empire – says he intends to make video games that have artificial intelligence."

Innovate Live: The Role of Video Game Technology in Educational Settings

The August/September 2005 of Innovate's special issue on the role of video game technology in educational settings is now available at
Innovate is a peer-reviewed, bimonthly e-journal published as a public service by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. It features creative practices and cutting-edge research on the use of information technology to enhance education.
Jim Gee opens the issue with a key question: "What would a state of the art instructional video game look like?" Gee's response focuses on the commercial game Full Spectrum Warrior in order to reveal the "good theory of learning" that should inform the design of video games produced specifically for instructional purposes. In turn, David Shaffer elaborates a similar theory of situated and action-based learning with the concept of an "epistemic game," whose design integrates player interests, domain knowledge, valued professional practices, and assessment to generate motivation and deep learning. In the following article, Richard Halverson reinforces the argument that valid learning principles inform successful video games, and describes how they might be integrated in educational contexts.
Melanie Zibit and David Gibson report the work in progress on simSchool--a video game that prepares teachers for the complexities of classroom management by offering a "simulated apprenticeship" that prepares teachers to practice the kind of informed decision making required for success in their profession.
Kurt Squire's findings about the benefits of and obstacles to the implementation of video games in the classroom are based on his own attempt to use Civilization III in high school history classes. He argues that, rather than thinking about how to design good games for the existing K-12 educational system, we should focus our energies on how to design an educational system flexible enough to accommodate video games. In contrast, Michael Begg, David Dewhurst, and Hamish Macleod advocate a "game-informed learning" approach that would make conventional learning activities more game-like. The two medical simulations they describe immerse students in a professional identity and generate highly motivated constructivist learning.
In a provocative glimpse into the future learning landscape, Joel Foreman, this issue's guest editor, interviews Clark Aldrich, described by Fortune magazine as one of the top three e-learning gurus. The interview begins with the distinction between games and simulations and concludes with Aldrich's "20 simulations" approach to the reformation of education.
Stephen Downes wraps up the issue with his review of Apolyton, an exemplar site that provides both fodder for resourceful students and models for educators who want to cultivate new online learning communities.
We hope that you enjoy this special issue of Innovate. Please use Innovate's one-button features to comment on articles, share material with colleagues and friends, easily obtain related articles, and participate in Innovate-Live webcasts and discussion forums. Join us in exploring the best uses of technology to improve the ways we think, learn, and live.
Please forward this announcement to appropriate mailing lists and to colleagues who want to use IT tools to advance their work.
Finally, if you wish to continue to get announcements of new issues, please subscribe to Innovate at Subscription is free.
Many thanks.
James L. Morrison
Editor-in-Chief, Innovate
Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership
UNC-Chapel Hill

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Escapist, Issue 4: It's Your Game Now Available

Issue #4, It's Your Game, covers user created content. David Thomas's witty essay advocates the idea that Second Life is the new porn; Jim Rossignol waxes poetic about mods for Half-Life 2; ALan Varney reveals the process of turning the 1984 RPG Paranoia into a computer game, Kyle Orland talks about trying to choreograph his favorite tunes to a simple pattern of steps and discovers it's more complex than he bargined for; and Joe Blancato debates the ethics of being a GM on a renegade server (violating intellectual property). Read it for yourself at

Video Game News, August 2, 2005

Rockstar Games To Reach Out to Parents
by Andrew Gordon and Keith O'Brien, Digital Bullentin August 1 2005
"NEW YORK - Rockstar Games wants to reach out to its critics after taking a beating over a hidden sex scene in 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas'."

Got Game?
Newstream, July 2005
"Video games aren't just for kids anymore. According to a new AOL Games survey, almost half the respondents aged twelve to fifty-five, have played video games on their computer, console or cell phone or PDA. Ralph Rivera, Vice President and GM of AOL Games the new details findings."

Monday, August 01, 2005

Hilary vs. the XBox: Game Over

Steven Johnson is so much more articulate than I am. Check out his excellent open letter to Senator Hilary Clinton online at the LA Times under the Opinion section on July 27, 2005.

PODCAST: Game On! Vol 1 no 3 July 31, 2005: Video Game Witch Hunt

Scroll down to the player at the end of the post to listen.

If you can't get the streaming audio, I tried archiving at ourmedia. Download the MP3 direct from

Length: 23:26

The content of this podcast discusses Grand Theft Auto's hot coffee modification in detail, and the pixilated nudity and simulated sex in the Sims. This podcast is recommended for mature (17+) audiences.

Show Notes:
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The Sims