Does the Scientific Method Work?

Now that we’ve attended the lecture on research, allow me to inject the proper note of existential uncertainty and despair.

Here’s an article from the New Yorker about something called the Decline Effect. In the decline effect, dramatic results that are rigorously proven tend to shrink over time if the study is replicated. Is it researcher bias? Publisher bias? Or does the universe like to play jokes?

Using Video Games to Proofread Digitized Manuscripts

I know it’s a bit of a tangent, but I thought this article was really interesting, and hey, it is about video games!

The National Library of Finland has developed a video game in which people try to identify whether two words match or not in order to verify the accuracy of digitzed manuscripts.

It’s interesting that the library is using a little iPhone game to motivate random citizens to volunteer for them — do you think this will be more effective than using paid interns or volunteers? What else could people do with crowdsourced video game volunteers?

EA Sports Predict Superbowl Winners?

This’ll be interesting, especially for anyone currently playing Madden NFL. In this article — from September — EA Sports predicted that the Packers would win the Superbowl.  Apparently EA Sports has run Superbowl simulations since 2004 — and successfully picked the winner seven out of eight times. This is testimony to their games’ verisimilitude, I would say.

The “Educational” Games of my Youth Come to Facebook

As if I needed an excuse to be distracted at work, Carmen San Diego and Oregon Trail are coming to Facebook!

What’s interesting to me is that unlike, say, Farmville, Carmen San Diego and Oregon Trail are actually supposed to kind of teach you things. Like, for example, that even if you shoot an entire buffalo you can only carry fifty pounds back with you — even if you have, like ten kids traveling with you. (You know what I’m talking about, Oregon Trail players!)

So what do y’all think about this? Is it just a nostalgia fest for those of us who remember these games? Do these games teach anything? Are they ‘fun’? Anyone? Bueller?

Show Your Allegiance

Check out these cool videogame wallpapers. Too bad they don’t have one for Gamestar mechanic, huh? 😉

Do You Like Free Games?

OMG, so do I! Here’s a list of free, Linux-based games for those of you who are game nerds and programming nerds. (I kid, programming skill is not necessary.)

http://gwos.org/doku.php/games:puzzle

One of these games — World of Goo — has garnered some serious recognition from the gaming community.

Video Games and the Concept of Irreversible Consequences

Any savvy gamer can tell you that there’s a way around any unpleasant video game event. A character you like dies? You can download a mod to return them to life. Did an event turn out the wrong way? Just reset the game! This article from PopMatters talks about the idea of consequences in video games, and how some fringe games are experimenting with the idea of irreversible consequences: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/135569-one-chance/

Personally, I think part of the appeal of a video game is that failure can be overcome. But what do you think? Does it make games less challenging?

Resources for Free Games

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2010/12/five-best-resources-for-free-games/

Check this out…free online games! Some of these may even be appropriate for class. I’m particularly interested in Kongregate: kind of a social network/gaming platform.

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