My Pecha Kucha Presentation

28 Nov

THESE ARE MY PRESENTATION SLIDES ALONG WITH MY NOTES

 

Slide01

1. Hi my name is Joe Winfield and today I’m delivering my presentation called Grand Theft ASBO – Do Violent Video Games contribute to Anti Social behaviour in our children in this Modern Age? That’s the question that I’m arising today. Firstly I’m going to start off with a quote:

 

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2. From Doctor Bruce Bartholow, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri about the effects of video games – “A single exposure to a violent video game won’t turn someone into a mass murderer, but, if someone has repeatedly exposed themselves, these kinds of effects in the short term can turn into long-term changes.”

 

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3. So, back to the question here, do violent video games contribute to anti social behavior in children? They do and they don’t. Obviously it is not 100% true, it does for some kids, not all. It impossible to disagree that it does to some level as studies show – 2/3s of kids play violent video games…

 

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4. …in todays society. Nearly every kid have been exposed to violent video games from a very young age. It’s very likely that they can walk into any shop and buy a violent video game, such as these two kids here who’re no older than 10years old purchasing call of duty.

 

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5. These games have been proven to cause aggression and anti social behaviour amongst kids. We’ve all seen on the news about violent youths committing crime, some minor and some very serious affecting a lot of people. How have they resulted in doing this?

 

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6.  Many Factors that contribute to AS behaviour include: Mental Health, Physical Health, Attention span, Anxiety, Aggression, Social Class, Upbringing, Etc.

 

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7. Also, factors like: Access to guns, cars, weapons etc – Allowing you to mimic the game characters at ease and obviously playing the games themselves.

 

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8. Playing video games is active. You become the aggressor. You enter Fright/flight/fight mode when gaming. Identifying with the game killer in these murder simulators and overtime, you become immune to what you’re doing. Killing people becomes fun, not morally incorrect or horrifying.

 

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9. When you get better at killing people in gaming you get rewards. Reward systems are built into most violent video games encouraging you to kill more and more innocent people, Often hearing audio cues like – great shot! MURDER STREAK! Instant killer!

 

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10. You can get so caught up in gaming that it can almost become so real with todays graphic and realistic scenarios. In games you can shoot people and rob cars. What’s stopping you doing that in real life? Obviously the law, but it’s easy to disregard it and do as you please.

 

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11. Different games cause different effects. For example with: GTA – Car theft, robbery, drugs, sex, violence, mass murder and Call of Duty – shooting people without end. The list is endless. So many games display different types of violence

 

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12. But of course there are positives to violent video games! What would this discussion be without a plus side? Video games has been proven to be good for you: Release your anger, Improve hand/eye coordination.. But that’s one or two positives in a pool of negatives.

 

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13. One person who knows all about the negatives is the anti gaming activist – Jack Thompson. His basic argument is that violent video games have repeatedly been used by children as “murder simulators”. To rehearse violent plans. He also quotes that “In every school shooting, we find that kids who pull the trigger are video gamers. These violent video games are physical appliances that teach kids how to kill and enjoy it”

 

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14. The events that I’m about to discuss are real life events that were inspired by violent video games. All the culprits in the forthcoming examples have stated that this is true. They conducted evil acts of violence that were caused by excessive video gaming.

 

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15. Firstly, the Columbine Shootings of 1999 in Columbine, Colorado that were carried out by two students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They injured 24 with homemade bombs and guns and also killed 13 and ultimately committing suicide.

 

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16. Why? They were labeled as outcasts by fellow students. They hated their school for treating them differently. They were also hardcore DOOM fans amongst various other first person shooter games. They also had an easy access to weaponry. They took out their anger on the people they hated most by replicating video game violence upon them.

 

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17.  Also, the likes of Devin Moore in 2005 who was an avid Grand Theft Auto fan, who ironically was caught committing Grand Theft Auto and ultimately killed three policemen in the process. In court he was given the death sentence. His last words were “Life’s a video game, you gotta die sometime”.

 

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18. Also, similarly, Joshua and William Buckner in 2003 who committed two accounts of murder, shooting two innocent drivers on interstate 40, Tennessee. They were sentenced to indefinite detention Why? – GTA 3 inspired them. Interesting enough, they claim it wasn’t supposed to happen but that gaming took over.

 

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19. And yet another, 13yr old Noah Wilson in 1997 who repetitively stabbed his best friend in the chest after playing mortal kombat. His mother caught him in the act saying that Noah was mimicking the actions of his character on screen performing his finishing move.

 

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20. Here’s an interesting – fact from these examples Jack Thompson has supported the families of the victims in all of the cases. He believes so strongly that violent video games are evil that he takes role of defence lawyer in any such case as possible very seriously.

 

 

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21. And from these examples we also see that these culprits are all American. Most of the well known incidents in relation to video game violence involve americans. They are the most effected. But obviously it happens elsewhere just at a lesser. One big example from Europe is the man behind the Norway Attacks of 2011.

 

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22. Anders Breivik – Who Bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing eight. And he then killed 69 people in a mass shooting at an AUF camp on the island of Utoya. He was convicted of mass murder for 25years. He said in court that he trained for this event playing Call of Duty endlessly – Saying it was so easy to learn, his grandmother could’ve done it too.

 

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23. Also Tristan van der vils in 2011. Who killed six people and wounded 17 with a rifle in a shopping centre in the Netherlands,  and then killed himself. He was known as an avid Call of Duty fan just like Breivik and also suffered from Paranoid Schizophrenia which could’ve made him believe he was a part of the game.

 

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24. So many examples of video game inspired crime. So many deaths on screen now being displayed in real life. So many robberies and theft inspired by games like Grand Theft Auto. Things like this is why I strongly believe that video games do trigger select people to do such evil things.

 

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25. But, Is it that easy to just blame video games? Could it all lead to something like bad parenting? Or perhaps their social upbringing? Is it just video games?

 

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26. No, it’s not just video games that inspire such acts of criminality but they are a strong influence on how some kids behave in this modern age. Violent games are so easy to pick up and play it’s easy to see why sometimes they are the blame. Jack Thompson calling these games murder simulators I believe is very true indeed.

 

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27. So, to conclude, Do Video Games contribute to Anti Social behaviour in our children in this Modern Age? Violent ones do in some ways, but obviously not in every game and child, but a small percentage of those and that small percentage have caused a lot of damage to date.

 

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28. And that wraps up my Grand Theft ASBO presentation. Thank you for listening. I’ve been Joe Winfield. Any Questions?

My Conclusion

20 Nov

In my opinion, I do believe that violent video games can affect how children think, how they act etc. I don’t believe they’re a huge reason why children commit crime, but are definitely an aid. The main reason why children commit these crimes from my observations is because of mental illnesses and how they’re positioned socially in school/college and in general life. It’s evident from cases like the Anders Breivik shootings that violent video games such as Call of Duty can teach somebody how to shoot. And with Devin Moore, games like Grand Theft Auto can teach you how to steal a car effectively and get away with it by killing the previous owner. Violent video games are definitely a push towards committing violent crime and a reasoning behind anti-social behaviour but there are many reasons to why these events happen, not just one.

The Podcast and Script

13 Nov

So here it is, the “Evolution of Secondary Screen Gaming” podcast along with a script and bibliography

 

Podcast

 

Script

Hi there, I’m Joe Winfield and welcome to this weeks podcast about the Evolution of secondary screen gaming.

Today I’m going to take you briefly on a journey from the very beginning of secondary screen gaming all the way through the past few decades and then talk about the future of it with various concept ideas and predictions.

In the past, companies like Nintendo have integrated secondary displays to their consoles(1) such as the Game & Watch Series(2), Punch Out!(3) and the Versus System(4) (all which were very popular but were quickly outdated by future releases) and of course the Virtual Boy(5) (which was a complete commercial disaster as it was deemed as not realistic and caused eyestrain and discomfort amongst users).

Consoles such as the Wii U, the DS range and the ability to connect your Gameboy Advance to your Game Cube followed this movement in recent years(6).

However, there are many current approaches to secondary screen gaming that have taken off more effectively. The main examples being how the PS4 (with it’s Cross play concept)(7) and the Xbox One (with it’s Smart glass concept)(8) incorporate smartphones and tablets into their gameplay system. The user can use their iPhone/iPad as a controller or more simply, as a secondary display to provide extra space for onscreen action.

Also the likes of the Microsoft Illumiroom(9) which projects video around your television set which corresponds to the video game that you’re currently playing but unfortunately that project went on hiatus because it would be too expensive according to Microsoft, who later quoted that ‘it was just research’ to basically cover up the failure of it’s not existent production and launch(10).

After such concepts we can only imagine what’s about to come in this field. There are many predictions into the future that are very likely and possible, while others are pretty out of this world.

It’s predicted that Sociality will grow and grow within gaming according to Patrick Miller and Robert Zubek of GDC(11) – both saying that they envisage virtual versions of all our old family favourite games such as scrabble and monopoly being played on coffee tables amongst numerous people in different locations.

A gamer version of Netflix is a likely future feature of gaming where a system starts to pick up your interests and preferences and begins to recommend what to play next along with the option to play old favourites at ease. ‘Gamefly’ is a leading example of this who plans on expanding to every game of every gaming console rather than just currently PC along with a more intelligent search engine(12). Gamefly could ultimately take on the likes of Steam in this field.

The usage of smartphones in video games is definitely going to continue. We’ve seen recently in GTA5(13) that you’ve a smartphone called the iFruit in the game that interacts with your device in your pocket. Dead Rising 3 are lining up the ability of an in game character actually calling your personal phone for help via Xbox Ones Smartglass(14).

Cloud based gaming(15) is becoming more and more popular at present but the current information on it is pretty hidden. However, according to the Verge, Halo4 will have this in full effect with the Xbox One and Smartphone combined(16). Basically, it allows you to play your game anywhere anytime on any device, no memory card needed.

How about performing and synchronising acts within gameplay and in real life? You’re in luck, the CastAR glasses campaign is currently taking place by two former Valve engineers(17), where the end goal plans to be that you play games by moving around in real life wearing these simple sunglasses. Also the likes of Virtual Reality Simulators are becoming more and more of a thing such as the Ultimate Battlefield 3 Simulator(18) with it’s enclosed ‘Igloo Visual Dome’ space for physical movement and gameplay where you can actually get shot by virtual opponents.

It’s clear that we are going to start seeing more and more secondary screen gaming experiences over the next year and in the future. While there will be a lot of gimmicks out there, hopefully game designers will see past the obvious screen mirror, display maps and inventory views that are quite common with secondary screens at present.

It’s not hard to imagine playing a game on a desktop console and using a surface to create an engaging and deep second screen experience, is it? I think this new medium needs a few showcase games to highlight how to really take advantage of all the possibilities mainstream games will be too afraid to implement. I’d really like to see an affordable way of combining your video game with real life, such as more games like the Anki-Drive where you race virtual cars around your coffee table or on the floor(19).

Without doubt most big gaming manufacturers will take on all these ideas further. The idea of competing against each other with such predictions is a definite, Sony and Microsoft being the titans of course leaving Nintendo and Co in its dust.

Only time will tell…

So, There you have it, the future of secondary screen gaming. I’ve been Joe Winfield, now, un-pause and keep on gaming, take care.

 

Bibliography

1) Nintendo Consoles through the ages – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_video_game_consoles

2) Game and Watch –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_&_Watch#Series

3) Punch Out! – https://club.nintendo.com/rewards-details/a/31506.do

4) Versus System – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vs._System#Awards

5) Virtual Boy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Boy#Reception

6) What is Nintendo working on next? –http://www.nowgamer.com/features/1798387/what_is_nintendos_new_console_team_working_on_next/

7) PS4/Vita Cross play http://www.vg247.com/2013/05/29/ps4-ps-vita-cross-play-support-mandatory-for-all-games-report/

8) Xbox Smartglass – http://www.xbox.com/en-US/smartglass

9) Microsoft illumiroom – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IllumiRoom

10) Microsoft illumiroom Failure – http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/2/4685178/microsoft-illumiroom-xbox-projector-unlikely-to-be-released

11) Social Gaming – http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/201383/

12) Gamefly: Game version of Netflix – http://digital.gamefly.co.uk/#!/pc/download/all

13) GTA5 iFruit – http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/28/grand-theft-auto-five-ifruit-android/

14) Phone calls game to gamer –

http://www.vg247.com/2013/11/02/dead-rising-3-character-will-call-you-in-real-life-via-smartglass/

15) Cloud Based Gaming Future Rumors – http://www.joystiq.com/2013/09/27/rumor-microsoft-plays-with-cloud-based-gaming-demos-halo-4-on/

16) Halo 4 / Cloud Gaming – http://www.joystiq.com/2013/09/27/rumor-microsoft-plays-with-cloud-based-gaming-demos-halo-4-on/

17) CastAR – http://www.techhive.com/article/2061250/eyes-on-the-castar-augmented-reality-glasses-built-by-former-valve-engineers.html

18) Battlefield 3 Simulator – http://www.geek.com/games/the-ultimate-battlefield-3-simulator-has-been-created-1435731/

19) Example of Real-Life gaming – http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/10/anki-drive-ai-gaming/

European examples of Video Game Inspired Violence

12 Nov

As posted last week, I explained some of the more well known examples of violent acts inspired by violent video games in America and now I’ll discuss perhaps the biggest two in Europe.

Anders Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik ( born 13 February 1979) was the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway Attacks. On 22 July 2011, he bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing eight. He then killed 69 more, mostly teenagers, in a mass shooting at an AUF camp on the island of Utoya. In August 2012 he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.

Anders Breivik

Anders Breivik has described how he “trained” for the attacks he carried out in Norway last summer using the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The 33-year-old said he practised his shot using a “holographic aiming device” on the war simulation game, which he said is used by armies around the world for training. “You develop target acquisition,” he said. He used a similar device during the shooting attacks that left 69 dead at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya on 22 July. Describing the game, he said: “It consists of many hundreds of different tasks and some of these tasks can be compared with an attack, for real. That’s why it’s used by many armies throughout the world. It’s very good for acquiring experience related to sights systems.” He added: “If you are familiar with a holographic sight, it’s built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman. It’s designed to be used by anyone. In reality it requires very little training to use it in an optimal way. But of course it does help if you’ve practised using a simulator.”

The prosecution asked Breivik if he was aware that “there are some bereaved people sitting here in the courtroom who lost children at Utøya”. How do you think they are feeling, Breivik was asked. “They are probably reacting in a natural way, with disgust and horror,” he said. The court also heard that Breivik took what he called a “sabbatical” for a year between the summers of 2006 and 2007, which he devoted to playing another game, World of Warcraft (WoW), “hardcore” full time. He admitted he spent up to 16 hours every day that year playing from his bedroom in his mother’s Oslo flat. But he insisted WoW had nothing to do with the attacks he carried out last year, leaving 77 dead. He said: “Some people like to play golf, some like to sail, I played WoW. It had nothing to do with 22 July. It’s not a world you are engulfed by. It’s simply a hobby.” He added: “WoW is only a fantasy game, which is not violent at all. It’s just fantasy. It’s a strategy game. You co-operate with a lot of others to overcome challenges. That’s why you do it. It’s a very social game. Half of the time you are connected in communication with others. It would be wrong to consider it an antisocial game.”

Breivik said he “deserved” his sabbatical because he had worked an average of 12-14 hours every day between 2002 and 2006 on various entrepreneurial projects. He said: “I felt I had sacrificed a lot. Because of that I felt I deserved to take one year off to do what I wanted. Especially bearing in mind the upcoming so-called suicide action … I wanted to have no remorse as to what I had missed out on.”

He denied playing the game and moving back in with his mother because his business ventures, including a firm selling fake diplomas, had failed.

“If you assess what you read in media, you would think I moved back home and rented a room in my mother’s house because my company had gone bankrupt,” he said, claiming to have had 600-700,000 rone (£65,000-76,000) in bank accounts and 300,000KR (£32,5000) in cash, which he stashed in two safes in his bedroom at the start of his sabbatical. He only filed for bankruptcy to save on the accounting costs associated with winding down a company in a conventional way, he said. Breivik insisted he only moved back in with his mother to save 15,000KR in monthly rent and spend more time writing his “compendium”. He did not claim benefits, saying: “I have never received a single krone from any government subsidy or support because I am in principle against living off such subsidies or welfare.”

He said his friends and family, particularly his mother, reacted with “shock and disbelief” when he announced he was going to play on his computer full time. “I told her that I was going to allocate time to do what I had wanted to do. She reacted in that way, which is a fairly normal, healthy reaction,” he said, adding: “It would have been quite abnormal if she had just said: ‘Oh that’s great, go ahead.’ I couldn’t tell her I was taking a sabbatical because I was going to blow myself up in five years’ time. I played on the idea that: ‘Ooh, I’ve become addicted to games.’ That was my primary cover.” It was a convenient “cover” and allowed him to isolate himself and concentrate on his forthcoming “operation”. But he insisted repeatedly he was not a loner and had been out and about in the months leading up to the attacks in July last year.

Breivik was also asked about his membership of the masons. He said he joined because it was a “Christian organisation which has protected many European traditions” but said he was not an active member. It was a “hobby”, he said, claiming to have only attended “about five” meetings. It was another “militant nationalist” who suggested he join, he claimed.

Tristan Van Der Vils

On 9 April 2011, six people were killed by a gunman who entered the Ridderhof mall in Alpen aan den Rijn, Netherlands,  a town approximately 33 kilometres south-west of Amsterdam. Using a rifle, 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis shot several people and then killed himself, reportedly with a different firearm. There were seven deaths, including the killer, and 17 wounded, making it the deadliest assault attack in the Netherlands since the 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family.

Tristan lived in an apartment complex nearby with his parents. He had lived in Alphen since his childhood.  According to the police, he was a member of a shooting association and possessed three firearms. He had a history of psychological and psychiatric problems, including paranoid schizophrenia; in 2006 he spent 10 days in a closed institution after attempting suicide. He tried to commit suicide at least twice in 2008.

It was known by the court that Tristan was an avid fan of Call of Duty just like Anders Breivik. It’s also evident from these two attacks that paranoid schizophrenia may lead to violent acts on society.

Should people with these illnesses by banned from gaming, or is it coincidence?

The Predicted Future of Second Screen Gaming

9 Nov

Here are some predictions of what the future of second screen gaming could be according to gaming companies and online sources I’ve researched. This proves a very interesting read into the future.


Social feeds will be a feature, not the experience.


At present we’re all sick of logging into Facebook and seeing our friends ‘unlock a new level on Farmville Saga’ or getting notifications because your friend ‘needs life in Candy Crush’. Yet the future beholds more promising and stronger features.


App developers will continue delivering strong social features with enough reach and consumer utility to complete the social experience online.  For the last 50+ years we have been gathering to experience entertainment together, then gather around the water cooler to discuss our thoughts about it, and finally asking each other to recommend content that is worthy of our future time investment.  As apps further develop functionality along these 3 social sharing axes, consumers will gravitate to the utility of the experience as long privacy and social connectivity is given the respect it deserves – consumers want to control when and how their preference for viewing are shared.


“Discovery” will become a household word.


Gaming console creators will make a big push into transforming the experience for  hundreds of millions of household gamers across the world by offering viewers better user interfaces to search for and discover new game content.  While the grid guide will exist for long into our future, better user experiences will emerge for the three most common use cases when sitting down on the couch:


  1.  I know what I want to play – just help me find it and play it.
  2.  I just want to kill some time – show the best options for me right now.
  3.  I really want to play something interesting – help me find something worthy of my invested time.


A Netflix for gaming maybe a feature of the future. Thousands of games in one place categorised by what you’re interested in. Similar to Netflix, it starts to learn about your likes and dislikes and intellectually suggests new games for you to play, of course, keeping your favourites easily accessible.<


Tablet and smartphone usage reports will become about activities related to the TV.


It seems last year that there’s been copious amounts of reports on what percentage of smartphone and tablet owners were using their devices while watching TV.  Now that there have been enough reports produced by diverse and reputable firms, you will start to see them focus on what really matters to everyone in this ecosystem – the amount of second screen activity related to the first screen.  We expect to see them focusing on a few primary activities related to future revenue streams:


  1. To Control.  This is the most important feature for device makers and those hoping to win the digital video ecosystem war. We’ve all seen the powers of second screen gaming in relation to using smartphones/tablets/screens controlling other screens therefore making the game accessible on dual screens.
  2. To Discover.  Trying to find games to play (as mentioned above), with many in the ecosystem seeking to influence that decision through some form of advertising.
  3. To Enhance.  This will come in the form of, one, searching for or receiving additional (perhaps synchronised) related information to the program and, two, second screen-based commerce.  Last year, Nielsen reported that of consumers using a tablet while watching TV, roughly 40% are using them to check information related to the program and 29% of 25-34 year olds are shopping while watching TV.
  4. To Share.  Already hyped in the press to the nth degree, expect to start to see attempts to measure how impression affect viewership across demographics and how they influence others decisions to view content.


‘Gamification’ will begin to lose favour with the press and consumers, only to begin to add value again towards the end of 2013.


Like Farmville and its creator Zynga, games as second screen experiences during a show have demonstrated both growth and reach, but the fickle consumer will quickly tire of this marketplace for second screen games.  However, as those companies react to consumer engagement, they will begin to deploy enhanced viewing experiences that offer multiple ways to engage with the show, movie or sporting event, allowing consumers to engage at intensity levels that fit their viewing style and interest.  As this evolution develops and consumer penetration of tablets and second screen march upwards, ‘gamification’ of second screen experiences will drag itself out of the rut of disillusionment and up the curve to providing both consumer and business value.


“Who’s that again?”


Commerce on smartphones and tablets in the living room is starting to gain momentum, and the prize for capturing additional engagement related to the viewing experience is huge.  Here’s an interesting (TV/Movie feature) fact, Amazon, with its Kindle Fire and Amazon Prime products, has been experimenting with a feature they call “X-ray vision”, allowing the consumer to see which actors are on the screen during the scene. This could so easy push onto gaming where you’ll be able to identify everyone and everything at your own leisure. Or for example, if you’re half way through a mission and forget the brief, you could easily bring up the brief again with some handy pointers through this “X-ray vision” concept.


Cloud-based gaming will be taken more seriously.


To inform people who are unsure of it – Cloud gaming, is a type of online gaming that allows direct and on-demand streaming of games onto computers, consoles and mobile devices (similar to video on demand) through the use of a thin client, in which the actual game is stored on the operator’s or game company’s server and is streamed directly to computers accessing the server through the client. This allows access to games without the need of a console and largely makes the capability of the user’s computer unimportant, as the server is the system that is running the processing needs. The controls and button presses from the user are transmitted directly to the server, where they are recorded, and the server then sends back the game’s response to the input controls. Companies that use this type of cloud gaming include Ubitus, Playcast Media Systems, Gaikai and OnLive. Most cloud gaming platforms are closed and proprietary; the first open source cloud gaming platform was not released until April, 2013.


In time, this will definitely be a future feature of gaming, being able to play your games on multiple screens, anywhere, anything, just log-in and play.


Device makers will jump into second screen rapidly.


Spurred on by Microsoft’s SmartGlass platform on Xbox, device makers from gaming consoles to smartphones and tablets will start publishing SDK’s to access their system to both content creators and app developers alike in an effort to secure themselves in the coming ecosystem war.  Major CE brands like Samsung and LG will work very hard to give consumers a better living room experience with their devices than in a mixed-device world, working to create improved cross-device brand loyalty.  Gaming consoles will work hard to capture your video viewing time to become the point of living room convergence for gaming.


Personal Predictions and Future


It’s clear to me that we are going to start seeing more and more second screen gaming experiences over the next year and in the future. While there will be a lot of gimmicks out there, I hope game designers will see past the obvious screen mirror, display maps and inventory views that are going to be common place on Wii U games and instead turn to Windows 8’s huge hardware ecosystem to truly push the second screen gaming experience in a new direction. It’s not hard to imagine playing a game on a desktop and using a surface or other Windows 8 powered tablet or phone to create an engaging and deep second screen experience. Even if this turns out to be more indie oriented then mainstream I think this new medium needs a few showcase games to highlight how to really take advantage of all the of possibilities main stream games will be too afraid to implement. I want a Journey caliber second screen game!


I would love to see second screen puzzles, new types of interactions to unlock parts of levels and intriguing gameplay mechanics that would really compliment a full game experience. Even better is the possibility to take your game or part of the game on the go so you can continue to progress or build up your character on the go, which has been done before in limited capacity. The key to all of this is the growing power of mobile devices, desktops and how to get them to work together. While I will always be a console gamer at heart, I think watching the last generation of consoles grow long in the tooth while computers have leapfrogged them clearly shows that PC hardware will always outpace closed console systems. It’s our job as game developers and designers to figure out how to really push the envelope and move the second screen experience forward on all fronts, and not just in the easy/obvious ways.


As a follow up to these predictions, it would be a good idea to email Rockstar and ask if GTA 6 could involve real life people. Imagine holograms of characters running around your city as part of an actually game being played by someone else on the opposite side of the world. But that’s just a wild thought. Or is it?

The Current Approach

5 Nov

The current approach to second hand screen gameplay is mind boggling. With the PS4 and xBoxOne coming out by the end of the year, along with many other releases, we can definitely see that this trend is not a fad, it will continue until there’s no end.

I will now describe some of the consoles and concepts which will contain second screen gaming which are just on and will be on the market soon.

 

PS4 & Cross-Play

One of the features coming with the launch of Sony’s new PS4 console next month is a second screen experience that will enable use of your iPhone or iPad with the console. Today, Sony has released a statement confirming that this, plus other features will require a launch day software update to enable:

We wanted to shed some light on system software update version 1.50 for PS4, which will launch simultaneously with the system’s official North American launch on November 15th, 2013. By updating to system software version 1.50, you’ll be able to experience a variety of new features in addition to the basic functions of PS4.

Users can use the PS4 Link application for the PS Vita system, and PlayStation App for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets, to use these devices as second screens in supported titles. PlayStation App has the ability to enable users to interact with games with their mobiles devices. For example on The Playroom, a title pre-installed in all PS4 systems that requires PlayStation Camera, users can draw pictures on their mobile device screens and flick them towards the TV. The images then appear as a 3D object within the game.

Integration with our iPhone and iPad continues to intrigue, and it’s going to be exciting as time goes on to see how game developers involve our mobile devices in the overall experience. But before anyone can do anything, they’ll need to download the 300MB software update.

Additionally, Sony has also detailed when said application will be available to download from the App Store. Initially it will become available on November 13 in the U.S, two days before the launch of the console. Then, Europe will follow on November 22 ahead of the November 29 launch in countries such as the UK. Is second screen something you’re looking forward to from your PS4?

Sony has taken its first step to integrate their Playstation 3 console with their handheld device, PS Vita via the Cross-Play feature, allowing the gamer to stop playing on one device and resume on another device.

 

 

XboxOne & Smartglass (2013)

Microsoft is also working on exploiting the second screen in a more unique way with a “bring your own device” policy for Xbox Smartglass.

Game of Thrones on three screens

This unique approach allows you to augment existing hardware such as the Xbox 360 with a tablet, a phone or even another computer which has some advantages over Nintendo’s approach to the second screen. Currently Xbox Smartglass is focused more on media and content delivery instead of solely gaming like on Wii U but we’ll probably see more and more games start taking advantage of this experience. This is bound to be something to expect in the near future.

Xbox Smartglass is currently setup to run with a single second screen device just like the Wii U. That could change in the future and I think the real key to this approach is the fact that the second screen app runs independently of main screen’s hardware so less data needs to stay in sync. This is a more efficient way to handle the hardware demand of a second screen experience. On the Wii U, the system is pushing the video to the Wii U GamePad making it a one way only experience since the controller is just a display/input shell with no real CPU or GPU of its own. This makes any second screen experience capped by the performance of the main system which now has to push both screens verses the Smartglass approach were both devices work in tandem and have their own independent hardware.

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With this approach you can have a much richer experiences on the second screen devices and even have “offline modes” where the second screen can run independently of the main screen such as on the go or even when the system is just turned off. I am a big fan of how the Wii U handles playing Mario on the second screen without the need to turn on a TV but the Wii U still has to be on, the controller is basically useless without the Wii U being turned on. The Wii U and Xbox Smartglass aren’t the only mainstream second screen experiences out there.

 

Microsoft Illumiroom

IllumiRoom is a Microsoft Research project that augments a television screen with images projected onto the wall and surrounding objects. The current proof-of-concept uses a Kinect sensor and video projector. The Kinect sensor captures the geometry and colors of the area of the room that surrounds the television, and the projector displays video around the television that corresponds to a video source on the television, such as a video game or movie.

Just watch, this looks amazing:

Secondary Screen Gaming of the last few years

5 Nov

We are starting to see second screen gaming become more main stream now. It seems that every few weeks, companies are outdoing each other with great expectations and promises towards upcoming console concepts and releases.

With the launch of the Wii U,  Xbox Smartglasses and PC manufactures creating unique gaming hardware, we are seeing the beginning of something truly innovative. What the future will behold? Who knows. I have been fascinated with the second screen experiences for some time, ever since I bought that DS.

At present, tablets and phone are common place. Pairing these devices up with game consoles opens up an immersive experience to players as well as offering up additional contextual information while they play the game. This is whats going on in the current landscape and where I think game developers can start contributing.

 

Nintendo Wii U (2011)

I’ve been currently researching into the Nintendo Wii U and a handful of games it has. Luckily, my housemate has a console so I got my hands on it and tried it out. Nintendo has been offering up a second screen experience for years now with their DS and 3DS portable systems (etc, talked about earlier) with games using the innovative split screen hardware to varying degrees of success. For the most part, I really liked how the two screens worked in tandem to enhance and augment the gameplay experience. However, trying to recreate the same feeling when the second screen is across the room, such as your TV for the Wii U, is a whole different feeling.

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At first, I found that it was a bit of a let down. Games like Super Mario Bros U just mirror the display so you see the same thing on the TV and the Wii U. Then, I switched games and I was back in awe of the console! Games like ZombiU have you switching between screens a lot in the middle of the gameplay. The actions may slow down enough to switch between the main display on the TV to direct you to look at the tablet screen and vice versa. Looting bodies and having to use the touch screen to drag items one by one over to your backpack is interesting but really breaks the flow of the game. Especially since you are never safe from attacks and you are no longer looking at the main screen to see if a zombie is close to you. While this is more realistic, it still breaks the suspension of disbelief you have when playing a game. But all of these games are still testing out the hardware. It took a very long time for the DS to come into its own and eventually companies started exploiting the hardware to its full potential.

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Perhaps the biggest limitation right now with the second screen experience on the Wii U is the fact that you can only connect a single Wii U GamePad to the system. If you play with more than one person, the other players are left in the dark from the second screen and have a totally different experience. There are some interesting examples of how to take advantage of this limitation such as the ability for one player to add platforms to Mario U while the other player tries to run through the world with a standard Wii controller.

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This allows you have a very collaborative experience which is unique to the console. I am sure this type of play experience will continue to make its way into more Wii U games. One could easily see how other players could work against the main player with the Wii U GamePad. D&D style games come to mind where you have a “dungeon master” and the other players simply try to survive the dungeon while the main player sets up monsters, traps and even changes the level on the fly. Since the Wii U just launched it will take more time for game designers and developers to exploit the hardware. The Wii U isn’t the only console out there offering a compelling second screen experience.

Razer Blade and Deathstalker Keyboards (2012)

PC manufacturers such as Razer, which are known for their gaming peripherals, have been incorporating touch screens into their computers and keyboards. They call it the Switchblade UI.

The effect is amazing, especially when you think about the implications of having a fully configurable touch screen as a second controller/display for your game built right into the hardware. I’ve currently been researching two devices, the Razer Blade laptop and Razer Deathstalker Ultimate keyboard. Both are opening my eyes to the possibility of second screen devices embed in hardware. In addition to the touch screen are 10 digital display buttons with also show contextual information based on the mode of the touch screen. For number mode you are presented with a simple number pad and in games, you can customise the entire look and feel for all the buttons and the touch screen. Razer has an SDK which allows you to develop your own experiences.  I hope to research good examples of this very soon.

As you can see from the examples above, a lot has happened from the first appearances of secondary screen gaming and the likes of the Nintendo DS family.

I will further tell you about what’s being manufactured at the moment along with plans and predictions into the future of secondary screen gaming.

American examples of Video Game Inspired Violence

4 Nov

It’s scarily frequent that we hear about children and teenagers committing crime inspired by violent video games. Also, it’s evident that the majority of them are based in the United States.

Next I’m going to go through a few of the most well known examples of video Game inspired violence originating from America.

The Columbine High School Massacre

The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting which occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County in the State of Colorado. In addition to shootings, the complex and highly planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and bombs rigged in cars. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher. They injured 24 additional students, with three other people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide.

Columbine

Although their motives remain unclear, the personal journals of the perpetrators document that they wished their actions to rival the Oklahoma City Bombings. The attack has been referred to byUSA Today as a “suicidal attack [which was] planned as a grand – if badly implemented – terrorist bombing.” The Columbine High School massacre is the deadliest mass murder committed on an American high school campus, and is noted as one of the first and most serious of a series of high profile spree shootings which have since occurred.

The massacre sparked debate over gun control laws, the availability of firearms within the United States and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centered on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures and bullying, in addition to the influence of violent movies and video games in American society. The shooting resulted in an increased emphasis on school security, and a moral panic aimed at goth culture, social outcasts, gun culture, the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressant by teenagers, teenage Internet use and violent video games.

 

Devin Moore

Devin Moore (born 1985) is a teenager from Alabama who sparked a large controversy over the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City when he committed three acts of first-degree murder against three Alabama policemen in 2003.

Moore killed the two policemen and a dispatcher after being booked for committing grand theft auto. According to the Associated Press, when at the police station he said “Life is a video game. You’ve got to die sometime.” He then grabbed the handgun of one of the police officers and shot its owner and two other officers in the head. Afterwards, he drove off in a police car but was later apprehended.

The controversy involving his relation to Grand Theft Auto was revealed during an episode of 60 Minutes in March 2005. In the episode a student demonstrated the Grand Theft Auto games to them, explaining that in one of the games there is a mission that depicts exactly what Moore did: escape a police station, kill officers and escape in a police cruiser.

Moore faced trial in 2005. In August 2005, Moore was convicted as charged and on October 9, 2005 he was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Jim Standridge appealed the case.

The families of Moore’s victims are taking legal action against Sony, Take-Two Interactive, WalMart and GameStop for their part in the manufacturing and selling of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Jack Thompson was representing families in the suit as an out-of-state attorney on pro hac vice status. His pro hac vice license was revoked by Judge James Moore on November 18, 2005, and he was effectively removed from the case. The judge stated that “Mr. Thompson’s actions before this Court suggest that he is unable to conduct himself in a manner befitting practice in this state.

 

The Buckner Twins

On June 25, 2003, two American step brothers, Joshua and William Buckner, aged 14 and 16, respectively, used a rifle to fire at vehicles on Interstate 40 in Tennessee, killing a 45-year-old man and wounding a 19-year-old woman. The two shooters told investigators they had been inspired by GTA 3.

The two boys told police they shot at vehicles on a highway near their home with a .22 rifle in an attempt to recreate images from Grand Theft Auto. Mr Hamel, a nurse, was killed while driving home to Knoxville, Tennessee. Miss Bede, who was travelling in another car with her boyfriend, was seriously injured and has eight fragments of shrapnel in her pelvis. The Buckner brothers had no criminal record or any history of trouble-making.

In court last month, they pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. They were sentenced to indefinite detention. District Attorney General Al Schmutzer told the court: “They said they got the idea from a video game called Grand Theft Auto and that they were bored, that they went out and began shooting”. In a letter to victims and their families, Joshua said: “I did not mean to hurt anyone. I hate that it happened. This will stick with me for the rest of my life”.  Miss Bede and the family of Aaron Hamel plan to sue Take-Two Interactive Software, which publishes Grand Theft Auto, for liability in a wrongful death lawsuit. Take-Two owns Rockstar Games, which is based in Edinburgh and designed the first version of the game in 1997. Sony will also be named in the lawsuit, because Grand Theft Auto was made exclusively for its PlayStation consoles. Sony declined to comment on the case.

Jack Thompson, the lawyer representing the families, said the court case could be the first to rule on whether watching and playing violent video games caused excess aggression in children. He said: “We are going to show that this game did influence these boys and cause them to go out and shoot at these people. There has been a wealth of research to show that children’s brains process these video games in a different way from adults. They cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality, so they play these games and then think if they do the same thing in reality, it’s OK, there will be no consequences”. Referring to The Manchurian Candidate, a 1962 film in which American soldiers are brainwashed into becoming fighting machines in the Korean war, Mr Thompson said: “We have got a nation of Manchurian Candidates who are training on these video games”.

Mr Thompson plans to call American defence ministry officials to give evidence on how they have employed video-game designers to help to train soldiers. One company, Pandemic Games, is selling a game to the public that was designed to train infantry troops in urban combat. Players use “real weaponry and equipment currently in use by the US Army”. Mr Thompson claims that this shows video games “desensitise” people, particularly children, to violence. He will also point to the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot 13 people dead. Both boys were fans of the video game Doom, which has been used to train US soldiers in lethal combat. Claims of a link between video games and real violence have always been highly controversial, with manufacturers pointing out that millions of people enjoy playing the games but do not show any aggression.

There are also arguments over whether aggression is innate, or learnt, and whether people who are naturally more aggressive are more likely to play violent video games.But recent research has tended to back the argument that games can increase the risk of some young men committing acts of aggression. A study by Iowa State University showed last year that even brief exposure to violent video games could temporarily increase aggressive behaviour in all types of people. Another study found that people who had played violent video games were more likely to have aggressive attitudes. Craig Anderson, who led the studies, said: “The active nature of the learning environment of the video game suggests this medium is potentially more dangerous than television and movie media. With the recent trend toward greater realism and more graphic violence in video games, consumers and parents of consumers should be aware of these potential risks.”

 

Noah Wilson

On November 22, 1997, Noah Wilson, a thirteen year-old, died when his friend stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife. Noah’s mother, Plaintiff, Andrea Wilson, filed this lawsuit against Midway Games, Inc. (“Midway”), alleging that at the time the friend stabbed Noah, the friend was addicted to a video game manufactured by Midway called Mortal Kombat and that the friend was so obsessed with the game that he actually believe he was one of the characters.

Wilson claimed that Midway’s design and marketing of Mortal Kombat caused her son’s death. She alleged that she was entitled to damages under the theories of product liability, unfair trade practices, loss of consortium, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

A History of Second Screen Gaming Consoles

2 Nov

For the basis of this project I’ll be concentrating on the Nintendo DS but also covering what was around before 2004’s release of the console with what happened after and more importantly, where second screen gaming is going in the future.

Back in 2004, Nintendo announced the concept of the Nintendo DS without revealing too much information. The company made mention that the new portable console would feature two screens (hence the letters DS for “dual screen”) but beyond that the public could only guess what the final product could be.

The Nintendo DS system launched in November 2004, and was later upgraded to the DS Lite  in June 2006. The system again and again evolved into newer and better versions of it’s predecessor, the original Nintendo DS console. These updates included the Nintendo DSi (2008), Nintendo DSiXL (2009), Nintendo 3DS (2011), Nintendo 3DSXL (2012) and the latest Nintendo 2DS only being released a few weeks ago.

What you might find surprising is the fact that the DS wasn’t the first time the company came up with the concept of two displays in a system. There’s been a lot of well known devices supporting such a concept which I’ll talk about now.

So, behold, the evolution of second screen gaming consoles.

Game & Watch (1982)

Back before Nintendo hit the consumer scene with the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), the company was making profit not just in arcade titles, but also in individual portable games called the Game & Watch series. The games were limited in design due to the fact that developers had to use stencils for the character positions and animation, and the set screen could only hold so much action. So, the logical move being that the character(s) move from one screen to the other to give a bit more variety than limiting the action to the same old stencils.

There were several Game & Watch games that featured two screen action. The first dual-screen Game & Watch title was Oil Panic (which later was remade as a GameBoy Pocket game), a game where you controlled a character on the top screen catching drops of oil, then dumping the oil onto the bottom screen to score points. The Zelda game pictured here was released around the time the Game Boy original hit the scene in 1989.

Today, Nintendo honours the classic dual-screen series with a Club Nintendo premium: set up an account and register your Nintendo games to qualify for the Club Nintendo-exclusive Game & Watch Collection for Nintendo DS. This cartridge features conversions of the first three dual-screen Game & Watch handhelds: Oil Panic, Donkey Kong, and Greenhouse.

Punch-out!! (1984)

After the success of Donkey Kong, Nintendo couldn’t just stop right there. They continued to produce successful arcade games in the early 1980s prior to Americas release of the NES.

Punch-out!! was the first arcade system Nintendo released that utilised two monitors in its cabinet design. As the player boxed on the lower screen, the upper screen kept track of all the statistics, character data, as well as the time and score, as well as a constant update of the player’s health. The use of two screens admittedly was more for presentation than it was functional for gameplay purposes, and ultimately what was done on the secondary screen could have been done with a HUD overlay on the main screen. At the very least, gave the arcade machine a unique look in an arcade full of single monitor uprights.

Nintendo reused this cabinet for the later releases such as Arm Wrestling as well as Punch-out!’s sequel, Super Punch-Out!

Vs. System (1984)

The next few arcade games from Nintendo were in what’s known as the “Vs.” series, and were included in unique two monitor, multiple control cabinet that arcade owners could connect two monitors together to form one game – having them “networked” for multiplayer action.

Games like Baseball and Tennis had the ability to give players their own view of the action. Nintendo also made sit-down versions of the Vs. cabinets, offering two monitor, back-to-back configuration where players would face each other while playing.

PlayChoice-10 (1986)

By the time the NES hit the market in 1985, the company started weaning itself out of the arcade industry. But because of the inexpensive hardware, its familiar game brands and its expertise in the coin-op industry, it put Nintendo in a good position to do arcade gaming on the cheap.

The company simply took the Punch-Out!! cabinet design, and literally installed modified NES systems inside it. For a mere quarter, players could play a few minutes of whatever NES game arcade owners built into the unit. As many as ten could be selected from an on-screen menu, hence the “10” in the system’s “PlayChoice-10” name. The upper screen offered the list of games available in the cabinet, as well as kept track of how much time a player had left for his credit. The lower monitor, of course, had all of the action from whatever game was selected.

Nintendo revived the PlayChoice-10 idea in a Super Nintendo-theme coin-op. But the engineers used only one display for this cabinet, providing text overlays instead of shoving the data onto a second monitor.

Game Boy (1989)

 When Nintendo brought out its Game Boy system back in 1989, it included the classic game Tetris in everybox. Not only was Tetris a perfect game to sell the new handheld, Nintendo made sure that it also capitalized on one of the Game Boy’s features: system link. With two systems, players could compete against each other, sending lines removed from one system and putting them in the opposing player’s bin.

The two screens offered exactly what Nintendo’s Vs. Arcade units had previously done: Game Boy versions of titles such as Baseball and Tennis featured link-up connectivity and gave each player their own unique view of the action. Racing games benefited as well, letting players see the action from their own perspective.

Nintendo upped the number of connected systems to four players in some games, a feature that required an add-on and games that were programmed specifically for it.

This was also evident in future gameboy consoles such as the Gameboy Light, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance (Will bring back into discussion in a minute), Gameboy SP and the Gameboy Micro.

Virtual Boy (1995)

It’s a system that Nintendo probably wants to forget, but it, too was one of the company’s examples of dual screen gaming. The whole idea behind the release of the Virtual Boy was its ability to offer unique, 3D graphics…something that the normal “glasses” technology couldn’t quite offer.

The technology used in this system worked like a Viewmaster, but instead of two photos skewed slightly for each eye, the Virtual Boy gave each eye a different image of the game via two unique LCD screens, one for each eye.

There’s no denying that the 3D effect worked, but due to technology restrictions and the insistence of bringing the cost down, the visuals were very unattractive because of the cheaper red-colored LCD screens. It also didn’t help that the system was also very awkward to play, since gamers had to shove their face into a visor to get into the action.

GameCube/GBA Connectivity (2001)

The Gameboy makes a return in the evolution of secondary screen gamings timeline here with the ability of connecting a GBA console to a GameCube console.

“Connectivity” was Nintendo’s attempt to meld its two strong platforms by offering gameplay elements that wouldn’t be possible without the console and handheld systems working hand-in-hand. Some ideas were just designs that supplemented the gaming experience, while others were designed specifically to take advantage of both a huge, public monitor and a personal screen private to the gamer.

One of the earliest concepts of “connectivity” between the GameCube and Game Boy Advance was Pac-Man Vs., a unique design where as many as four players could compete in a multiplayer version of the arcade game: three players controlled the ghost on the monitor, with Pac-Man controlled on the Game Boy Advance in an old-school top-down view.

The Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords Adventure is a perfect example of connectivity done right, with players moving from GameCube to Game Boy Advance as they cooperate with and compete against each other.

Nintendo DS (2004)

And then we come to the evolution of the Nintendo DS which I’ve covered above.

Just to recap the different evolutions of the DS family:

  • Nintendo DS 2004
  • Nintendo Lite 2006
  • Nintendo DSi 2008
  • Nintendo DSiXL 2009
  • Nintendo 3DS 2011
  • Nintendo 3DSXL 2012
  • Nintendo 2DS 2013

Next, I’ll be covering from the evolution of the Nintendo DS to current day consoles which feature the secondary Screen gaming experience.

My First Experience with Second Screen Gaming – Nintendo DS

29 Oct

NINTENDO NINTENDO DS(TM) SYSTEMS

The Nintendo DS was my first encounter with two screens, one being the gaming screen while the other being a secondary screen displaying information about what you’re currently undertaking. You may think a console that was released in 2004 shouldn’t be your first experience with anything but as a kid who grew up with a Playstation 1&2, this was my first encounter.

You could date back further where you could connect you and your friends gameboys together with a multi-tap but the Nintendo DS was the first big stepping stone in the evolution of secondary screen gaming.

 

Here is an example from the Nintendo DS where it features a gaming screen and information screen (Mario Kart DS)

 

After many initial DS games such as Mario Kart, games evolved from that to actually using both screens for gaming and not one for gaming one for info. This revolutionised the gaming experience – making gamers aware of events happening on two different screens which was a very new feature for them.

 

Here is an example of having to use two screen to play a game (Pokemon Black/White)

 

The Nintendo DS in my opinion was definitely the first step in the evolution of secondary screen gaming. From 2004 onwards, companys such as Microsoft and Sony picked up on this idea and continued to develop their ideas into the unimaginable. Later in this blog I will show you various examples of Secondary Screen Gaming through the ages and an insight into what the future holds for it.