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Posts with tag violence

Activision Blizzard to take a stand on violent video game research

We may not know just what political stance Activision Blizzard has decided to take on the issue of S.134: The Violent Content Research Act of 2013, but we do know the company has hired lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to lobby the Senate over it. The bill calls for the National Academy of Sciences to study the correlation between children playing violent video games or watching violent video content and violent behavior -- and could be a stepping stone towards more legislation aimed at restricting game sales.

There have already been studies on video games and violent behavior, but the results have been mixed: ask a dozen experts and you'll get a dozen different opinions on how violent content might affect violent behavior. To this end, the bill also calls for study to identify gaps in current research. However, it's questionable whether more research will give us a real answer or just more mixed signals. In the meanwhile, game-makers are definitely edgy about how this could impact their bottom line... which is probably why Activision Blizzard has jumped on the lobbying bandwagon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

A parent's guide to World of Warcraft for kids

Is WoW appropriate for children? While we're sure the inevitable trolls out there are already clicking straight to the comments to revile the very idea of allowing children into Azeroth, the fact is that with preparation and consistent parent moderation, WoW can be a fine fit for kids -- especially for families with parents who already spend time in Azeroth. It's definitely one of those cases in which your mileage may vary; parents who don't already play or who take a more hands-off approach to gaming will probably want to wait until their little goblins- or worgen-to-be are well into their teen years.

For players whose kids are itching to join in the family fun, though, there are plenty of ways to make World of Warcraft a productive, happy experience for kids, parents, and fellow players alike. Here's the thing: There's more to think about and more ways to throttle age-related issues than simply turning off trade chat and forbidding PUGs before walking into the other room to watch TV. We'll show you how to find the best fit for WoW with kids, teens, and even parents themselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Boozing 27 year-old chokes mom over WoW

This is a sordid story, no matter how you slice it. In short, an adult male violently attacked his family when he was asked to stop his loud drinking and WoW gaming session so the children in the same room with him could sleep. Because of the violent nature of the events, I am putting the details after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

WoW as a channel for news from Iran?

Normally, this wouldn't rate too high for us -- lots of people have ideas about how to use World of Warcraft, and many of them never actually come about. But then again, this is in the Wall Street Journal of all places, so we'll give it a look. If you're on Twitter, you've probably heard about what's going on in Iran right now -- there was an election, the "official" results given were judged as rigged by many involved, and the government seems to be cracking down on both news media and citizen journalism, as well as protesting citizens, to very sad results. How does World of Warcraft fit in to all of this? Andrew Lavallee of the WSJ's Digits blog points to this report by Craig Labovitz, which talks about how Internet traffic has been filtered out of the country around the election. At the very end of his analysis, Labovitz points out that channels for videogames, including both Xbox Live and World of Warcraft, have shown very little government manipulation. That suggests that if the government in Iran does continue to shut down certain channels, citizens there might be forced to spread the news through any virtual route they can, including possibly Azeroth.

This is obviously all just analysis and speculation so far -- while there clearly (from those charts) has been interference in the media, no one (as far as we know) has yet had to resort to chatting in World of Warcraft to get their message out, and though what's happening in Iran is made up of some very serious (and seriously unfortunate) situations, the fervor online about using brand new channels like Twitter to share real-time news is often overstated. Personally, I believe that even if Twitter didn't exist, this information would find another way to get out. Still, the interesting thing to take away here is that even our "silly" video games today are actually media on a global level.

Thanks, Cedars!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, News items

World of Warcraft listed as one of the 30 most offensive games

The conservative Christian investment firm, the Timothy Plan, has released a list of the 30 most offensive games on the market (Warning: link is to a PDF file). This list details the areas of sex, nudity, gay / lesbian, violence, cartoon violence, language, comic mischief, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, demonic, and game addiction as things that are against any "morally responsible" mutual fund to invest in.

In other words they don't want you to invest, like they don't, in companies that make games which deal with any of the above areas.

World of Warcraft is on the list. It has an overall score of a 9, which means it is half as offensive as Grand Theft Auto IV. According to the Timothy Plan, WoW is morally deficient in sex, violence, language, alcohol, and game addiction.

Some investors will take this advice, and that's their right to do so.

After the break we'll examine areas in which WoW is morally deficient, according to the Timothy Plan.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Getting enthralled, or getting to bed?

WoW tends to be a night time activity for most people, many of whom find that it's surprisingly easy to move from one objective to another and lose track of time until the wee hours of the morning. Some people I know sometimes stay up most of the night playing WoW, only to get an hour or two of sleep before whatever they have to do the next day. They're young and they say they make up that sleep at other times, but still, no one would argue that this sort of situation is ideal.

A recent study reported by CNN says they're not alone. People who play MMORPGs tend to sleep less and spend more time playing than players of other computer games. It may seem obvious, since MMOs are by nature somewhat of a time-sink, but there is undeniably something more to it; any activity can potentially be a time-sink, after all -- so what is it about MMOs that makes people actually sink time?

The answer is up for debate, of course, but one important factor is that WoW's community of players gives the accomplishments within the game a context of reality. The game's goals, dangling in front of us like carrots, would be nearly meaningless if we could only appreciate them in a single-player context, but with a whole realm of other players working alongside us to get them too, they can feel very important. If the choice is between a few hours having dreams you won't remember, or getting a little closer to riding an impressive dragon mount, then certainly sleep can seem boring and useless by comparison.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, News items

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