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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Poll: Is it censorship when a private retailer decides not to sell a particular video game?:

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Andrew EisenThe humor reminds me a lot of Axe Cop.05/29/2015 - 1:37am
WymorenceOh sweet god, Kung Fury is freaking awesome...05/28/2015 - 10:03pm
E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - From what I've seen (just the trailers) the game is nowhere near as gory as many, many other games. But again, I'm guessing the AO rating comes from theme and tone rather than outright gore.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenKarp - It didn't show penetration or nudity.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
WonderkarpI'd say Mortal Kombat X has more Gore and Violence than Hatred.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
 

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