US Army Seeks to Prevent Suicides by Deploying Video Games

Posted by | November 30, 2008

The high-stress environment of the Iraq occupation, combined with longer tours of duty, has taken a deep toll on US soldiers. One grim result of these unfortunate conditions is the suicide rate among personnel, which has jumped up over 45 percent since 2003.

The Army has responded with various measures, but the most interesting is a program called Beyond the Front, a sort of role-playing video game, designed to encourage at-risk soldiers to seek the help they need. The game presents situations and scenarios that might affect the mental health of a soldier; a “Dear John” letter from home, a roadside bomb that kills a friend, and other stressful events that are part of the military life. How the player reacts to these events in the game determines the ending of the scenario, be it happy or deadly.

WILL Interactive, the creators of Beyond the …

Nintendo’s Wii and Wii Fit Lead Black Friday Sales

Posted by | November 30, 2008

CNet News reports that Nintendo’s Wii console and the Wii Fit game package have once again proven their godlike power over consumers with a seductive song this weekend that climaxed in over 3,100 Wiis sold on eBay alone in a single day. Wii Fit, a bundle of fitness games packed in with a balance board, hooked its narcotic tentacles into over 1,000 helpless victims over the same time period.

When asked about the sales, one consumer replied, “The many sings to us. I am a voice in their choir. And I got a really great deal.”

Check out the CNet article and see what was bought online this Black Friday.

Age of Conan: How an MMORPG Dies

Posted by | November 29, 2008

The MMORPG Age of Conan was released by Funcom right around the middle of May in 2008, probably to avoid getting steam-rollered and plowed under by the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for everyone’s favourite fantasy juggernaut. In less than a month of blistering sales fueled by desperate gamers trying to escape the pull of Warcraft, Age of Conan had gathered up over 700,000 subscribers in its muscled and well-oiled arms.

Six months later Funcom was quietly merging servers and banning anyone who talked about subscription numbers on their forums. Age of Conan is now, for all practical purposes, a walking and half-naked corpse shambling toward a dark horizon. So what happened? How did Age of Conan die?

Necessary World of Warcraft Add Ons and Plugins

Posted by | November 29, 2008

If you want to make the most of World of Warcraft, you’ll need a selection of add ons and plugins that give you more information about the world and your character. You’ll want something to help out at the Auction House, so you can make the gold. You’ll need a plugin to help your professions, so you can go and collect all those minerals, ores, and herbs quickly and easily.

When you raid, you’ll also want to be your best. The other people in your group will notice if you’re not performing. Do you get invites to raid as soon as you log in, or are you waiting in the LFG channel, alone, unloved, as darkness falls and the moon rises? The right plugins make the difference.

If you want to be the best, you’ll need some plugins, mods, and add ons to help …

Video Game Voice Actor Michael Rudder Shot in Mumbai

Posted by | November 28, 2008

Voice actor Michael Rudder, known for his work in the video games Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, and Rainbow Six 3, among others, was recently shot in a terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India.

Reports state that he was hit three times; in the arm, leg and body. He survived and is expected to recover. Michael Rudder was in India as part of a yoga and meditation group.

Bloggers and Twitter relays have helped to bring information on the events in India to the rest of the world. We here at Vox encourage our readers to get informed on these tragic happenings that are shattering a country that’s just reaching to become a star player in the information age. If you’re an online gamer, you’ve probably played with someone in India. Start with this hosted AFP article here

World of Warcraft Nude Mods and Clothing Patches

Posted by | November 28, 2008

Because we’re all adults here, it’s fairly safe to discuss doing horrible and awesome things to the textures in World of Warcraft. These texture swaps and adjustments are basis for mods and patches which add, or more often remove, cosmetic images from your WoW characters. The changes are purely cosmetic, do nothing to change the game, and affect only things that show up on your screen. No one else will see them.

You can use texture swaps to get your Gnome up and riding on a kodo, or to replace your Voidwalker with Ragnaros the Firelord. Things like that. But you aren’t here for that, are you? You want to replace your character’s bra with bare skin. You’re here for the Warcraft nude mods. Okay, I can help you.

You might want to first join the Warcraft Skins Yahoo Group to …

Holiday Travel is the Season for Portable Game Systems

Posted by | November 27, 2008

Thanks to the blisteringly efficient airports of our fair nation, holiday travel this season looks to offer plenty of opportunities for portable gaming. Airports aren’t the only place you’ll be seeing popped open Nintendo DSes and flashing Sony PSPs. As people move around to meet spend the day with their families in mute and hostile compliance to our national social rituals, they’ll be dragging along their game players in the car, on the bus, and through the trains. Likewise, travel and adventure services like cruises and tours are making use of video games in new ways. Wii consoles, especially, are appearing in hotel rec centers and aboard luxury liners. The Wii’s energetic and active controls combine with the broad appeal of Wii Sports, Wii Fitness, and various party games to make the little white monolith popular with patrons of all ages.

To help take advantage of …

Like Puzzles? Hate Your Job? Try Zahada.

Posted by | November 26, 2008

Okay, so I’m no good at puzzle games. I’ll admit that. So you won’t see me chewing up the ladder at the local Riddlefest 2000 tournament, but I can spot danger when I see it, and Zahada is hiding a knife and noose behind its back.

The game is simple. It’s a web page. Each page has a clue toward the address of the next page in the series. Some clues are obvious. Some hide. Some lie. There are at least sixty levels to keep you busy, and the game starts with a big damn wall of Screw You. It only gets tougher from there.

Check out Zahada here.

Oh, and some clues for the first few levels?

Bolded words are important. Sometimes.
There are two on your head.
Did you really look everywhere? Even in the corners?
Level 4 is broken and …

Nintendo Wii Pushes Seven-Million Units in Japan

Posted by | November 26, 2008

Once again, Nintendo illustrates the unshakable fact that in gaming, fun wins out over horsepower every time by selling seven million Wii units in Japan alone over two years. Since the console’s release in 2006, the Wii has been nearly impossible to find in stores. The conspiracy fringe claims that was because Nintendo created an intentional shortage of the things to drive up demand, but the real reason is that casual gamers, such as your parents, wake up earlier than us hardcore gamers and were buying up the Wiis before we had finished our morning cornflakes and Mountain Dew.

Game publishers originally took the Wii console for a gimmick, which it is, and made only a token effort to take advantage of what the hardware and mutant controls could offer. This left the Wii with a narrow assortment of games during its release, most of them of questionable …

Gaming Addiction Isn’t, Gamers Are Just Really Bored

Posted by | November 26, 2008

The BBC reports that Europe’s gaming addiction clinic has discovered that roughly 90% of their gaming addiction patients aren’t addicted at all, at least in clinical terms. Instead, these gamers, who spend more then four hours a day playing games like World of Warcraft, simply find a sort of escape and social life inside games that overpowers their ability to socialize in the real world. The end result is the same; they disappear into games while their real life crumbles.

Socializing is a skill, and one that must be practiced. Kids and adults who avoid social activities, have few local friends, or have been bullied and picked on in realspace tend to turn toward video games as a life and experience away from the traumas and failure of the real world. With the advent of the internet, this phenomena is becoming more common. Hell, …

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