Apologies for the break in your Out There service last week. Hopefully, this bumper episode will make up for it.
Studies claiming that games improve the cognitive abilities of players are pretty common, in this post-Brain Training age. But a paper by Walter Boot, Daniel Blakely and Daniel Simons called Do action video games improve perception and cognition? suggests that the research is extremely ropey. Simons points out that the majority of studies compare the cognitive capacity of experienced and novice gamers, pointing out that experienced gamers are faster. But the results are correlational, not necessarily causal – people who like playing games may well simply tend to be faster in the tests that they're given.
Moreover, he argues that gamers taking part in the studies get an inkling that their hobby is the reason they've been recruited. He says that the studies are not double-blind – the researchers are aware of the hypothesises, so they could subtly affect the results, the subjects may be aware of the hypothesises, too. And just to kick it home:
"None of the gaming studies provide evidence that the benefits, to the extent that they exist at all, actually transfer to anything other than simple computer-based laboratory tasks."
So, some drones are flown with 360 controllers, as Edge forumite Elmlea, who has just been promoted from flying Tornados for the RAF to flying drones, reveals (after incisive questioning from fellow forumite Yossarian).
Though Vimeo's classier and more creative community than YouTube makes it a desirable video provider for indie game devs, its policies are kinda against the whole idea. Its guidelines stipulate that you can't upload "gameplay videos", while devs can post "videos showing development", and videos can't be for commercial use – though "small scale production companies, non-profits, and artists may show or promote their works". It's a grey situation that has resulted in videos of IGF finalist Trauma, booted off the service, as its creator Krystian Majewski explains.
OK, so Mike Wilson, late of Gamecock, has produced and appears in a forthcoming stoner comedy, Austin High. He plays Principal Samuel Wilson, and it comes with the following synopsis:
"Initially shaken by the threat of a citywide crackdown on marijuana, which escalates into a full-on 'War on Weird'. Principal Samuel Wilson and the rest of the blazed faculty, students, and staff of Ladybird High School must all shake off their slacker demons and find the courage to stand up and fight before the city they love is stripped of its essence and turned into the next great American strip mall of beige consumerist comfort."
While working at Ion Storm, Wilson was responsible for the legendary Daikatana advert, "John Romero's About To Make You His Bitch… Suck it down". He then went on to co-found the conceptually brilliant but practically faulty developer-centric publisher Gathering of Developers, and then tried again in 2007 with Gamecock, during the promotion of which he wore a lot of chicken costumes. Most recently, Wilson founded Devolver Digital, which has published Serious Sam 3 and Serious Sam Double D. In the meta description for its website: "The single greatest video game publisher and production company ever created. Offices in Austin, TX and somewhere cool in England. Like a castle or something." Which is the long way of saying, Mike Wilson's a card.
Love punch. Time to Get Romantic with a smooth remix of Chop Chop Master Onion's greatest.
Ever wondered what a Zynga office space looks like? How about corridors that look like they've been ripped from an 80s science fiction film, cartoon graffiti of founder Mark Pincus and art instalments that look like they were designed by Mr Brainwash. OK, so not quite the devil's maw, then.