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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Michael ChandraSo be smart, and if you want to be part of the good guys, separate yourself from the bad guys. Don't attack those upset you won't.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraMeanwhile, Gamergate is tainted and wise people already use a different tag to defend decent arguments. Keeping it up is like going #KKK while arguing about PoC.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraSo while claiming to be unfairly attacked for the actions of a selected few, you unfairly attack an entire crowd for the actions of a selected few? #notagamer #butahater09/18/2014 - 6:30am
james_fudgeQuiknkold: Let me ask you- how many of those 'gamers are dead' articles did you see here? Because apparently i'm part of some vast conspiracy.09/18/2014 - 5:18am
NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldEZacharyKnight : Lemme ask you a question. We have people who cling to walls, people who fire lasers from their eyes, people who can shapeshift....and yet fabric needs to be upheld to RL physics?09/17/2014 - 6:54pm
james_fudgebody paint?09/17/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
 

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