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Syllabus for Graduate Seminar on Socially Conscious Video Games [ver 1.5]

University of Denver
School of Art & Art History
Electronic Media Arts & Design
Rafael A. Fajardo
Winter 2005

Rafael Fajardo [version 1.5 list]
Miguel Angel Tarango [comments and additions]
Kelly Monico [comments and additions]
Jennifer Kiesel [comments and additions]
Matthew Benjamin Jenkins [comments and additions]

Kiesel Comments and Additions

Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked [web]

Custer's Revenge: First adult video game? [review]

UNCENSORED VIDEOGAMES: ARE ADULTS RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF US? by Tim Moriarty (from the October '83 issue of Videogaming and Computergaming Illustrated
Article written shortly after Custer's release [essay]

Girl gamers strike at the boys - The women challenging the stereotype that professional online gaming is the realm of geeky men alone. [essay]

Virtual world teaches real-world skills
Game helps people with Asperger's practice socializing - a game that helps people with a certain form of autism.[essay]

Playing video games help's endoscopic surgeons become more efficient and make less mistakes. [essay]

I'm leaving it [the article] pasted here since I don't know how long the link will work. I think they might take it off after a week:

STEWART: OK. Who's more excited about the upcoming release of Super Ball Deluxe? Is it, a, your 9-year-old nephew; b, your motivationally-challenged stoner roommate; or the doctor about to perform coronary bypass surgery on your Aunt Millie.

If you guessed, B, you're wrong. Yes, that dude has been bogarted the Xbox since January.

But our No. 1 story in the COUNTDOWN tonight is the doctor most eager to tear into all 300 levels of monkey mayhem for scrubbing up to take care of the little heart operation. Scared yet? You shouldn't be.

COUNTDOWN's Monica Novotny now, on his journalists to improve their skill and speed.

STEWART: That's right. And this is good news. Good evening, Alison. The average 9-year-old spends 13 hours a week playing video games, raising the question, are they just killing time or, as some doctors now believe, could they be taking the first step in learning to save lives?

Dr. James Rosser is the chief of minimally-invasive surgery at New York's Beth Israel Hospital. He is also a gamer. Since discovering pong in college, Dr. Rosser's addiction to video games has grown as well as his prowess as an endoscopic surgeon. And that, he says, is no coincidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To this day, my dad thinks that I just wasted my life away playing those damn video games.

STEWART: Not exactly. Today, Dr. James Wasser is turning his operating room into an arcade, teaching the next generation of doctors to perform better by playing games.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now see how this is just like laproscopic surgery?

Ninety-eight thousand people a year die from medical errors in this country. Fifty-seven percent of them have surgical errors. I want to decrease the number of people that die in this country from medical errors.

STEWART: Rosser's specialty, endoscopic surgery, relying on a video camera and long, slender tools to perform minimally-invasive surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pre position. Rotate.

STEWART: He leads a course called "Top Gun," teaching doctors to better manipulate the surgical tools with games like slam dunk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, drop it. All right!

STEWART: But Wasser believes there's an even better way for surgeons to improve their skills: encouraging them to play real video games like Super Monkey Ball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sit down in front of a video game ten minutes and I destress and I'm also getting sharper for the next case.

STEWART: Rosser believes practice here means perfection here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, on my mark, ready, set, go.

STEWART: "Top Gun" instructor Dr. Steve Young says gaming gets him ready to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gets my mind in the right mind-set to be able to avenue through a three dimensional world on a TV screen.

STEWART: High-tech surgical simulators do exist but starting at around $200,000, they're not cost effective for many hospitals.

So Dr. Rosser wants to create his own video game, armed with the results of his 2004 study which found that surgeons who played video games for at least three hours a week were 27 percent faster, making 37 percent fewer mistakes than surgeons who did not play video games.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now rotate, nice one come on, big daddy. Nice move.

STEWART: Producer Alberto Menache (ph) will put the motion picture technology his engineers developed for the movie "The Polar Express" to use on Dr. Ross's teach. Together creating a video game for endoscopic patients.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, you've got a lot of data about them. Then you can build the database that you can use to teach the students or to correct students when they're training.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my gosh! This is so awkward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's awkward there it is. Because you can't - you want to just pick then up and touch it, but you can't.

If doctors who play can step up their game in the O.R., Rosser says everyone wins.

Nice job there, gentlemen. Excellent job!


BASH: Dr. Rosser says study found that for the doctors studied, current video game skills and past video game experience were significantly more indicative of a surgeon's surgical proficiency than the number of previous cases performed and years of training.

STEWART: So Monica, that endoscopic video game will it make its ways into kids' hands. Will there be a kids' version?

Dr. Rosser has that as a goal, because it's such a natural link, obviously. And he talked about the game "Operation, which I see you have here. Old school in "countdown" tonight. He wants to make a video version of something like this for kids because he feels like this is how he got interested. He remembers playing this game.

This is version 1.5 of this document copyrighted under a creative commons, non-commercial, share-alike, license, December 2004.