Real-Life Trauma Center

I got a kick out of this. Granted, I get a kick out of anything that reminds me of Trauma Center: Second Opinion, but…

A recent study performed at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York has determined that the doctors who played video games were better at performing certain kinds of surgeries. From the Reuters report:

Out of 33 surgeons from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York that participated in the study, the nine doctors who had at some point played video games at least three hours per week made 37 percent fewer errors, performed 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better in the test of surgical skills than the 15 surgeons who had never played video games before.

“It was surprising that past commercial video game play was such a strong predictor of advanced surgical skills,” said Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile, one of the study’s authors.

It supports previous research that video games can improve “fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, depth perception and computer competency,” the study said.

You can totally ignore the second page of the article, which talks about silly nonsense like gaming being linked to aggressiveness and poor grades. Plant your kids in front of the tube, throw a Wii Remote in their hands, and you’ve got an instant formula for a medical degree!

…As long as they’re playing Trauma Center, obviously.

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Custom Mii Sculptures

A clever Wii enthusiast had an equally clever idea: he had custom sculptures made of his and his girlfriend’s Miis as a Valentine’s Day present. They came out beautifully:

On top of that, the sculptor is offering his services to anyone else with the desire to have a sculpture of their Mii (like me) and $50 (unlike me). Act fast, he’s only making 100 Mii sculptures in this fashion. Go now!

(courtesy of 4 color rebellion)

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Mmm, slim

Until a few hours ago, I never owned a PS2.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

For a long time now, I’ve been amassing PS2 games without owning a console on which to play them. Katamari Damacy (and the “less than three” sequel), Kingdom Hearts, X-Files: Resist Or Serve and ICO have been gracing my shelf for far too long without being spun at high speeds and shot at with a red laser.

I was excited about the announcement of the PlayStation 3 for what some might consider to be all the wrong reasons: I knew that once the $600 console hit the shelves, the PS2 prices would plummet shortly afterward. So patiently I waited, watched the PS3 hit the shelves in their crazy limited supplies and capture the imagination of millionaires everywhere, all the while checking with local game shops for the imminent price reductions. And this Sunday, while walking through my hometown’s Game Crazy, I saw that they had a refurbished slim PS2 for $99! Armed with $45 in gift certificates, I swooped in for the (proverbial) kill!

And forgot to buy a memory card. Oh well, I’ll never get tired of rolling around a giant ball covered in crabs.

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The Quest For The Wii Points Card

Apparently I’m in the minority on this one, but I’ve been exerting quite a lot of effort this past week in an attempt to obtain a Wii Points Card. For those not In The Know™, this card is used to purchase items through the Shop Channel on the Nintendo Wii such as Virtual Console games and the Browser Channel If You’re Not Quick Enough On The Draw When It’s Released.

When I set out on a mission to purchase one of these cards last week, I didn’t think there would be much to it. It’s a gift card, I surmised. You can pick up such cards for the iTunes Store with relative ease just about anywhere, so a Wii Points Card should be no problem.

Oh what a fool I was.

As it turns out, the Wii Points Card is harder to find than the Wii itself was in the weeks following its release. By this I mean that, though the Wii was pretty much impossible to find anywhere, at least the people you called knew what it was. Here’s the gist of one call I made to the Wal-Mart in Dixon:

Me: Hi, do you have the Wii Points Card in stock?
Wal-Mart Electronics Department: …the what?
Me: The Wii Points Card? It’s like a gift certificate for buying games through the Wii Shop Channel.
Wal-Mart: Shop… Channel?
Me: Yes. On the Wii.
Wal-Mart: …Whee?
Me: …

This wouldn’t have been as bad if the item in question wasn’t listed on their website, indicating that they do indeed sell it. Though the other stores I checked with weren’t as ignorant of their own stock, I couldn’t procure one through Target, Best Buy, or numerous GameStops and GameCrazies in the region. They had all either run out and had no idea when they were getting them in stock again, or had never seen one with their eyes. In desperation, I went back to Wal-Mart’s page and ordered one through their Site To Store option (where the item is shipped to the store when it’s available, and I can go pick it up there. No way I was gonna spend $6 on shipping for a piece of plastic!).

It’s a sad situation when something as simple as a gift card is out of stock. Unlike the Wii Remotes and Nunchucks and the like, Nintendo is basically printing money on cardstock with the Points Card. They should be shipping these things out by the truckloads across the nation and to our (proverbial) doorsteps. Instead, they’re exercising the same level of caution as they are with their entire product line, thinking the world gaming community still isn’t ready for their radical new gameplay.

Hey Nintendo: we’re ready. Quit holdin’ out on us. We can’t use your Wild Wacky Wii Sticks if you won’t sell us any.

Oh yeah, and don’t charge tax on gift cards. I’m pretty sure crap like that isn’t kosher, and trying to market your gift card as something that isn’t a gift card isn’t gonna fool anyone. That we can buy Wii Points through the Shop Channel and not pay tax should be a safe indicator that you already know better.

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Ridin’ the Hype Bandwagon all the way to the ol’ Rumor Mill over yonder

Just found this leaked picture of Nintendo’s next-gen console, the Revolution. The photo’s a little bit blurry, but I think you’ll find it rather intriguing:

Remember those rumors that were going around awhile back about the inclusion of helicopter blades? I was skeptic at first, but after seeing this photo, it got me to thinking about how much sense it made. I mean, think about it. Nintendo has stated that the technology that makes the Revolution so revolutionary is something that already exists, but has never been applied to video games before. We know from the DS that Nintendo is eager to try and integrate innovative hardware schemes to create wholly new forms of gameplay. What could possibly accomplish this better than helicopter blades?

I’m getting excited imagining the possibilities already. Who hasn’t dreamt of how much better classic Nintendo franchises such as Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Pokémon would be with helicopter blade technology tightly integrated into the gaming experience? Now our dreams can finally be reality! With this bombshell of a leak, E3’s looking to be more exciting than ever. Come speculate the possibilities with me, why don’t you?

(the flames that constantly shoot from the vents are intriguing as well, though I personally have yet to see a viable application in video games for them. But hey, that’s why those guys at Nintendo are the innovators!)