97% Of American Youth Play Video Games

A national survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that while young Americans don’t necessarily play the same thing, nearly all of them – girls included – play video games of one kind or another. Nearly 2/3 play video games to socialize face-to-face with friends and family, while just over 1/4 said they play with Internet friends.

  • 97% of the young respondents play video games. That’s 99% of boys and 94% of girls.
  • 7% didn’t have a computer at home.
  • 80% play 5 or more different game genres, with racing, puzzles, sports and action the most common.
    Favorites were Guitar Hero, Halo 3, Madden NFL, Solitaire and Dance Dance Revolution.
  • Half of the boys and& 14% of the girls listed a game with an "M" or "AO" rating as one of their favorites.

Get the full report.

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My Quake2 nr1 World Ranking

MyGamerCard.net today ranks me as 1 (+59,460) of 59,461 in Quake2!

Virtual Training Saves Lifes

Video games become increasingly realistic, with in-game training closing in on the quality of real theory classes. Playing America’s Army as a medic, twenty-eight year-old Paxton Galvane – being the first one on the scene – rescued two victims from an overturned SUV on the shoulder of a North Carolina
(US) interstate. Without any medical or rescue background other than
that provided in the game’s training levels, he safely removed both
individuals from the smoking vehicle and properly
assessed and treated their wounds, which included bruises, scrapes,
head trauma and the loss of two fingers.

Games are no
replacements for real trainings but it clearly shows how games have
evolved so far. No longer "fun stuff only", gaming slowly matures in
both realism and simulation performance.

Gaming To Take Over Music Sales?

Christmas sales for Britain’s largest music retailer HMV Group were the strongest since 2002, thanks to high demand for video games.

Gaming now represents about 18% of HMV’s sales, making up for falling music sales amid competition from supermarkets, online retailers and illegal downloads. Music now represents less than 33% of their revenue.

Links clean-up

I have cleaned up the links section by orting them alphabetically and removing invalid ones.
If you know of some interesting links or find some errors, please let me know, thanks a lot.

Beware of “Friends of Friends”

Beware of "Friends of Friends", a new feature coming to Xbox 360 with the Fall 2007 dashboard update on December 04.

"You’ll be able to check out the friends lists of fellow Xbox LIVE members right from the Dashboard."

The default settings – which can be changed on this page and later on from within the dashboard – are:

  • "Everyone" for adults
  • "Friends only" for teens (13-17)
  • "Blocked" (private) for children (under 13)

I personally don’t like when default settings are exposing me to the public. It’s a matter of principle. Personal information of any kind should always be treated private at first, and then the user can decide if and how much will be published.

Which console to recommend?

If I would have to recommend a gaming console to someone at this time and in Hong Kong, I would have a hard time to come up with anything. Actually, my problems are not limited to Hong Kong but some problems exist in particular in that market. Let’s see if Santa Claus could deliver anything at all.

  • Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
    In two words: "top troublemaker". Well-known technical problems, (same) game prices rise and fall like trading stocks, total lack of public acknowlegement or any response whatsoever by Microsoft to even the most serious problems, replacing a dead console unit can take weeks, confusion over console version (combination of which release or replacement unit has what hard drive and/or HDMI output), Chinese-only Hong Kong official Web Site despite English being an official language requiring anyone interested to browse the Singapore Web Site, permanent customer confusion ove events/promotions/pre-orders/releases, and a lot more…
    It’s not all bad though: assuming your console is cooled enough and doesn’t get any technical problems, you find the games you like to play and you signed up with Xbox Live perhaps, it’s a pleasure to play the high-quality games. Even more so on a high-definition flatscreen or projector and an appropriate surround-sound system.
  • PlayStation 3 (Sony)
    Overprized despite recent price cuts, most people just buying it for its build-in Blu-ray player in the hope of using it one day with quality games, not making full use of hardware capabilities so games lack in quality and scientists have started turning their consoles into supercomputers. Lack of games and a high price are other problems. More the product for gaming enthusiasts than the casual player.
  • Wii (Nintendo)
    The most gaming fun of them all thanks to its innovative controller not requiring button action so much as motion detection (simulate sword fights, bowling or tennis matches, keep fit…). Disadvantages: lack of consoles and thus over-priced, no Asian regional console released yet, which leaves gamers with either the US or Japanese (no English interface). To make matters worse, both regions cannot mix game titles due to their encoding so once bought, you’re stuck with it. Waiting for a future Asian version comes close to playing the lottery. Wii has the only "low-quality" (read "normal") video output, which means it can be played with any video display and won’t look terrible on low-end screens. Thus it’s an advantage.

Handheld game consoles are easier to summarize.

  • Nintendo DS (Nintendo)
    Also known as NDS or DS, this portable console has come a long way since the early days of the GameBoy. In line with the interactivity features of the Wii console, NDS features games requiring touchscreen and sound input besides the usual buttons. Examples of such inputs include shouting, blowing, scratching, writing… NDS is always in short supply due to high demand and based on region and model (limited color edition), prices can go up to Wii or even Xbox levels. It features Wireless LAN allowing to go online either with a limited browser or play with gamers from around the world. Chatting is also possible. Older game cartridges can be loaded as well as memory cards.
  • PlayStation Portable (Sony)
    PlayStation Portable (aka PSP), or more recently its successor PSP Slim & Lite (PSP-2000), is basically a PlayStation 2 made portable. The new release fixes many problems and complaints about the earlier one, such as dark display, bad control buttons, lack of internal memory, too heavy and too thick. Games look good and you can watch videos and play with fellow gamers around you thorugh Wireless LAN. Video outpout in progressive scan for games and other features in both progressive and interlaced mode to a TV is also available.

Conclusion

For general fun and family friendliness, I recommend the Nintendo line. Especially Wii enjoys great success as it doesn’t require game and controller knowledge. Increasingly popular with the eldery, playing a round of tennis or bowling can be achieved no matter where and by who or what age. And what more fun than sitting in a public transport and blowing or shouting at the NDS to save some little onscreen guy’s life?

For game quality and availability, I’d go for the Xbox. If the console isn’t enough, sign up for Live. Besides plenty of game levels, previews, movies, arcade games and first-generation Xbox games downloads, it’s also a medium to talk (audio/video) with others, send messages and more.

I’m not so sure about the PlayStation line. The big console doesn’t convince me and a portable console with button-only input is so yesterday.

On a first thought, people usually go for the best image quality but once playing for a while, it becomes clear that game quality usually wins over image quality. However, if both game and image are lacking, it’s a dead end.