My name is Kel, but I am known online as PraiseChaos. The name PraiseChaos comes from a belief that no matter how much crap you think you have to deal with, there's someone somewhere who is dealing with something much worse than your problems. It also keeps life interesting.
I'm an 360, Wii, and PC gamer. I'm hoping to get a PS3 eventually. I don't stick to any certain genre of game. My favorites are rhythm games and FPS's.
In real life, I'm a student at WVU Institute of Technology studying Computer Science. I also do programming and IT work part time to make some extra cash, which I promptly blow on video games. I was also the founder and chairman of a local gaming community for two years.
I'm currently playing:
All those games I received for Christmas.
I present my gaming/main coding PC. I used to play Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat quite a bit, but I've had to cut back because of school. I'm going to invest in Team Fortress 2 pretty soon so I'll be able to shoot Caffeine in the face (or just get shot myself...)
This rig includes (more or less):
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+
ASUS M2R32-MVP Motherboard
1 Gig x 2 of Corsair XMS DDR
2 x Western Digital Raptors 37gb
Swifttech MCP-55 water pump w/ Swifttech Apogee GT waterblock (I think)
This is the top of my machine. You'll notice the box fan to the right. I've been too lazy to put real 120mm fans on my radiator, so I use that for the moment. It works fine, but it's a pain to take that to LANs. ;)
The big black thing is my radiator. Everything else are random stickers and things I've collected from LANs or random events over the years.
Here's the first picture of inside my PC. You'll see my waterblock and some random other things.
This picture is a picture of a rat's nest. I've failed at cable management lately.
Here's my monitor and things. I've got a gaming mouse pad, a Logitech MX500, and a wireless keyboard that I use for gaming, but they're all spread out between my living room and computer room. I didn't feel like taking the time to gathering it all back up.
Cooper Lawrence is pretty ignorant, and I enjoyed watching the drama unfold as gamers took it on themselves to fix her ignorance. I started to wonder how other psychologists actually feel about this woman and what she has to say. I set out to get an opinion from a psychologist. Unfortunately, the only psychologists I know are professors at my university.
This is the e-mail I sent to a local professor. I've edited his name to keep anyone from spamming him like they did to Cooper (not that anyone would.)
My name is Kel Cecil. You may remember me from your presentation about
violence in video games. I brought the game Manhunt 2 to your attention
and discussed Department of Justice statistics showing a decreasing
crime rate among youth in recent years.
Recently Fox News did an unfair segment about the video game "Mass
Effect" for the Xbox 360. Fox New's "experts" ranted about the sexual
content in the game. The truth is that the segment in question lasts
under a minute and is no more revealing than anything I see on prime
time TV. Cooper Lawrence also sites some statistics that go against
every statistic I've heard. The video game community is in a bit of an
uproar about what we feel in unfair and sensationalist reporting at the
I'm writing to ask two questions. My first question is just a reminder
for myself. The Department of Justice statistics about youth violence
and video games can be found at this site:
There is also a handy time line that shows the creation of popular game
consoles during this time. When I mentioned this data, I believe you
said that these statistics don't show anything conclusive. Why is that?
My second question is about the Fox News segment itself. Do you think
that a psychologists have the right to create and take part in stories
like this if they have not played the game? If you do think it's right,
then please explain why and how one can have a full understanding of the
game if you have not fully experienced it?
Here are some links, in case you have not seen the segment:
A brief overview with video of the actual segment:
A transcription of the segment: http://gamepolitics.com/2008/01/22/1993/
The game publisher's response to the segment:
Also, here are the Entertainment Software's Association's statistics
about the average age of gamers:
Thank you for your time.
I finally received a response from him today:
Thanks for your questions.
Regarding correlational data (like DOJ or FBI statistics), it's difficult to control for other factors that influenced an apparent decline in crime. For example, you may notice that the link you provided shows a decrease in violent crime that begins sometime after the Clinton admintration took office. In that administration, 10,000 new police officers were hired to reduce crime, the economy (and unemployment) declined rapidly, and many other factors co-occured at the time of release of certain violent games.
More importantly, the DOJ data do not account for big changes in US demographics (the percentages among the age groups vary widely over time, affecting crime stats).
Regarding your second question:
As to the news show, no, I do not watch Fox news.
I note that the "expert" on the Fox news clip you linked was not in fact listed as a professor, scientist, or psychologist, but a "psychology specialist". I've never heard of that profession before. It's also worth noting that most research has studied violence in video games, not sex. Sex is so rare in U.S.-released video games that it's not a big issue. I don't know what data the Fox "expert" was referring to.
I do think she can offer an opinion about the effects of a game she hasn't played, in the same way a physician can offer an opinion about the effects of cocaine without personally using cocaine herself.
If you want to do further research on the effects of violent video games, I cannot recommend you consult game industry or similar websites. The best impartial, scientific work is this new volume on the subject.
I can understand what he's saying about the DOJ data, but I don't think Cooper claiming that Mass Effect is full of sex is like a physician talking about the effects of cocaine at all. I'm having a very hard time understanding how the two are alike.
This professor also notes that Fox refers to her as a psychology specialist. He comments on that, but I think her education is listed on her website. As I recall, the best she has is a Masters and is perusing her Doctorate.
How do you guys feel about this? I'm pretty sure no one will agree with the analogy, but how about the Department of Justice statistics?
In my opinion, Microsoft's Xbox-related announcements at CES 2008 was absolutely craptastic. Although Microsoft promised everyone a big Xbox announcement, all I heard were things I really didn't care about. Disney and ABC shows on Xbox Live? Who cares? I can only play them on my Xbox, so what good does that do me? Xbox Live reached 10 million customers? Awesome, but I notice you didn't mention anything about the service's reliability.
The announcement that made me the most angry was the announcement that British Telecom will begin using Xbox 360s as "set-top boxes." So, THIS is your big announcement? My 360 will now operate as a cable box? Oh, boy! That's just swell! </sarcasm>
I can't help feeling that Microsoft is trying to push the 360 into something the console is not ready for. As far as I can tell, the Xbox 360 still has a ridiculously high failure rate. I don't blame Microsoft for wanting to expand the market for the console, but I feel like they should be concentrating on fixing the Xbox Live scalability issues or effectively reducing the failure rate of the console.
The failure rate of the console really makes me wonder why British Telecom would want to implement this in the first place. Personally, I'm not very fond of the idea that my cable box may red ring during Hannah Montana.
Okay, Microsoft, why should you stop at cable boxes? You clearly want to expand the market for the 360, so let's be clever and think of some other awesome uses for the 360.
Perhaps the 360 could be used as replacements for the vital machines in hospitals? Not only will your vitals be monitored by three cores of processing power, you can stay caught up on all of the hottest titles. That sounds pretty good, but I don't think I need to tell everyone how I'd feel if the doctor came back and told me my girlfriend RRoD'd during the night and won't be collecting any more achievements.
The 360 could potentially be used as a navigation computer on space shuttles. If the console red rings, simply attach it to the outside of the space shuttle and re-enter Earth's atmosphere. It's kind of like doing the towel trick, except the outside of the space shuttle doesn't quite reach the temperature of the inside of the towel.
I'm out of sarcasm, so it's time to wrap this rant up. Tell me, fellow Dtoid users, does this announcement irritate any of you, or can you think of other awesome, cutting-edge uses for the 360?
Rock Band is an amazing game. The game is so awesome that we were actually able to get one of our professors to try it out in our Student Union once. True story. That's the crappy YouTube video above.
From the moment I saw Rock Band, I knew that this game would be the ultimate game to play around drunks. Drunks develop magical powers when drunk, so they can do anything they put their minds to... Sort of...
This semester was particularly crappy for my friends and me, so, after the semester was over, we decided to have a NARP. We invited all of our friends who would still be in town. My best friend provided the booze. My other friend and I provided the Rock Band.
I'd like to get a few points of out of the way quickly. First of all, you will have a horrible time if you are the sober one of the group. Most people lose their ability to keep time and whatever little ability to carry a pitch they may have when drunk, so, unless you're drunk, you will leave with a headache that can only be described using a string of cursing that would make a hardened war veteran blush with shame. Also, if you are the resident Rock Band expert, don't let anyone know about it. You will play the more difficult instrument all night. Promise.
So, at the beginning of the evening, things were going okay. People weren't drunk yet, so it was usually pretty enjoyable to hear something at least try to sing and such. As more booze was passed out, the evening got worse.
People started getting crazy ideas as the drinks kept coming. People who had never touched a musical instrument in their lives started attempting to play things on the drums on Hard. These poor rejects would fail faster than a special child at Harvard. The drunks would scream things like "WHAT THE HELL? I WAS DEAD ON!"
The drunks eventually conquered the microphone. As I said before, drunks become magical when they get drunk. Everyone in the room was suddenly some bastard West Virginia version of Carrie Underwood sans talent. Each one would confidently step up to the mic, only for Rock Band to tell them to step back down.
"WHAT THE HELL? I WAS HITTING THAT PITCH EXACTLY! THIS GAME IS A PIECE OF SHIT." they would scream, while every sober musician is shaking their heads and trying to determine how drunk they had to be to believe they had really matched pitch.
Finally, the drunks decided on the greatest plan of all. The drunks decided that more vocals was better and that multiple drunks should sing at once...
It was at this time I convinced them that it needed more cowbell to try to prevent them from continuing to bastardize "Enter Sandman". No cowbells would be found on the premises, so the drunks returned to their mission.
The fact that the drunks were singing together didn't really bothered me until they started singing. The problem with drunks seems to be that, while they failed to match the pitch Rock Band wanted, they also failed to match the other's pitch. Imagine, if you will, two girls and a guy trying to sing "Highway Star." Three voices. Three different off-key pitches. All three pitches are wrong.
I began to pray for the Red Ring of Death. It would have been a blessing from Microsoft.
Finally, my sober friends had had enough. We decided to go back to my own apartment to play Rock Band where we could rock out without our ears bleeding... Unfortunately, we had to take my hard drive back with me. The drunks, with their highly developed sense of wtf?, quickly (by drunk standards) realized that my hard drive had most of the DLC and songs unlocked. The drunks then migrated to my apartment. Epic fail on my part.
Moral of the story: Don't play Rock Band with drunks unless you plan on being drunk too. This simple tip makes you all think you have musical talent and that's good for everyone's self-esteem!