Mario is hard, and that’s mathematically official

Mario is hard, and that's mathematically official - New Scientist

Image: Nintendo

“Many of the games in the Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Pokémon series prove to be NP-hard. That means deciding whether a player can complete them is at least as hard as the hardest problems in NP, a complexity class involved in the tantalising problem of P versus NP (see ‘Million-dollar proof’). Not every game in each series was included in the proof, as they follow different rules.” (Jacob Aron, NewScientist)

Virtual Pacifism

Virtual Pacifism - On The Media

Image: (Battlefield 3)

“I don’t actually know if this is true, but I’ve heard rumors about a guy who went through the entire game with nothing but a shield, and there are other games — one was called Deus Ex — that are just all about shooting and mayhem and craziness and, and people sort of sneak through them or they use sedative darts to get through them.” (Conor Dougherty on OnTheMedia)

Video Games: What You’d Really Rather Not Know

Video Games: What You'd Really Rather Not Know

Photo: adamfilip/

“Four elements are common to any addiction, whether it involves alcohol, heroin, or a behavior, such as gambling, sex, or shopping. These four components are excessive use that impedes other aspects of life, increasing tolerance in order to obtain the “high,” withdrawal symptoms, and a willingness to sustain negative consequences in order to maintain the habit.

A survey of a national sample of more than 1,000 8- to 18-year-olds concluded that 8.6% of video gamers are pathological players, according to the criteria established for pathological gambling (Psychol. Sci. 2009;20:594-602). That’s consistent with study results from other countries” (Bruce Jancin, Clinical Psychiatry News)


With Media, Parents and Kids Learn More Together

With Media, Parents and Kids Learn More Together - Mind/Shift

Image: Joan Ganz Cooney Center

“Lori Takeuchi, who wrote this report for the Cooney Center along with Reed Stevens, said what parents decide to do with their kids is largely based on their own childhood experiences. Those who grew up on the Internet or were young enough when they started using it in their daily lives have less fear about dangers.

‘They’re comfortable with fewer rules,’ Takeuchi said about the families she studied for the Families Matter Report she wrote earlier this year. Older parents, on the other hand, tend to use parental controls more. ‘Younger parents are willing to confront media and the unknown with their kids, whereas older parents aren’t.’ ” (Tina Barseghian, Mind/Shift)

Cheating Spreads Like Infections in Online Games

Cheating Spreads Like Infections in Online Games - MIT“While this work gives a unique insight into the social behaviour of cheats, Blackburn and co say it also points to a new angle of attack for gaming communities hoping to stamp out cheating.  Their idea is to use the structure of the network to predict the likelihood that a given player will become a cheat in future. In other words, the number of friends who are cheats determine how likely this player is to becoming infected with the ‘cheating virus’ in future, so to speak.” (KFC, Technology Review)

Making a Play for Video Gamers

Making a Play for Video Gamers - New York Times

Image: Bob the Hampster - Wikimedia Commons

“Digital games sales in the Middle East and Africa in 2011 accounted for an estimated $900 million out of the $24 billion global market: but that figure is set to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent to reach $3.2 billion in 2016, compared with global growth of 17 percent for the same period, according to the research firm Ovum, based in London.” (Dania Saadi,