Virginia Attorney General and George Mason University Team Up to Fight Gang Recruitment with Games

May 3, 2012 -

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA) and George Mason University President Alan Merten announced the creation of a series of interactive and educational computer and mobile phone game applications that teach youngsters about the risks and consequences of joining gangs. The goal of these programs is easy enough: to slow down gang recruitment levels in the state.

During the spring semester, GMU students used their programming skills and tapped into the attorney general’s office information of gangs to create several games and apps.

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Virginia Tech Found Negligent in Response to 2007 Massacre

March 14, 2012 -

Today, a jury has found Virginia Tech negligent in its response to the first shootings in the massacre committed at the school in 2007.

On April 16, 2007, at about 7:15 AM, Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed two students in the Ambler Johnston Hall dorms.  About two hours later, Cho entered Norris Hall and opened fire on the students and faculty within.  He killed 30 and wounded 17 more before killing himself.

The university informed the students about the first shootings via email at 9:26 AM.

Virginia Man Kills Kitten Over Videogame

June 3, 2010 -

Here's a sad story for you: a 21 year old Staunton, Virginia man was arrested Monday night for killing a kitten after it accidently unplugged his videogame system. The story goes that, on Monday evening at 9:00 PM, police arrived at Bruce Jamar Walston's apartment after his girlfriend called 911. Police said, according to an eyewitness account from the man's girlfriend, that Walston "became enraged when the kitten disconnected his video game," hurling the animal into a nearby wall - in front of his girlfriend’s children.

Walston was charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, the highest penalty available for a first time animal cruelty offense in the state of Virginia. Walston, who had been free on bond in connection with a January breaking and entering charge, was held without bond at the Middle River Regional Jail in Verona.

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Schools Team Up to Offer Youth Game Dev Program

April 19, 2010 -

Longwood University, Virginia State University and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center have linked up in order to offer area ninth-grade students a chance to learn more about developing interactive games.

What’s unique about this program is that participants will spend a good deal of time learning how controllers and other gaming input devices work, in addition to gaining knowledge on the programming needed to create games. The program, named Digispired ii, is funded by a $1.0 million grant from the National Science Foundation, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The program last three-years and will accept 20 new students this year, each of whom will receive a $400 stipend. Digispired ii consists of a two-week course this summer, followed by an additional ten Saturday meetings along the course of the school year.

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Cousteau Kin Backs Chesapeake Bay Simulator

April 9, 2010 -

Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of late French Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, has teamed up with the University of Virginia to produce a game that shows off how day-to-day decisions impact the Chesapeake Bay region.

UVA Junior Avery Paxton plays a farmer in the Chesapeake Bay game, and described to NBC29.com how his avatar’s actions can affect change in the game, “The measures that I take for farming can either increase or decrease the nitrogen or phosphorous that are going into the bay watershed and eventually creating anoxic regions.”

Players can also take on the role of fishermen, developers or policy makers. The game uses actual scientific data to simulate the health of the Bay, which Cousteau said is “in a steady decline.”

Speaking to UVA paper The Cavalier Daily, student Michael Villalobos said the game is so realistic, that, “There’s plenty of validity in making it useful for policymakers.”

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Pushy Game Industry May See 2013 Tax Breaks in Virginia

March 9, 2010 -

The Virginia Production Alliance (VPA) is a key factor behind two bills passing through the state’s legislature that would see tax credits for movie productions filmed in the state.

While the measures started out as incentives solely for motion picture development, it appears the videogame industry made its way into the talks in a bid to get some backing in the state for game developers. A note on the VPA’s Facebook page stated that the film incentive bills “have been essentially co-opted by the videogaming industry.”

The VPA continued:

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Forbes Releases List of the Best States for Business

September 24, 2009 -

As everyone knows, the economy is pretty bad. There are signs it is getting better, but none of the 50 states have been immune, according to Forbes magazine. To that end, it released its yearly list of the states with the best business climate for 2009. Virginia tops the list at number 1.

Two states with a large video game foundation made the top 10. Washington came in at number 2, bolstered by the Microsoft behemoth. Texas came in at number 8, no doubt in part to the growing video game development community in Austin and the vicinity. California, home to many of the big video game publishers and developers, rose two spots from numer 40 last year to number 38.

Forbes detailed how it determined the rankings:

Our Best States ranking measures six vital categories for businesses: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. We factor in 33 different points of data to determine the ranks in the six main areas. Business costs, which include labor, energy and taxes are weighted the most heavily. We relied on nine different data providers. Moody's Economy.com is the most-utilized resource.

Many of the top states showed a more educated workforce, the magazine said.

For those who have trouble with the written word, Forbes also included a look at their list in pictures. If you want to digest all the data at once, then you can look at the handy table provided.

4 comments

Jack Thompson Debates Game Violence with Author Tonight

April 2, 2009 -

Fresh off his apparently failed attempt to legislate video game sales in Utah, disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson will debate the video game violence issue tonight with Gerard Jones, author of Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes and Make-Believe Violence.

The debate, which will take place at 7:30 on the campus of Bridgewater College in northwestern Virginia, is free and open to the public. It is unknown whether there will be any local coverage.

GP: Thompson and Jones previously debated in 2007 at a college in Pennsylvania. That debate was marred by a student who behaved rather badly toward Thompson. Such behavior only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes about gamers.

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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