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Fast Company

“The Guardians: Unite the Realms,” a video game developed by Media Lab developer Craig Ferguson, has been awarded Fast Company’s 20201 Innovation by Design award in the Wellness category. The game employs behavioral activation techniques to address mental health, allowing players to advance when they’ve completed tasks such as going on a walk or drawing a picture.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Greg Toppo spotlights alumna Laila Shabir ‘10, founder of Girls Make Games, a series of summer camps, workshops and game jams aimed at bringing together and empowering young women interested in video games. “The camp not only promotes a message of empowerment for girls, but one that encourages them to think differently about games,” writes Toppo. “Shabir urges campers to ‘think big’ about games and get to the essence of the games they love and why they love them.”

The Washington Post

Prof. T.L. Taylor speaks with The Washington Post’s Liz Clarke about the ways in which female gamers are often harassed and excluded. “What we have not fully grappled with is that the right to play extends to the digital space and gaming,” says Taylor. “For me, it is tied to democracy and civic engagement. It’s about participating in culture and having a voice and visibility.”

Xinhuanet

MIT researchers have developed an AI-enabled machine known as DeepRole that can beat human players in an online multiplayer game where each player’s true motives and roles are kept secret from one another. This “is the first gaming bot that can win online multiplayer games in which the participants' team allegiances are initially unclear,” reports Xinhua.

The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter David Axe spotlights graduate student Guillermo Bernal’s work developing virtual reality avatars that can convey realistic human emotions. “As this medium moves forward, this and other tools are what will help the field of virtual reality expand from a medium of surface-level experience to one of deep, emotionally compelling human-to-human connection,” Bernal explains.

Fast Company

In an article for Fast Company, Mark Wilson highlights Modulate, an MIT startup that has developed technology that allows users to transform their voices into someone else’s. MIT alumnus and Modulate co-founder Mike Pappas explains that the technology could allow video game players to change their online personas and “give them the freedom to step inside their character entirely.”

Motherboard

Motherboard reporter Nicole Carpenter explores the history of the source code for the text adventure game Zork, which was developed in 1977 by members of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. Carpenter explains that for a niche group of programmers, the source code, could serve as “a collection of information that’ll propel their research forward.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray writes about how MIT alumni Mike Pappas and Carter Huffman started a company that allows video game players to customize their voices. The company’s software “measures the tone, pitch, and emotional intensity of the speaker’s voice, then applies these qualities to any user’s speech in real time.”

Guardian

Guardian columnist John Naughton highlights Prof. Emeritus Jay Forrester’s work developing a simulation tool for urban planning. “A chance encounter with the outgoing mayor of Boston awakened Forrester’s interest in cities and led to the construction of a simulation model of a city at a time when American planners were alarmed by the flight to the suburbs,” Naughton explains.

Smithsonian Magazine

In an essay for Smithsonian, Ryan Smith chronicles how a group of MIT students created the first viral video game in the 1960s. Smith notes that the game, Spacewar!, “proved that video games made with heart could be addicting entertainment, and gave rise to the arcade culture of the decades to follow.”

WBUR

Prof. Eric Klopfer speaks with Jane Clayson of WBUR’s On Point about whether parents should be concerned about the growing popularity of the videogame “Fortnite.” Klopfer says he feels the game has some educational value, noting that the game presents kids with the opportunity to partake in, “solving open-ended problems, communicating around complex issues [and] trying to work within systems.”

The Verge

While playing the popular video game Fortnite, graduate student Henri Drake and the Climate Fortnite Squad battle for glory and chat about climate science in an effort to make information about climate change accessible to Fortnite fans. “The squad hopes their streams will be watched by climate-curious gamers who can send in questions for them to answer midgame,” Andrews explains.

Fox News

Fox News reporters Kevin Tracy and Christopher Howard highlight how MIT alumna Laila Shabir created a summer camp aimed at inspiring girls interesting in playing and creating video games. “It’s like teaching someone how to paint,” Shabir explains. “You know once you teach them how to paint they can express themselves through that medium.  That’s exactly what we’re doing at camp.”

Associated Press

“Spacewar!” – a video game developed by students in MIT’s Model Train Club on a mainframe computer in 1962 – is one of the finalists for this year’s World Video Game Hall of Fame. The game is "credited with helping launch the multibillion-dollar video game industry,” notes the Associated Press.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey writes about a new game developed by Prof. D Fox Harrell that is aimed at “identifying and navigating the subtleties of sexism” in the workplace.