Video games

Word Of Mouth 09.28.13

Sep 27, 2013
Brandon Burris via flickr Creative Commons

We like to think of the Word of Mouth Saturday show as a convenient, one-hour public radio field trip. So pack a special picnic lunch and grab a buddy, here's what's on the itinerary this week:

  • Bill Maher Love him or hate him, it really doesn't matter, Bill Maher is a great interview.
  • Field Trips Jay Phillip Greene explains his recent study on the power of the school field trip. Turns out they have real and powerful educational value.

The Bankable Legacy Of Grand Theft Auto

Sep 24, 2013
ATOMIC Hot Links via flickr Creative Commons

Grand Theft Auto V, was released last week to rave reviews and record sales. The video game sold over 13 million copies in the first 24 hours and is projected to gross well over a billion dollars. Rockstar’s satirical crime series has regularly topped video game charts, but it’s just as often been presented as “exhibit a” in the debate over violent video games and whether they have a real-life influence on players. Grand Theft Auto III, the first mainstream success in the series, was at the center of one such debate in the early 2000’s, but a decade later the franchise is more popular than ever.

Joining us to talk a little bit about the history of how Grand Theft Auto became a household name and its legacy on the video game industry at large is Dr. Jeremy Saucier, the assistant director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. Also with us is Jamin Warren, founder of video-game arts and culture company, Killscreen.

War Play: Video Games And The Future Of Armed Conflict

Sep 16, 2013

The "military-entertainment complex" has been quietly developing for decades.  The Pentagon helped sponsor the first personal computers, a few big-budget hollywood films and funded the M.I.T. graduate students who created the first video game, called Spacewar!, in 1962. And for decades, the military has used video games and digital simulations to train troops.

The U.S. Army-developed video game America’s Army was originally invented as a means of re-branding the military in the eyes of teenagers. It is now the Army’s go-to tool and has even worked its way into public school lesson plans. Corey Mead is Assistant Professor of English at CUNY’s Baruch College, and author of War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict.

Playing Pac Man In The Library

Aug 6, 2013
medium.com

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, younger patrons don’t use libraries only as a place to study, they also go there to “hang out” in place that feels calm. It’s a little less serene at the Chattanooga Public Library.  Justin Hoenke is the teen librarian there...we were a little stunned to find an article Justin wrote called “Why I bought an original 1981 Ms. Pac Man Arcade machine for my library”

Misogyny On The Web

Jul 8, 2013
skippyjon via flickr Creative Commons

In May of 2012, feminist blogger and pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian launched a Kickstarter campaign called “Tropes Versus Women in Video Games.” 

Anita asked for $6000 to make a video series analyzing gender roles in video games; identifying and exploring tropes like “the sexy sidekick” and “the mercy killing.” She raised the money in one day – and eventually raised $158,000. The project’s first video, “Damsel in Distress Part One” hit YouTube in March.

Logan Shannon

This past weekend, Funspot arcade in Laconia, New Hampshire, played host to the International Classic Video Game Tournament. Gamers from all over the world have been traveling to Funspot for the past 15 years to compete against each other, sometimes on video games that were born long before they were. For many, it's a chance to play rare games that they've only heard about. For others it's a great chance to connect with like-minded friends over a friendly, albeit competitive, game of Tapper.

The competition runs for four days as participants try to post the high score on each of the tournament games. Outside the cordoned-off area reserved for the tournament, the rest of Funspot's American Classic Arcade Museum is open to the public. Mixed in amongst the novice players, you're likely to see world record holders trying to beat their high scores in between their tournament play. I spoke to three gamers who have made the nostalgic trip to Funspot repeatedly, enticed by the pristine machines and the sense of camaraderie among the players.

Special thanks to Derek Janiak for his help wrangling the elusive video gamers in their natural habitat.

Microsoft

We recently spoke with Jamin Warren about all the controversy surrounding the launch of Microsoft's new console, the Xbox One. Here's five facts you should know about Microsoft's sleek new hardware.

1.) It Won’t Run Your Old Xbox Games

Pinball Wizard

May 28, 2013
Kapungo via flickr Creative Commons

In February of 2011, Jon Lynch visited the newly opened Pinball Wizard Arcade in Pelham, New Hampshire, where more than 200 impeccably restored pinball and vintage 80's video games are still luring gamers looking for big-time nostalgia.

The Xbox One Is For Everyone And That's The Problem

May 28, 2013
Flickr Creative Commons

In a product launch last Tuesday, gamers around the world waited with bated breath to see what innovations the Xbox One, Microsoft’s third console entry, would offer the gaming world.

The exhibition was sleek, innovative, trendy...and made almost no reference to gaming. Maybe not surprising, given that online entertainment usage outstripped online gaming for the first time last year. Here to discuss what Microsoft’s new console means for the future of home entertainment technology is Jamin Warren, co-founder of Killscreen and former culture reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Here's a link to his article about the Xbox One.

Could You Create Your Own Game In 36 Hours?

May 9, 2013
Average Jane via Flickr/Creative Commons - http://www.flickr.com/photos/averagejane/7173196970/in/photostream/

Create your own game in a day and a half. That's the challenge awaiting participants in this weekend's New Hampshire Game Jam in Manchester.

Glenn Given and Michael Taylor are organizing the Jam; they sit down with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to discuss how it works, the gaming scene in the region and what you can learn from trying to create your own games.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

In this special edition of Word of Mouth: are we catching up with technology? This week we'll explore the very human way we interact with technology; resistance is futile.

via pipetrouble.com

A major spill of heavy crude oil in Arkansas couldn’t come at a worse time for the Canadian tar sands industry - though President Obama has hinted he’s preparing to green-light the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline, any push in the wrong direction could finish the project before it even begins.  Meanwhile a new report from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce says that, without new pipelines to help ease production bottlenecks, Canada will be missing out on an estimated 15 billion dollars annually.

Anna Fischer

Since its name was first coined in 1984, cosplay has grown in popularity from a fringe convention pastime to a performance art form... Inspiring thriving real-world and social networks, and even competitions, like the World Cosplay Summit. Now, photographer Anna Fischer is looking to take the role playing subculture even further outside the convention-center walls of comic-con to a whole other level - the great outdoors. Her Kickstarter-fueled project is called “The Wild Places.”

Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

Here's a slideshow of sights and scenes from PAX East 2013.

Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

The sheer volume of humanity packed into the Boston Convention Center doesn't really hit you until you're in and amongst the crowd. Everyone from game developers to Pokemon trainers and Final Fantasy cosplayers are here in force, mingling and chatting in lobbies and food courts. They've made the pilgrimage to the Penny Arcade Expo to celebrate gaming in all of its forms.

The Autism Simulator

Mar 21, 2013
via Ars Technica

Last month, Vancouver hosted the Hacking Health Weekend Hackathon, a place for collaboration between technology experts and health officials from across Canada. A team of three in attendance created a game simulation that elicits understanding and empathy towards those suffering from autism. The first-person indie game is called “Auti-Sim”, and uses 3-D graphics to simulate the horrors of sensory overload. Taylan Kay is a developer behind the thought-provoking indie game, and joins us today.

Ryan Lessard, NHPR

In 1966, while working for Sanders, a defense contractor in Nashua that is today a part of BAE Systems, Ralph Baer began secretly working on his invention. He didn't have a name for it at the time so it was hard to sell to his superiors. No one knew what a "video game" was.
 

  

Courtesy of Neal Laurenza

New Hampshire is producing young programmers and designers looking to start their own video game business. And the trick is getting them to stay in the state…


Activision Blizzard

Violent video games - do they create real-world violence? It's a question studied for years, and renewed in light of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Meanwhile, some in Congress are calling for an investigation into the effects of these games on children. As part of a three-day series looking at the conversation post-Newtown, we're examining the debate over video game violence.

Guests:

Word of Mouth 01.05.2013

Jan 4, 2013
Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth's weekly show...the best of the best of Word of Mouth.

Part 1:

A new study shows that the act of holding a gun changes perception, as participants saw guns that weren't actually there. And Clay Wirestone wraps up the latest in video game trends, and looks forward to what's coming in 2013

Part 2:

TED cracks down on pseudoscience at local spinoff TEDX conferences. And film critic Garen Daley tells us what we can expect on the big screen in 2013

Part 3:

The New Year in Video Games

Jan 2, 2013
Steven Andrew Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

Clay Wirestone is Arts Editor for the Concord Monitor and our favorite video game freak. He joins us to run down what's coming in gaming in 2013...and kills the screen on the trends of 2012.

Are Video Games Art?

Dec 18, 2012

The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently added 14 video games to its permanent collection. Killscreen says they helped.

Killscreen co-founder Jamin Warren explains how, and helps us answer the burning question, are video games art?

Play Games and Change the World?

Oct 9, 2012
Fort Meade via Flickr Creative Commons

Games have emerged from the rec room and found a place in the classroom, onto cellphones, advertising, and as we’ll hear, into activism, relationships, and the way we view the world. Colleen Macklin is working to make us more game-literate. She designs games based not on winning or losing, but on learning and experiencing the creative, social and political universe outside the screen.

Word of Mouth 09.22.2012

Sep 21, 2012

Part 1: Big Fundraiser Flame-Out, Circa 1884

The Other Gamers

Apr 11, 2012

A parallel convention for gamers is growing in popularity, and no shortage of passion. Last weekend, PAX East held its third annual conference in Boston with nearly 100,000 game distributors, developers and devotees. Clay Wirestone is a writer whose work has appeared in Mental Floss magazine and on the History Channel – he’s also the arts editor for the Concord Monitor.

 

 

Gaming for the Presidency

Jan 23, 2012
Photo by, Hayn0r, courtesy of Flcikr creative commons

This weekend, newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary by a two digit margin over Mitt Romney. Or, in the words of the gamer generation, Mitt Romney got “pwned”. Political rhetoric has been forever imbued with fierce competitive language – so it’s only natural that today’s campaigns would borrow psychology and strategy not only from war and sport, but also from the emerging power of games.

This Year’s Gaming Show Case

Dec 14, 2011
Photo by: DG Jones

 

If there are gamers in your family, their Christmas lists probably include a new title or two, or maybe a shiny new HD or even 3D video game system. As with all things in pop culture, games are subject to their own trends, some are blockbusters, some bomb, and others inspire franchises and copycats. Here to tell us what’s hot in video games now, and what could be coming down the pipe is Clay Wirestone. He’s an avid gamer and freelance writer who has written for Mental Floss Magazine. He’s also the arts editor for the Concord Monitor.

Video Games,No Longer Just For Teens

Dec 14, 2011
Photo by: A*A*R*O*N

 

Part 2: iPhone's Funny-bone, and World of Adcraft

Nov 12, 2011
Photo by Acid Zero, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Photo by Aerrin99, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Independent producer John Lynch explores the increasing role of big-budget advertising in seducing the 30-something gamer generation to support the industry's Hollywood level profits. 

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