Gamen en Autisme

In this book review I will discuss the book “Gamen en Autisme”. Written by Herm Kisjes & Erno Mijland, Beter Gamen, Middelbeers 2011.

The book appeals to me personally as it touches on two topics that play a big part in my personal life, so next to an objective analysis I will give a lot of my personal views on this book.

Gamen en Autisme is all about, as you might have guessed, Gaming and Autism. It describes how games can be used to improve the lives of people with autism, acting as a social bridge, a platform for practicing social interaction by means of educational gaming, but also how they can become a major problem in their lives, in the forms of addiction and social isolation.

The thing that made this book so interesting for me to read was the large amount of personal interviews with autistic people and with their parents, how they describe their struggles and problems, but also how it has helped them in their daily routines. Something I can relate to as I myself have autism. Nearly every interview offered some point of recognition to how it was perceived by myself at some point in time, making it a very comforting read, as you realize others have had the exact same joys and problems, reading how they managed to overcome their troubles and learning from their experience.

The book focuses on children and young adults; however it is still very relevant to older readers as it has a large section dedicated to parenting and how to handle games and autistic gamers with care, but also explains the risks of gaming addiction and how to see the early indications that this might become a problem. Granting tips and tricks given by other parents to help overcome potential problems or prevent them from ever happening.

It can be a very serious problem, as I have experienced the addictive pull that games can bring, sitting behind a PC till 6 in the morning, completely absorb by a virtual world that removes all limitations, a world without the troublesome social interactions, frustrations and confusing emotions that others seem to deal with so easily.  Blindly playing your game, forgetting everything around you. Developers know these systems like no other, and they are very effective for normal people. It pushes them deeper into a game, but for people with autism it can go beyond that, and getting the grip on reality back can prove to be a challenge. However it can also bring great joy, in my case for example; I can express myself far better in online chat then in a face to face conversation, where the facial expressions, body language and subtle messages are stripped away, leaving only the clear information to be analyzed.

Regarding the actual formatting of the book, it was very pleasant to read, even for a dyslectic reader like myself. The page layout is not optimal but the writing is clear and cut up into readable chunks making it easy to skim pages but also allows for a moment of thought between sections. One thing that bugged me was the lack of academic references within the actual text, only a few were mentioned and others seem to be based on research, yet they are not stated on the actual page. The lack of on-page references makes it near impossible to check facts as you have no clue where the information given came from and makes it very hard to go in depth on the topic you wanted to know more about. Normally I don’t see this as a problem, yet for this book it is due to the nature of autism. There are a lot of variations within the autistic spectrum and their effects range even greater. This means that due to the size of the topic, the book does not go in depth on a lot of the elements presented. Readers like myself will be interested in the topic that relates to them most, and less so about the other variations of autism. If I want to know more about the specific topic, a reference to more in-depth research papers would have made the search a lot quicker.

Herm Kisjes & Erno Mijland

Overall Gamen en Autisme is a very pleasant read on a very serious topic. I can recommend this to anyone that is autistic or has autistic family members. Furthermore it is a good book for game developers, as it gives insight into the experiences of autistic gamers, what they like and dislike, how it affects them and how a game can be optimized to better suit autistic players. Another thing to consider if you should read this book as a game developer is that autism is quite common in the industry, especially among programmers, so if you wish to improve your understanding of their way of living, this book can give you a good amount of knowledge and understanding. For my personal taste it could have gone a bit more in-depth on some of the topics, but for readers with limited knowledge on autism and games it serves as a great introduction to the topic.

Gamen en Autisme is currently available in Dutch; ISBN: 978-94-90484-00-2

Our Own Chris McEntee Shines in the Leaked Rayman Legends Wii U Trailer

April 27, 2012 by  
Filed under > By Platform, Featured, News, Nintendo

Today Kotaku, Joystiq and Gamasutra reported on the new leaked Rayman Legends game for the Wii U. And to our surprise we see a familiar face! Its our former writer Chris McEntee! We knew that Chris worked at the last Rayman game and he was working on a new project but this is something he could not tell us about. And now we understand why! The game looks phenomenal! It shows us that The Wii U has some other tricks up its sleeve .  The Wii U’s near field communication enables you to put an object on its the Wii U’s screen and recognise it.

We wish Chris all the best in the remaining time on developing this game together with his team at Ubisoft!

For now. Great work guys and keep it up! it sure looks promising.

Chris at Nisute:

 

Gaming and Girlfriends, does it work?

April 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Featured

Ever since I was a kid I loved playing videogames. I have an older brother, he games, I think he is awesome, so I started gaming too. Now I’m awesome as well.

However a few of my boyfriends didn’t like me loving gaming that much. One of them gave me his Xbox (first gen) which he got when buying a new phone. That was the biggest mistake he ever made… For him. Our lovely evenings together became me playing Burn-Out and DOA Xtreme beachvolley for hours (What?! … Crash Junctions and Kasumi in a Venus bikini? What’s not entertaining about that?). After a while I realized this wasn’t working out. The relationship that is. We broke up, I kept the Xbox, everything was fine.

So I know how it is… Dating someone who doesn’t understand why you like gaming so much. But since I’ve been dating a gamer/programmer for about 5 years I also know what it’s like being on the other side. I mean… I game for hours, but he games for HOURS! He told me how happy he was to find someone that understand his passion and let him play without butchering his hobby. My friends don’t get it when I tell them I had a great night sitting next to my boyfriend at the dining table, him playing World of Tanks on his laptop and me playing the Sims3 on our PC. Now that’s a fun night!

Ladies, if your man is a gamer, please don’t nag when he’s playing (Actually don’t nag at all).

Support your gamer! Ask if he wants something to drink, give him something to snack, yell at the TV when he is yelling and tell him how proud you are that he’s no. 28 on the leaderboard of Ninja Gaiden 3. If you don’t understand, try.

Just make sure he’s comfy when gaming and when you want ‘you’ time, just be upfront and say so. And if you can’t beat them… Join them. You might actually love it…

Guys, in my next column I’ll tell you how to get your girl into gaming. Tips and great games to play together with your lady-friend. Stay tuned!

It’s entertaining dammit!

By Pascale Brand

Dragons Dogma Demo – Out Now!

April 25, 2012 by  
Filed under > By Platform, Featured, News, Playstation, Xbox

In the recent months Capcom has steadily been showing us more and more material of their upcoming open world action fantasy game Dragon’s Dogma, and all the promotion has culminated into the release of a playable demo released as of the time of writing! The demo is available on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation Store and allows players to experience what Dragon’s Dogma has got to offer with a preview of two of the game’s playable character classes; the melee-oriented Fighter and the nimble Strider. As the former you set out to defeat the deadly Chimera, and as the latter you prepare to fight the majestic but dangerous Griffin. Both are different parts of the final game and allow you to get an inkling of what abilities both characters have and what the customization options within the game entail. Of course the Pawns, the game’s name for party members, are also included.

The demo is out from 25th of april onwards on Xbox 360 and PSN Store, and the game itself will be released in Europe exactly one month later, on May 25th.

 

Expedition Exclusive DLC For FIFA 12

In the new UEFA 2012 DLC called “Expedition”, you can make your ultimate dream team, and discover Europe. You start with choosing your favorite player or a Virtual Pro player as your team captain. Also change your appearance, choose a team emblem and select the colors. The rest of your team will consists of random players from UEFA.
The map is where the Expedition begins, where you can see your current location and plan your strategies. When defeat a team you’re able to connect two locations with a “road” between your current location and another location within the same group.

Roads are important, only then you can try to play against another nation within the same group if a road connects to it. When you win, your new location becomes the defeated nation. Lose, and you stay at your location. Be aware though, if you lose a road that connected two locations might break up.

With every match you win, you’re also rewarded with a player from the defeated nation. This is the way to making your fantasy team. The first time defeating a nation, the new player will be a reserve player, then a substitute player and eventually a Starting 11 player. Then you can set this player as a player in your team by removing another player, or just decline the player completely.

By winning matches you will also be rewarded with Mosaic Pieces, 3 pieces from each nation, from 53 nations to complete the entire Mosaic image!

SSX Tricky DLC First Look: Mt. Eddie

EA has been teasing the community by slowly showing puzzle pieces of a screenshot jam they took full of classic SSX elements.
But now, EA has announced that on the 1st of May they will release two DLC packs for SSX, a Classic character pack and the Mt. Eddie pack.
You better get warmed up while you can, because this will be a hell of a long and cold ride!

Mt. Eddie is a track inspired from TRICKY, it’s an ultra long mountain that comes with nine new race and trick drops, filled with huge kickers, ridiculous grinds, a big air drop, fireworks and a whole lot more – the classic SSX experience in one pack for you to enjoy!
The classic characters pack consists of 7 retro SSX characters from SSX 3 and Tricky, each with their own snowboard and if that’s not enough, the pack also includes three classic SSX music tracks.


The elements are available separately as either the Mt. Eddie pack or the SSX classic character pack, or together as a bundle.

Pack contents:

Mt. Eddie pack:

  • Mt. Eddie (an over the top ultra long Tricky inspired track, with 9 drops)
  • Retro music tracks including two from previous SSX titles

Classic characters pack:

  • SSX classic cast (7 characters)
  • All characters come with an assortment of outfits color ways
  • 7 unique snowboard (one for each character in this pack)

Mt. Eddie & Classic characters pack

  • Consists of everything that the individual packs contain

 

ICT convention for education

April 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Featured, Game Development

Nisute went to the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht to see where the Education sector of the Netherlands were in context of applying games and game mechanics to their respective trade…

“The power of KINECT in Special Needs Education”

In collaboration with Microsoft, Special Needs Educator; “De ruimte” has researched the benefits of using Microsofts XBOX360 accessory to enhance the lives of young children with physical special needs.

Because of a limited budget in time as well as financially researchers Willemijn de Lint and Hans Smeele chose to use existing KINECT games in combination with some extra peripherals in order to optimize the experience and benefits. KINECT sport was the most prominent game used. A kind of balance board is one of those resulting peripherals, a skateboard whose wheels have been replaced by half an ellipse to increase the required balancing during the mini-games. Read more

Osmos has left me with a compulsion for propulsion.

Good day class! Today it’s time for a lesson in classical physics. You have probably all heard of Newton and his laws, right? No, Jimmy, he did not break any. Sir Newton once described the laws of motion with three simple laws. The first law states that an object at rest remains at rest or, if it is in motion, moves with uniform velocity until it is acted on by a resultant force. The second law says that a force is equal to its mass times acceleration. Lastly the third law tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Don’t worry kids because I’ve brought a game with me today to demonstrate this.

Read more

Gaming is Bad For You!

April 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Featured

The one thing I’ve learned, since I stopped working at a game company, is never tell your new colleagues (at a random-boring office) that you’ve been playing video games for about 16 hours last weekend.

The stares I got from that remark made me question if there was a bear in a tutu driving a unicycle behind my back. After an awkward silence they would laugh it off, get coffee and return to their desks within 1.2 seconds while making a ‘she-is-bananas’ sign to other colleagues.

Yeah… I’m a girl and I game. I game for hours and hours and I love it. While most of these colleagues may love to spend their Saturday sitting on a terrace somewhere drinking a ‘Heini’ and  working on their tan by soaking up sun,  I’m pale as white rice getting my game on behind my 360 or PC with the curtains closed. (See, gaming keeps you young, I have no wrinkly-sun-skin!)

When my dad calls on Saturday at 5 pm and asks what I’m doing I once made the mistake by saying what I was actually doing: ‘Trying to own expert level with Guitar Hero since 8 this morning, what are you doing?’. I get a ‘silent-phone-stare’ followed by him sighing and telling me ‘That’s bad! What is wrong with you?’  Well… Dad for starters you and mom did buy my brother a Gamegear when we were young. So basically that’s what you did wrong about 20 years ago.

And since I’m a woman…  I can multitask. I can game, get groceries, wash clothes and prepare dinner while playing a video game. How’s that bad?

But you know what? I grew up (up, not old!) and learned my lesson. Not that gaming is bad for you though. I’ve learned how to deal with people who don’t understand or who simply suck at gaming and hate you for being awesome at it. Gamers never quit.

So the next time someone asks me ‘What did you do this weekend?’ I’ll tell ‘m I saved the World from evil aliens, nailed a perfect guitar solo at a sold out rock concert or won a kart race from some weird Italian plumber.

And a special thanks to my dad for buying the Gamegear, you’re the best!

 

By: Pascale Brand.

A Thief, a Wizard and a Warrior walk into a bar… Trine 2 Review

And the barman says: “You three look like an interesting lot, although I can tell you’re not really trine all that hard.”

With the icebreaker out of the way it’s time to melt the remains and get right to the moist. Trine 2 builds on what made the first trine a modest success. The gist of it is that the trine is an artifact that once bound a loot loving thief, a wimpy wizard and an ale affectionate warrior into one entity. Together they combined skills and specialties to best foes and resolve riddling roadblocks in their first adventure. The sequel is not much different.

When I played the first Trine it reminded me of Blizzard’s ‘The Lost Vikings’ where you could switch between three Vikings, each with their own special ability, to reach the end of the level. The Vikings were bound to their position when switching between controls whereas Trine 2 swaps between the characters in the same position. Although it is a choice worth respecting I feel the team executed poorly on the depth that could be emerged from it. Read more

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