Welcome back to Game Bits, the series that has no rhyme or reason, only random bits of gaming news. This past week was all about Warlords of Draenor in the Mandifesto household, but that didn't mean it was all smooth sailing. Some real low pond scum sort of people decided it was fun to destroy the experiences of gamers all over the world, and I'd really like to punch them right in the nose. Instead I'll share news from around the gaming world, and hope that they are soon brought to a fiery justice.
Last week Warlords of Draenor, the latest World of Warcraft expansion launched. Unfortunately just as the Iron Horde was surging onto Azeroth, a DDoS attack on the game's servers began. It took days of round the clock work, throttling back server populations behind huge queues, and several other magical practices behind the scenes before the game became playable. Unfortunately this meant that several thousand players who had set aside a four-day weekend to play the game were stuck either in massive day-long queues, or were hit with so much lag that the game was virtually unplayable. By the end of the week though, Blizzard had the game back up and running smoothly enough for even I to teach the likes of Ner'zul a thing or two.
Sexism in gaming has been a huge discussion here in America, but while we debate the topic endlessly via Twitter it looks like Sweden might actually be doing something to counterract the issue. They've sponsored the formation of a new agency, called Vinnova, which will look into how viable it is to add a sexism rating to games distributed in Sweden. If they go through with it, this would make Sweden the first country to force game developers to think hard about what sort of sexist imagery they fill their games with, because they will have to answer to the rating agency about it before they can sell their game. This is a developing story, but one that all gamers should follow with interest.
We all know Freddie Wong's VGHS is brilliant, but now even the world outside gaming is taking notice. Take this article from Business Insider, which points out that we now live in a world where eSports celebs are millionaires. How many years off are we from building a school dedicated solely to learning the ins and outs of our favorite games? My guess is about fifteen years, or however long it takes Rocket Jump to get the Kickstarter going.
Yay science! According to a article on video games and their positive affect on brain activity on Science 2.0, it turns out your favorite passtime might be helping build up your brain. There have been numerous studies linking increased spacial awareness in young children to their use of video games, and we all know the therapeutic benefits of gaming after a stressful day. As the article points out, the trouble isn't that the information isn't out there, it's that the media, or maybe the public, don't want to read that story. They want to read the story about video game addiction, they want the sensational story about people and how they are harmed by gaming. Because the best way to counter false arguements such as these is to arm yourself with knowledge, I highly suggest you take the time to read through the article linked above, and skim some of the research he links on the benefits of video games. Then you'll have some positivity to defend gaming with the next time someone tries to claim that games are bad for you. The more you know [tm].