Melvern, Iowa Library Director Bills State for Video Games and Other Personal Items, Gets Caught

August 8, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Iowa state auditors revealed that a library director in the southwestern Iowa town of Malvern repeatedly billed the city for personal purchases prior to resigning last year.

The investigation - the details of which were released last Friday by State Auditor Mary Mosiman - found that former Malvern library director Stacey Buick billed the city for thousands of dollars on personal items including video games, groceries, party decorations, a $1,200 home theater system, a camera, a coffee machine, an air conditioning unit, and TracPhones.

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Wargaming America Brings USS IOWA to Life with Simulations

June 19, 2012 -

Game developer Wargaming America is working hard to bring some game-based virtual simulation to the USS IOWA. The battleship recently took its final voyage to dock at the port of Los Angeles, where it will serve as a museum beginning next month. Wargaming's simulation promises to bring the battleship's "history to life by creating a bridge experience and an aerial combat game that will live on the ship and showcase its firepower and aerial defenders in action."

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Research: Parents Can't Rely Solely on a Game's Rating

May 18, 2012 -

A new study out of Iowa State University, seemingly the nexus of anti-video game research, has found that children who play prosocial games are more inclined to be helpful while those who play violent games demonstrate more hurtful behaviors.

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University of Iowa Adds Video-Game Related Journalism Course

April 18, 2012 -

Students who enroll in a new video game-based narrative writing course at the University of Iowa beginning in the fall will get a chance to explore worlds, characters and plotlines popularized by video games. They'll also get credits. The course is called "Specialized Reporting & Writing, Video Games & Communication," and is a step by the university to add video games into the curriculum, though video-game education experts say that analyzing off-the-shelf commercial games isn't the typical approach taken by universities.

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Iowa State Hosting Student Game Development Competition

August 25, 2010 -

While Iowa State University is home to anti-videogame researchers Craig Anderson and Douglas Gentile, the school is also about to launch a videogame development competition for its students.

Armed with a $50,000 grant from the Motorola Foundation, faculty members Anson Call, an Associate Professor of Integrated Studio Arts, and Chris Johnson, a Lecturer in Computer Science, are running the competition, which will feature teams of three compete in a trio of categories: serious games, PC/console games and mobile games. The makeup of teams will consist of one designer, one programmer and one business major.

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IA Pol Joins in Ottumwa Videogame Festivities, Decries Gender Gap

August 9, 2010 -

Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor attended a celebration in the “videogame capital of the world,” better known as Ottumwa, Iowa, in order to assist in the renaming of a local park from Central Park to Pac-Man Park.

Lt. Governor Patty Judge, noting that Pac-Man would be officially enshrined into the International Video Game Hall of Fame the next day, stated, “As the state’s highest-ranking woman in elected office, I must say I’m hopeful Ms. Pac-Man will get her due here in Ottumwa one day as well, and I look forward to that celebration.”

The embedded video shows the actual moment Pac-Man was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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Professors Study Human Response to Games

October 16, 2009 -

A couple Iowa professors have set up a video games lab designed to study how people respond when playing video games.

The professors have acknowledged that video games are becoming an important part of our life, and their Video Game Institute for Education and Research is designed to measure responses to those playing games, such as heart rate, respiration and skin response, according to a report by KPTH Fox 44 News in South Dakota.

The Morningside College instructors, psychology professor Susan Burns and computer science professor Dean Stevens, have already collaborated on two other video game studies without their lab. The pair want to continue their research into online gaming and gaming addictions to educate consumers to give them a better understanding about video games:

"It has such a huge affect on who we are as a people and so it's important to realize what's happening with video games and how they affect us," says Stevens.

"We feel it is our role, our purpose, to not just gather the knowledge and keep it to ourselves, but to educate the public as well," says Burns.
 

Opinion: It is refreshing to see researchers taking what appears to be an objective approach to a study, with education as the goal, as opposed to scare tactics. But, we still need to see how the final results are presented in the end.

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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

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Congressman, Iowa Guv Support Push For Video Game Hall of Fame

August 14, 2009 -

If you build it, they will come...

Oops - wrong Iowa attraction reference.

But in Ottumwa, Iowa yesterday some 3,500 people turned out to show support for the building of a proposed Video Game Hall of Fame. Among those is attendance were Congressman David Loebsack (D) and Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D), according to Kotaku. Judge read a proclamation from Gov. Chet Culver (D) which deemed Ottumwa as the "Video Game Capital of the World."

Chris Hoeksema, a member of the committee exploring the idea of building the Hall of Fame, was stunned by the turnout:

It's really been amazing. We were not expecting this much outpouring of support from the community and the state. And the entire world, really. We've had donations from overseas and some people flew in from the United Kingdom to attend. It's been an amazing amount of support.

A Radio Iowa report adds that the Hall of Fame project enjoys backing from city, county and state government officials. Ottumwa Mayor Dale Uehling, among the Hall's supporters, commented on some of the nuts-and-bolts issues which must be addressed:

We're very hopeful that we can become the video gaming capitol of the world... We need to get a comprehensive study done on exactly what is needed... Part of this will depend on what is the attraction going to be? We visualize that we would have international competition here as a part of this so we need something that's going to have some capacity.

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TechnogeekIn large part, though, that's an extension of the level of unjust deference given to police in general. Kind of hard to find any real grievances to defend against when the organizational culture views "complains about coworker" as worse than "murderer".07/07/2015 - 8:45pm
TechnogeekThat's a police union.07/07/2015 - 8:43pm
TechnogeekNo, police unions are worse by far. Imagine every negative stereotype about unions, then add "we can get away with anything".07/07/2015 - 8:43pm
Goth_SkunkeZeek: No, I do not agree they are union members.07/07/2015 - 7:48pm
E. Zachary KnightTeachers unions are just as bad as police unions, except of course you are far less likely to be killed by a teacher on duty than you are a cop. But they also protect bad teachers from being fired.07/07/2015 - 6:29pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, so you agree they are still union members. Thankfully we have a first ammendment that protects people from being forced to join groups they don't support (in most cases any way.)07/07/2015 - 6:27pm
E. Zachary KnightAh, police unions. The reason why cops can't get fired when they beat a defenseless mentally ill homeless person to death. Or when they throw a grenade into a baby's crib. Or when theykill people they were called in to help not hurt themselves.07/07/2015 - 6:26pm
Goth_SkunkeZeek: Non-union employees have no right to attend meetings or union convention/AGM, or influence policy. The only time they get to vote is whether or not to strike.07/07/2015 - 6:24pm
Infophile(cont'd) about non-union police officers being given hell until they joined the union.07/07/2015 - 4:58pm
InfophileParadoxically, the drive in the US to get rid of unions seems to have left only the most corrupt surviving. They seem to be the only ones that can find ways to browbeat employees into joining when paying dues isn't mandatory. I've heard some stories ...07/07/2015 - 4:57pm
Matthew WilsonI am old school on this. I believe its a conflict of interest to have public sector unions. that being said, I do not have a positive look on unions in general.07/07/2015 - 3:59pm
TechnogeekWhat's best for the employee tends to be good for the employer; other way around, not so much. So long as that's the case, there's going to be a far stronger incentive for management to behave in such a way that invites retalitation than for the union to.07/07/2015 - 3:10pm
TechnogeekTeachers' unions? State legislatures. UAW? Just look at GM's middle management.07/07/2015 - 3:05pm
TechnogeekIn many ways it seems that the worse a union tends to behave, the worse that the company's management has behaved in the past.07/07/2015 - 3:02pm
james_fudgeCharity starts at home ;)07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
james_fudgeSo mandatory charity? That sounds shitty to me07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, if Union dues are automatically withdrawn, then there is no such thing as a non-union employee.07/07/2015 - 2:38pm
Goth_Skunka mutually agreed upon charity instead.07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_Skunkyou enjoy the benefits of working in a union environment. If working in a union is against your religious beliefs or just something you wholeheartedly object to, dues will still be deducted from your pay, but you can instruct that they be directed towards07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_SkunkBasically, if you are employed in a business where employees are represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining, whether or not you are a union member, you will have union dues deducted from your pay, since regardless of membership,07/07/2015 - 2:32pm
 

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