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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Goth_SkunkNiiiiiiiiiiice!07/08/2015 - 2:03am
Andrew EisenThe original movie's Ecto-1 was a '59 Cadillac. I don't know cars but Twitter tells me this is an '84 Cadillac. The original Ghostbusters came out in '84. Cute!07/08/2015 - 1:14am
Andrew EisenHere's the back side: https://twitter.com/paulfeig/status/61862135787884953607/08/2015 - 1:07am
Andrew EisenNew Ecto-1! https://twitter.com/paulfeig/status/61860585924191846507/08/2015 - 12:58am
Goth_Skunk"The New Totalitarians Are Here" from The Federalist. http://ow.ly/Pjz3b07/07/2015 - 11:31pm
MattsworknameThere was a time in america when we needed unions and they served a good purpose, but that time hasnt been tbe case for about 20 years or more. The same could be said of our current system for teachers in higher educatoin,but thats a whole nother story07/07/2015 - 10:22pm
TechnogeekIn large part, though, that's an extension of the level of unjust deference given to police in general. Kind of hard to find any real grievances to defend against when the organizational culture views "complains about coworker" as worse than "murderer".07/07/2015 - 8:45pm
TechnogeekThat's a police union.07/07/2015 - 8:43pm
TechnogeekNo, police unions are worse by far. Imagine every negative stereotype about unions, then add "we can get away with anything".07/07/2015 - 8:43pm
Goth_SkunkeZeek: No, I do not agree they are union members.07/07/2015 - 7:48pm
E. Zachary KnightTeachers unions are just as bad as police unions, except of course you are far less likely to be killed by a teacher on duty than you are a cop. But they also protect bad teachers from being fired.07/07/2015 - 6:29pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, so you agree they are still union members. Thankfully we have a first ammendment that protects people from being forced to join groups they don't support (in most cases any way.)07/07/2015 - 6:27pm
E. Zachary KnightAh, police unions. The reason why cops can't get fired when they beat a defenseless mentally ill homeless person to death. Or when they throw a grenade into a baby's crib. Or when theykill people they were called in to help not hurt themselves.07/07/2015 - 6:26pm
Goth_SkunkeZeek: Non-union employees have no right to attend meetings or union convention/AGM, or influence policy. The only time they get to vote is whether or not to strike.07/07/2015 - 6:24pm
Infophile(cont'd) about non-union police officers being given hell until they joined the union.07/07/2015 - 4:58pm
InfophileParadoxically, the drive in the US to get rid of unions seems to have left only the most corrupt surviving. They seem to be the only ones that can find ways to browbeat employees into joining when paying dues isn't mandatory. I've heard some stories ...07/07/2015 - 4:57pm
Matthew WilsonI am old school on this. I believe its a conflict of interest to have public sector unions. that being said, I do not have a positive look on unions in general.07/07/2015 - 3:59pm
TechnogeekWhat's best for the employee tends to be good for the employer; other way around, not so much. So long as that's the case, there's going to be a far stronger incentive for management to behave in such a way that invites retalitation than for the union to.07/07/2015 - 3:10pm
TechnogeekTeachers' unions? State legislatures. UAW? Just look at GM's middle management.07/07/2015 - 3:05pm
TechnogeekIn many ways it seems that the worse a union tends to behave, the worse that the company's management has behaved in the past.07/07/2015 - 3:02pm
 

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