I am a huge fan of video games.

Bro playing Atari is one of my first memories. Mom and Dad got Bro and I a Nintendo right when they came out. We got a Tandy 2000 when they first came out, and I can remember Bro and I teaming up for hours of Kings Quest. This one summer, my friend and I beat every level (and star levels) of Super Mario World just to see what happened (SPOILER: all the turtles turn into weird/creepy Mario heads. we were suicidal for weeks). The first shooter I REALLY got into was Quake II (high school computer class was really just an hour battle-royal). College was full of Halo and Starcraft and Xbox and PS2.

While I love video games, I suck at most of them. I cheated at Duck Hunt. I cheated at Mega Man. I cheat at Zelda. I cheat at Final Fantasy. I actually preferred to watch Bro and his friends play Super Contra. My friend beat WAAAAAY more levels of Super Mario World than I did. But I am actually pretty good at first-person shooters, and my favorites are statergery games– Red Alert, Age of Empires, Starcraft, etc. World of Goo is friggen awesome. Love strategery.

Turns out growing up with video games is why Im a super genius:

“People that play these fast-paced games have better vision, better attention and better cognition,” said Daphne Bavelier, an assistant professor in the department of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester.
… He added that students who played “pro-social” games that promote cooperation were more likely than others to help out in real-life situations like intervening when someone is being harassed.

YAY!

But there is always someone hiding behind a corner, cant wait, cant resist saying something stupid:

Gavin McKiernan, the national grassroots director for the Parents Television Council, an advocacy group concerned about sex and violence in the media, said that when it comes to violent video games, any positive effects are outweighed by the negative.

“You are not just passively watching Scarface blow away people,” McKiernan said. “You are actually participating. Doing these things over and over again is going to have an effect.”

Um, I guess the Parents Television Council is afraid of kids who play video games all the time. Since there is no evidence kids who play video games are any ‘more violent’ than kids who dont, I can only assume the PTC is terrified of a hoard of children who grow up to be like me and my bro, HIV researchers and engineers…

And then theres stupid comments from the lead researcher:

“As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games,” she said. “You don’t have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles.”

*blink*

*blink*

Daphne Bavelier, I know you are a woman doing video game research, but youre kinda over compensating for the sexism thing and going to the opposite extreme. “Us females” in my computer class played Quake II with “those males” and had a marvelous time. My Super Mario World partner was an “us female”. “Us females” love Halo too. And Im pretty sure “those males” have a thing for Zelda, despite all its fairies and sparkles.

Dont patronize us, female.

Comments

  1. #1 Cain
    May 29, 2010

    How did you cheat at Duck Hunt? I hate that fucking dog.

  2. #2 Jesse
    May 29, 2010

    Motherfucking Metroid. I think I could probably still beat that in under 3 hours. After one run through, I’m pretty sure I could beat it in under 3 hrs with 100% of the items.

    I heart Metroid

  3. #3 Charles
    May 29, 2010

    You should check out Bit Trip Runner on Wii Ware, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwFAbnc6elY

  4. #4 D. C. Sessions
    May 29, 2010

    I can only assume the PTC is terrified of a hoard of children who grow up to be like me and my bro, HIV researchers and engineers.

    If you’ll pardon me, “Well, DUH!

  5. #5 Lurker
    May 29, 2010

    Daphne Bavelier, NOBODY wants to play that game.

    Not even girls.

  6. #6 Sili
    May 29, 2010

    I see Bavelier is from the baroness Greenfield school of proctological research.

  7. #7 John C. Welch
    May 29, 2010

    I told that bit about butterflies and sparkles, and she almost choked on her burger.

    Then again, this is a woman who plays a thief on D&D Online, with all her skills set towards assassination. my job is to distract monsters so she can sneak up, and stabbity-stabbity “DIE!” (she really yells the die bit. sometimes the stabbity-stabbity too.)

    As she said “I have centuries of my gender’s repression to make up for. gimme a knife so i can kill shit.”

  8. #8 Azkyroth
    May 29, 2010

    Hmm. I wonder what it implies that I strongly prefer playing against a computer, setting up attacks and victories exactly the way I want them in strategy games and even RPGs, and creeping methodically through FPS games taking as few hits as possible and shooting enemies from cover if the game controls allow it. (I fucking hate the missions where you have to babysit NPCs, in FPS games, because they always make themselves such lovely targets).

  9. #9 Jon H
    May 29, 2010

    Christ, she could have at least used Portal as an example, or World of Goo for that matter.

  10. #10 dvrvm
    May 29, 2010

    zelda!!!

  11. #11 jose
    May 29, 2010

    Whatever happened to video arcades? I developed metahuman reflexes when I was a kid by waiting for M.Bison to try to flying-headbutt me just to produce a hadoken in the right moment. Or maybe it was the wak-a-rat in sam&max that made it?

    @Azkyroth: It means you don’t like the unexpected. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the NPC’s AI may be: they’re still stupid and it’s pretty easy to fool it unless the game itself cheats (like when playing Dawn of War on Insane mode: the game produces units without any cost. That’s cheating but you’re on Insane, so anyway)

    By the way, Quake 2 was terrible. Unreal wins anytime.

  12. #12 Flounder
    May 29, 2010

    You Gotta love the PTC. They issued this press release complaining about a new CBS show called because it has a cuss word in the title! The title has exactly what I typed – “Dollar Pound Asterisk Exclamation My Father Says”.
    You can’t make this shit up!

  13. #13 Azkyroth
    May 29, 2010

    @Azkyroth: It means you don’t like the unexpected. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the NPC’s AI may be: they’re still stupid and it’s pretty easy to fool it unless the game itself cheats (like when playing Dawn of War on Insane mode: the game produces units without any cost. That’s cheating but you’re on Insane, so anyway)

    Or that I’m more interested in “building” something, even in a very roundabout and figurative way, than “beating” something.

    Though I enjoyed Team Fortress Classic from well before, and through, the 1.5 transition…basically up until everyone had reduced grenade priming to a purely reflexive action and trying to use intelligent strategy rather than the analogue of AI scripts became a liability. I think most multiplayer games would be tolerable if the chat functions were disabled.

  14. #14 Optimus Primate
    May 29, 2010

    King’s Quest! *Swoon*

    I miss point-and-clicks so much. Well, missed, I should say. Telltale Games is bringing ‘em back with a vengeance.

    If only they’d do a sequel to Full Throttle.

  15. #15 Jesse
    May 29, 2010

    I still <3 Metroid, but I did enjoy Full Throttle. In fact, I whooped up on it not too long ago on SCUMMVM. You can play all those old games that used the same engine as FT by using SCUMMVM.

  16. #16 William Wallace
    May 30, 2010

    I agree. Except it seems on a PC at least very few females play FPS. Even those rare few that do and identify themselves, are average at best. Maybe this is just a PC thing.

  17. #17 TheSlat
    May 30, 2010

    Daphne Bavelier must be talking about Robot unicorn attack.

  18. #18 BrianX
    May 30, 2010

    This is for Duck Hunt fans:

    http://www.thefump.com/fump.php?id=1025

  19. #19 Katherine
    May 30, 2010

    @William Wallace: “those rare few that do … identify themselves”

    Uh duh, the ones that are actually concentrating and kicking your ass don’t identify themselves because they don’t feel like being distracted by the extra smacktalk that usually gets directed at them in such games.

  20. #20 Tatarize
    May 30, 2010

    “But I am actually pretty good at first-person shooters, and my favorites are statergery games– Red Alert, Age of Empires, Starcraft, etc. World of Goo is friggen awesome. Love strategery.”

    This comment like 3 months ago would have gotten you into the Starcraft 2 Beta.

    —-

    To cheat at duck hunt, you need to realize that the other controller, when hooked up, would control the ducks. You force the ducks to fly into the corner and then shoot them more easily than if they were flying of their own volition.

  21. #21 Azkyroth
    May 31, 2010

    Daphne Bavelier, I know you are a woman doing video game research, but youre kinda over compensating for the sexism thing and going to the opposite extreme.

    Err, looks to me like she’s just engaging in sexism.

  22. #22 Travis
    May 31, 2010

    Wow, butterflies and sparkles. Girls are naturally delicate flowers and nasty male games will make them wilt.

    On to better things. SCUMM games are awesome. I regularly replay LuasArts adventure games, they make me so happy. I also often seek out other older aventures games to play. Sadly the genre is a bit dead these days. But there are a lot of amateur games out there so I have been able to make due.

  23. #23 Lab Rat
    May 31, 2010

    Oh ERV of *course* computer games affect peoples behaviour! That’s why all the people who played Pacman spent their entire adult lives eating small pieces of candy and running away from ghosts.

    And people who play Mario spend a lot of time jumping up and down on mushrooms, running into walls and climbing down pipes with their brothers.

    :p

    [seriously though, noone ever accuses Mario of encouraging people to become plumbers ... and no one ever does research to see if any mario-playing kids grow up wanting to *become* plumbers. Or princesses.]

  24. #24 red pepper
    May 31, 2010

    I think most multiplayer games would be tolerable if the chat functions were disabled.

  25. #25 Lou FCD
    June 1, 2010

    Quake II rocked. I played it until I passed out.

    But then came Unreal Tournament….

  26. #26 Dave
    June 1, 2010

    OK, let me see if I have this straight: People who play fast paced games have better vision and better reflexes, thos who play “social games” are more likely to help people out.

    Err . . . causation or corellation?

    Oh and gratuitous xkcd link: http://www.xkcd.com/746/

  27. #27 Nomen Nescio
    June 1, 2010

    People who play fast paced games have better vision and better reflexes, thos who play “social games” are more likely to help people out.
    Err . . . causation or corellation?

    correlation, but in the reverse direction — personality and inclinations decide game choice. you see this in some MMORPGs; it’s a quite different personality type that opts to play clerics, as compared to barbarians.

    and on the sexism angle, Ms. Bavelier needs to go online and genderbend in an MMO some more. that, too, can be an interesting experiment in sociology and anthropology; female chars do get treated noticeably differently, even when everybody in the game knows fucktons of players are genderbending in both directions. it’s that sort of thing that’s convincing me the feminists have a point about this whole “internalized patriarchy” thingamabob. still, magic wands and sparkleponies? SO not gonna fix any real problems.

  28. #28 stogoe
    June 1, 2010

    Maybe this is just a PC thing.

    It’s an online gaming thing. I won’t game online because I hate dealing with dickbags. Online gaming is the sole realm of dickbags and people who have enough patience to deal with/ignore dickbags.

    I miss the Feminist Gamers blog.

  29. #29 stogoe
    June 1, 2010

    Also, I want a Wii-make of Portal because I want to play it so bad but my old-timey laptop doesn’t have the processor or the graphics card.

  30. #30 Michelle
    June 1, 2010

    I am very much a story gamer.

    That said, I’m perfectly willing to shoot shit when the story compels.

  31. #31 Azkyroth
    June 1, 2010

    Also, I want a Wii-make of Portal because I want to play it so bad but my old-timey laptop doesn’t have the processor or the graphics card.

    Huh, usually they gratuitously refuse to release games on any platform EXCEPT consoles. ’bout time the shoe was on the other food… >.>

  32. #32 yud
    June 1, 2010

    The easiest way to cheat at duck hunt is to aim the gun at the light bulb in the nearest table lamp (when you remove the lamp shade to make this possible, remember to put it back before your mother comes home).

    The way the game works, when you pull the trigger, the display briefly goes entirely black with a white square where the duck is. The gun controller has a light sensor, and a hit is registered when enough light hits the sensor that would correspond to the gun being aimed at the white square. By aiming the gun at a light bulb, it registers a hit every time you pull the trigger.

  33. #33 stogoe
    June 2, 2010

    Huh, usually they gratuitously refuse to release games on any platform EXCEPT consoles.

    Well, I’m pretty sure it’s on the other two, ‘cept I have only the money/free time for one console and I picked the Wii because of Zelda and Metroid and less dickbaggish advertising. Both the 360 and the PS3 seemed to position themselves as the console for annoying dude-bros.

  34. #34 Jesse
    June 2, 2010

    Well, I’m pretty sure it’s on the other two, ‘cept I have only the money/free time for one console and I picked the Wii because of Zelda and Metroid and less dickbaggish advertising. Both the 360 and the PS3 seemed to position themselves as the console for annoying dude-bros.

    Somebody has good taste.

  35. #35 Tyler DiPietro
    June 2, 2010

    Well how about SUPER DUDE BROS!!! DO DO DO DOO DO DO, DUN DUN DUN, DUN DUN, DUN DUN.

  36. #36 Prometheus
    June 2, 2010

    I will play Desert Bus and only Desert Bus.

    I do object to the gratuitous violent content.

    It should be restricted to persons over 35 under the strict supervision of clergy.

    In truth I haven’t played games for a few years (I’ve been pouting over Diablo III)but the office sprouts keep challenging me to Adult Swim games for money. I have been clobbering them on Tofu Hunter, Candy Mountain Massacre and Jet Pack Jackass…..all those quarters from my teen years, they are coming back home…hah!

  37. #37 Mu
    June 3, 2010

    Hmm, none of the games ERV mentioned were released for the Commodore 64. We must have been in different generations ;).
    And I’m biased on the female gamer thing, I picked up my wife playing Everquest.

  38. #38 DJD
    June 3, 2010

    Being in the games industry I’ve had to put up with all the “video games are murder simulators that brainwash kids to kill” garbage. You’d think the mounting evidence that games have a positive influence would shut these people up. Can I call them Video Game Deniers? That doesn’t quite seem to work…

    Oh well, at least Jack Thompson got some comeuppance. Now it’s back to corrupting the minds of our youth.

  39. #39 cordyceps0
    June 4, 2010

    I’ve typed this before, and I’ll type it again: I know women who play FPS’s, watch sports, enjoy porn, and (this is the real shocker) occasionally take a shit. If that’s too much for you to handle, take a deep breath and hold it ’till you pass out.

  40. #40 Azkyroth
    June 13, 2010

    I’ve typed this before, and I’ll type it again: I know women who play FPS’s, watch sports, enjoy porn, and (this is the real shocker) occasionally take a shit. If that’s too much for you to handle, take a deep breath and hold it ’till you pass out.

    Ewwww….

    Sports? Seriously? >.>