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FWD Progress 10-29-2009: Recent News Roundup

MyFriendQuest LogoWhile Brian has been keeping you up to date on what’s been going on with us in terms of gaming, I thought I’d give you all an update from my end. Work has been keeping me pretty busy lately, which explains the general absence of news posts in recent weeks. With more responsibilities, I find myself busier but I am still following several stories of interest to Game Forward which I will share with your further down.

Music has been filling our household as DJ Hero made its entry as new gaming staple. Brian has been doing most of the playing, but I did give it a shot and particularly enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s also very neat to see Brian play some more advanced songs, which really demonstrate the game’s emulation of reality. Very cool for sure, Brian will update you on his progress and is preparing a review of that and other music games in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. Read More...

We were contacted a few weeks ago by a press contact for the Florida Virtual School, which offers K-12 education through games and online teaching groups. I am expecting answers to some questions I’ve submitted to them sometime soon and look forward to sharing more about this interesting concept with you. Stay tuned for more!

Brian had mentioned the possibility of me preparing a new feature about educational iPhone/iPod Touch games. However, our search has been fruitless thus far; it seems that not many developers are taking advantage of the platform to release these types of games. So this feature will likely be put on hold until more materials become available. However, should developers be reading this post and want to contact us with game ideas, we gladly invite you to do so!

In other projects, I plan on featuring the new interactive educational title from Braince!!s entitled Coach, which focusses on fitness and nutrition. Based around the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the game is available for free to play online, until December 15. Look for this feature sooner (hopefully) than later!

News Briefs: Brains and Games

As mentioned earlier, I have been compiling several news stories on which I have not yet had the chance to write. In an effort to share these stories with you, here is a brief overview of a few headlines which have caught my attention in recent weeks.

Those interested in the power of video games on the brain may have heard about a research project by Mind Research Network which found that playing Tetris regularly helped thicken the cerebral cortex in group of teenage girls. "It used to be thought that the number of neurones [brain cells] in the brain was fixed after a certain age. This appears not to be true," said Dr. Richard Haier, the neurologist who led the project.

Research from psychologist Dr. Tracy Alloway also found that playing war video games as well as Sudoku could help enhance your brain's ability to retain information and use it, also known as your working memory. In Alloway’s words, these games are useful because "you're keeping track of past actions and mapping the actions you're going to take."

Straying away from research, Brightmind LABS has released a game entitled MyFriendQuest. This PC game helps children between ages 6 and 12 suffering from autism, depression or other types of social anxiety learn how to better socialize with others, show and recognize emotions, as well as improve their self-esteem. “I was not good at talking at school but this week I spoke in front of the class. MyFriendQuest has really helped me,” said Louise, a socially anxious child.