Tag Archives: Computer games

Come and work with me: SL in Computer Games Development

Come and work with me in the Department of Computing & Information Systems at Cardiff Metropolitan University!

We are currently advertising for a Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Development; this full-time permanent post will contribute to research and enterprise activities within the department, as well as a leading role in undergraduate learning and teaching on our new BSc (Hons) Computer Games Design & Development degree programme starting in September 2017.

For informal enquiries, please contact our Head of Department Dr Jason Williams; further information on the application process can be found here. The closing date for applications is 9 December 2016, with interviews expected in late December.

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Interview for ITV Wales on effects of computer games

(N.B. due to the privacy settings for this Vimeo clip, you will have to view the video on their website)

Yesterday I was interviewed on Newsweek Wales, ITV Wales’ weekly news summary programme, on the perceived dangers of children playing computer games. This was in response to an ITV Wales News story from a few days before, in which a headteacher from a primary school near Caerphilly had felt he had identified a possible link between violent video games and aggressive behaviour; this story was further contextualised by a nine year old boy from Neath who had written to Prime Minister about his concerns over the availability of age-appropriate computer games.

This rather anecdotal declaration of a causal link between playing computer games (an activity enjoyed by the majority of the population) and increased aggression and violence is frustrating; furthermore, this type of story appears to pop every so often, but is not backed by the evidence base: see here and here, with summaries here and here. As I mentioned in the interview, the demographics of people who play computer games can be surprising, especially average age (over 30) and the gender split (55% male/45% female). While I take the point from the Neath pupil about the availability (and attraction) of age-appropriate computer games, it is interesting to list the top five best-selling computer games of all time (across all platforms):

Ranking Title Release Year Systems Copies Sold
1. Wii Sports 2006 Wii 82 million
2. Super Mario Bros. 1985 NES 40 million
3. Minecraft 2009 Various 36 million
4. Mario Kart Wii 2008 Wii 35 million
5. Tetris 2008 GameBoy/GameBoy Color 35 million

In summary: let’s stick to the evidence and not confuse societal or educational issues as technology problems. Minecraft is a great example of how powerful computer games can be: not only is it incredibly popular, it is also a great resource for education, developing digital literacies, communication skills and basic programming (aside: Ordnance Survey recently released a 22 billion block Minecraft map of the UK as an open data resource).

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Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros

Yes, this actually happened — I met one of my childhood heroes at the National Media Museum in Bradford, whilst I was up there for the 2011 British Science Festival in September. Although in retrospect, this photo opportunity may have been designed for children.

I barely play any games now (although I have recently procured an Xbox 360 to play with the Kinect SDK), as I still hark back to the glory days of home gaming with the NES and SNES: I first played the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES when I was around eight years old and have played pretty much every Mario incarnation since (favourites: Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World).

Any other Mario fans or NES/SNES aficionados out there?

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