Tag: computer games

Two violent game studies have been retracted

Two highly public scientific studies which claim that there is a link between violent computer games and real violence have been mysteriously pulled.

The first, entitled “Boom, Headshot!” published in the Journal of Communication Research in 2012 was retracted last January. That study looked at the “effect of video game play and controller type on firing aim and accuracy”, and found that playing first-person shooter games can train a player to become a better marksman in real life.

However Patrick Markey, a psychology professor at Villanova University, found some inconsistencies in the data published in the study. The lead author of the study, psychology professor Brad Bushman claimed the allegations were part of a smear campaign against him and his co-author

By the end of 2015, OSU launched a misconduct investigation into Whitaker, but hasn’t released any details about its findings.

“A Committee of Initial Inquiry at Ohio State University recommended retracting this article after being alerted to irregularities in some variables of the data set by Drs. Markey and Elson in January 2015. Unfortunately, the values of the questioned variables could not be confirmed because the original research records were unavailable.”

Another paper published in Gifted Child Quarterly in 2016, authored by Bushman and three others, caught the attention of Joseph Hilgard, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. The paper had studied the “effects of violent media on verbal task performance in gifted and general cohort children”, and found that when children watched a violent cartoon for 12 minutes, their verbal skills dropped substantially for a temporary period.

Hilgard was surprised because there was such a huge effect which was unusual, considering the effect size that’s typical in this type of psychology research.

Hilgard said that OSU, Bushman, and others he spoke with about the study were helpful and forthcoming, but could not provide information on the study’s data collection process.

The author who collected the data, it turned out, lived in Turkey and fell out of contact following the recent coup attempt. Last week, Gifted Child Quarterly retracted the paper.

“As the integrity of the data could not be confirmed, the journal has determined, and the co-authors have agreed, to retract the study,” the retraction notice said.


Aussie games industry goes into limbo

The Australian software industry is reeling after its largest games developer has shut its doors.

Brisbane-based development house Krome Studios has closed its doors and all the staff have apparently cleaned out their desks and collected their pink slips.

According to IGN some developers might be rehired to finish off some existing work but for the last year it has been flopping about like a goldfish which has decided to see the world.

Last year it got rid of 50 employees and a further 60 in November.

Word on the street is that Krome putting too many resources into establishing new IPs that weren’t successful. It might have been able to cope if its titles based on established licenses where not also underperforming.

Krome was pretty big in OZ. It was formed in 1999, and recently released Blade Kitten, and the PS2 and Wii versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. It was also involved with the popular Ty the Tasmanian Tiger franchise.

But the industry has suffered against stiff competition and a shrinking demand for games software. Australia is not the cheapest place in the world to make Computer games at the best of times and if you don’t have a hit you are doomed no matter how big you are.

Italian councillors get computer games to relieve boredom

Italian councillors are being given computer games to help them cope with long, boring meetings.

The major of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, says that the council’s debates can be hard work, and has issued laptops to city officials with computer games on them, Metro reports.

According to the paper, Alemanno explains: “Each councillor can amuse himself and defeat stress during our long, hard meetings.”

Not long after getting into office in 2008, right-wing politician Alemanno banned such things as sleeping on the street, singing and eating a panini in a public place.

So while it is not known which computer games Alemanno prefers, we can guess a bit about the kind of debates the games might be played during. 

Nintendogs sends pet barking mad – maybe

If you ever needed proof that computer games are evil, here it is. Probably.

The Daily Mail has reported that a schoolgirl had her top lip ripped off by a dog after the pet took a dislike to her Nintendo DS.

Megan Walker was playing the virtual pet puppy game Nintendogs at a friend’s house in Bolton when the friend’s dog “went beserk” after it heard barking on the game.

The bull mastiff, called Saracen, sank its teeth into the poor nine-year-old’s face, biting her several times, and ripped off her top lip. [Yeah, we know this is a lurcher, Ed.]

“I think this game should carry some kind of warning,” the girl’s grandmother Jean Taylor told the paper. “People should be told not to play it when there are dogs in the room. I blame the game for what happened to Megan. If she hadn’t been playing it I don’t think the dog would have gone for her.”

Megan was taken by ambulance to Manchester Children’s Hospital and had to endure two hours of surgery. Luckily, doctors were able to re-attach the lip – quick-thinking police officers had brought it to the hospital on ice.

Mrs Taylor said that hopefully the surgery had worked, adding that little Megan had been very brave and hadn’t cried once.

Megan had been in the care of Mrs Taylor as her mum, Leanne Walker, was on holiday in Jamaica for her birthday. 

Ms Melville – the family friend who Megan was visiting when the attack took place – was unavailable to comment, as was Nintendo.

But could there be more to this shaggy dog story than meets the eye?

Why did Saracen go so crazy? Should Nintendogs carry a public health warning?

The clue may well be hidden towards the end of the story. 

Ms Melville may have been unavailable for comment but it was reported that she had confided one minor piece of information to officers.

The Daily Mail explained: “It is understood that she told police that Megan may have kicked Saracen and that is why he attacked her.”

It will be interesting to see what line the police investigation takes.

Saracen has since been put down.

Computer games might reduce crime

The rise of the use of violent computer games during the recession might have led to a reduction in violent crime.

Coppers in the US have been unable to work out why crime actually dropped when traditionally it rises during a period of economic trouble.

Violent crimes fell 5.5 percent last year and property crimes declined 4.9 percent.

One theory is that the US has locked up everyone who might have committed a crime and the other is that smart, data-driven police strategies have prevented anything from happening.

But Lawrence Katz, a labour economist claims that it is all to do with video games.

Katz thinks that games and Web sites may have kept the young and idle busy during this recession, thus explaining the surprising lack of an uptick in crime.

Video games can not only provide hours of entertainment. They can also give people an outlet for frustration that doesn’t involve actual violence.

The theory is that while video games can promote obsessive, antisocial behaviour and can make violent situations seem ordinary they keep people off the streets.

Nurse suspended for sharing patient's surgery pics on Facebook

A nurse uploading pictures of patients undergoing surgery to Facebook, has been suspended from Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital.

The photos, which were taken with a camera phone without the patient or the other doctors and hurses’ knowledge, were taken in the operating theatre. The room and hospital are identifiable from the NHS insignia on the wall.

The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has confirmed that a member of staff has been suspended from the hospital pending an internal investigation.

According to the Daily Record, a fellow nurse reported her colleague to management after spotting the offending images on Facebook.

The patients are said to be unrecognisable from the pictures. However they could sue the NHS as the picture constitute a breach of their patient confidentiality. Pictures are permitted during surgery but are only allowed to be sent via official NHS email and are used in order to get a second opinion.

A spokesman for nurses’ union Unison said: “Staff should be well aware they need to be careful about what they put on social networking sites.”

* EyeSee Facebook has been accused of causing further medical problems today as a paper published in the British Medical Journal has warned that spending hours indoors using a PC or games console means kids are not getting enough Vitamin D, which can cause rickets. Professor Simon Pearce cites the rise in social media sites, like Facebook,  and computer games as the cause of the surge in rickets cases.