By Sarah DeWeerdt, SpectrumJun. 22, 2018 , 8:00 AM Originally published on Spectrum The Research on Autism and Development (RAD) Laboratory is located in a Tetris-like maze of brown wooden buildings, not far from the main campus of the University of California, San Diego. The lab itself is a nondescript warren of small beige rooms. But everything else about it is extraordinary. The first clue is a T-shirt one of the lab’s young interns wears on this sunny day in April, featuring the RAD Lab’s motto: “We play mind games.” One of the newer recruits, 20-year-old Naseem Baramki-Azar, sports a “Super Mario Bros.” shirt. A half-dozen other lab members huddle around computer screens displaying none of the usual fare of charts or spreadsheets: Instead, they’re hard at work making cartoon moles pop out of molehills, or fat spaceships careen toward the top of a computer screen. The lab’s director, Jeanne Townsend, and associate … [Read more...] about Can science-based video games help kids with autism?
Colleges video game design
The Change the Game winner for 2018 is a 17-year-old girl named Christine, from Vancouver, WA. Her game, Mazu, is a side-scrolling platform puzzle game where the titular hero must navigate a dangerous forest. Four other young girls received runner-up prizes for their own game designs. In December of last year, Google announced a new initiative focused on girls and gaming called Change the Game. The purpose of the initiative is to draw attention to the fact that women and young girls are also gamers, and that there should be games designed with them in mind. The Change the Game Design Challenge called on young girls across the United States to design a game that they’d like to play. Today, on stage in Los Angeles, Google announced the Grand Prize winner: a 17-year-old girl named Christine from Vancouver, WA. She won for her design of a side-scrolling platform puzzle game called Mazu.Mazu’s titular character is a young shapeshifting girl who uses her wits to make her way on … [Read more...] about 17-year-old girl wins Google’s Change the Game Design Challenge
Some video games may boost the amount of fruit and veg eaten by children who play them, suggests new research. While playing computer games has long been linked with an unhealthy lifestyle, the new study seems to show that serious video games may help increase the fruit and vegetable intake of children.Few children eat the recommended "five a day" portions of fresh fruit and veg.But eating adequate amounts is not only ideal for a healthy lifestyle, but has also been shown to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases including heart disease and certain cancers.Using a serious video game, Squires Quest! II: Saving the Kingdom of Fivealot, researchers evaluated how creating specific plans within the goal-setting component in the game helped nine to 11-year-olds improve fruit and veg intake at specific meals.For the study, 400 children played 10 episodes of Squires Quest! II, an online video game that promotes fruit and veg intakeAll the children were asked to record whether they met their … [Read more...] about Level up: Video games may help increase kids’ fruit and veg intake
A newcomer to Madison’s growing video game scene is trying to forge a support network for those in the industry who identify as women, non-binary, femmes or girls.Madison FemDev will hold its first meeting at Cool Beans Coffee Cafe, 1748 Eagen Road, at 7 p.m Wednesday. According to founder Katherine Stull, the young group will promote mentorship, networking, and creative partnerships among those who may feel isolated or intimidated in a male-dominated industry.“I thought about how less intimidated I would have been to get into games if I had known how many women were out there,” said Stull, who also serves as the community manager for Human Head Studios on Madison’s north side.Stull is a self-described “spring chicken” — she just arrived in Madison last year after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she studied game design and development.She said she was one of a few women in the program. That isolating … [Read more...] about Fem Dev, a video game group focused on gender diversity, launches this week
After nearly 50 years of innovation, where are video games headed next? Ars Technica Live returns with guest Tracy Fullerton, an award-winning, experimental game designer and director of USC’s Game Innovation Lab. Tracy has spent her entire career developing games as an entrepreneur, teacher, and designer. The Night Journey is her latest indie game and is a collaboration with artist Bill Viola. Tracy’s work at USC gives her a broad perspective on what's coming next for games, both technologically and artistically. Join Ars Technica editors Samuel Axon and Annalee Newitz in conversation with Tracy at the next Ars Technica Live on March 21 at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland. Tracy is the designer and director of Walden, a game, an adaptation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond, which was recently awarded “Game of the Year” and “Most Significant Impact” at Game for Change. Currently, she’s director of the USC Game … [Read more...] about Bay Area: Join us 3/21 to explore the future of video game design