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Wii, PS3 used in therapy for kids with cerebral palsy

A case study conducted by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and published in the October 2008 issue of the American Physical Therapy Association's journal found that when a teenage boy with cerebral palsy played Wii Sports as part of his regular therapy, "there were positive outcomes at the impairment and functional levels," according to the abstract.

While I couldn't find a full-text version of the article, SpecialKids.com reports on the study in more detail:

[T]he patient was a 13-year-old male with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. In a school-based setting, he participated in 11 training sessions, over a four-week period, using the Wii while continuing to receive physical and occupational therapy. The sessions were each between 60 and 90 minutes long and used the Wii sports games software, which offers boxing, tennis, bowling, and golf. He trained in both standing and sitting positions.
“ 'Improvements in visual-perceptual processing, postural control, and functional mobility were measured after training,'” the researchers reported.

Obama and Palin coming to Mercenaries 2 as playable characters

This has April Fools joke written all over it, but this is October so... what the hell? Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Palin are playable characters in the upcoming DLC for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. I can understand why no Joe Biden, but why no John McCain? It's ironic that the candidate with actual military experience is excluded in favor of the Vice-Presidential nominee with more star power.

ZAC: A web browser for autistic children

John LeSieur's six-year-old grandson Zackary was overwhelmed by computers: too many options, too many colors, too much stuff in general to keep track of. Zachary has autism, and LeSieur tried to find a web browser that would be less confusing. When he couldn't find such a browser for Zackary, he made one.

"Nerd" proposes to girlfriend by hacking Chrono Trigger

This dude is lucky on two fronts. A) He found a woman who would sit through a play session of Chrono Trigger and B) he found a woman that was happy to say yes after said play session. There have to be easier ways to pop the question—hacking a game isn't child's play—but maybe it was worth it for this guy just to hack one of his favorite games. That the young lady said yes was a bonus.

Could force feedback joysticks help disabled gamers?

Via Second Life for the Visually Impaired

The Novint Falcon may look like a space helmet with a robot arm sticking out of it, but it's really a kind of joystick that lets players "feel" the games they're playing: "When you hold the Falcon’s detachable Grip and move your cursor to interact with a virtual object, environment, or character, motors in the device turn on and are updated approximately 1000 times a second, letting you feel texture, shape, weight, dimension, and dynamics."

Anyone who's played Nintendo 64 games with the Rumble Pack or turned on the rumble feature in their PS2 DualShock controller has some idea of how force-feedback or haptic technology can influence gaming, but the Falcon takes this technology to a whole new level:

Hold the Falcon's interchangeable Grip and feel a character's actions, instead of controlling a game with mouse-clicks and meters. Feel the weight of a basketball as you shoot it towards a hoop-the momentum and impact as you swing a virtual golf club and strike a ball-the recoil of a weapon-or the physical characteristics of virtual objects and environments.

On the Download: Bejewled Twist launch party

Tonight, the evening of October 27, gamers and journalists from across the country gathered at the Experience Music Project in the heart of Seattle to celebrate the release of PopCap Games' newest offering: Bejweled Twist.

Vocal Joystick lets physically disabled control a computer mouse with their voice

On August 22, 2008, University of Washington Electrical Engineering Ph.D candidate Jon Malkin spoke about the Vocal Joystick (VJ) project at the Gnomedex 8.0 tech conference:

The Horror Geek presents: Burn, Zombie Burn! Headed to PlayStation Network

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I still don't own a PlayStation 3. I'm one of those guys who picks up every console in every generation--then when something exclusive releases, I don't have to give a crap. The PS3, though, has remained a bit out of my price range and didn't have anything I was dying to play for quite awhile. That's changing now (well, not the price part, but the games I want to play half) with MGS4, Disgaea 3, and now, Burn, Zombie Burn!

Looking at the screenshots for this title, the first thing that pops into my head is "damn, this looks like a next-gen version of Zombies Ate My Neighbors"--which was a great 16-bit era game that appeared on the SNES and Genesis.

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