Thursday, December 29, 2011

Game::Business::Law 2012

I will be moderating a panel at the rapidly approaching Game::Business::Law 2012 in January. The preliminary program has been posted to the GBL site. My panel is titled "Paying and Playing," and will be in the afternoon of the first day. One of the most exciting additions this year is the funding forum on the afternoon of day 2, facilitated by the Texas Entrepreneur Network.

I encourage anyone interested to check out the GBL site. The event will be January 25-26, 2012, and held at the SMU Dedman School of Law again this year. SMU's Dedman School of Law and Guildhall, in conjunction with The Center for American and International Law, always put together a great program.

Hope to see many of you there in a few weeks!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A short Joystiq post

Many of you likely saw that Christopher Grant is leaving Joystiq. Many of you also likely saw that Justin and Griffin are following suit. From the time I have spent both reading Joystiq and writing LGJ, I can say without reservation that Joystiq is losing three truly great people. Of those, I spent the most time interacting with Chris, who really is a great person to work with. There has already been some speculation about what the future holds for those three, but I'm sure they will do well in their future endeavor.

Which brings me back to Joystiq. While this is a major loss, the team now in place is a really strong one. I know Ludwig is more than capable of taking the reins, and the others who remain that I have worked with are all very capable. I have probably had the most interaction with Alexander and Ben, both of which are very good at what they do. In short, I wouldn't worry about the future of Joystiq.

From Law of the Game, best wishes to all of you in your various new roles.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Step Forward for Law of the Game

As I’m sure many of you have noticed, the amount of time I’ve been able to dedicate to Law of the Game over the past few months has diminished greatly. Between a new professional role and some other publication opportunities I’ve had presented, there simply hasn’t been time for Law of the Game content.

A long-time friend and reader contacted me about this very predicament, and I think we’ve come up with an exciting idea for 2012. He will be writing some content which will be posted on Law of the Game, starting in January.

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce Zack Bastian, a third year law student at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., and the first official outside contributor to Law of the Game.

Happy Holidays from Law of the Game

Happy Holidays to all of my readers from Law of the Game.

I know the second half of 2011 has been relatively quiet for a number of reasons, but I have some exciting things in store for 2012. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Games and Stroke Rehabilitation

Despite the continued attempts of research to introduce tenuous links between negative behavior and gaming,* it never ceases to amaze me how gaming can also do a lot of good. It's often in the ways I don't expect that gaming actually shines brightest. Not too long ago, a relative of mine suffered a mild stroke which primarily affected language and number processing. Upon entry to rehabilitation, a substantial part of the process came as quite a surprise to me: play games.

You see, exercises like sudoku and crosswords, along with memory games, word games, and even some grade-schoolesque math exercises helped repair that part of the brain that was damaged. While the prescription was primarily for pen and paper activities, a few iPod and iPad apps were also in the mix along with Lumosity. Of course, as soon as I saw the treatment, I immediately started thinking about just how many video games would also fit the bill, and how they might even make for better tracking of progress. Sudoku and crossword apps were obvious, so I thought I would take a minute to share some of the less obvious choices that occurred to me. I don't have any data to report on how successful any particular game is, nor the background to make that kind of analysis or any medical claims, but these games do fulfill the essential functions of their analog counterparts.

  • Everyday Genius: SquareLogic (Steam, App Store) - I list this game first because it was the first that came to my mind, and because I would imagine more stroke victims own iPads than DSs. The game is a logic game of sorts, like the offspring of sudoku grids and math puzzles. But, it presents both the components of the simple math used in rehab as well as the sudoku puzzles. Possibly the most important factor is that the difficulty scale is pretty linear and consistent.
  • Brain Age - What else needs to be said? The game, especially, the math game, is exactly what is being done on paper, but tracked over time.
  • Super Scribblenauts - I disregard the initial entry in the series because the controls were frustrating, to say the least. But the second is, in essence, a giant word puzzle. I've played through quite a bit of the game, and because of the game's huge vocabulary and multiple solutions working for most puzzles, this to me seemed like another potentially ideal candidate.
  • The Professor Layton series -My love for the Layton games notwithstanding, a good chunk of the brain teasers presented are either word puzzles or math puzzles. Perhaps the difficulty makes this more appropriate for later stages of the program, but certainly, it's one of the best brain puzzle games on the market.
I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds or thousands (counting apps on all platforms), of examples of games that could be used in this context. Given what I have seen so far, it appears that Apple hasn't had to make any effort to market apps for this kind of rehabilitation, but with the DS library being in many cases so well suited to this kind of recovery program, it makes me wonder if Nintendo should be doing more to reach out to the professionals who work on rehabilitating areas of the brain. After all, the DS is a relatively inexpensive platform, and the games, while not as cheap as apps, are still relatively inexpensive and tend to have a much more robust feature set than comparable apps. In fact, you might be purchasing $30 in apps to get the same number of features or replayability as a an average DS game. With as much attention as has been given to the Wii with respect to rehab, I'm surprised more attention hasn't been paid to the DS in the same regard. I don't have any statistics on the instances of strokes that only impair cognitive function versus those that impact motor function, and perhaps the latter are far more prevalent and thus receive more attention.

In short, should any of you experience the truly unfortunate event of a stroke in the family, and the rehabilitation scheme sounds similar to the one I've described, it may be time to loan that family member a Nintendo DS or point them to some new apps to help them through their rehab process.

*As a note to the above article, I find it far more probable that the depression caused the excessive gaming and low grades, rather than the gaming being the cause of the other two.