back to article Young blokes blinded by video-game addiction: THE FACTS

"You'll go blind!" many a parent have barked at their sons and daughters for playing video games all day. But military-funded scientists have proved quite the opposite is true. Eggheads at Duke School of Medicine have claimed that gamers are better at processing visual information due to the quick reactions they've built up from …

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Anonymous Coward

"You'll go blind!" many a parent have barked at their kids for playing video games all day

I predate most home video games, so they used to say that to me for other reasons.

Many years later and I'm still not blind :-)

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Re: "You'll go blind!" many a parent have barked at their kids for playing video games all day

"I predate most home video games"

Oh, you predator you!

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Mushroom

Re: "You'll go blind!" many a parent have barked at their kids for playing video games all day

I thought that's what they said about wanking...

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Actually ...

On most ranges where we actually fire real-life bullets, we tend to shun the video game set. They are dangerous to onlookers, and themselves. Same for race tracks.

Why? Simple answer: There is no possibility of saving, and then restarting the game from where you left off in RealLife[tm], after you get killed. For whatever reason, the gamer set doesn't seem to understand that obvious fact.

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Re: RealLife(tm)...

RealLife (tm) - Graphics are great, gameplay poor

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Re: Actually ...

Well that's quite a generalization.

You have obviously never heard of Gran Turismos GT Academy (http://eu.gran-turismo.com/gb/academy/) where they use the game to help select racing driver to compete professionally. It has now been running a number of years and proved highly successful.

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Pint

Re: Actually ...

@jake

The solution is easy, hand them a real gun, teach and assist them in how to shoot safely, let them fire a few shots, et voila, they are cured. It's surprisingly easy to rid yourself of these prejudged ideas and you would probably be surprised to learn how good some of them actually are.

I have never met any gamers that don't make a difference between the game and real-life. It's really just the same as any kid playing with a wooden castle, or toy soldiers or a wooden firetruck.

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Re: Actually ...

There is no possibility of saving, and then restarting the game from where you left off in RealLife[tm], after you get killed.

That is not the case for drone pilots, however. At least as long as they don't crush their drone into the control bunker.

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Joke

Re: Actually ...

"Why? Simple answer: There is no possibility of saving, and then restarting the game from where you left off in RealLife[tm], after you get killed. For whatever reason, the gamer set doesn't seem to understand that obvious fact."

What are you trying to tell FPS Doug? Anything else? Holding a knife doesn't make you run faster?

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Re: Actually ...

"...we tend to shun the video game set". Funny that - I tend to shun the "we actually fire real-life bullets" set, who think it's something special. (yes, yes . range firing etc - done all that. Just would never say "I actually fire real.life bullets").

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Re: RealLife(tm)...

... I find all that 3D stuff gives me a headache (props to xkcd, of course).

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@Malc (was: Re: RealLife(tm)...)

Are you a shut-in?

Terribly sorry, my post wasn't aimed at you. Are you in my neighborhood? I'll be happy to produce dinner/lunch for you a couple times per month ...

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@Menelaus-uk (was: Re: Actually ...)

Oh, trust me, I've heard of the Gran Turismos GT so-called "Academy" ... and will never set tire on track with any of the fuckwit "graduates", never again.

Nothing replaces actual track time. Absolutely nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

The best thing about gaming

Is that you can jump past the cut scenes when the boring old git starts waffling on

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Re: Actually ...

"The solution is easy"

No, it's not. I run several "at risk yoof" camps every year. Most of the kids exceedl at video games. I rarely run across one that I would trust with an actual firearm on my range.

Real Life guns are NOT the same as playing toy soldiers. Full stop.

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@Steve I (was: Re: Actually ...)

Knowledge of firearms is not special. They are tools, nothing more.

Video games? Perhaps not so much ...

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Re: @jake

"Nothing replaces actual track time. Absolutely nothing."

F1 drivers spend a lot of time on playstations and in simulators. I understand that they are rather good. I'm sure they'd rather have track time but (a) it's expensive and (b) it's banned (except for Mercedes).

I wouldn't expect the same to hold true for target shooting, but the research doesn't say that.

Disclaimer. I do not like driving games. I do not own a car. I have only ever fired an air pistol as a kid on one holiday.

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Re: Actually ...

Why? Simple answer: There is no possibility of saving, and then restarting the game from where you left off in RealLife[tm]

I remember a VW advert when I was in the US in late 90s which promtoed both the "fun" and "safety" features of one of their model and had the tag line "because in real life there is no reset button"

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Megaphone

Re: @Menelaus-uk (was: Actually ...)

Well thank you for your input, but my point was you can't make such generalizations on one section of society. I was providing a real world case where games have gone on to produce people who honed their skills through playing games.

Why were the Academy drivers "fuckwits" was it their lack of skill, that they took more calculated risks or were they just plain reckless in your view? Just stating something without facts does not make it true.

Some more reading if you so choose.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/14/action_games_make_you_a_finer_human_being/

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Re: @Menelaus-uk (was: Actually ...)

Nothing replaces actual track time. Absolutely nothing.

Jeremy Clarkson tried this on Top Gear a few years ago after all the reports of F1 drivers learning tracks from "simulators" (though I think the F1 team's simulators are a bit more sophisticated than video games) so he "learnt" a track from something like GT and then went to drive on it - and discovered how very different it was.

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Re: @jake

Track time is not just expensive it is also physically exhausting. F1 cars especially have to be driven at speed to remain safe. Of course there is nothing to stop the drivers learning the circuit in a different car but it will still be expensive, exhausting, disruptive and less safe than a simulation.

Racing circuits in video game are very accurate compared to real life and the drivers can use the games for the monotonous lap churning required to imprint a track on their brain.

Also, some of the circuits are only open during race week (Monaco, Singapore, Australia) and so the only way to really learn the track.

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Re: @deshepherd

The difference was the sense of danger

If you know a track and car already then the video game will boost your understanding of the track and reinforce prior learning

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Re: @jake FUCK

I find myself agreeing with Jake....that's a first. Although I cannot figure out how he runs 'yoof' camps given he appears to be about 15 years old, on reading his posts.

But with some caveats. (Disclaimer. I have raced karts and cars, and have shot real bullets - in the UK)

There are indeed some very good racing drivers who started on video games. And there are some good soldiers who started on video games. You mustn't dismiss people who are good at video games out of hand at not being good at things.

This is worth a read. http://kotaku.com/5700609/can-a-video-game-make-you-into-an-elite-race-driver

But there is no substitute for track time, and there is no substitute for actually shooting real bullets/cartridges, if you want to get good at either. BUT, video games can certainly help, otherwise F1 teams wouldn't be spending a fortune on simulators, and the Army wouldn't be spending a fortune on training video games.

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Re: @Steve I (was: Actually ...) @jake

Knowledge of anything is special. Applied knowledge, like with a tool, is doubly so as it implies you have learned how to use the tool through practice and improvement as well as acquiring knowledge about what the tool interacts with.

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Re: Actually ...

Maybe you should educate rather than alienate "the video game set"?

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Black Helicopters

Re: Actually ...

Onlookers?!?! Watching other people shoot guns?!?! So, there are actually people who have found an activity more boring than watching grass grow or golf. Who'd of thought it was possible.

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Re: Actually ...

Hmmn my mate teaches at risk yoofs, I think there's better reasons than them playing video games for not arming them.

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Re: Jeremy Clarkson tried this on Top Gear

I could have told him that without them having to go all that expense. I've played video race car games and I drive a car. Not on a track, just on the highways. But then he does make considerably more money than I do, so I suppose more power to him.

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Re: @Menelaus-uk (was: Actually ...)

"Nothing replaces actual track time. Absolutely nothing."

You are joking right? Whilst nothing is equal to actual track time simulations are used extensively to provide accurate (to a point) practice at a reduced expense. This is why F1 teams have simulation rigs running night and day and why airline pilot's are let loose in simulated cockpits.

There are plenty of idiots who casually given a gun or car do stupid things, 5 minutes on youtube will show you that. In general though if someone is investing a significant amount of money into a hobby they learn pretty quickly the difference between real life and games.

Anyone that thinks need for speed/call of duty are accurate to any degree would indeed be dangerous. However this is not what the study was pointing at. it is saying that gamers can process and respond quicker then non gamers. This makes sense because even playing call of duty requires people to recognize a situation and make a snap judgment. In the past the average persons exposure to this type of process would have been limited to driving, now they are in that situation on a daily basis.

The brain is a remarkable thing and evolves based on stimuli. If it spends it's days serenely walking around the countryside it will be slower to recognize and respond then one that is being bombarded by flying bombs, 200 mph turns and braking points or landing approaches, fake ones or real it makes a difference

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Re: Actually ...

Grass watchers are so easily offended!!!

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Re: @Menelaus-uk (was: Actually ...)

Jake,

I happen to have known a guy who did gt academy for a dozen years or so. He's currently a pro driver. Most of his simulation experience (or at least a good part of it) was with sims like GPL, not pseudo-sims like GT. He's quite careful and very disciplined, and I'd take a real life duel with him over a Jason Plato or Paul Tracy any day.

Further, my business happens to involve driving simulation. I've personally seen more than a dozen professional drivers evaluate various hardware and software systems; some are quite good. Software in particular is vastly improved over a few years ago; Top Gear's stunt with a console game is as useful as testing an ez bake oven and concluding that it's impossible to cook at home.

I've also spent time talking to (and doing business with) multiple international level racing teams. The general consensus is that PC driving sims, while not a direct substitute for track time, are representative and useful.

One problem with being loud on the Internet is that it's a big place, and even if you seem knowledgeable, there's always the chance that if you insult GT Academy drivers and say simulation is useless, a guy who knows such a driver personally and makes his living in the racing simulation business will actually read what you wrote and call your bluff.

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Re: @Menelaus-uk (was: Actually ...)

If you haven't had your butt in the seat, you can't drive (fly, board, skate, whatever). Period.

Simulators work for EXPERIENCED pilots testing new scenarios and airframes, but you can't learn on them from scratch. For every 747 or Space Shuttle pilot you show me, I'll show you the same pilot as a kid learning on a small single-engined light plane. Likewise, absolutely zero F1/NASCAR/MotoGP/Le Mans Prototype etc. drivers started playing computer games. They all started by first learning to drive.

My Wife calls it "butt in the saddle time" when training young equestrians. You just can't duplicate "hands on" when it comes to this kind of thing.

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Angel

"You'll go blind!"

I thought video games make square eyes. "Going blind" was something quite different...

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WTF?

Cause and effect?

"Appelbaum claimed that over time, gamers' ability to process visual stimuli becomes better and better."

Or people with good ability to process visual stimuli are better at video games, and people who are crap at video games tend to find other things to do. Without a "before" version of this study, it doesn't really say much, does it?

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Re: Cause and effect?

Spot on, Sir.

Further evidence that figures can easily be manipulated by whatever side to represent the finding they want.

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Go

Re: Cause and effect?

A friend of mine never understood the difference between 'causation' and 'correlation' until I lent him a book on statistics. Now he does and thinks the book is the cause, but I'm not certain...

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Re: Cause and effect?

Someone had to link it didn't they, may as well be me:

http://xkcd.com/552/

This aside, i've played at a high level in FPS games for several years (dropped it off in the last 4 or so) and it has to be said that i think there is something in this. I learned to play FPS on a really old game whereby you could gain a significant advantage if you dropped the graphics settings to the point you could see people through the tips of hilltops, the game basically turned into 'who can shoot the pixel' because combat worked from that far away (games like this were way better, shooting another player in the face at 20 meters just doesn't feel skillful compared to this). It took a long time to be able to spot the moving black pixels easily but after a while you can just kind of learn to do it, the interesting part is that the skill is transferable between games. You just seem to gain the ability to detect very small details in large scenes very quickly and it's something i had previously noticed myself. I'd like to see more research in this particular area.

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Boffin

Re: Cause and effect?

We need a double-blind test - definitely.

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Mushroom

I can't see it catching on, not unless Drones can be engineered for fly-by tea-bagging.

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Joke

Little Johnny is playing XBOX One alone in his room....

Johnny: "Take that bitch!" < he says as he kills another terrorist in Call of Duty.

xboxOne: "Hey Kid... HEY KID!!!"

Johnny: "Woah wtf, is that you xbox? Are you talking to me?"

xboxOne: "Yeah it's me kid, Sgt Ballmer here, first XBOX battalion. We've been watching you for a while Johnny using the cameras in your XBOX Kinnect. We like your style kid, you really know how to kick some butt on Call of Duty!"

Johnny: "Woah thanks sir!"

xboxOne: "Say kid, how'd you like to come work for us and fly drones keeping 'merica safe? We could do with a sharp shooting patriot such as yourself..." etc. etc. etc.

etc!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Little Johnny is playing XBOX One alone in his room....

The idea of Ballmer as a Sergeant makes me think of that 'out of his depth' guy in Aliens who gets everyone killed.

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Re: Little Johnny is playing XBOX One alone in his room....

Shades of the Last Starfighter :-)

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Joke

Little Timmy is playing XBOX One alone in his room...

Timmy: "Awesome I scored another Tetris! woot!"

xboxOne: "Hey Timmy listen up!"

Timmy: "hu?!!?"

xboxOne: "My name is Hans Brix LeBloc - CEO of Thermalite - Europes leading manufacturer of breeze blocks for the construction industry!"

Timmy: "what the.....!!!"

xboxOne: "I've been spying on your Tetris games these past few months Timmy and you really have skills me and the guys here at Thermalite think we could use down at our brick making factory!...etc.etc.etc."

Timmy: "Sod off you perv! MUM THE XBOX IS SPYING ON ME AGAIN!"

Mum: "It's okay Timmy, I'll call the NSPCC again!"

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@murph Re: Little Johnny is playing XBOX One alone in his room....

Ripley: How many drops is this for you, Lieutenant?

Gorman: Thirty-eight. ... Simulated.

Vasquez: How many combat drops?

Gorman: Uh, two. Including this one.

All: Sheeee-it.

/oblig

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Anonymous Coward

People who are so against 'virtual training', you do know every time you get on an aeroplane that the lions share of the pilots training is done on simulators? Yes, there are certain aspects that can't be replicated and can only be taught in real life, but you are wrong if you think there aren't large parts of training certain things that can't be done sitting in front of a screen.

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Depends what you are simulating

It depends now much you need to experience the neural input of real life physics (kinetics, mostly). For piloting a large ship, a simulator is virtually the same as reality. For an airliner it's close, although there are situations close to disaster where kinetic forces can be felt and reacted to. For a fighter aircraft or racing car, it's far less close. And so on.

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Happy

You are kind of correct. Most commercial pilots are ex military, started as bush pilots or both. They learned how to fly in a plane that was flying. Commercial pilots learn about specific aircraft, airline protocols and individual airports in simulators but by and large they already knew how to fly.

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@Don JEfe 13-Jun 11:35 GMT

That was true until about 10 years ago. These days they tend to start the pilot training in the simulator and only let them fly the real thing after they reach a certain skill level. They claim the end product has similar skill levels. I expect the old way was probably better, but the new way is cheaper, but I could see the simulator as a weed out course so only those who are promising spend time in the more expensive part of the training.

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Happy

Re: @Don JEfe 13-Jun 11:35 GMT

I didn't know that. I certainly think the old way was better as when I was learning being tossed right into flight made me more careful as I could kill myself and/or my instructor :) I see where your coming from with the cost thing though.

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Vic
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Re: @Don JEfe 13-Jun 11:35 GMT

These days they tend to start the pilot training in the simulator and only let them fly the real thing after they reach a certain skill level.

That is most assuredly not true in any EASA country. Nor, I suspect, is it true in any country covered by the Chicago Convention (which is pretty much all of them).

Simulators have a huge part to play in teaching pilots to fly expensive equipment, but each and every ATPL minor deity began his or her career in a single-engine piston aircraft and had to demonstrate adequate capability in that before being allowed to progress to the bigger stuff.

Vic.

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