Category Archives: Health

E3 2009’s Gamer Grub

In an email blast that hypes this June’s E3 2009 event, PR firm Double Forte compiled a list of “never-seen-before products.”

Theoretically, this should be an awesome, excitement-generating laundry list of games and products sending chills down eager gamers’ spines. It does in fact include a few THQ games and MTV’s The Beatles Rock Band and Lego Rock Band, among a few other interesting tidbits.

Sadly, and this is entirely because the gaming press is full of nerds and cynics (like me), 99% of the stuff here instantly makes this list look like an “avoid-at-all-costs” list.

For starters, and I just guessed this, Majesco’s games are here (A Boy and His Blob! Yay!).

Second, this list includes the never-seen-before “Buckshot Gun” for the Wii (Oh dear God), the “You Rock Guitar” (which, for all I know, could be an awesome product, but it sounds like cheeze whiz supreme), the Ear Force P2: Turtle Beach (why does this product, designed to help your audio experience, sound like it hurts more than it helps?), and my personal favorite, Gamer Grub 2.0.

Gamer Grub…2.0?

At first thought, I pictured a game about bugs. You know, a cute collection of ladybugs, ants, and grubs somehow assembled into a bunch of minigames for the Wii.

GamerGrub

Neato! They even look like little grubs!

But no. Gamer Grub is food designed for gamers to think and play better! Really! Legal enhancements for gamers, sweet! Halo 3 multiplayer, here I come, I’m larded with Gamer Grub! (And yep, looks like Penny Arcade and Destructoid already got a “taste” of Gamer Grub, heh).

Seriously though, Gamer Grub “is a great tasting snack mix packed with select vitamins and nutrients supporting cognitive function,” according to Biosilo Foods, Inc.

Now, instead of eating pizza, donuts, and Chocodiles until your stomach is screaming, and greasing up your keyboards and filthing up your controllers, “Gamer Grub is scientifically formulated to power your core gaming systems and is eaten without getting greasy hands or keyboard crumbs.”

Booyah!

My favorite part: Gamer Grub comes in four “delicious” flavors: Pizza, PB&J, Chocolate and Wasabi. Delicious PB&J flavored Grub!

And gosh, I really am hungry right now…what should I eat? Pizza? A six-pack of burritos? PopTarts and a liter of Barqs? A handful of Twinkies?

…Gamer Grub?

E3 can’t arrive soon enough.

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Addicted to Video Games: Crisis or Old News?

The Washington Post’s recent article citing the results of the first nationally representative study in the United States is like someone telling the world that deep within the closed can of sardines are sardines. Eureka!

The results, like the recent national announcement that we’re in a recession, are obvious. But they’re official, which makes them better than Jack Thompson just talking or hysterical parents screaming that they have lost control of their kids. It’s less tragic than death, to be sure. In other words, researcher Douglas Gentile’s results are interesting, even if they tell is something we all knew.

Gentile of Iowa State University learned that “8.5 percent of American youths ages 8 to 18 who play video games show multiple signs of behavioral addiction.” Take note, parents: video games are addicting.

How many times have I written in a review that a video game is addicting? Dozens, maybe hundreds of times before. Now multiply that times how many times every other video game writer has used the phrase to describe a game?

twitter-addictsHere’s a list of legal things that are also addicting: Coffee, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, television, cell phones, and sex. And, whatever it is that you really, really like, these are all things that have the mysterious spell that pulls humans away from everything else and makes them. I’m pretty sure most people I know are addicted to Twitter. Thesaurus.com lists “hooked,” “obsessive,” and “enslaving” as synonyms. I like enslaved.

“8.5 percent of American youths ages 8 to 18 who play video games show multiple signs of behavioral ‘enslavement.'”

Yeah.

Thanks to the baby boom generation’s experimentation with drugs, the phrase “addicted” is used loosely to describe things we like (a lot), and so the word “addictive” has become less inflammatory, less worrisome, and used more often in daily language.

That doesn’t make the seriousness of the research less important or relevant. It makes the study potentially very good data for parents, teachers, and people in general, from which to learn.

How do you deal with people drink too much coffee? You slowly wean them off it. Change their habits. What about alcohol? Get them in a clinics. Sex? Cut off their genitals, duh.

Stopping kids from playing should be easy. Cut off their fingers. Or, you can shut them in a dark basement and feed them scraps of bread for a week.

A slightly less medieval approach is to limit their time. For instance, permit them to play one hour a day, five hours a week. or only on weekends.  Make them play outside. Give them more books to read. Go camping; you know, get far, far away from the TV.

In short, a healthy doze of moderation is the key. Or you could just cut off their fingers.

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Damori Miles’ Death a Reflection of Video Games, or Negligent Parenting?

In the story, “9-year-old Damori Miles dies in jump off Brooklyn apartment, may have been imitating video game,” a lot of people, cynics, conservatives, And the Jack Thompsons of the world, will point, as the NYDaily has done, to a video game as the reasony why Damori Miles died.

He was imitating his favwrestler_kidorite video game, after all, right?

“Wrapped around his body was the string and plastic bag he used for the parachute, police sources said…’It’s terrible. The kids try to imitate what they see and they think they can fly,'” said family friend Sumore Murrel, 29.”

Is this the story of video games teaching kids the wrong thing? Certainly everyone concerned wants to know how and why such a tragedy has occurred. The article, thankfully, reports that Damori was a special education kid, and that he was left alone, with doors to the roof open. So, one must wonder where was his father, mother, and siblings?

It’s an interesting question. One also must wonder how much guidance, oversight, and attention the parents also paid to the child. No doubt, everyone involved sees this as a tragedy. And this may be a case in which the mother felt she could leave the child alone without guidance, so she could drive to the store to get some grocery shopping done.

But if Samori was a special education child, leaving him alone seems like a big oversight, a huge mistake, and no doubt the parent(s) won’t forget that one of the reasons their child died wasn’t because of a wrestling game.  As a parent myself, I have seen my own child do remarkably dangerous things that led me to say to myself, “I will never let her do that again,” “I will never let her out of my sight again.” The parents will never forgive themselves for that slght oversight, which in truth happens all the time to the most vigilant parents. You can’t watch your kids every second of the day.  But you can ask neighbors and friends to watch them, hire a baby sitter, or take them with you on whatever errand you’re running.

“‘I need to keep a better eye on what they are playing or watching. Kids are so impressionable,’ she said.”

The question I have is this: Where were the parents in all this? With special education kids, more overrsight and more educated discussion needs to happen with regard to all media, not just videogames. Parents should watch the TV shows and play the games their kids play to make sure they can translate reality from fiction. That way, kids, whether they’re young, slow learners, or with learning disabilities, can detemine that jumping off a roof top isn’t a good idea.  If they haven’t developed a good understanding of common sense, their parents need to teach it to them.

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Gum Graft Killa

Most people hate the idea of going to the dentist. They may actually like their dentist, and truth be told, most dentists are pretty friendly people, but most folks really don’t like making that visit. The answer is easy: Nobody wants a sharp object poking inside their mouths. It’s tender and soft in there and as orifices go, it seems just as sensitive as the others.

Ten days ago I had the unfortunate circumstance of having gum graft surgery. It was my fifth time. The surgery is incredibly painful, and what’s worse they don’t put you to sleep. I speak candidly with my dentist about the procedures because I might as well know exactly what’s going on, and he’s an old Hawaiian surfer and outdoorsman so we get along. He uses words like “filleting” and “harvesting” which usually sends immediate chills up people’s spines. It should. It’s fucking frighenting.

Gum grafts are done when people have receding gums, like I once had. Dentists harvest (cut out) healthy gum from the roof of your mouth, then make two incisions where the receding gum is, peel up the gum and insert the new, tougher gum underneath it. Then they sew the gums together, forbid you to eat anything sugary, hard, or dairy products for a week. Oh yeah, and you can’t drink wine or beer or soda either.

What is an honest man to do if he can’t drink beer or soda????!!!!So for a week, you feel like you go the shit beat out of you, and you can’t eat or drink anything you like. Lovely visit.

So while I was sitting there listening to my dentist chat with his assistance, my gums filled with novacaine, and have really sharp objects filleting and harvesting my fucking mouth and blood heavily flowing up a tube and down my throat, I thought of a game. Not sure if “Dentist Game: Gum Graft Killa” is the final title, but it’s a start.

Gum Graft Killa is an action, stealth, and puzzle game, and it’s all about visiting the dentist. Over the course of 15 too 20 missions, you have to go visit the dentist, and it’s your job to achieve the various goals set forth for you. There is a story, probably, but as of this second, it’s not that important. gumgraft

The first goal is to go to the dentist and receive a cleaning. This is the first level, so it should be easy.

(This is not my mouth, by the way.)

The next cutscene shows you making various choices (A, B, or C) about foods choices, and you getting into various situations in which you make choices between one bad food (sugary soda) and another (sugary candy). There will be various cutscenes showing you deciding not to brush your teeth. In less than a few minutes, six months have passed, and you’re back at the dentist. Like in Bully, you can fuck around a little bit, make paper airplanes, put gum in the bathroom sink, eplore, whatever. If you explore enough, and you’re not detected you’ll earn stealth points that will come in handy later.

But the next visit involves having a crown put in. As you sit in the chair and watch the dentist drill into your mouth, you have choices. Can you manage the pain via a set of mini-games before the pain meter reaches its limit? Mini-games include flashback fantasies of surfing or meeting the perfect woman or climbing Mount Everest or sitting on a beach dirnking a margarita, or whatever, and each time you succeed you relief the pain. If you pass enough tests, you’ll successfully survive the crown procedure. If not, you have to start over. The procedure presents cutscenes of absurdly painful situations, and in a way, it might be fun to fail just to see how brutal the next cutscene will be.

Each time you go to the dentist, however, no matter what, the procedures get worse. So the standard fantasies no longer work. As you built up patience and zen points, you’ll also build up power — the power to engage in boss fights with your dentist. If you win, you get to perform surgery on him. This too is a mini-game, in which you must use sharp pointy objects to grind, chisel, fillet, and harvest his mouth.

One of the stealth visits involves stealing novacaine and instruments, and if you get caught, you’ll go to jail, but if you succeed, you’ll be able to confront your dentist with more tools (i.e. “weapons”) during your upcoming boss fights.

Each time you visit, the procedures get worse, so you have to prepare. Oh, and yes, you’ll get a gum graft, but at some point you’ll be able to perform a gum graft on your dentist.

I, for one, would love to play this game right about now.

I found some really funny links about gum grafts. Check these out:

The Procedure From Hall (A personal story in the experience)

Support Group (HAHAHA!)

Gum Graft (on “Rate it all!”)

Gallery of Gum Grafts (people with really fucked up gums and gum graft procedures–this is even gross for me!)

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