Grants for Gaming Make Government Waste List

December 21, 2010 -

A list called "Government Waste: 20 Of The Craziest Things That The U.S. Government Is Spending Money On" finds several projects funded by the government related to video games. Of course lists that are considered "waste" by some groups actually have a deeper purpose than what is listed in the descriptions, but the people that put this particular list together (I hope) would know that.

At #17 on their list is a $600,000 grant given to the Minnesota Zoo by the National Science Foundation to develop an online video game called "Wolfquest". Located at WolfQuest.org, the project is actually a single-player game that is broken into two episode and a multiplayer component. In the first episode of the game players "explore the wilderness, hunt elk, and encounter stranger wolves in a quest to find a mate." In the second episode players "find a den, establish a territory, raise pups and defend them from predators such as coyotes and grizzly bears." The multiplayer component lets up to five players form a wolf pack. The point of the game is to teach players about learn about wolf ecology.

The second video-game related items land at #17. A professor at Dartmouth University received a grant for $137,530 to create a "recession-themed" video game entitled "Layoff". Located at www.tiltfactor.org , the game is not a new project by any stretch of the imagination. According to the site, "LAYOFF uses a simple casual game paradigm to comment on the current state of the US financial crisis. Both friends and strangers face tough times in an unstable economy. Part dark humor, mostly grim portent, in the game players play from the side of management needing to cut jobs, and match types of workers in groups in order to lay the workers off and increase workforce efficiency."

At #14 we find $5,000 dollars given to an unnamed Tennessee library to host a series of video game parties. We assume these are somehow related to the Wii.. Libraries love the Wii.

So what was the most outrageous distribution of federal grant money, according to the list? At #1 on this list is a study of World of Warcraft and Second Life. Around $3 million was given to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to play and study online games such as World of Warcraft. The goal is to study how "emerging forms of communication, including multiplayer computer games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace."

A multitude of these entries come from Wastebook, a publication of wasteful spending put together by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). While well intentioned, these reports do not tend to do any research beyond some cursory reading of the lead description for each study they unearth. Usually there is a deeper level of research going on. To be fair, some of the entries on the list are a real waste of taxpayer funds.

Read the list with commentary here.


Comments

Re: Grants for Gaming Make Government Waste List

 add mandatory healthcare, and the repealing of DADT to that list.

Re: Grants for Gaming Make Government Waste List

Me, I'd say Tom Coburn's salary is a pretty big waste of tax dollars.

I remember back when she was running for veep Sarah Palin blathered about how the US government was wasting money on fruit fly research -- which in point of fact has been integral to genome research, but of course she's not really the pro-science type.

I don't think Second Life and WoW are bad places for research at all.  We've already learned some fascinating things about economics from gold farming.

Re: Grants for Gaming Make Government Waste List

You honestly expect people to agree that, with the government being in as much debt as it is, with few signs of the current administration willing to do anything about it, that spending taxpayer dollars on gaming - outside of tax breaks for game developers - is anything but a waste of money?

Studying WoW communication?  Give me a fucking break.

---

With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Grants for Gaming Make Government Waste List

WoW also had a pretty nasty plague outbreak that was studied by the CDC

 
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Wonderkarphttps://m.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/315zh3/possible_ethics_issue_with_anitas_latest_video/05/05/2015 - 2:22pm
Andrew EisenIt may well be. What evidence have you seen that Capybara donated prior to the video's release?05/05/2015 - 2:18pm
Wonderkarpit is still a fact. first game she gushes over paid her. i wont say they paid her for the advert. but that fact still stands05/05/2015 - 2:16pm
Andrew EisenTrue or not, that does not change the arguments she makes in her video.05/05/2015 - 2:12pm
Wonderkarptheres also the fact the the games devs donated to femfreq and here she is advertising their game05/05/2015 - 2:10pm
Andrew EisenAnother interesting factoid, Sarkeesian does drop in a mention of Samus in that video.05/05/2015 - 2:08pm
Andrew EisenAnd for whatever it's worth to you, McIntosh only produced that video. It was written by Sarkeesian and Carolyn Petit.05/05/2015 - 2:07pm
Andrew EisenI'm certainly willing to discuss them. But I can't discuss the video particulars with you if you haven't watched it.05/05/2015 - 2:00pm
Wonderkarpwell you guys report these videos frequently I figure you'd at least be willing to back them up.05/05/2015 - 1:59pm
Andrew EisenNo, it means I'm not bothering to summarize the arguments of a video you didn't watch but nevertheless feel qualified to denigrate. Shame on you.05/05/2015 - 1:56pm
WonderkarpThat means you got nothing. I'm not watching her videos anymore. Mcintosh disgusts me as a human being05/05/2015 - 1:54pm
Andrew EisenDude, seriously? Try actually watching Sarkeesian's video.05/05/2015 - 1:41pm
Wonderkarpsuch as? cause all I see is Duck Monster Face http://boingboing.global.ssl.fastly.net/uploads/default/73100/895f09b00b87aea9.png05/05/2015 - 1:39pm
Andrew EisenIf Q*bert was female, in some ways yes. But there's far more to the Scythian argument than a lack of gender identifiers.05/05/2015 - 1:37pm
Wonderkarpby that logic, Qbert would make a positive example of female representation.05/05/2015 - 1:31pm
Andrew EisenI disagree for the reasons, well, for the reasons Sarkeesian states in her video. Also, as she points out, the lack of specific gender identifiers is part of why she's a positive example of female representation in video games.05/05/2015 - 1:22pm
WonderkarpWell its about GD Time She presented a good Positive Female Character. Scythian is an awful example. a emotionless blob of pixels that I couldnt tell you was female without a guide. In comparison Samus out of suit made in the 80s is far more noticeable05/05/2015 - 1:18pm
Andrew EisenSarkeesian tossed us a change up with the Scythian but the next Positive Female Characters episode looks to cover BG&E's Jade! https://twitter.com/femfreq/status/59425534635858739305/05/2015 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenFeminist Deck. Some names we recognize. I dig the art! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/322895958/a-feminist-deck05/05/2015 - 12:58pm
Andrew EisenCurious to see who readers would want in a debate, I read the first few dozen comments and there are almost NO suggestions for GamerGate reps to debate. Sarkeesian pops up a couple times but she's not a games journalist.05/05/2015 - 12:11pm
 

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