As 2009 draws to a close, the world of video games is rife with tales of mad scientific experiments, criminal acts of illegal downloading and complete cock-ups made by big game developers. We take a look at a recent study into the psychological effects of puzzle games carried out by Professor Ralph Nelson from Wheaton College. We see which game has topped the illegal download chart, and lastly, we delve into the mystery surrounding the vanishing Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 DLC…
Study: Playing puzzle games will make you better at puzzle-solving
Many times in the past, scientists have attempted to use video games as a means of uncovering peculiar aspects of human psychology. Latin American researchers used the FPS horror title Doom to conduct experiments into the subconscious and, using twenty volunteers, tried to draw a direct link between dreaming and learning. There are also some who believe that gaming directly influences behaviour – like the China Central TV who recently bombarded viewers with horror stories about kids taking crystal meth to keep playing Wow, or who kill each other over virtual gold.
However, nothing will prepare you for this latest revelation. Professor Ralph Nelson from Wheaton College has just published the results of a recently conducted study in which twenty volunteers were asked to play puzzle games and then carry out spatial awareness tests afterwards. And the result? Well, quite shockingly, Nelson and his colleagues discovered a reoccurring phenomenon: playing puzzle games actually directly affects an individual’s ability to improve at…yes, playing puzzle games (pretty remarkable stuff I think you'll agree). [Joystiq]
Modern Warfare 2 Most Pirated Title of 2009
Modern Warfare 2 might be racking in the awards, but regarding the latest title to be bestowed upon Infinity Ward’s holocaustic FPS, it’s a slightly dubious honour. Modern Warfare 2 was just labelled The Most Pirated Game of 2009 (last year it was Spore). However, given the sheer extent of MW2’s popularity and with such massive sales this probably won’t come as much of a surprise. All in all, illegal downloads topped 5 million with the lion share (4.1 million) going to the PC version of the game. Overall, poor old Activsion lost out on an estimated $245 million worth of sales. [TorrentFreak]
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 DLC Vanishes
If you’ve just been gifted a PS3 copy of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 for Christmas, and the horribly repetitive nature of the gameplay has already got you victimising domestic pets out of sheer frustration, then you really need to get your hands on some of that DLC. However, in a mystery which has everyone from gamers to game journalists baffled, it seems that all of the Ultimate Alliance extra content recently posted on PSN has suddenly up and vanished.
What happened? Did someone accidently trip on a lead when all of those Sony and Activision employees bolted from their offices and studios to start the Christmas holidays? Did things get a bit out of hand at the Christmas party? Did someone spill something? Did they start brawling drunkenly too close to vital equipment? Although Sony and Activision are being inundated for an answer, nothing has been heard back. [GadgetBag]