Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

October 13, 2009 -

Results of a study performed by researchers at Iowa State University have led them to believe that there is a relation between “frequent” videogame playing and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Video Games and Cognitive Control was designed to quantify the effects of playing videogames on two types of cognitive activity—proactive and reactive. Proactive attention is described as a “gearing up” mechanism, or where a player can anticipate what is coming next, versus reactive attention, which is more of a knee-jerk response (a monster jumping out).

A visual task was used to test both attention types with brain waves and responses measured in both frequent videogame players and occasional players. Both groups were charged with identifying “the color of a word when the color and word matched, such as ‘RED’ presented in red, or did not match, such as ‘RED’ presented in blue or green.” This is also referred to as the Stroop task (as seen in Brain Age).

While reactive control was similar in both groups, frequent gamers (particpants in this study who play four or more hours a day) had a propensity for exhibiting “significantly diminished” proactive attention. From a press release:

These data reveal a reduction in brain activity and disruption of behavior associated with sustained attention ability related to video game experience, which converges with other recent findings indicating that there is a relation between frequent video game playing and ADD.

While admitting that the study did have a few limitations, the researchers hoped that “our results may serve to constrain the claims of some scholars, game manufacturers, and journalists who have suggested that playing action video games ‘improves attention.’”

Director of Research for the National Institute on Media and the Family Dr. Doug Gentile, also a professor at ISU and in charge of the school's Media Research Lab, did not have his name listed in this study (other than the citation of his previous work).

The study is being published in the October 2009 issue of Psychophysiology.

Image via http://gonzoartist.blogspot.com


Comments

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

People say I have ADD, they just don't under... Oh look a chicken!

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I argue that people who have ADD are attracted to video games as a result of watching tv shows like sesame street and barney, because their parents/siblings/babysitter/school sat them down in front of a tv for countless hours watching bright & colorful images flash across the screen.

~Weatherlight~

~Weatherlight~

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

This probably comes late.  However, having read the study, I notice that it never actually measures or even mentions ADD.

The mention of ADD comes only in the press release.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

So their goal from the outset is to undermine any claims that video games can have positive effects on cognitive ability, doesn't seem like a very solid study. 

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Why single out gaming?

Any repetitive motion or activity can make someone with ADD worse.

It's pure political motivation to blame gaming only.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

So, repetitive action increases ADD...

 

I must warn my friends to not play Assassins Creed!

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Or to masturbate.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

This study is flawed, I don't have ADD but I play games. My brother has ADD but he plays games, and draws alot. From what I get from his ADD is that he won't concentrate on school unless he really has to, and will distract himself by playing games.

 

http://www.vgshuffle.com Games aren't evil, but evil people play games.

http://www.vgshuffle.com Games aren't evil, but evil people play games.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

First I have to ask, why are we giving scientists money to test out things that are common knowledge? (at least I think it is)  I've known pretty much all my life that alot of ADD people play videogames, as it's the only stimulus that changes both in intensity and type (i.e. tactile, visual, and auditory) often enough to keep their attention - I'm very slightly ADD myself and I choose videogames as my preferred entertainment for said reason... although I will admit movies almost do as good a job.

Second, I have to ask who the hell said that videogames improved attention?  Maybe attention to what's being said/displayed IN THE VIDEOGAME, but god knows I can't pay attention to practically anything outside of it.  You want me to learn organic chemistry better than by reading it from my book? If you gave me a videogame about it, and made it engaging and fun, I could probably have learned O-chem and remembered what I learned alot faster and better.  The only claim I've ever read that might be mistconstrued to "improved attention", is that games can improve "cognitive ability".  Cognitive ability is a shotgun term, so really they might as well just say that your brain improves somehow and that's what it means.  I know my knowledge base, creativity, and ability to solve puzzles are all much better than if I had never played videogames (although I may have more defined knowledge than random knowledge without them, I may have studied more/better).  I'd like to see these studies and people that claimed that videogames increased "attention" to anything outside the game, because I have a feeling they're full of crap.  Enough shoddy studies and misinformation about videogames is slung at us, but that doesn't mean that we need to sling back our own.  Lets sling stones not shit, they hurt a whole lot more. (please excuse the language, I was going for alliteration :P)

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I don't think I'm ADD - I'm a gamer and I can concentrate on the same game or same tasks for quite some time without getting distracted.

If anything, gaming has helped me focus on specifics - but maybe it has to do with the types of games a person plays too? I'm mostly into Strategy and RPG games. Both of which pretty much require a person to be focused to a specific end to accomplish a goal.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

What does not cause that scam?

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Man, I had the ADHD diagnosis before I ever played a video game. Furthermore I

LOOK AT THE KITTY!  

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

What I wouldl ike to know is, where was all this ADD stuff 20-30 years ago?  No one talked about it or mentioned it that I know of.  At least from what I can recall.  The answer for most parents?  Dope their kids up... hmm. My medicine was a boot up my ass handed down thru my parents.  That seems to quickly cure any form of ADD that I have seen/dealt with.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

  Doctors have been treating ADD with amphedimines since the 1950's.  It started rising in diagnosis in slowly for the next two decades and became an overdiagnosed condition through the 90's.

  If a boot to the ass fixed you then it wasn't ADD.  I had tons of boots to my ass from grade 5 till I I was a senior in highschool and nothing worked until I was diagnosed at the age of 17.  I took the pills, they did help but they made me feel like shit.

  The pills are stimulants used to replace the brains weaker (in the case of those with ADD) natural neuro stimulants.  It just turns out that for me, non pharma methods of stimulating my brain worked without the bad side effects of the drugs.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Man people need to chill the fuck out........ people are so dam edgy on this site.

The study only suggested a LINK between ADD and video games. I.E. they don't claim that frequent video game play CAUSES ADD nor that ADD CAUSES frequent video game playing.

But again people start screaming about how dumb research is and how video games get blammed for everything.

Although im no doctor I always thought that the current belief was that ADD is the result of brain cells (or whatever) being less stimulated by external stimulus. As in what would cause stimulation in a "normal" person would only produce say half that stimulation in a person with ADD. Hence why they find it harder to pay attention for longer periods of time as they are recieving less overal stimulation. I think that also explains why ADD medication are stimulants not depresents as the brain requires more stimulation, NOT calming down as is commonly believed. In this case the study isn't that suprising at all. Video games are by and large more stimulating then say books, movies, plays etc. so it makes sense to me that a person with ADD might find themselves drawn to video games as it provides a higher level of stimulation than other forms of media.

Considering that the study never claimed a causal link, and knowing that psychologists are general a smart bunch...... or at least not fucking dumb, I would like to think that they would assume if anything, that ADD leads to more video game playing, rather than video game playing leading to ADD.

Again im no expert though and there is a good chance I am TOTALLY wrong about all of that.

Regardless I don't see why everyone is so fucking up in arms about this study. It might turn out to have some really positive results. If further research finds that video games are an effective medium for people with ADD, we might find new, more video gamey forms of education for young people with ADD.

Really I think people need to chill the fuck out. Not every study involving video games is out to call them the devil.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention-deficit_hyperactivity_disorder#Causes

The arguments about the causes of ADD and ADHD are long and complex.  And the fact that this "study" narrows it to very specific media exposure (which is narrowed down from other major, overall causes) shows its true intent:  to directly or indirectly be used as yet another misleading tool by organizations such as NIMF (you'll notice the peripheral link (which will magically find a more direct link before too long) to NIMF and this "study" mentioned in the article here) and other individual agendists to specifically scapegoat video/computer games as being the cause of something negative in society.  This "study" sets a laser sight on a single type of exposure, without comparison or contrast to other similar and dissimilar exposures, and still dares to say "LOOK!  It's a unique link!"

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

False.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

First of all we don't even know if ADD is a real illness, as there is no conclusive test you can apply and say, yup, ADD. Bullshit study with links to a bullshit disease.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I was "diagnosed" ADD when I was about 17.

  In my opinion it is NOT an illness, it is just a difference.  Some people are naturally faster than others, some stronger, some taller etc.  My brain does things in a little different way than others and it is not rare.  Just like a weak guy can train to become stronger, I have overcome my ADD with techniques that help me concentrate without the use of drugs. 

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Say that to the child that run around screaming, biting people and destroying doors with their own head...

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

What the hell is ADD? I promise I never heard of this until around My senior year in high school(2007-2008) and my math tutor was telling me that people are getting treatment for short attention spans.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

"Director of Research for the National Institute on Media and the Family Dr. Doug Gentile, also a professor at ISU and in charge of the school's Media Research Lab, did not have his name listed in this study (other than the citation of his previous work)."

Just hang a big, honkin' sign on the front of the study saying "This study bought and paid for by NIMF, aka The Liars And Deceivers Association."

And do I REALLY need to repeat myself about "studies" in the first place?  This is one of those classic examples.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

As if big pharma needed more excuses to pump kids full of depressants.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I was tested ADHD

tl:dr

 

 

Never underestimate the power of idiots in large amounts.

Never underestimate the power of idiots in large amounts.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I've been praised countless times for how patient I am and this test would have bored the hell out of me too.  It isn't ADD when you've experienced something similar but much better and get bored with something boring.  

As said by someone above, the gamers think the "game" sucks and got bored with it because they've played better.

http://www.eliteownage.com/nice

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Let me get out the salt shaker.

---

I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

While admitting that the study did have a few limitations

Yep, ok stop there.  You are on the right track now follow it out...  "A few limitations" in this regard would be like a few grains of sand on a beach or ocean bottom.  

This study like most others can easily be "made to fit" whatever you want it to show.  Now hang your head in shame and go off before people start making fun of you.  Just let it go. 

Iowa State = Craig Anderson and his cronies.

If a media study comes from Iowa State it is going to find that media is bad. Craig Anderson is at Iowa State and he's never seen a form of media that wasn't bad for you. Nothing to see here.

 

http://www.popularculturegaming.com

Re: Iowa State = Craig Anderson and his cronies.

Sadly, this is absolutely the case.  From the moment any of this group even begin thinking about conducting a study, the result is a foregone conclusion...

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Another ADD gamer checking in: I can see this link, though as usual there is the question of causation vs. association.



First, with regard to this:


'[T]he researchers hoped that “our results may serve to constrain the claims of some scholars, game manufacturers, and journalists who have suggested that playing action video games ‘improves attention.’”'



Everything I've read in that vein suggests (rightfully, in my opinion) that gaming may improve coordination and the ability to notice small details - that is, *attention to detail*. That's not the same thing as "attention" or "attention span," and it would really help if these researchers made that distinction.



Gaming is a great outlet for ADD because it is a constantly stimulating activity, and so I wouldn't be surprised if it is a particularly attractive passtime for those with ADD. But it shouldn't be considered purely a wasteful exercise: I actually used Dance Dance Revolution to burn off energy and refocus myself while working on a semester-long project in my senior year of college - a 20-minute break every few hours helped me regain focus on my work.



I'd love to see a study that looked into constructively managing ADD through gaming.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

ADHD guy right here. It makes sense to me as well but I have to admit, I've been weening myself off slowly. =)

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Exactly how is playing a game for a long period of time indicative of an inability to concentrate on something?  Would not a person with ADD be unable to concentrate on playing the game for long?

Also, I think that ADD is one of the most bullshit diseases ever.  At the very least it's misdiagnosed.  I shudder to think what would have happened to me if they had this children's behavioral health panic we have now when I was a kid. 

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Assuming the study is correct, the question then becomes: do video games cause ADD, or are people who suffer from ADD just more attracted to video games than their non-ADD counterparts? Also... what about kids with Aspergers, who may love to play video games but are often misdiagnosed as having ADD?

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

"do video games cause ADD, or are people who suffer from ADD just more attracted to video games "

I have ADD. 

I would have to say that people with ADD are attracted to videogames.  Videogames can be highly stimulating to the brain by both visual and auditory means kind of like ADD catnip.

As I explained above: "compared to "regular" people, those with ADD produce less of a neuro-chemical that stimulates the brain when something boring is going on.  Games, television, music etc. are all external stimulus to the brain, that's why people with ADD can pay attention to games but zone completely out in school (unless the subject is personally interesting to the person with ADD)."

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

People will read: "Videogames causes ADD (and Aspergers, and every other condition attached they would like to)".

When is called "a study" people and organizations tend to use it like a real fact.

Maybe this study is not so misleading, but people will take the most negative spin of it.

 

They will look up and shout "Give ROFLCOPTERS to us"... and I´ll whisper "NO". The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I think the frequent gamers probably had a diminished response because that colorful word game the researchers created for the experiment was most likely incredibly boring, and frequent gamers who have developed a more refined taste in gaming probably found it difficult to pay attention to because their experience tells them, "This is a badly made game, it doesn't warrant my complete attention."

I am quite serious about this, and I am implying that the experiment is bogus for this very reason.

Case closed.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I would argue the opposite, especially among FPS games. It might just be me, but when I play, I anticipate movement and project where I feel things will be, not where they are. That arrow I launched in TF2 might seem to be headed to the middle of nowhere, but when the scout jumps to avoid my teamates rocket, it'll be right where he is

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

 I thought it was Hand Eye Coordination that could be improved, not ones "attention", because if it DOES NOT hold INTRIGUE to the person, then theres no motivation, no interest, only down right bordem and the "Hey, uh yea you dudes in white, can I go home now?"

"NO! Not till the test is done!' *reveals cattle prod and shocks the kid.

 

Who knows what horrors those kids had to suffer for "science"

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

List of bad stuff linked to vidjagamez:

Terrorism, Racism, Porn, Child porn, Obesity, Comunism, Bad oral hygiene, Gay bashing, Arsoning, Patricide, School shootings, Spontaneous combustion, Epilepsy, Genetic disorders, Bush administration, McDonald´s, Door Checking, Uwe Boll´s movies, Irak war, Chris-Chan, Violence against women, hentai, 4chan, weaboos, otakus, and the list just go on and on...

Wow, next thing will be when the announce the found a definitively linking with STD´s and videogames.

They will look up and shout "Give ROFLCOPTERS to us"... and I´ll whisper "NO". The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

I think the most insulting thing in there is being the cause of the Bush Administration. Yes i am hilarious and current with my material.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Did someone say ... weeaboo?

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Just a theory, but maybe video games just increase your attention to purely visual data (such as colors) rather than data that has to be interpreted (such as words)?

Not saying this is the case, just that it's a possibility, and I'm not sure if they've considered it or not.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

 I have trouble believing this study primarily as I have a good amount of experience with ADD. Considering I have ADHD and I do notice changes in my attention span when it comes to gaming. When it's a good game that doesn't suck, it can captivate my attention for hours. While a game that doesn't interest me, sucks, or otherwise isn't worth the energy it took to make it doesn't hold my attention very long at all and I would get distracted by shiny objects and female anatomy.

 

ADD suffers can and do have trouble with proactive attention when gaming , but so does non ADD people. It's a matter of the game their playing, energy and the normal pressures of a day more then it being related to games specifically.

 

If somethings boring and uninteresting then it stands to reason it's not going to hold anyone's attention ADD or otherwise. But like so many studies, more often then not I suspect this is a case of the scientists/researchers had preconceptions and went with data that supported their already decided ideas rather then an objective look at all the data.

 

In other words, they're idiots :D

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

That's complete load of...ooh shiny things! XD

But seriously I find that hard to believe. Admittedly I don't know a lot about the specifics of ADD but in my experience most (if not all) games require a good amount of attention in order to do well.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

"...frequent gamers (particpants in this study who play four or more hours a day) had a propensity for exhibiting “significantly diminished” proactive attention."

Perhaps because, knowing a good game when they see one, this test bored the hell out of them quicker than non-gamers.

I know squat about ADD but this "link" seems counter intuitive to me.  Wouldn't someone suffering from ADD have difficulty concentrating on a game enough to actually play it?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

"Wouldn't someone suffering from ADD have difficulty concentrating on a game enough to actually play it?"

 

No. 

I have ADD. 

Compared to "regular" people, those with ADD produce less of a neuro-chemical that stimulates the brain when something boring is going on.  Games, television, music etc. are all external stimulus to the brain, that's why people with ADD can pay attention to games but zone completely out in school (unless the subject is personally interesting to the person with ADD).

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

It seems to me that video games are becomming the comic books of the late 20th/early 21st century.

Next up, they'll say video games are the gateway drug to Marijuana.

Or better yet, they'll say video games prepare people to commit murder...

...

...wait a second...

----
Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

----
Papa Midnight

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Depends on the person.  I have ADD, but I'm an avid gamer (I'd even admit to being addicted when I was younger).  However, my case of ADD is relativly mild.

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

 

I myself used to have ADD (when I was in Elementary school) along with mild autism and Asperger's Syndrome.  I use to take Ritalin until the pill's side effect started to affect me much. Over time, I started to overcome my ADD without using the pill.  But however, I don't play video game that much because of my time with College.  I think I remember ADHD is more linked to game addiction then ADD. 

These data reveal a reduction in brain activity and disruption of behavior associated with sustained attention ability related to video game experience, which converges with other recent findings indicating that there is a relation between frequent video game playing and ADD.

If I was doing the experiment, I would do more then just looking at brain activity. I rather ask people with ADD and ask them if they play video game and ask them how many hours they play video game in order to back that up.  because I know just because people with ADD play video game doesn't mean they're addicted to video game.  I know my video game history and knowledge really well (along with knowledge of science, world culture, and what's going on around the world), but I'm not an addict to video game unlike most people who are addicted to video game. 

 

 
 

Re: Iowa State Study: Game Playing Linked to ADD

Meanwhile I have severe ADHD, but I never played more than 1 or 2 hours a day before I was diagnosed.
 
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