Teens who spend more time playing games are more sexist — study

A new study has found a correlation between the time teenagers spent playing video games and sexist attitudes. However, no evidence has been provided showing that it's the games themselves that are reinforcing certain attitudes towards women.

"Sexist representations saturate advertising, television, and cinema. Video games are no exception," Laurent Begue of Grenoble Alps University, one of the authors of the paper, told AFP.

"Content analysis has shown that women are under-represented in popular video games. They have passive roles, they are princesses who need to be saved or secondary, sexualized objects of conquest."

The authors, whose study has been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, randomly sampled answers from 13,250 students in schools in the French cities of Lyon and Grenoble, who agreed to participate in the survey.

As well as measuring how many hours a day the children, aged between 11 and 19, played games, the study also asked them about their TV viewing habits and attitude to religion and church attendance.

While watching TV seemed to have no impact, avid gamers were more likely to display sexist attitudes and those who are religious even more so. Boys were significantly more likely to exhibit misogyny than girls.

“The video game industry may find it appropriate to encourage an evolution in the way women are represented, because sexism on screen can have consequences which are not limited to the virtual world,” write the authors in their discussion of the results.

“Today, 48% of video game players are female and in addition to the development of sexist attitudes, the repeated exposure to biased female models on games produces body dissatisfaction among women, self-objectification, and eating disorders.”


The authors admit that the inquiry has “limitations in terms of assessing causality. It may be that individuals with sexist orientations spend more time playing video games.”

The authors attempted to control for some factors, such as socioeconomic status, gender, and age, trying to isolate the relationship between gaming and sexism. But in the end, they were not able to match up the sample groups for every factor, such as, for example, social conservatism in the family, which could be a better predictor of sexism than children playing Grand Theft Auto.

The sample group — with most schools opting out of the study —presented its own problems.

“Another limitation is the underrepresentation of some categories of schools in our sample, with a deficit in schools with a reputation for excellence or ‘general curriculum’ and the private schools.

Studies suggest that sexism may be endorsed more strongly in lower social classes, which are usually less represented in such schools. Such a sampling feature may have affected the results of the survey,” the authors write.

The question used to determine the supposed sexism of participants was also of limited scope. Students were given the statement: “A woman is made mainly for making and raising children,” and the more strongly they agreed with it, the more sexist they were adjudged to be.

It is not obvious how many popular games — even ones with buxom figures, and heroic male archetypes — encourage women to stay in the bedroom and kitchen, and it is even less clear how games promoting a traditional family lifestyle would produce eating disorders or self-objectification among women.

The authors themselves conceded that the question “represents a very specific dimension of sexism that hardly captures all possible forms of sexist thinking."

How I Became Addicted to Online Word Games

In the past, I loved agar.io games because I loved move. The vocabulary I brought to them had accreted organically, from books I read — “wizening” from D. H. Lawrence; “ayah” from Frances Hodgson Burnett; “crewelwork” from Jane Austen. But the words I absorbed in online games had lodged themselves in my neural map without definitions or context. At the weekend house, as my friend blithely jotted down D-R-A-G and P-E-A-R and S-P-E-A-R, I came to a standstill. I no longer knew what was a real word and what wasn’t.

This was particularly vexing because I had perceived this danger nearly a decade ago, and thought I had dodged it. In 2008, a television critic and fellow word lover had urged me to engage with her on a word game app called Prolific. At first, I demurred, messaging back that I had tried another app, Scrabulous, and hadn’t liked it; too much like Scrabble (a game I’ve always found frustrating because letter-luck plays too big a part).

Prolific was different, she fired back. It was just like Boggle. You logged on any time of day or night, joined a round with a friend or with strangers across the globe; then a letter grid popped up, and all of you raced to find words in the same grid in the same three-minute span. Charily I messaged her back: “I’ll give it a go.”

At the time, the weather was glacial and I was housebound, felled by a severe cold. Dizzy with DayQuil, unable to focus on work, I logged into Prolific and played my first round, foolishly confident that my lengthy word list would loft me into the winners’ circle. Then the scores came up. I had been trounced, routed, utterly crushed, by a legion of far-flung opponents — and above all by a man I’ll call Balthazar Tong, who had whomped me by hundreds of points, and beaten the others, too.

The victors had listed all the words I had found, and a Jackson Pollock-splatter of letter bursts that looked like no words I’d ever seen: aas, coit and deme; elt, haka and reh; sena, slae and soop. My ranking after that game was something like 60,000th in the world — out of 60,001, I believe. Sneezing and furious, I vowed to defeat them all. Especially Balthazar Tong.

For the next few weeks, racked by coughs but unwilling to leave my desk even for a glass of water, I played one game after another — until 11 p.m., 1 a.m., 2 a.m., then 4 — breaking only for DayQuil, then NyQuil. As hours and days slid by, my cold increased in violence, a mountain of tissues piled up in my study and my Prolific status rose.

Soon I started keeping an alphabetized list of words that worked and words that didn’t, typing them up and making printouts, reducing the font so all of the words would fit on one page, for speedy glimpsing during each lightning round. After every game, I would grab a Magic Marker and scribble in new words that had popped up, type them into my list, then print again. When my cold turned into bronchitis, I interrupted play to go to the doctor and pick up Zithromax, then rushed back to 24/7 keyboard combat.

A neighbor, hearing of my illness, stopped by with chicken soup and oranges. Observing the trash heap of tissues on my desk and floor, the sheaves of rumpled printouts beside my keyboard, scrawled with addendums in rainbow colors, she grabbed my wrists. “Liesl,” she said. “This looks like something out of ‘A Beautiful Mind.’” As she spoke, my eyes darted helplessly to the waiting onscreen grid. My ranking was now in the top 1,000. If my friend would only leave, I reasoned, I might be able to break into the top 500 by dawn. But she lingered. “You need an intervention,” she said. Nodding with feigned contrition, I wheezed out a long, dry cough and promised to put Prolific aside and take a nap. Once she left, I began again.

A few days later, I had a fever of 101, and was nearing Prolific’s Olympus. I still was losing to Mr. Tong, but now I was beating my other boogeymen: Drasko Spitz, Phuong Soh and Minerva Nelson. When I joined a game with Leander Fishkin, and he unjoined it as soon as my name appeared in the roster, I rejoiced. I then joined a game with my original Prolific pusher, the TV critic, who still saw the game as “fun.” Afterward she messaged back that she would never play with me again. My bronchitis was on the verge of turning into pneumonia, but I was powerless to stop playing.

There was only one way to break the spell, and providentially, it occurred in time to keep me out of the emergency room. The Prolific king-of-kings, Balthazar Tong, joined a round with me. Somehow, I beat him. Flights of doves, cymbals clanging, inexpressible feelings of relief. I was free. In the next half-hour, I canceled my Prolific account, threw away my word printouts and booked a flight to Miami, hoping to recover my health and reason on the beach, with a pile of novels. I never played Prolific again. I accepted that I was a Prolifoholic.

When, after a couple of years, I started playing Words With Friends, I dared it only because I didn’t even like the game. Like Scrabble, it bugs me because if you get worse letters than your rivals, you can’t win.

Over time, though, my Words With Friends habit mounted, incrementally, until it became normal for me to have six or seven games going at once at all times. (This is still the case.) I didn’t notice when legions of nonsense constructs marched through the portcullis of my psyche and overran my internal dictionary.

It was not until the emergence of the Boggle game at the share house that I realized I hadn’t kicked the online word game addiction after all. If Prolific had been my heroin, Words With Friends was my methadone. I had become a cautionary tale — a gaming addict no better than the rest.

Tens of millions of people play Words With Friends, and millions of others play the Boggle-clone apps that have arisen in the wake of Prolific, like Wordtwist, Word Crack, Wordruggle and Wordament. For most players, it’s probably harmless, innocent diversion.

Yet I can’t help worrying about the long-term effects of the epidemic of tainted wordplay that has spread across the world in the past decade. I wonder if memorizing gibberish will damage everyone’s ability to communicate; if cheating with language will erode the certainties of spelling; and if I’ll ever be able to play a clean game of Boggle again. But most of all, I wonder what has become of Balthazar Tong.

Some Realistic; Some Ridiculous: Our Favorite Sports Video Games

Sports games have always been some of the best-selling video games, from the 8-bit “Tecmo Bowl,” to the modern, hyper-realistic titles such as “NHL 17” and “Madden NFL 17.” As a result, sports-related franchises undoubtedly made lasting impressions in many people’s minds while they were growing up. Lots of gamers, casual or otherwise, have owned some of these games throughout their lives, and many times there was one that stood out above the rest. Interestingly, even if two people had the same favorite, they could like it for different reasons. Some might’ve grown attached to a game because it allowed them to play their favorite sport from their own homes, others could’ve simply thought it was a fun game and others might just have been attracted to it because their friends played it. Whatever the reason, the game still is forever a part of their childhood memories. Our staff gave their input on this topic by explaining what their favorite sports video game was, and why they liked it. Pat McAssey: “MLB Slugfest 20-03” I have “Slugfest” for Gamecube, and it perfectly encapsulates almost everything about the early 2000s. In fact, Midway Games, like most of us at the time, wasn’t yet sure how to refer to years in the new millennium, so 2003 was denoted as 20-03, which is read as “20-oh-three.” Midway also used motion-capture technology, which was fairly advanced at the time, to recreate players’ likenesses. Well, advanced in the sense that it showed players interacting in the dugout and chewing gum. While some people might dislike “Slugfest’s” lack of realism, I think it adds to the game’s charm. There’s something oddly amusing about players with giant forearms and calfs hitting home runs that make the baseball catch fire, and drop kicking catchers at home plate. Ben Watanabe: “MVP Baseball 2005” When you fired up the game on Xbox, you were treated to a montage inspired by the Boston Red Sox’s 2004 World Series run, and it only got better from there. “MVP Baseball 2005” was among the last sports video games in what I consider the “just right” era: Just easy enough to pick up and play without a lot of tutorials, but just deep enough that it was worth investing time in its gameplay and game modes. Jorge Cantu and Jesus Colome might have been middling major leaguers in real life, but they can take comfort in knowing they became bedrocks of my multiple World Series-winning Tampa Bay Devils Rays dynasty. Zack Cox: “NFL Blitz” “Madden” is great and all, but in my mind, nothing beats the pure, unfiltered, “arcade-y” fun of “Blitz,” which consumed far too many hours of my childhood. Every player was built like Mark McGwire in his prime, and the whistle served only as an invitation to body slam whichever opponent happened to be standing close by. Add in wrinkles like the pregame cheat codes, a control scheme that basically utilized just three buttons, and “Da Bomb,” and you have a timeless classic. Dakota Randall: “Madden NFL 2004” Obviously, there’s a new “Madden” game every year, but the game that came out in 2004 unquestionably is the best. The graphics were better than ever before, and there was more depth, in terms of game modes, than in any previous “Madden” installment. But the reason this game reigns supreme is because of the player on the cover: Michael Vick. Widely considered the greatest Madden character of all time, Vick was obnoxiously good in this game, as his speed from the quarterback position was just stupid. If you really wanted to, which I did, you could drop back, hold left trigger, and run for about 500 yards a game. Nicholas Goss: “ESPN NFL 2K5” “Madden” is a fantastic NFL video game franchise, but 2K Sports’ last NFL installment in 2005 could be the finest in football video game history. The graphics, abundance of modes (including first-person mode) and slick ESPN presentation made it so life-like and authentic. You even got to create your own crib with tons of NFL and ESPN-themed items. EA Sports’ exclusive license kicked in the following season, so we never got a sequel to ESPN NFL 2K5. Hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2017/03/some-realistic-some-ridiculous-our-favorite-sports-video-games/

Xbox One news: Games with Gold April 2017, ARK Survival Evolved DLC, Call of Duty 2017

The Games with Gold April 2017 lineup could be announced this week if Microsoft continue their recent announcement trend.

Last month saw the March game's roster confirmed on February 22, so it stands to reason that the tech giant will follow suit this week. No title from the Games With Gold April lineup have been leaked so far, meaning fans will have to wait and see what Microsoft have planned.

March provided a bumper month for the GwG program, with fans having the choice of Layers of Fear, followed by E3 2014 “Game of Show” Evolve Ultimate Edition.

And while Layers of Fear will be removed from the roster of free titles by the end of the month, Evolve will remain downloadable until April 15.

The remaining games to collect in March includes:

  • Layers of Fear available from March 1-31 on Xbox One
  • Evolve Ultimate Edition available from March 16-April 15 on Xbox One
  • Heavy Weapon available from March 16-31 on Xbox 360 & Xbox One

In an unexpected move, Sony has beaten Microsoft to it, revealing April's first PS Plus game ahead of schedule. PS4 title Drawn to Death will be available as one of April's PlayStation Plus free games from April 4.

Drawn to Death is described as a third-person shooter/brawler that "takes place entirely inside the pages of a high school kid’s notebook. All of the kid’s creative drawings come to life and battle it out in this highly competitive, fast paced, online action game."

The new ARK Survival Evolved update is now live on Xbox One, Studio Wildcard has confirmed.

The Xbox version was launched several hours after the PS4 patch, due to the size of it. Microsoft console owners have a 19GB update to complete tonight before they can check out any of the new content.

It should also be noted that a new Scorched Earth has also been released today for Xbox One, weighing in 5.29GB.

ARK Survival Patch Notes: 

  • New Structure: Tek Forcefield
  • New Structures: Tek Tileset & Tek Doors
  • New additional headhead hairstyle and additional facial hairstyle
  • 30 new Explorer Notes
  • Optimised Task Graph threading & RHI systems (latest Unreal) resulting in approximate 15% performance gain (maximise GPU-usage time)
  • Major upgrade to Xbox XDK API. Will result in performance gains, as well as better memory utilisation and memory available. Possibly resolving some networking issues too. 
  • Numerous fixes made to TEK Equipment in regular play and split-screen mode.
  • Greenhouse Structures are better optimised

New Creatures Added Include:

  • Electrophorus Beluadomito - A species of Knifefish, Electrophorus uses an electrical charge to zap its prey, bringing down smaller fish and eels. Tribes have been known to capture and tame schools of Electrophorus in order to use them for taking down larger aquatic animals.
  • Microraptor Gnarilongus - Resembling a bird with a reptilian face, Microraptor is a vicious predator that is instantly aggressive to anything its size or smaller (including humans). Able to jump, run and do short glides, Microraptor is incredibly dangerous alone or in packs, and when trained, they can even take riders right out of their saddles during combat.
  • Ammonitina Multiamicus - One of the more unique creatures of the sea, the Ammonite resembles a nautilus, but much bigger. For unknown reasons, an attack on an Ammonite brings forth the wrath of all neighboring sea creatures, who will fervently defend it. This makes it a challenge to kill one, though the rewards are often worth it - the shell itself is valuable (as it is rare) and the bile can be used to concoct a unique new pheromone dart.
  • Thylacoleo Furtimorsus - Also known as the "marsupial lion", Thylacoleo is a powerful predator native to the island's redwood forests. A strong bite - the strongest of any land mammal - and bolt cutter-like teeth, make this creature a formidable ambush predator, leaping from above to crush the necks of its prey.

Call of Duty 2017 developer Sledgehammer Games are on the lookout for new team mates to focus on top notch in-game animations.

A new job vacancy is advertising as much on the official Activision website, here’s everything they’re looking for: “We are in search of an Associate Animator to create in-game and cinematic animations of the absolute highest quality.

“We’re only interested in the best of the best character animators – if you’re creating the most complex, believable, human animations in a timely manner, then we want you.

“Applicants must have at least two years’ experience in character animation for games and a strong understanding of traditional animation fundamentals, with a focus on realistic human animation.”

Sledgehammer Games boss Glen Schofield has been teasing fans on the upcoming reveal for Call of Duty 2017, which is likely to be unveiled in April.

Stating that his hands were tied when it came to giving out big details, Schofield told fans on Twitter: “here's nothing I can say about the game except there are boots and ground and I guess some roots. I hope I can talk soon or I may implode.

“Wait until we reveal. You're gonna go nuts. Our best yet dude! Man, I'm so psyched to show it...someday.”

He also hinted that the reveal date has been set, although he wasn’t in a position to share more, adding: “I don't know. I just make the game. Actually I was in a meeting and just when they said the date, I sneezed. Didn't hear it.”

Xbox One Backwards Compatibility has FOUR new games, Black Ops 2 for Xbox AND PS4 launch?

The Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program is exclusive to the Microsoft console and has helped to bolster its exclusive 2017 lineup.

While the games that are released can’t necessarily be categorised as new, they have helped create a buzz every week for fans looking for the next title launched.

Currently, fans are hungering over Call of Black Ops 2, a major Xbox 360 title missing from the completed Backwards Compatible games list.

There is currently no word on when the popular COD game may be released on Xbox One via the Backwards Compatible emulator, however, an update of sorts on the subject has been provided.

Bill Stillwell from the Xbox Platform team talked more on the subject with fans on Twitter, explaining: “Lately, there has been another surge in the "We want BOII!!!" tweets. With lots of continued angst and concern over why there is no answer. Combined with the lull in releases for BC overall, I wanted to give more context directly, hence this "wordy" reply.

“First, it is important to remember that BC releases have always ebbed and flowed. Just like the industry, some months are loaded, and others are pretty light. We are still 100% committed to the program. I expect big releases in the near future. But unlike the holiday season, big bi-weekly releases of titles are unlikely to happen each and every month.

“Yes, I know the upcoming titles, what issues we have with each one (technical or not), and the runway before they launch. I'm still very confident in this year's plan, and that we'll see happy customers in the future. Beyond that, it is not my place to communicate those plans. Especially when it involves someone else's IP.

“Releasing a big/popular game, even as a re-release into the BC program, is a heavily orchestrated event. Publishers often have target dates that coincide With other initiatives, such as sales, or related titles, and they want to maximise the release. 

“We also have long-term business relationships, and want them to continue to deliver great news games to the console for many years. It makes no sense to jeopardise that business relationship for a short-term boost.

“Additionally, I can't understate the complexity Of the non-technical part of this. We are in some cases reviewing licensing agreements that are a decade old, evaluating the impact of new technology on those agreements, and then negotiating with a host of Other parties for terms to get renewed/changed. This is not a quick process most times.”

There has also been a lot of pondering among fans on the subject of Call of Duty Black Ops 2 appearing on the PS4 games list as well.

Certain Xbox One Backwards Compatibility games being launched have apparently sparked the release of older PS3 games on the PlayStation Now service.

The most recent would be Red Dead Redemption, arriving alongside the Undead Nightmare expansion in December last year.