Table Soccer Sees Significant Worldwide Growth

-- World Cup of Soccer Re-ignites Enthusiasm for 'Foosball'
In parallel with the four-year long build up to this year’s FIFA World Cup of Soccer, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) has aggressively been working with over 35 member national federations and associations around the world to maximize exposure for the game commonly known as “foosball,” seeking to gain greater recognition as a sport by the public, news media, national sports ministries and worldwide sports organizations. The results have been impressive, with the total number of local, national and international tournaments and leagues growing significantly, right along with media and sponsor interest!
Denver, CO (PRWEB) July 11, 2006 -- In parallel with the four-year long build up to this year’s FIFA World Cup of Soccer, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) has aggressively been working with over 35 member national federations and associations around the world to maximize exposure for the game commonly known as “foosball,” seeking to gain greater recognition as a sport by the public, news media, national sports ministries and worldwide sports organizations. The results have been impressive, with the total number of local, national and international tournaments and leagues growing significantly, right along with media and sponsor interest (not to mention manufacturer sales)!For example, the ITSF’s World Cup of Table Soccer tournament recently came to a close on Sunday, May 28, 2006 after a four day roller coaster of intensely competitive and emotional match play. Held at the famed Fischauktionshalle in Hamburg, Germany, about 200 of the world’s most elite “foosball” players competed as part of a 20-nation team playoff for the World Cup title. Each nation, having selected eight to ten of their country’s best players, competed in a combination of doubles and singles events for both men and women. With media promotions tied directly into FIFA’s World Cup of Soccer, also hosted in Germany, over 60 television and other news media covered the tournament throughout the weekend. In all, over a thousand spectators and millions of TV viewers witnessed a weekend full of twists, surprises and upsets as each of the world’s top-ranked teams fell to highly charged and aggressive challengers. Sponsors of the event included Carlsberg Brewery, Argo Personal, Sportstadt Hamburg, Fabula-Film and the DEHOGA Hamburg hotel and restaurant association, while sponsors of the U.S. National Foosball Team, among others, included Nike™, Brunswick’s Tornado Table Soccer™, Bonzini™ USA, Tornello Enterprises, Foosball.com, Rod-lock.com and TTR MasterWraps.In a true test of all around foosball skills, the competition took place on five different ITSF “Official” styles of tables: Tornado Table Soccer™, Bonzini™, Garlando, EuroSoccer, and Roberto-Sport. Often regarded as the “big five” of foosball manufacturing, these traditional home recreation and coin-industry companies have been riding the wave of re-surging sales growth, each with their own “ITSF Official” models built to conform to new international tournament standards. Said Dave Courington, of Brunswick’s Tornado Table Soccer, “The work of the ITSF is potentially of great benefit to our worldwide sales. Our table has been considered as the industry standard in the USA for thirty years, so we were pleased to find that though we don’t even have a European table soccer distributor, our table was selected as the “home” table by the majority of nations competing at the World Cup. I’d say the added exposure from ITSF’s promotions and sanctioned tournaments has been a huge plus for us, and we fully support their continued efforts.” Other manufacturers echoed similar supportive sentiments, noting upsurges in sales to more and more new countries where the ITSF had established ties.The ITSF, based in Nantes, France and run by its President, Farid Lounas, has further extensively worked to regulate the sport in accordance with international Olympic standards. ITSF has established a single codified set of playing rules for all tables, quality standards and measurements criteria for participating manufacturers, a worldwide player ranking system and a development fund to help establish and guide organizations in new member countries. “ITSF is a non-profit, all volunteer ruling body and organization, but the active work of Farid, his staff and the ITSF Executive Commission has meant a whole lot more than that to the game and the sport,” said Larry Davis, Executive Director of the United States Table Soccer Federation (USTSF). “We’ve witnessed growing excitement all the way from the grass-roots video arcade, youth center or sports pub levels up to professional competition for hundreds of thousands of dollars in a tournament.” “Indeed,” Davis continued, “over the last four years we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of foosball websites, bulletin boards and ‘blogs,’ TV spots (such as on ESPN, Fox Sports, popular TV shows and commercials for Pepsi, MTV, and Right Guard) and charity involvement via benefit tournaments. There are even a number of films and documentaries filmed around the sport, either in the works or pending release, while according to the USTSF’s tracking service our last four tournament press releases alone have received nearly a million hits and been picked up by over 2,000 media outlets worldwide. And now more than ever before you can see a huge variety foosball tables for sale at places like Sears, WalMart, Sportmart and even on eBay, so there must be a corresponding and significant increase in market demand.” The enthusiasm doesn’t stop there -- more of ITSF’s sanctioned World Tour events are scheduled to take place in Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, United States (including Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas), the UK and more. Having already finished the World Cup in Germany and “World Series” events in Belgium and France, the 2006 tour will culminate this summer and fall with additional World Series events in Austria, Italy, and the $100,000 Tornado World Championships Series tournament at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas (September 20-24). The traditional season-end finale will then be the ITSF World Championships Masters Playoff in St. Vincent, Italy (November 4-8), a “best of the best” playoff of all the year’s top male and female tour champions in singles and doubles. All told, this year’s tour will be the largest worldwide table soccer pro tour ever!


AT&T Tunes Into Jukebox Business

By Karen Brown 7/6/2006 12:40:00 PM
AT&T is going into the jukebox business, striking a deal with TouchTunes Music to provide high-speed-Internet access to thousands of jukeboxes located at entertainment venues nationwide.
Chicago-based TouchTunes is the biggest supplier of digital jukeboxes in the United States, with equipment in 20,000 commercial locations. The company has licensed nearly 1 million songs for its fleet of jukeboxes, which store the tunes on built-in hard drives.
Under a three-year contract, AT&T will provide high-speed-Internet access to existing and future TouchTunes digital jukeboxes at bars, restaurants, nightclubs and other venues. The connections will also be used to swap out titles and add new hit songs as they are released, and even to supply added services such as live concert feeds and an e-mail browser function for venue owners and managers.


Gibson Guitar acquires jukebox manufacturer Deutsche Wurlitzer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Gibson Guitar has acquired a jukebox and vending machine maker.Financial terms weren't disclosed but the deal concludes several years of litigation regarding the use of the Wurlitzer name.
Deutsche (DOY'-chuh) Wurlitzer was a subsidiary of the Nelson Group -- a privately held business based in Australia and New Zealand.
The company was founded in 1856. It started making pianos in 1880. It later dominated the jukebox-making market.
Gibson intends to keep Deutsche Wurlitzer at its current locations and create a broader international distribution.
Gibson was founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It has been headquartered in Nashville since 1975.


Company Makes Millionth Jukebox

Created: 7/11/2006 5:19:42 PM
Updated: 7/11/2006 7:04:02 PM

Grand Rapids - For decades we've leaned on it perused its pages and paid it to play our song.

But the box appreciated for its function, in Grand Rapids is also celebrated for its style.

Gordy Anderson said, “It's like working in the automotive industry. There's a new model, new technology, and new things to learn.”

Anderson is the Director of Technical Services at Rowe International, which started making jukeboxes in the age of vinyl. Back when you could by a song for a song. Nowadays two will cost you a buck

Anderson said, “Rowe was the first to put bill acceptors in juke boxes. The first to play both side of records.”

Tuesday afternoon Anderson and industry leaders gathered, honoring Rowe's workforce of more than a 100, most averaging 27 years with the company. Today they produced the company's 1,000,000 jukebox.

The 1,000,000 jukebox is still big and flashy but all digital with a selection of 250,000 songs.

Anderson said it's got everybody's favorite inside, “If your song is not in the jukebox you can search for it in our library, download it and get your girl out on the dance floor and make everybody happy.


Supplier wannabes have familiar names

By Debra ErdleyTRIBUNE-REVIEWSunday, June 25, 2006
Some familiar names are lining up for a piece of the slots action.
Among the almost two dozen applicants seeking licenses from the gambling board to provide machines to casinos:
• Gaming Ventures, LLC, of Pittsburgh, includes former Steeler James "J.T." Thomas; former Pittsburgh Councilman Sala Udin; investment banker James Lawrence Smith, a nephew of the late Allegheny County Commissioner Peter Flaherty; and CEO Mark Douglas Lay, of MDL Capital Management. His company is fighting civil allegations that it lost more than $200 million from Ohio's Bureau of Workers Compensation.
• New Century Entertainment of Pittsburgh includes former Allegheny County Executive James Roddey; WQED Multi-media President George Miles Jr.; Doris Carson Williams, chairwoman for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania; and Neely T. Frye, former aide to House Speaker John Perzel.

• Revenco Gaming of North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, is headed by former acting Gov. Mark Singel, now a lobbyist. Other members include James Sacco, executive director of PSSI, the management firm that operates Heinz Field; New Castle businessman John Richard DiMuccio; and Gary and Raymond Stoken, principals in Stoken Games, a local amusement firm that deals in coin-operated machines.
• In Philadelphia, CGR Gaming includes Pennsylvania Turnpike Chairman Mitchell Jay Rubin, whose wife, Ruth Arnao, is a former aide to state Sen. Vincent Fumo, the powerful Philadelphia Democrat and an architect of the slots law.
• KGM Gaming of Philadelphia includes Robert N. Nix III, son of late Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix, the state's first black justice. KGM Gaming scored an exclusive distributor deal with Aristocrat Technologies 18 months ago.
• Liberty Gaming Partners in suburban Philadelphia includes powerhouse lobbyist Stephen R. Wojdak, a former lawmaker. Another partner is Brett Alan Sulzer, a Louisiana businessman with the gambling industry there.
• Atlantic City Coin & Slot Service, the New Jersey supplier that distributes slot machines for gaming giant IGT in New Jersey, is poised to export its expertise to Pennsylvania. The company is a partner in Pennsylvania Coin & Slot, a would-be Bucks County supplier whose principals also include Denise Joy Smyler, an attorney Gov. Ed Rendell appointed to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Board.
Bill Thompson, a University of Nevada at Las Vegas professor who studies gambling, is not surprised.
"Industry lobbyists have been pumping money into Pennsylvania politicians for the last five years," he said.
Critics claim the legal requirement of a Pennsylvania distributor is designed to reward lawmakers' friends. They contend the proviso ultimately will add to casino costs because the licensees will need to find a manufacturer to produce the machines.
Fumo, prime author of the slots legislation, insisted political connections could mean little.
"There's not a limited number of licenses. So they all can get them," Fumo said. "It was designed to give a piece to small people. You are always going (to have) politically friendly people in every damn business. And it doesn't mean they are going to get any edge up."
The money involved is significant. The state is expected to authorize 61,000 slot machines, each of which costs about $15,000. That's a pool of $900 million.
But if the suppliers -- who market, sell and service the slot machines -- snare even 5 percent of that $900 million, they stand to divvy $45 million dollars, Thompson said.
Many applicants are reluctant to discuss the issues surrounding the gambling board.
"I know a lot more people applied than they expected, and it takes them a long time to background people," said Udin, spokesman for Gaming Ventures Group.


Adult video games create furore

HT CityNew Delhi, June 23, 2006

One year ago this month, a new landmark in computer gaming was set by a 36-year-old hacker whose talents simultaneously uncovered an explicit adult scene in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and lifted the veil on an industry that has been largely ignored in interactive entertainment.
The discovery of simulated fellatio buried in the GTA code resulted in an international scandal and lost its publishers millions of pounds after the game was removed from sale. It has since been the cornerstone product that has sent the games industry from courtroom to courtroom, defending itself against allegations of pornography.
Yet, sex in games has been around since the 1980s. No one noticed the awful Sam Fox Strip Poker, the terrible Stroker or the appalling Lula series because these products had no erotic potential. In fairness, GTA’s simulated sex act doesn’t stimulate much arousal either; its phenomenal sales weren’t the result of the interactive hanky panky lost in its bits and bytes.
Historically, sex in games has been a real turn-off. It seems remarkable that an industry that has had young males as its core demographic has seen so little sexual output. But the tide is turning. According to Brenda Brathwaite, veteran games designer of 21 nonadult titles and 2005’s Playboy: The Mansion, the earliest sexual activity in computer games was 1981’s Soft Porn Adventure. Brathwaite, who maintains the International Game Developers Association’s Sex in Games Special Interest Group and convened the first Sex in Games conference held last week in San Francisco, contends that many of today’s products are replete with implicit sexual interaction. Like most creators of adult-themed games, she suggests that creating products with explicit sexual themes will help developers represent the complete spectrum of emotion, rather than the narrow continuum catered for in contemporary gaming.
One of the key problems that dogs the industry is the perception that its products are for kids, so when jiggery pokery is discovered in an age-appropriate title, the moral majority proclaims it inappropriate. By that argument, much of the content on the radio, television and in film should also be treated as pornography. It seems extraordinarily inconsistent that a love scene in a movie only garners a 15 rating, but sexual activity in a game is bumped up to an 18.
If the GTA scandal has had any positive impact, it is that interactive entertainment has had to look inward and focus on the adult content of its output. And so, the cosmic balance of media and sex has been re-established in the computer games industry.


Pinball Wizard is back

The Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts in Hazleton staging Who’s ‘Tommy’
By MARY THERESE BIEBEL mbiebel@leader.net
Ask your average person under 30 if he or she has ever played pinball and you might be rewarded with a blank stare.
“Pinball?” he’ll repeat as he wrinkles his forehead. “Was that some kind of game?”
Yes, you explain to this young friend who spent countless hours with Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda. Way, way back, before the dawn of video, there was another skill a person could hone in just about any arcade or bar.
You played it on a table, maneuvering a tiny, metal ball through a plastic maze.
And it helped if you had “crazy flipper fingers,” like Tommy.
Tommy, according to lyrics from the rock opera by the same name, was “that deaf, dumb and blind kid” who “sure plays a mean pinball.” You’ll experience his tragic yet inspiring story if you attend a performance this weekend or next at the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts in Hazleton.
“Tommy is rock ’n’ roll theater, half Broadway stage musical and half rock concert,” said PTPA board president Drew Coffman, predicting that audiences will find the show “looks great and sounds great.”
A big part of the sound will be provided by musical director Matt McGasko on keyboard, Donnie DeBias on drums, John Shank on bass guitar, Tim Malchitsky on acoustic guitar and George Canavan on electric guitar. They’ll re-create a score written by legendary rock composer and lead guitarist of The Who Pete Townshend.
The music was released as a concept album in 1969 and became the soundtrack for a movie in 1975. In 1993, Townshend and collaborator Des McAnuff adapted “Tommy” for Broadway, and the stage show eventually earned five Tony Awards.
The show, according to a PTPA press release, tells “the story of a boy who withdraws from the world at age 4 after he sees his mother’s lover murdered in the reflection of a mirror. Despite consulting with a variety of doctors and specialists, Tommy’s parents are convinced no one can help him.
“But, soon after Cousin Kevin introduces Tommy to the wonders of the pinball machine, Tommy responds by playing pinball and winning big. Despite Tommy’s lack of interaction with anyone or anything except the pinball machine, he becomes a local celebrity and develops a big fan following.”
When his mother smashes the mirror in which he saw the murder, the boy finally begins to heal.
Local vocalist David Craig portrays the teenage Tommy while Steve Welsh – you may remember him as Judas in PTPA’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” – and Joelle Witner play his parents. Witner is also directing “Tommy.”
Show time is 7 p.m. today, Saturday and Thursday as well as June 30 and July 1, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday at the PTPA Center on Laurel Street, six blocks from Broad Street. On Saturday evenings, PTPA will offer a buffet dinner with a variety of entrees, salads, side dishes and desserts beginning at 5:30 p.m.
For reservations, call 454-5451. Group rates are available, and some tickets will be available at the door.
Meanwhile, in Wyoming Valley, the David Blight School of Dance will celebrate 50 years of dance during its annual recital this weekend. Legendary tap dancer and school founder David Blight will be on hand to observe the milestone anniversary, and a variety of award-winning tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet numbers will be showcased.
Show times are 6:30 tonight, noon and 6:30 p.m. tomorrow and noon and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, all at Wyoming Valley West High School in Plymouth.
Call 823-3914 for tickets.


Child gets paid to play video games

6/21/2006 1:58 PMBy: Adam Balkin New York 1

Victor De Leon is a professional video game player.

Little Victor De Leon plays just like any other 8-year-old. That is, until he starts playing video games.
That's because Victor is so quick with a controller, he already plays Halo in big, professional gaming tournaments. And "Lil' Poison," as he's called within the gaming world, rarely gets beat.
"He's really good. I can't explain it," said his father, also named Victor. "Well, for instance, he participated in this event in December in Chicago, and out of I think more than 550 people he came in second, and these are people that are my age, in their 20s, 30s or teens."
Part of what give him his edge is that not many 8-year-old know the meaning of pressure.
"I don't get nervous when I play," Lil' Poison said. "[When I go into a tournament what's going through my mind right before I sit down with all of these people who are excited to play this game?] That I'm going to beat them."
Young gamerVictor DeLeon, a 3rd-grader, has earned enough money to pay for college by playing video games.
De Leon has been gaming for three-quarters of his entire life. That's right - dad said Victor was playing - actually playing - at 2.
"There were times he started crying, so I just gave him the controller and he would stop," the boy's father said. "It got to the point where he started moving it, and basically got the concept of what to do. It was kind of weird. So, I started showing him what this button meant, what that button meant, and in just a couple months he was doing everything I was doing."
But this has gone far beyond just a little party trick or hobby. Lil' Poison actually now has sponsorships, companies that pay him to travel the country and play games.
At Major League Gaming's seven tournaments, gaming Web site 1up.com pays for travel, food, hotel and gives him a little extra, which dad says goes straight into a trust fund. So, it's no surprise Lil' Poison's parents actually budget plenty of game time after school.
"He comes home from school, homework first, takes a little break eats, of course, plays two games," his dad said. "That's it - just two. Then we leave and he comes to my parent's house, goes in the pool, plays basketball, then 8 comes and he plays with the team from 8 to 10 p.m."
Little Victor said he's not sure if he'll pursue gaming as a career when he gets older. His parents insist they let him do what he wants.
Dad says the only thing for sure in his son's is college. Incidentally, Lil' Poison has already earned enough to cover tuition.
Halo is a video game intended for mature players. Parents are urged to check game ratings and use their discretion when allowing their children to play them.


The Future of Pinball Movie Screening in Portland, June 30-July 6

Posted by: James McGovern

by Press Release - "THE FUTURE OF PINBALL" at the Clinton St. Theater [Portland, OR]In 1998 pinball was dying, thanks to a saturated market and shrinking player base. Williams, the world's largest pinball manufacturer, planned to abandon the game in favor of the more lucrative video slot machine business. "The Future of Pinball" is a 60-minute documentary that tells the story of "Pinball 2000," a clever attempt at resuscitating pinball that failed just at the moment a lot of people thought it might succeed. A "Soul of a New Machine" for the pinball world, "The Future of Pinball" is a story about personality and passion, of bold success dizzyingly followed by stunning failure. "The Future of Pinball" is a fascinating case study for anyone interested not just in pinball, but in the march of technology and the intersection of art and commerce.
Trailer available online at: http://www.TheFutureOfPinball.com
Shows at 7pm and 8:30pm Friday June 30 through July 6 (closed Tuesday, July 4.) Director Q&A for Friday and Saturday showings. $6 General Admission. Visit http://www.ClintonStTheater.com for additional information.12 classic pinball games available for play an hour before and after the showings!



Pinball record holder gets news 19 years later

By Hayley Ringle, Tribune
June 29, 2006
It was in a Mesa video game arcade on June 28, 1987, where a “pinball nut” received a world-record score of the Mad Planets video game.
LifestyleThe record score of 349,769 points held its place in video game history for 14 years, although the winner never knew he was the record holder — until Wednesday. “Your telephone call today was what I had been waiting to hear,” said Tim McMurray, a retired IBM software engineer. “I won! I am a video game master!” McMurray, 54, of San Jose, Calif., said it’s a “wonderful surprise” to hear he was the world-record holder. He remembers driving more than 700 miles to the Mesa arcade, which was the closest Twin Galaxies tournament where he could compete on his favorite video game, Mad Planets. It was the Video Game Masters Tournament in an Aladdin’s Castle arcade at Fiesta Mall. “Mad Planets was great in that the intensity of the game increased. It just got madder and madder,” said McMurray, who is married with two children. “I liked the spacethemed games and the amount of physical as well as mental effort to play that long.” McMurray remembers getting the high score, which beat the threshold score by more than 2 1 /2 times. He often wondered about the official results, and even wrote a letter to the U.S. National Video Game Team inquiring about it. But he never heard back. “That was such an adventure,” he said. “I figured someone had squeezed by my score.” Walter Day, the chief scorekeeper at Twin Galaxies, the official record book for the worldwide electronic gaming industry, contacted the East Valley Tribune seeking help in finding the Tim McMurray who received this high score in Mesa. With the upcoming 25th anniversary of Twin Galaxies, and the second edition of Twin Galaxies’ Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records coming out later this summer, Day wanted to congratulate McMurray for playing a part in video game history. “Even if he didn’t know it, we wanted to make sure that his goal in video game history is acknowledged,” said Day, talking by phone from the Twin Galaxies home office in Fairfield, Iowa. He wanted to present McMurray with his retroactive certificate for holding this world record for 14 years. (Jean Baudin of California now holds the official Mad Planets record with 507,710 points, which he received on Sept. 27, 2001.) The mystery was solved with the help of Scottsdale pinball guru Dann Frank, who restores pinball machines and modifies existing games out of his house, dubbed The House of Pinball. In 1994, Frank created the Wild West Pinball Fest at a Scottsdale hotel, and pinball enthusiasts from all over came to try their hand at Frank’s custom games. Lo and behold, McMurray was the first Pinball Rodeo champion. Frank still had the mailing list with McMurray’s information and an original trophy with McMurray’s name that jogged his memory. “It’s kind of funny this is the same guy that won the Pinball Rodeo,” said Frank, who also helps people build home game rooms. The coincidence of it all is Frank is sending his custom games next week to San Jose for the California Extreme, a classic arcade games show. Frank is reviving his Wild West Pinball Fest, and McMurray said he plans to attend the upcoming tournament, for old time’s sake. “I still put that I was the Pinball Rodeo champion on my résumé,” McMurray said. Mad Planets Gottlieb, 1983. Called “Rasteroids” by many classic game fans, Mad Planets used a joystick and a spinner knob to give the player control of his spacecraft. Malevolent planets bounced around the screen and became more and more dangerous as their circling moons were stripped away by the player’s gunfire. Tiny astronauts that needed rescue injected a “Defender-esque” element into the game play.

Can Social-Change Video Games Tackle Divorce, Poverty, Genocide?
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Video games to lead Entertainment and Media industry growth

The worldwide video game market should grow to $46 billion by 2010 from $27 billion in 2005, equating to an average 11.4 per cent compound annual rate, predicts PricewaterhouseCoopers in its latest report on the global entertainment and media (E&M) industry.

This compares with the filmed entertainment business, which PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates will grow at a 5.3 per cent compound annual rate, to become a $104 billion market by 2010, or the television networks business expected to grow at a 6.6 per cent rate to $227 billion.
The next generation of consoles and handheld games will spur the video games market in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific and Canada, while PC games will continue to decline in the US and EMEA says the report. The introduction of new wireless phones capable of downloading games will further boost the wireless games market.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report ‘Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2006-2010’, predicts the overall E&M industry to grow at a 6.6 per cent compound annual growth rate to £1.8 trillion in 2010. The continued rollout of broadband will be a major driver as will wireless subscriber growth and high-speed wireless networks says the report.
Global spending via online and wireless channels reached $19 billion in 2005 and will increase to $67 billion by 2010, the report says.
“Virtually every segment of the entertainment and media industry is shifting from physical distribution to digital distribution of content," said Wayne Jackson, global leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Entertainment & Media Practice. “As this shift continues, we see more revenue opportunities for entertainment and media companies. So while physical distribution of content is declining, that decline will be offset somewhat by digital distribution, which is driving and creating new growth opportunities.”

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Entertainmentwise - London,UKFACT: The Games Industry is bigger than Hollywood and 2004 saw the total sales of video games far exceeding sales of cinema tickets and DVD sales combined. ...

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Doctors using video games for ADHD

Seven's On Call
By Dr. Jay Adlersberg
(New York-WABC, July 13, 2006) - As much as 6 percent of the American population has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a disorder that makes it hard to focus. The usual treatment is medication that can have serious side effects. But now, some doctors are successfully treating ADHD with video games.
Eyewitness News is On Call with more.
What is remarkable about this scene is not what is happening, but what is not.
"The kids aren't fighting. They're playing games together," Jill Mathur notices of her own children. That's unusual for children like Julia and Janelle Mathur, who both have ADHD.
Janelle had trouble with tests. "I just couldn't concentrate," she says. "I heard lots of small noises, scratching of paper."
"They just aren't able to filter what's important at the moment, so they're trying to take everything in at once," Margaret MacDonald, M.D., an ADHD specialist in San Jose, California, tells Ivanhoe.
Dr. MacDonald treats ADHD with SMART BrainGames, a new system that combines brain wave monitoring, biofeedback and video games. The goal is to alter the brain wave patterns responsible for ADHD. A hat is fitted with sensors. The patient is only successful at the game when emitting the right kinds of brain waves.
"If they don't do the right thing then they can't steer, and they'll crash and eventually the brain will keep trying to do what it has to do to succeed in the game," Dr. MacDonald says.
And it works.
Janelle says, "If I'm taking a test, I can think about the problem, not the sounds."
Her mom, Jill, says, "I knew they were really wonderful people inside, and I am so excited to see who they are coming out."
Janelle is now completely off her ADHD meds, and Julia has reduced her doses.
"It's as close to a magic bullet as I've ever seen," Jill says.
Doctors say SMART BrainGames usually requires about 40 sessions that last 20 minutes to 30 minutes each, and the results are permanent. In a recent study, both SMART BrainGames and standard biofeedback helped kids improve attention, impulse and hyperactivity, but the difference was in motivation -- there were fewer drop outs in the video game group.
(Copyright 2006 WABC-TV)


In search of Bill, the King of Qix

Lynchburg News & Advance

King of a small and nearly extinct kingdom, to be sure, but a king nonetheless. And like one of the wise men of old, Walter Day wants to find and pay homage to him.
Day lives in Fairfield, Iowa, which one wouldn’t expect to be the nerve center of the arcade, computer game and PlayStation universe. But Day has taken it upon himself to be that universe’s institutional memory.
“I started an arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1981 just because I liked to play so much myself,” he said recently. “One day, somebody ran up a huge score on one of the games, and we were curious as to whether it might be a world record. Then, we found out that there were no world records - nobody was keeping track.”
So he volunteered to become the official scorekeeper. This was in the midst of what is now fondly recalled as the “Golden Age of Arcade Games,” and Day soon became in demand as a national spokesman. In December of 1982, Life Magazine came to Ottumwa to do a feature on Day’s Twin Galaxies arcade. A year later, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad declared Ottumwa “The Video Game Capitol of the World.”
Meanwhile, over the intervening decades, the high-score listings have swelled to fill three thick, Guinness-like volumes.
What does this have to do with Central Virginia? Well, Walter Day gave us a call one day earlier this month to see if we could help him track down Bill Camden, the world record holder for a game called Qix. On Jan. 15, 1983, at the Galxy I arcade in Lynchburg, Camden rang up a score of 1,666,604 points.
“Just phenomenal,” Day said. “It must have taken him close to an hour of continuous playing to get a score like that.”
The second place Qixmaster, Art Davidson of Anchorage, Ala., is more than 80,000 points behind.
And according to the Website “Classic Gaming,” Qix was no pushover.
“Playing Qix is a unique experience,” writes Mike Reilly. “The player controls a tiny, diamond-shaped marker with his joystick. The object of the game is to draw completed boxes on the empty playfield and eventually claim 75 percent of the screen as your own.”
With assorted enemies, of course, trying to make that impossible.
“Qix did not have amazing graphics or easily marketable characters,” Reilly said, “but it did have an intriguely simple concept and highly addictive game play. There is nothing else like it.”
They don’t make games like that any more - literally. Qix became defunct years ago, and now exists only on-line and in arcades that, Day said, “specialize in classic games.”
In game terms, a lapse of 23 years is like comparing the 21st century to the Bronze Age.
But in his day, Bill Camden ruled, and Day has a certificate he wants to give him. It says: “It is proclaimed that Bill Camden will be forever enshrined in the Video Game Hall of Fame for being a past world record holder, scoring 1,666,604 points on the arcade edition of Qix during the Golden Age of Video Games at the Galxy I Arcade in Lynchburg, Va.”
Forever enshrined in a Hall of Fame? How cool is that?
There’s only one problem - Walter Day hasn’t been able to track Bill Camden down. That’s why he asked for our help.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just call every Camden in our phone book and see if they know Bill. How many could there be?
Well, it turns out there are 22 listings in the area, one of them a Bill. But that was a dead end.
Given that, it seemed more efficient to simply put the word out this way. If you’re reading this, and you know Bill Camden, the former arcade warrior, tell him he’s still the best in the world at least one thing.
That’s something not many of us can say.


Enticing video games pose the risk of addiction

They're poor escape from the real world
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS - As a freshman at the University of North Texas, Daniel Folmer would sometimes play video games for 12 hours straight. He stopped going out with friends. He sank onto academic probation.
When his girlfriend came over, he stayed in his virtual world. Then she told him something that jolted him back to reality.
"She just waited for me to look at her, or acknowledge her, or hug her or whatever, and she said she fell asleep waiting," he said. "I looked in the mirror, and I did not like who I was becoming."
Folmer sold his online gaming account and now, at 21, is a rehabilitation studies major and wants to be an addictions counselor.
Now that another hot summer has arrived, many kids are spending lots of time inside with their computers and video games.
And experts say what starts as a harmless pastime can become an escape from reality ( an emotional coping mechanism ( that turns into an addiction.
The trend can be seen as far away as Amsterdam, where a center recently opened to combat the problem.
Closer to home, mental health professionals who were once dismissed as alarmist are now being asked for advice on how to deal with the problem.
The trouble is not everyone has Folmer's self-discipline.
Hyke van der Heijden, a 28-year-old Dutchman, said his gaming problem got so bad that he flunked out of college. He said pot smoking and gaming kept him emotionally sedated for years. "The games, that was my comfort zone. That was the only reality I could manage."
Van der Heijden sought help at Smith & Jones Addiction Consultants, the Amsterdam clinic that opened the video game addiction center this year. John O'Neill, who heads the Professionals in Crisis Program at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, said the number of technology addicts is increasing, if only because the options keep growing.
Chat rooms, friendship networks such as MySpace, a multitude of traditional video games and massive multiple-player games all can lead to compulsive behavior. In online games, for example, thousands of players worldwide enter a complex game that cannot be beaten and is always changing.
O'Neill said the Internet fuels other addictions as well: Gambling addicts have online casinos, and shopping addicts can buy with a credit card number and a click of the mouse.
"In a way, the Internet is like Las Vegas," he said. It offers anything you want; it seems like the perfect place to cut loose for anonymous fun; and it's open 24 hours a day.
A technology addiction is like any other, said Keith Bakker, director of Amsterdam's Smith & Jones Consulting. It's an escape from real-world problems.
Such addictions often go hand in hand with emotional problems such as depression or anxiety, and often accompany drug abuse, counselors say. But just because someone plays video games doesn't mean that person will become addicted. A person has a problem if gaming affects other areas of his or her life, such as losing sleep or neglecting relationships.
"Someone who goes with the flow, who's got great adaptability, usually is someone who's not going to get addicted," said Mary Donna Noack, youth and young adult services director of Solutions Outpatient Services in Dallas.

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