Posts Tagged ‘video games’

Ratatouille video game

Monday, December 21st, 2015 | Distractions

Earlier this month I took the unusual step of going to buy a video game. I don’t play games most of the time, but given the old versions of Madden can usually be picked up for a couple of pounds, I decided it was worth it. I haven’t actually played it yet, but I will…

It was part of a 3 for £12 offer so I had a look at what else they had. I found this:


A video game based on the best film ever? I’m sold! This resulted in me being able to get one more game for the same price. This was really tricky because I did not really want another game and therefore spent ages trying to decide between all the games I didn’t really want. In the end I picked Tomb Raider.

Happily I took my Ratatouille game home and the next day had a bit of time to give it a go. It turns out the controls are impossible! It’s hard enough to stop Remy falling off stuff most of the time and sometimes he falls down inside a solid object and the only way to get out is to restart the game.

Then you have to learn how to balance on a wire. But how? The game does not explain it. Do you tilt the controller? Use the joystick? Use the arrows? Use the top buttons? None of them seem to have any effect. What am I supposed to be doing here?

I chatted about it at work and I am not the only person who has had such problems. In general, I realise what the controls reminded me of though. Tomb Raider! The way it was impossible to stop Lara falling down holes, usually by accidentally jumping backwards to her doom.

The frustration was brilliantly captured in this 2006 video:

So maybe me and Ratatouille the game are just not destined to get on. Luckily, I can just play one of the other games I bought and get away from those horrible Tomb Raider style controls that I had forgotten how much I hated.

Oh, wait…

Violent video games don’t lead to violent crime

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

I was recently in a discussion about whether violent video games led to violent crime or not.

The main argument from the other side was “well, it’s just obvious isn’t it” and, on a slightly more substance based strand, “kids just think violence such as they experience on a video game is normal and acceptable.”

My argument was that there simply isn’t any evidence for this. I wasn’t going to chase it up or anything but I have work to do that I’m procrastinating from and as I saw a related article in the news just now, I thought I would double check my facts.

A quick consultation of the encyclopedia helpfully points out the bottom line – that Harvard Medical School and the British Medical Journal have both done studies into this topic “have shown no conclusive link between video game usage and violent activity.”

The fact is the evidence shows there isn’t a link between violent video games and kids going out and committing violent crimes.

But I would also goes as far as to say that, if you put some thought into it, it’s actually obvious that there isn’t a link. I think there are two main reasons for this.

The first is that Wikipedia also points out that over the past 20 years violent crime has been consistently in decline whereas sales of video games have been consistently growing. If there was a link we would expect that as more violent video games were sold, violent crime would increase. But it doesn’t. In fact it goes the opposite way. I’m not suggesting that violent video games actually decrease violent crimes but it certainly is evidence against the idea that encourage it.

Secondly, society hasn’t really got any more violent than it used to be.

Video games may be a relative new comer (although of course the ZX81 is actually older than I am) but the idea of violent games certainly isn’t. For years kids have been running around playing cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, playing with toy soliders and toy guns. Indeed my dad has often told me that one of the must have toys of his era was the Johnny 5 Gun, so called because it had five different modes of shooting. The only difference today is that kids run around a virtual world connected by their X Box Live rather than doing it in real life – which is arguably far more real than in a computer game.

Given these two reasons alone, it does not seem intuative that the popularisation of video games including some which are violent, would automatically lead to violent crime – and you would be right, because the evidence backs up that it doesn’t.