Last we left Eco Global Survival Game, it was a target of Rep. Steve Russell's latest Waste Watch report. At the time of that writing, Eco's Kickstarter was well on its way to reaching its $100k funding goal.
Earlier this week, Eco reached its funding goal and is now at $120k and only $30k short of its first stretch goal, land ownership.
Independent game developer and animator Chris de Castro's crowd-funding campaign for his first game, The Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods, has raised $6,106 - over half of the amount the project needs to get fully funded. The game is described by de Castro as an experiment in narrative that uses gameplay mechanics to explore issues that surround cities such as urbanization, gentrification, immigration, urban economies, recycling, and public space.
The South Australian State Government has launched a special program that lets students help create national park upgrades by designing and creating elements in Minecraft, according to The Lead - South Australia.
This mildly amusing report from the Australian Government explains the different "blocks and rocks" in Minecraft and dispels the myths about what happens to them in the game (as opposed to what would "really happen"). We are sure this short report is for the benefit of youngsters who play the game and might be getting some less-than-accurate "geosciences" from it.
Here are some myth busting highlights from the report:
A man who made a YouTube video (as first reported on by GameSpot) of his dumpster diving exploits at a local GameStop called the company cheap for not donating games and other game-related items to charity - instead opting to throw it out in the trash. The video has over half a million views, and managed to elicit a response from the country's largest video games retailer.
A new game from Budding Biologist created in collaboration with scientists at UC Davis teaches first- and fifth-graders to think like a scientist using inquiry-based tools on a fun adventure.
Zabuza Labs has launched "Save Trees - A Game for Social Cause" for Android-based devices, a simple game that offers a message about conservation and protecting the environment. The game promises to entertain with simple gameplay mechanics while delivering a "social message" and educational information on trees.
The Serious Play Conference announced today its line-up of game industry speakers taking part in its fourth annual event from Tuesday, July 22 to Thursday, July 24 at USC in Los Angeles. Speakers for this year's event include Noah Falstein, Chief Game Designer at Google; Trip Hawkins, Founder of Electronic Arts (and current CEO of Ifyoucan); and Peter Marx, Chief Innovation Technology Officer of the City of Los Angeles.
In our latest Letters to the Editor, freelance writer Jon Hochschartner posits that animal rights activists need their own "Bechdel test" to evaluate the mistreatment of animals in video games.
Animal activists need their own rubric to assess anthropocentrism in fictional work that's similar to the Bechdel test employed by feminists to gauge gender bias.
Organizers of the 10th annual Games for Change Festival sent along a reminder that next week the annual event dedicated to games will officially launch. This year the Games For Change Festival will take place at New World Stages in NYC from June 17-19.
With the tagline "knock out animal abuse," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) new 8-bit style beat 'em up lets you take on "animal experimenters" using real MMA fighter Aaron Simpson and Georgi Karakhanyan, with Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste. Cage Fight: Knock Out Animal Abuse lets players beat up waves of "scummy animal experimenters and free animals from painful laboratory tests."
Indie developer Imminent Games is giving 20 percent of every sale of its game Drip Drip to the Robin Hood Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund through the entire month of February. Drip Drip is described as a 2D strategy game about "saving buildings from extreme weather conditions" for Mac and Windows PCs using water simulation gameplay and a time management challenge.
The American College of Emergency Physicians announced the launch of a browser-based game meant to gauge the knowledge of families, children, and teachers on disaster preparation. The game, Disaster Hero, was developed by American College of Emergency Physicians using grant money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Around 180 students are taking part in a Minecraft based experiment at the Viktor Rydberg school in Stockholm, Sweden - according to GameSpot. The school has introduced "compulsory Minecraft lessons" for its 13-year-old students as a means to teach them - in an engaging way - about planning for the future and environmental issues.
Update: We have added a brief statement from Professor Douglas Gentile below.
Next week Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile will be at the White House to discuss how video games can be used to enhance and improve education. He will lead the discussion on a special policy conference to be held at the White House on Wednesday, August 22. The policy conference will examine how games can be used effectively in the broadest sense to improve health, education, civic engagement and the environment.
This year's Games for Change Festival is set for June 18-20 in New York City. The event dedicated to promoting social change through video games will offer plenty of activities this year including case studies, roundtables, lectures, demos, and more. Featured speakers for this year's event include Jane McGonigal, New York Times bestselling author (Grand Theft Childhood) and co-founder of SuperBetter Labs; leading researcher, Dr.
XEOPlay has launched Tilt World, a game that hopes to "end climate change" through "play sourcing." Nicole Lazzaro, CEO of XEOPlay introduced Tilt World to the audience at DEMO Spring 2012 in Santa Clara, CA. In Tilt World, players control Flip, a tadpole who is trying to conquer climate change by planting trees in the real world using the power of players (playsourcing) and through a partnership with WeForest.org.
Phaedra Boinodiris, serious games program manager at IBM, writes a guest editorial on Forbes exploring the way that games can be used to energize and enhance other things besides research projects. The point of her editorial is that researchers have been helped greatly by games created to solve problems that take advantage of "collective intelligence," and global participation.
Organizers of the Gamification Summit announced this morning that they have finalized the agenda and speaker program for the September 15-16 conference occurring in New York City. That agenda includes keynotes, featured talks, design intensives, panels, and workshops that (they hope) teach and inform attendees on the subject. GSummit promises to bring together experts from advertising, healthcare, education, government, media, e-commerce, startups and academia to share knowledge and improve engagement with consumers and employees by using gamification techniques.
The 8th annual Games for Change Festival kicks off today in New York City. The event, which runs until June 22, is taking place at the NYU Skirball Center. The event is dedicated to using games to deal with the most pressing social and political issues that affect the world today by breaking down cultural barriers, shifting perspectives and driving actions in the real world.
This year's event features several sessions addressing games from an international perspective including one focusing on Games For Change in Europe.
In May 2011 the Chamber of Commerce in Valenciennes launched the first European Games for Change Festival. Highlights from the first event will be shared with the audience, including some of the new games and European award winners. The session will be presented by Jean-Michel Blottiere, Owner, NX Publishing; Sandra Faggioni, Digital Creation Project Manager, CCIV / POLE IMAGE NPDC and several European award-winners.
Five students from the sixth-grade class at Milton M. Somers Middle School (in Southern Maryland) found themselves playing video games in school to learn about why underage drinking isn't all that cool. The game asked questions about healthy lifestyles and the dangers of underage drinking and provided moments of activity to keep things interesting. It was created by the Century Council, an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit group funded by a group of distillers that includes Diageo, Bacardi and Brown-Forman.
Here's an interesting story about real world technology that has a minor connection to gaming. Developed for Richland, Washington-based CH2M Hill, the technology is called the Sand Mantis, and it is described by its creator as a new tool that takes rock salt-based waste, and turns it into a fine, powdery waste.
The technology, which is used inside giants tanks, is controlled using a PlayStation 2 controller. After the Rock Salt waste is smashed into a fine powder, it can easily be sucked out of the tank and disposed of. The technology helps CH2M Hill reach their goal of less than 2,700 gallons of waste per tank. It will also reduces cleanup costs; the $2.7 million dollar tool replaces the original $12 million per tank cost estimate. CH2M Hill is best known for creating engineering solutions for waste management and water treatment.
The winners of the Youth Prize for original game designs have been selected by the National STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Video Game Challenge. The 12 U.S. students (grades 5-8) were announced by United States chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra.
The science-themed "You Make Me Sick!" was awarded the Grand Prize in the Developer Prize category, and a collection of math games called "NumberPower: Numbaland!" received the Collegiate and Impact prizes. Filament Games' Dan Norton and Dan White won the grand prize, and will receive $50,000 for their game about bacteria and viruses.
C|Net reports that the citizens of San Francisco are apparently ticked off at THQ - and by extension its partner GameStop - for releasing hundreds of balloons into the sky as part of a mock protest of North Korea - part of a marketing ploy for its new game Homefront. The balloon release happened during the Game Developers Conference. Many of the balloons had a postcard-size flyer attached to it advertising the game. People in the downtown area saw the balloons soaring in the sky, but were disgusted as they watched them land in the San Francisco Bay. That is when some residents began to express their anger. The anger was aimed at GameStop, which was a promotional partner with THQ and whose name appeared on the balloons.
University of Minnesota doctoral candidate Kyong Shim was practically laughed off campus when she said she wanted to study video games. But three years later Shim is getting the last laugh as various government agencies and the United States Army utilize her data and expertise for training and research on human behavioral patterns.
The Army has signed on to study and use the teamwork aspect of MMORPGs to improve communications and teamwork when tackling a common goal. Shim and other researchers from universities across the country sifted through terabytes of anonymous EverQuest II user data provided by Sony Online Entertainment to find patterns and communication characteristics. Sony provided researchers with anonymous player communications, game logs, and other game data.
Tickets for the 2011 Gamification Summit have sold out according to the event's organizers. Organizers say that, for those who were not able to purchase tickets, live streaming coverage via Fora.tv will be available. Those who register to watch the live streaming coverage before January 14 will receive special $149 early bird pricing. After January 14, the rate will go up to $199. In case you've never heard of it, gamification is the use of game mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences in a non-gaming environment.
At the event, Liz Gannes of AllThingsDigital will interview Jane McGonigal, author of "Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Help Us Change the World." Liz Gannes has been covering Silicon Valley business technology since 2004 and is the founder of NewTeeVee. Additional speakers include the CMO of RecycleBank Samantha Skey, Ian Bogost of Georgia Institute of Technology and Evan Tanna of Shopkick.
A study from earlier this year may motivate parents to throw a toothbrush or two into the gift queue this year alongside those much-coveted video games. According to a necro-posting from Dentalplan.com citing an April 2010 study from the University of Iowa, a tooth brush or two in the stockings or wrapped up with a video game might be a good idea.
In case you do not recall the study from earlier this year, it found that teenagers who spent a significant amount of time playing video games were more likely to develop tooth decay because of the food and drink they consumed.
Teenagers 12 - 19 years old consumed more sugary snacks and soda while playing video games, the study found. Consuming these kinds of foods in large quantities leads to tooth decay and other dental problems if a regular dental hygiene regiment is not followed.