The Wii was seen on HBO's True Blood of all places this past weekend. HBO seems to have just taken that product placement money and didn't think twice. No observation, no explanation during its brief appearance. There wasn't even the cursory, "I play videogames because being a 200-year-old vampire I can no longer play golf or sports during the day." None of that. They just made sure the Wii-mote was in view and dropped the "Wii" name a few times.
Game Description: In Line Rider, the sled-stealing scumbag Chaz is up to no good and only you, as the clever and cunning Bosh, can defeat him. For Bosh to save his true love Bailey, players must solve over 40 mind-bending puzzles created by the #1 Line Rider player in the world, TechDawg.
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.
Despite my hesitation to comply with the $15 price point that's been occurring more frequently on the various download services, I've been hearing nothing but good about World of Goo via WiiWare and decided to take the plunge—thankfully, the word on the ‘net was correct.
According to an article in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill magazine Endeavors ("Fair Games"), UNC computer science students are designing games for players with low vision. The games were field tested at "Maze Day," when 70 kids with visual impairments came from all around North Carolina to play:
The game [Move to the Music] gives [the blind player] audio feedback on her performance: a handclap when she steps in time to the beat, an occasional buzzer when she’s off rhythm. Six-inch-wide pieces of carpet cover the centers of the squares on the pad, telling her feet where to step.
Other students used information readily available on the internet to write programs that can communicate with Nintendo’s Wii controller, called the Wii Remote or 'Wiimote.' Given the task of making a sports game, one group picked a sport that would be familiar to their target audience: beep ball. The real-life game is based on baseball and played by many blind kids and adults, using a softball that beeps and bases that make buzzing sounds. The game the students created combines verbal cues such as 'Ready!' 'Pitch!' and 'Strike!' with simple figures that seem to zoom closer to the player as they run across a green field. The player swings the Wiimote to hit the ball, then shakes the controller back and forth to run toward a base.
The games are playable on common, inexpensive hardware, and are open source; they can be improved or adapted as necessary.
Game Description: Explore the universe like never before in Art Style: ORBIENT. Take control of gravity and antigravity to carefully maneuver your small star through 50 stages set in multiple galaxies. Collide with other stars to absorb them and make your own star expand in size, or capture the stars in your orbit and have them become your satellites. Space isn't empty though, and you'll have to avoid bumping into obstacles or getting pulled into a black hole. If you feel like relaxing while still being challenged, this is the game for you—its combination of simple controls, atmospheric sound, and unique environment make for an experience unlike any other!
Games in the Art Style series feature elegant design, polished graphics, and pick-up-and-play controls, creating an experience focused purely on fun and engaging game play.
Game Description: This latest Mega Man title brings the series back to its old-school roots with retro action platforming gameplay and classic 8-bit graphics and sound. Relive the Mega Man experience with classically inspired bosses, each with their own unique weapons and weaknesses.
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