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Social Studies

Geezers can still be gamers Add to ...

Geezers gamers

“When Thomas Abel gets home from a stressful day at work, the 43-year-old airplane mechanic likes to let off steam by playing videogames,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “But he doesn’t like to play against kids. He says they spout mom jokes and infantile nonsense during online matches on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 system, which allows players to form teams and battle one another over the Internet. So Abel retreats to a safe haven where he knows he can find suitably mature joystick companions: a website he helped found called Geezergamers.com, where players meet on forums with names like ‘Get off my lawn.’ … Communities of greying gamers have sprouted up worldwide as generations reared on Pong and Pac-Man have become addicted to the latest iterations of Halo and Call of Duty, but are no longer as fast with their trigger fingers. So they are extending their playing days in virtual versions of the senior leagues.”

Records? Made to be broken

“A world record for playing the video game Q-Bert – nearly 85 hours – was established in a New Jersey arcade by George Leutz of New York,” says United Press International. “The 38-year-old Manhattan resident played the marathon game, popular in the 1980s, on a single game credit for 84 hours and 48 minutes Thursday through Monday, beating the previous record of 68 hours, 30 minutes set in Florida in 2012, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported. It was Leutz’s fifth attempt to [set] the record, and the trick, he said, was to pace himself properly, with nine hours of gaming, followed by 45 minutes of deep sleep.”

A game imitates life

“The classic rock-paper-scissors game encourages a strategy of second-guessing,” blogs Alan Boyle at NBCNews.com. “When people try to second-guess a rival, they don’t eighth-guess or ninth-guess them: Using a glorified version of the classic rock-paper-scissors game, researchers have found that players tend to converge on a strategy of thinking around two steps ahead. They say their findings could shed light on other pursuits where rivals have to engage in cycles of second-guessing – including fashion trends, political campaigns and the financial markets. ‘Anticipation may be the motor that keeps fads running in cycles,’ Seth Frey, a doctoral candidate studying psychology and brain science at Indiana University, said in a press release. ‘It could be a source of the violent swings that we see in financial markets.’”

Get your news via games

“Seen it in the news?” asks the New Scientist. “Now play it: A mobile-game programming system allows 3-D depictions of news events to be introduced into the action. It’s been developed by MultiPlay.io, a British startup that says the technology could make game play more current and provide new ways for designers and coders to make cash – perhaps selling ‘news injection’ rights to news agencies, TV stations or newspapers. The firm’s HTML5 games creator, also called MultiPlay.io, lets users import 3-D animations during game play, allowing, for instance, last week’s meteor explosion over Russia to be pasted in above the game action.”

Sound was unfamiliar

“Police in Pennsylvania say a student’s report of a gunshot being fired was instead the sound of a newspaper hitting the sidewalk,” Associated Press reports. “Gettysburg police chief Joseph Dougherty says a Gettysburg College student had reported that someone in a white sedan fired a shot early Saturday morning. But Dougherty says police investigated and determined the sound came from a newspaper delivery driver throwing a newspaper from her vehicle.”

Thought du jour

There is no a priori reason for supposing that the truth, when it is discovered, will necessarily prove interesting.

Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher (1909-97)

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