Game on, or off? Should we be worried about our tech-addicted toddlers? | Life and style | The Guardian

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Zoe Williams in the Graun:

The symptoms – you can rank your own children or spouse on this list, if you haven\’t got enough to argue about – are all recognisable from other addictions: how does your internet use affect the rest of your life and mind? How much do you crave it? Do you deny it or lie about it? And yet the thing itself – these games that set the social mind and the competitive spirit alight simultaneously – are unlike anything you would know about the world of toxins.

via Game on, or off? Should we be worried about our tech-addicted toddlers? | Life and style | The Guardian.

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What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy? | Greenheart GamesGreenheart Games

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This is a(nother) depressing read. Game developers create a game about game development (very meta) and then release a cracked version of the game in which you cannot win because of game piracy.

The result? over 90% of those playing the (8 dollar) game play the cracked version, and then hit the forums to complain about the piracy “feature” in the game.

When we released our very first game, Game Dev Tycoon (for Mac, Windows and Linux) yesterday, we did something unusual and as far as I know unique. We released a cracked version of the game ourselves, minutes after opening our Store.

I uploaded the torrent to the number one torrent sharing site, gave it a description imitating the scene and asked a few friends to help seed it.

Read more: What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy? | Greenheart GamesGreenheart Games.

via DaringFireball

The depressing suburbanisation of SimCity

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This is my second link to Alex Hearn over at the New Statesman. This one is his take on the new Sim City game, which has had a bit of a disastrous launch, with long waiting times to log in due to its rather constraining insistence on all players being connected to the internet all the time.

Truly, life was simpler before the internet. The operating system took up a fraction of the hard drive space it does now, and you weren’t constantly interrupted.

Sim City has always been interesting because of the way it encourages players to run their city in terms of taxes and public services. There was no taxing the rich until the pips squeak. Here is Hearn complaining about the suburbanisation of the game:

The most obvious is the one common to all the games in the series. SimCity has no truck with market urbanists, those who argue that the best way to develop a city is for the state to provide a few basics, like roads and power, but then let the free market take over. Those urban planners argue that, rather than dictating whether a particular area be used for offices, houses, retail or industry, the options should be available for any of them; the natural tendency will be for offices and houses to clump together, but if someone wants to pay the inflated land costs in a central business district to build housing, they shouldn’t be prevented from doing so.

In SimCity, of course, one of the few constants in the series is the existence of zoning laws. As mayor, you have to dictate whether particular land can be used for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, and only then does the “free market” kick in.

Similarly, almost all municipal buildings in the game are placed by the player, and run by the state at a cost to the taxpayer. Every Sim gets universal healthcare, and all private schools are banned! Truly, SimLand is a lefty utopia.

Read the rest: The depressing suburbanisation of SimCity.

New Statesman – The angry fundamentalists of the church of gaming

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You may have read something about the abuse received by a blogger/researcher looking to get some Kickstarter funding to research the representation of women in video games. If not, read all about it here. Here’s a follow-up blog in the New Statesman about the conservatism of gamers.

In the face of this orthodoxy the arrival of women on the scene, carrying with them an agenda of change, it is inevitably greeted with vitriol and anger by gamers who perceive their precious stream of the same thing as last year to be under threat. Worse it is not just the women who openly have an agenda who face this wrath; female gamers are also abused merely for the crime of being female. Female gamers are seen as harbingers of some sort of oestrogen induced end of days for gaming, a spoilt little sister who has climbed the rope ladder to our clubhouse and is intending to paint it pink.

via New Statesman – The angry fundamentalists of the church of gaming.

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Especially when you’re made out of pixels | Charlie Brooker | Comment is free | The Guardian

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I say “shout”. I mean “type”. And not in person. Whenever there’s an actual woman in the room, they stare intensely at their shoes, internally composing their next devastating online riposte to uppity vaginakind. “WHY MUST THEY TORMENT AND BEWITCH ME SO?”, they think, in tearstained capitals. Just as rubberised assassins represent a tiny proportion of women, these idiotic pebbledicks represent a tiny proportion of men. The trouble for the games industry is that on some level it believes it has to pander to these monumental bellwastes. It doesn’t, and it’ll only gain widespread acceptance when it learns to ignore them. In 30 years, it’s scarcely improved on Ms. Pac-Man. Time to push forward.

via Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Especially when you’re made out of pixels | Charlie Brooker | Comment is free | The Guardian.