Category Archives: Commercial

Violent Video Games Review on Kotaku

Violent Video Games Review on Kotaku

I wanted to take the time to write a bit about violent games research, as I have read a ton of the research (including most of Bushman’s and Ferguson’s works) and written numerous literature reviews on the subject. But honestly, I am sick of it, sick of having to explain it, and tired of people going crazy over violent video games. However, anyone that is interested, here is a good place to go and learn.

My opinion on the subject as a psychologist (formerly in schools) and game researcher:

Violent video games are a risk factor. Combined with a lot of other risk factors like trait hostiliy, mental illness, abuse, substance use, family problems, etc., it can contribute to violence. For the average person, it has virtually no negative effect whatsoever.

Link to article


Gamasutra – League of Legends: Changing bad player behavior with neuroscience

League of Legends

League of Legends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had to post this. It is great seeing other psychologists getting to exhibit their craft in video games in a positive way. I think more and more game dev teams will start hiring psychologists not only for player modeling, but for design expertise as well.

Gamasutra – News – League of Legends: Changing bad player behavior with neuroscience.


Leap: Gestural Interface

I know I have had a lot of down time. Dissertation research and a new baby will do that :(, but I had to post this.

Pretty amazing stuff. I have some colleagues at G4LI working on finger tracking with Kinect, but it does not quite work like this. Especially with Windows 8 in the near future, this could give every computer instant touch compatability without the expensive touch monitor.

LEAP Motion

Sacrificing for Immersion: User Interfaces

It seems like more and more video games are taking elements that used to be simple parts of the user interface and turning them into elaborate 3-D interfaces. This causes me to question whether or not designers’ and programmers’ time would be better spent elsewhere Let me explain what I mean.

An example of what I am talking about can be seen in Assassin’s Creed 2 and it’s armor and weapons systems. In the game, your character owns an estate called the Monteriggioni Villa. This serves as a home base and as you accomplish more in the game, the villa displays some of your accomplishments and can be upgraded with money you earn throughout the game. The Villa also has a weapon room which houses all of the weapons you own; the same goes for your armor. Whenever you want you can go to rooms and swap items from the displays. The issue that I have with this is “Is all of that necessary?”. I could just as easily play the game where I could swap items from an inventory by pressing pause or an inventory button and scrolling through what I own. Certainly having the rooms gives some eye candy and perhaps a sense of accomplishment, but how much effort had to be poured into making it. How much better could other aspects of the game been if time was not devoted to that. If you play the game all the way through, you realize that the villa is essentially pointless. It does not really matter if you upgrade it or use it at all because there are other ways to earn money.

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inFAMOUS 2: Inside look

The inFAMOUS 2 team is going to be making an appearance at Comic-Con and to get people primed, the playstation blog has released a video giving an inside look into how the first developed and grew out of comic book influences.

I thought the comic book aspects of inFAMOUS were really great and were an interesting way of propelling the narrative. The mix of comic influence with movement is something special.

The first game was great and I am looking forward to the sequel, even if it has a new look and feel.

inFAMOUS 2 at Comic-Con – PlayStation Blog.

Video interview: Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida | Joystiq

Joystiq has a great interview up of Shuhei Yoshida, the President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios. Its a bit long, but an essential watch if you are interested in the direction’s Sony is going.

I did not post my comments of E3 yet, but this covers some of the topics from E3. I played the God of War Collection and loved the HD upgrade. It would be awesome  if they do the same with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

Insomniac’s multi-platform move is just smart business, much like Bungie’s new deal. I thing their close relationship with Sony and Naughty Dog will keep their attention on their PS3 franchises while also letting them branch out.

Last note, I really like the Twisted Metal series and am looking forward to Jaffe’s latest creation.

Video interview: Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida on Team Ico, Insomniac, Move, and more | Joystiq.

Great article on Open-World Game Design

Destructoid has a post up about the problems with open-world game design and how games continue to do the same things over and over again. Even Red Dead Redemption follows some of the same errors. The article urges the design of truely open world mission types where players can make up their own solutions instead of just following a linear, planned path. Great read!

Open-world mission design is awful, let’s fix it – Destructoid