Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Batman Arkham City Review

The single major flaw of Arkham Asylum was that the wonderful and overwhelming thoroughness in which the Batman world was depicted made it hard to imagine how a sequel could accomplish or cover anything more. Every single element that defined the character was spot on, from his gadgets to his combats.

Even his detective skills that he had previously neglected are displayed in the most spectacular fashion in Arkham Asylum. At Rocksteady, the developers featured a few of Gotham City's greatest villains and then added hidden references to almost thirty more as mere fan service. A morbid setting was created with enough detail in efforts to capture the horror of the comic, but with enough scope to fit a Batmobile, Batwing and Batcave.

Rocksteady's developers thought of Arkham Asylum as 'practice' from the moment the Arkham City project was underway. Considered as the best ever superhero game, Asylum was the 2009 Game of the Year. However, in comparison to Arkham City, it seems like a demo - a draft or a blueprint for the most amazing Batman and superhero game ever created.

Improvements to Arkham Asylum

Any questions regarding how much better and bigger Arkham City is from Arkham Asylum can be answered by the sensational list of villains mentioned in the latter, but never seen before.

These names include Ra's al Ghul, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin, Two-Face, Scarface and the Ventriloquist, Clayface, Firefly, The Injustice Gang, Professor Hugo Strange, Mad Hatter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Black Mask, Hush, Killer Moth, Calendar Man, Prometheus, Maxie Zeus, The Creeper, The Ratcatcher, The Great White Shark, Humpty Dumpty, Amadeus Arkham, Martin "Mad Dog" Hawkins, The Spirit of Arkham and the Mystery One-Armed Inmate.

Half of these villains play big roles in Arkham City. In addition to that, all but one of the villains that were introduced in Arkham Asylum makes a return appearance in the sequel.

The developers and writers of the game could barely have done a better job, having successfully developed and justified the place of each character in narratives that make total dramatic and logical sense. The story is something special, blending the Animated Series episodes' humanity, Frank Miller's comics' brutal darkness and Christopher Nolan's films' confident risk-taking.

The innumerable moments of shock, awe and squealing will make a fan overpowered by these emotions in a matter of minutes of playing the game. The incredible quality of graphics makes the characters almost life-like, and the sound effects add to the intensity of the game.

Other features of the game

The magnitude of the game's atmospheric intricacy and epic scale is sure to leave you floored. Each building is unique and countless rooftops with distinct neon signs can be seen. A huge Ferris wheel reveals hidden bodies in each compartment when scanned using Detective mode.

While you may not be able to get your hands on the Batmobile just yet, climbing and diving and leaping and gliding across the vast playground using Batman's tools and cape offers incomparable exhilarating freedom, making Arkham City the best superhero game ever.

Bottom LineBatman Arkham City does everything Asylum did but bigger, brasher and with more freedom.

Video Games Positive Impact on Learning

Can Video Games Create a Positive Impact on Learning?

I believe trying out something new is good as long as it is beneficial and enables you to succeed in life. This is true in case of learning as well. As we can see, internet has drastically changed the way of imparting education that our previous generation have been used to; attending classes at specific days of the week, reading text books either purchased or borrowed from the campus library, and through sharing notes. Today, learning has gone hybrid, moving beyond the age old format of teaching within the classroom. Now anyone from anywhere can listen to your lectures and watch you speak via the internet and subsidiary multimedia elements. Moreover, the recent trend in online learning is introducing social games within classes. Children are addicted to video games and this addiction is compelling educators to launch the concept in classrooms too.

While many argue introducing games in the classroom will hamper studies, I support the majority views that are in favor of launching it in schools and at universities. Of course, we have to develop games keeping in mind the purpose, i.e., helping students to acquire knowledge quickly and in an interesting way so that they don't get bored. Many developers are also creating games that can be played on Smartphone's and such other mobile devices.

If you are still unsure whether games actually are a useful tool that enables children and teenagers to grasp important concepts in a range of subjects, then do have a look at some of the current facts.

In June 2012, the Institute of Play, a non-profit organization promoting game-based learning, has created a project - the "Games, Learning and Assessment Lab" (GLASS Lab), based on a $10.3 million grant received from the reputed MacArthur, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Electronic Arts, and the Entertainment Software Association. The project aims to create next-gen educational games for students as well as work on the existing ones to make them more learner-friendly.

According to a May 2012 publication, Zynga, the leading social gaming site and the maker of FarmVille, has teamed up with Grockit, an online social gaming service provider, to help teachers and tutors prepare students for a variety of tests using collaborative training, social charts, points, and achievements.

The U.S. President Obama has already appointed an expert adviser to frame the first national policy initiative on the role of video games in education, health, environment, and such numerous other areas.

In 2011, the University of Pennsylvania declared 2011-2012 as the "Year of Games". The University has started providing grants to all selected staff, students, and departments to create programming relevant to sciences, social culture, public policy, and such other significant fields.

Jonathon is a professional trainer. He employs latest technology for online class registration and online training registration that results in more attendance and ROI.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Video Games Actually Help Eyesight

McMaster Study Shows Video Games Actually Help Eyesight

Your mom was wrong — not all video games are bad for you.

A study conducted by researchers at McMaster University indicates that playing first person shooter games can help improve the eyesight of people with conditions like amblyopia or cataracts.

“Parents are always concerned their kids are playing too many video games,” said Terri Lewis, a vision scientist who was part of the team that conducted the study.

“Now, many people are saying 'well, I'm not going to nag my kids anymore.'”

A paper by Simon Jeon that outlines the results of the study was published in the journal Seeing and Perceiving in August.

Researchers at McMaster had seven people with preexisting eye conditions play Medal of Honor, which was released on the Xbox 360 in 2010.

Participants were all born with cataracts that were removed — but because of their condition, their vision never developed to 20/20. Six of the seven were not gamers.

They played the game for 10 hours straight in a controlled environment, and then two hours a day only until they reached 40 hours of play.

“We brought them back four weeks later and they all had improved vision,” Lewis said.

The participants found improvements in detail, perception of motion and in low contrast settings.

In essence, players could now read about one to one-and-a-half more lines on an optometrist's eye chart.

“We were thrilled,” Lewis said. “It's very exciting to open up a new world of hope for these people.”

Researchers don't know exactly how playing the game was able to help restore some vision for the patients.

They hypothesize the adrenaline created playing the came creates dopamine — which when combined with the level of attention to detail players need in a Medal of Honor match — can actually rewire visual connections in the brain.

“You're required to be extremely alert when playing,” Lewis said. “You have to be ready to shoot to kill at all times.”

Interestingly, the team didn't get the same result from other, less intense games like Tetris or The Sims.

Lewis says that without the urgent adrenaline rush that comes from playing a first person shooter, the results just don't happen.

She said her colleagues are now trying to develop something less aggressive that has the same sort of characteristics so the treatment can be used on children, too.

“We don't feel comfortable administering these games to children,” she said.

Lewis says the treatment wouldn't work on individuals who have physical eye problems, like a detached retina.

Armed with these results, the McMaster team is trying to challenge the belief that a person's vision won't improve past childhood.

“Now maybe even as an adult, you can do things to improve your vision,” she said.

For more on the Visual Development Lab and their work, visit http://psych.mcmaster.ca/maurerlab