Big Sale Today at The Game Gallery
Video games help kids cope with cancer
Roxxi, as she is called, is the main character in “Re-Mission”, a game created by California-based HopeLab as part of a series of so-called “serious games” featured at the Games for Health conference taking place in Baltimore.
“Re-Mission’s” intrepid nanobot is a challenging 3-D “shooter” that takes the player on a journey through the bodies of young patients with different kinds of cancer and blasts away at the cancer cells.
The game, which came out last spring and took six years to design at a cost of 2.5 million dollars, is distributed free of charge to cancer patients. A clinical study involving 400 patients undergoing cancer treatment in Britain, Canada, France, Spain and the United States showed that the game helped young players cope with the disease.
“The study showed that the game affects behaviour enough to have an impact,” said Steve Cole, vice president of HopeLab. “Recognising you have a symptom, fighting for control, these are issues that really make a difference.”The secret to interactive video games designed to improve young people’s health behaviours is that patients “identify with the character, are part of the story where you have a life threat but you can do something about it,” said Debra Liebermann, a pioneer in the sector who helped create “Click Health”, whose hero is an asthmatic dinosaur.
Bruce Jarrel, deputy dean at the University of Maryland’s school of medicine, said the health sector must realise that this new generation of “serious” video games can not only be used for entertainment but also to treat patients.
“The community of medicine has to see a validation to view games not just as entertainment but as a way to healthcare,” he said. At BreakAway, a company that designs commercial games, notably one war game called “Austerlitz”, officials are preparing to launch “Free Dive” and “Turbo Turtle”, two games that take place underwater and are designed to help patients deal with pain.
“One is a totally explorative game design with a virtual helmet for a more immersive experience; the other is more of an action game,” said Lucien Parsons, executive vice president at BreakAway.
He said clinical studies will help determine whether the games help patients cope better with pain.
Pinball Wizards: Heartland Pinball & Arcade Supershow
Dan Goett, front, talks to Brian Martinez about the game Pirates of the Caribbean. The pair who are from Hallsville and Columbia, Missouri came to Herrin to have the chance to play pinball machines they havent been able to play. Pinball wizards and arcade addicts were in coin-op heaven Friday as the second annual Heartland Pinball & Arcade Supershow brought fifty years of gaming history to the Herrin Civic Center.Offering more than 85 playable pinball and video arcade games from 1955 to 2006, the show gave gamers a chance to try out tables from five decades as well as participate in a pinball tournament for cash prizes and trophies.
Joystick jockeys could be seen Friday night sweating out arcade classics like Donkey Kong Jr. and Smash T.V., while others battled bumpers on retro pinball tables featuring KISS, RoboCop and Indiana Jones.Rob Craig of Marion, coordinator of the event, said he came up with the idea after attending the Pinball Expo, an annual pinball show in Chicago.Craig said he and a group of local pinball buddies wanted to bring the same experience to Southern Illinois."On the drive back from Chicago we decided that we wanted to do this here," Craig said. "Last year's event went great and it's awesome to be able to provide this for the community."This is the first year at the Herrin Civic Center, which Craig said offered a more intimate atmosphere for the show.The event continues from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, and attendees can play unlimited games at no cost after paying the price of admission: $5 for children ages 6 to 12, $10 for adults and free for children younger than 5."You can come and play until you're sick," Craig said.Restoring tables and playing pinball has been a hobby of Craig's for nearly nine years. He said he likes the challenge of the game as well as the camaraderie with other pinball fanatics."Pinball is so great because it's a live-action game," Craig said. "While a TV screen is really just static that moves in two dimension, pinball moves in three dimension. It's slamming, it's pounding and it's aggressive. That's what gets people into pinball, and then they get hooked."Ken Hall of Vienna owns about 35 classic pinball machines and brought several to the show.Hall said most of his tables were made from 1968 to 1977."I especially like tables from the era I grew up in," Hall said. "Pinball sort of rekindles the fun you had growing up and you become consumed with it."A pinball table titled "Time Tunnel," brought by another collector, is one of only 70 ever made. Several of the games are also for sale, ranging from $250 to more than $2,000.A new Pirates of the Caribbean pinball game just released a few days ago also made it to the show."This is a really great show this year," Hall said. "It really feels like an arcade in here."For more information about the Heartland Pinball & Arcade Supershow, visit www.supershow.popbumper.com on the Internet.
New Edge, Sega ink dealfor networked gaming
New Edge will link Sega's coin-operated gaming terminals through a national high-speed network. The network won't just connect players. It will also allow Sega to monitor games and remotely upgrade terminals.
The game "Extreme Hunting 2: Tournament Addition" will be the first to be networked under this arrangement.
Video Games For The Elderly
"Games will entice the aging to remain fit and mentally active, to connect with others," he said at the recent Games for Health Conference. Researchers have been collecting human sensory data for two years to aid in a new genre of games.
"Baby boomers are not interested in shooting things," said Jeffrey Toth, a psychology professor who has released a game called "Art Dealer" in which players learn how to spot fakes, and how to buy and sell.