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Violent Videogames touted as learning tool

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http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100528/entertainment/us_games_for_learning

By Karen Matthews, The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - You're at the front lines shooting Nazis before they shoot you. Or you're a futuristic gladiator in a death match with robots.

Either way, you're playing a video game — and you may be improving your vision and other brain functions, according to research presented Thursday at a New York University conference on games as a learning tool.

"People that play these fast-paced games have better vision, better attention and better cognition," said Daphne Bavelier, an assistant professor in the department of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester.

Bavelier was a presenter at Games for Learning, a daylong symposium on the educational uses of video games and computer games.

The event, the first of its kind, was an indication that electronic games are gaining legitimacy in the classroom.

President Barack Obama recently identified the creation of good educational software as one of the "grand challenges for American innovation," and the federal Department of Education's assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Jim Shelton, attended Thursday's conference.

Panelists discussed how people learn and how games can be engineered to be even more educational.

"People do learn from games," said J. Dexter Fletcher of the Institute for Defence Analyses.

Sigmund Tobias of the State University of New York at Albany said an Israeli air force study found that students who played the game "Space Fortress" had better rankings in their pilot training than students who did not.

He added that students who played "pro-social" games that promote co-operation were more likely than others to help out in real-life situations like intervening when someone is being harassed.

Bavelier's research has focused on so-called first-person shooter games like "Unreal Tournament" and "Medal of Honor," in which the player is an Allied solder during World War II.

"You have to jump into vehicles, you have to crouch and hide," said Tammy Schachter, a spokeswoman for game developer Electronic Arts Inc.

Bavelier said playing the kill-or-be-killed games can improve peripheral vision and the ability to see objects at dusk, and the games can even be used to treat amblyopia, or lazy eye, a disorder characterized by indistinct vision in one eye.

She said she believes the games can improve math performance and other brain tasks.

"We are testing this hypothesis that when you play an action video game, what you do is you learn to better allocate your resources," she said. "In a sense you learn to learn. ... You become very good at adapting to whatever is asked of you."

Bavelier believes the games will eventually become part of school curriculums, but "it's going to take a generation."

Schachter said the purpose of "Medal of Honor" and other games is to have fun, and any educational benefits are a bonus.

"Through entertainment these games test your memory skills, your eye-hand co-ordination, your ability to detect small activities on the screen and interact with them," she said.

Not everyone is a fan.

Gavin McKiernan, the national grassroots director for the Parents Television Council, an advocacy group concerned about sex and violence in the media, said that when it comes to violent video games, any positive effects are outweighed by the negative.

"You are not just passively watching Scarface blow away people," McKiernan said. "You are actually participating. Doing these things over and over again is going to have an effect."

Bavelier said games could be developed that would harness the positive effects of the first-person shooter games without the violence.

"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."

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"President Barack Obama recently identified the creation of good educational software as one of the "grand challenges for American innovation," and the federal Department of Education's assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Jim Shelton, attended Thursday's conference.

Please...Gaming Industry...Do NOT drink from Obama's bailout Kool-Aid!

You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."

oh no.

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Doing these things over and over again is going to have an effect."

Much in the same way, I suspect, that repeating something over and over again makes it "true."

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"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."

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"You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, [an armored cereal man] who has a [zorcher] and whenever he [zorches] something, it [is transported to another dimension]."

Oh, wait, that's not girly enough...

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I've noticed learning to (badly) play a few newer FPS games has been exercise for my garbage eye (the other guy is so far gone it can't make heads or tails of a computer screen). I've also noticed extreme proficiency at FPS games has caused my brother to be rather good at aiming real guns. :D

The argument above for similar games that aren't "violent" makes me think of this.

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Aliotroph? said:

As for the facepalm, might work better formatted right:

Weird, mine looks normal and yours looks screwed up for me, probably because I'm using Chrome. Thanks anyways.

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POTGIESSER said:

"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."

This sounds like jokewad.

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AveryMaurice said:

Weird, mine looks normal and yours looks screwed up for me, probably because I'm using Chrome. Thanks anyways.


Yeah, I nuked mine when I noticed it didn't look normal. Usually ASCII art only works in code tags, but it looks like that one was designed with browsers in mind.

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Aliotroph? said:

Yeah, I nuked mine when I noticed it didn't look normal. Usually ASCII art only works in code tags, but it looks like that one was designed with browsers in mind.

Fail brings fail, therefore Aliotroph?'s crooked art is fitting for the concept.

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                                       """""""
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                          ||||    (|-- |
                          ----
:::Touching Aliotroph?'s "garbage eye" with the Wand of Butterflies and Glitter:::

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printz said:

This sounds like jokewad.

Put the Hexen mage in pink neon robe, make his wand weapon polymorph whatever you shoot into butterfies. Yeah I could see it happening.

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Quasar said:
Much in the same way, I suspect, that repeating something over and over again makes it "true."

There's nothing special in noticing that violent media may serve as a channel for violence. However, sometimes it may decrease it, by distracting people from actual violence. Besides, the ideas of people who want to censor fiction often qualify as more worthless than questionable fiction.

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Maths class - you're assigned to kill 12 troopers and 7 imps. Assuming 100% accuracy in marksmanship - how many bullets should you draw from the armory? (trick question)

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POTGIESSER said:

"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."


Hell guys, this doesn't sound like such a bad idea. Its obvious this quote was a way to get her message out to the world. The message is simply this: "make my game! [and give me credit for it]". This is the type of revolution is what we need to get women playing games. Whenever the actions described in this quote happen women helplessly fall in love with them. Love is a huge selling point and the game industry can benefit. Killing butterflys is a way to make more room in our precious air we pollute, and sparkles are just so damn pretty.

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soulsweat said:

Whenever the actions described in this quote happen women helplessly fall in love with them. Love is a huge selling point and the game industry can benefit. Killing butterflys is a way to make more room in our precious air we pollute, and sparkles are just so damn pretty.

For every girl that wants to turn things into butterflies and sparklies with a wand, there is another who will probably be offended that you seem to think girls are only interested in butterflies, sparklies, and prissy princesses :P

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"You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."

Oh yeah, that'll sell.

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There is a lot to be said about women who specifically refer to themselves as "females" >_>

But that's for another forum...

Besides, my niece plays Doom.

@soulsweat: Too late on that score, Nintendo have already beaten her to it. Christ, they've even got DAYTIME TV PRESENTERS flogging their shit. Got to hand it to them, though - the Wii is the first video game console to be aimed SQUARELY at people who don't like video games. And they managed to make it stick.

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POTGIESSER said:

"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."


I can't tell if she's trying to be a stereotype or what.

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I think she just has no imagination. If she had time to think about it she might have realized that doesn't even work as a concept in most cases and said something smarter. It's pretty obvious that some kinds of games don't work well unless you can shoot people/things. How much that impacts what the player might learn from a game depends on what you're trying to teach.

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StevieCybernetik said:

"You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."

Oh yeah, that'll sell.

Like it really needs to make any sense... It's like gibberish.

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GreyGhost said:

Maths class - you're assigned to kill 12 troopers and 7 imps. Assuming 100% accuracy in marksmanship - how many bullets should you draw from the armory? (trick question)


What about P_Random?

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"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."


That sounds like a snooze fest of a "game". I would never play it, even if I WAS female.

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"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."


All that needs is an Erasure soundtrack and that'll be 10-year old girl gold.

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GreyGhost said:

Maths class - you're assigned to kill 12 troopers and 7 imps. Assuming 100% accuracy in marksmanship - how many bullets should you draw from the armory? (trick question)

114 bullets. Both trooper and imps are the same creature. They all add up to 19 individuals. Each takes six regular bullets. 19x6 = 114.

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POTGIESSER said:

"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."


I felt brain cells die when I read this.

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Killing things before they kill you is an awesome reward for not dying is all I have to say in response to that. Sure a game could use the same mechanics a shooting game, but i think i'd be doing a favor to something that is trying to negatively effect me by turning it into a butterfly.

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Maths class - you're assigned to kill 12 troopers and 7 imps. Assuming 100% accuracy in marksmanship - how many bullets should you draw from the armory? (trick question)


Imps = troopers, imps have 60 hp, there are 19 individuals so 60x19 = 1140. Each bullet does a minimum of 5 damage, so I'd take 1140/5 = 228 just in case the Random Number God frowns upon me.

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GreyGhost said:

(trick question)

You can scavenge 60 bullets from the dead troopers.

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