game violence

Teen Shoots Parents, Shocks Everyone By Blaming Video Games

14 year old Nathon Brooks has been charged with the attempted murder of his parents in Washington State after they…wait for it…grounded him from using electronics for two weeks. Even better, he later told police that he played violent video games constantly and blamed their influence for his actions.

“He said he quit playing violent video games because he thought they were making him more violent,” Moses Lake police Sgt. Mike Williams noted in the incident report. “I asked him how much he played video games, and he told me ‘24/7,’ up until he got his electronics taken away.”

According to police reports and surveillance footage from inside the house, Brooks pried open his father’s gun safe, and took the .22 caliber pistol into his parent’s bedroom. It was there that he shot his mother, and father multiple times in the head, but not before they were able to call 911.

A local hospital has discharged Brooks’ father and has his mother listed in stable condition. Fortunately, despite playing large amounts of violent games, Nathon was unable to kill his parents after multiple shots to the head. But that hasn’t stopped the blame from falling onto video games.

Not only have many mainstream media reports focused on the police quote above, they’ve also drawn pretty clear comparisons back to the gun violence debate going on in Washington D.C. and the recent massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Because that’s what they’ve been trained to do – focus on the scapegoat.

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Father Hacks Donkey Kong For His Daughter

I used to think that I would never want kids. Why would I want the responsibility of keeping alive and training a little blob who’s completely reliant on me to put aside my life and devote years to their existence? And you can’t even battle them against other parents kids, which Pokemon has taught me is the main reason you have pets.

But stories like this have a way of changing my mind. See, there’s this guy, Mike Mika. He’s got a little girl that likes to play games with her father. She’s only three and not very good at them yet, but she plugs away anyway. One of her favorites is the arcade classic Donkey Kong, but she doesn’t understand why she can’t play as Pauline and save Mario from the gorilla.

Not one to let his kid go disappointed, Mika, a programmer and chief creative officer at Other Ocean Interactive, got to work rewriting the game with a reversed protagonist. The result was one happy little girl and one of the simplest, yet coolest mods to a classic title that we’ve seen in years.

Naturally, the dedicated misogynist jerks of the internet took it upon themselves to trash the mod and call the girl all sorts of offensive names, but let’s forget all that junk for once. Instead, let us focus on what is perhaps the most lovey, saccharine story we’ll get this year.

In case you’re wondering, no, Mika hasn’t released the mod and has no plans to do so. But I’d imagine someone is already hard at work recreating the simple character swap and putting it up as a download if those interested.

[story via Wired]

Feminist Frequency Releases First Video For Kickstarter Project

It finally happened. The most infamous video game related Kickstarter ever, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, finally delivered. The first video in the series went up yesterday and can be seen above. I highly recommend it.

But not everyone was as happy as I to see this project finally come to life. The folks over at Gameranx have put together a brief look at some of the hateful, ignorant, misogynistic, and utterly baffling comments left across various outlets reporting on the video. It gets pretty intense, just as one might expect after the death and rape threats Anita Sarkeesian (the project creator) received shortly after the project was conceived.

Yet still others have criticized this first video as not going far enough in depth, being too similar to her other work despite her funding success, and retreading familiar ground/not advancing new opinions or ideas.

That’s the point, though. Yes, it may seem like she’s going over a lot of well-worn territory and explaining for anyone who’s spent a bit of time with their eyes and ears open to feminism ideas, but not a lot of people have. To many people, these are new concepts. Yeah, they might know that Mario was at one time Jumpman trying to save Pauline from an obvious King Kong stand-in and roll their eyes at the worn-out idea of saving the fair maiden from the clutches of evil, but the implications and pervasive infections into how we think about women in our everyday lives is something that they probably missed before.

These videos are for the laymen, the nonacademic people that this message most urgently needs to reach. Professors can argue about the merits versus inadequacies of certain policy changes until they’re blue in the face. This is the kind of easy to understand, down to Earth discussion that we as a community so desperately need to have.

Expect another video every week for the next couple months.

Older Adults

Video Games Are Good For Grandma’s Health

It’s pretty common knowledge among the video game elite (i.e. people who read about games online) that the average age for a video game player is about 35. But people even older than that are no scope headshotting you on Xbox Live, and according to a new study it may be good for them.

A study done by researchers at North Carolina State University has shown that people who play games at least occasionally have higher social functioning and less depression and negative affect than people who do not play any video games. That’s right, we now have evidence to say, scientifically, that video games make people happier and are linked to “successful aging.”

The study was done with a group of 140 senior citizens averaging 77 years old who live independently, but the results suggest that the links could be present for younger adults as well. Further studies are already being planned to see if video games can improve mental health or whether they merely prolong the detrimental effects of age.

With video games making headlines with violence and politicians demanding studies on the effects of media on children, this study couldn’t have come at a better time. And it’ll be interesting to see others crop up as more and more lifelong players from gaming’s 80s glory days approach golden years of their own.

[story and image via Science World Report]

Games on Demand

Games On Demand Sale Cuts Prices Up To 85%

The Xbox Ultimate Game Sale has rolled on to another day of crazy deals on some excellent titles. Today and only today, you can find the first four Assassin’s Creed games going for a steal – $9.99 USD for Assassin’s Creed, II, and Brotherhood, and $14.99 for Revelations. Currently, there’s no deal scheduled for Assassin’s Creed III, but that’s not surprising for such a recent release.

A range of other games you might have missed this generation have also had their prices slashed by as much as 85% until March 4th, including Virtua Fighter 5, El Shaddai, The Darkness, Tomb Raider: Legend, and GRID. For the full list of games going on sale this week, you can see the announcement page on Xbox Community Manager Major Nelson’s webpage.

Of course, this massive sale could be a simple cash grab before announcing details on the next iteration of the Microsoft’s home console, which could very well restrict the transfer of digital content from a 360. So far, the new console generation hasn’t handled that especially well after repurchasing plans for content on the Wii U and the recent announcement that media won’t transfer from the PS3 to the PS4. If you do open your wallet for Microsoft’s sale, it would be wise to keep that trend in mind.

[img via TheGamersHub]