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Watch and win as we livestream Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign tonight on Mixer [Ended] – Windows Central

Every weekend, Windows Central livestreams an Xbox One or Steam game for 1-2 hours and gives out free games to the cool people who join us during the stream. It’s like a live podcast, only you also get to watch a game while chatting with our awesome readers and viewers!

Tonight on Mixer, we played Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign, the superhero-themed puzzle game from D3. Matching gems and battling supervillains doesn’t get much better than this! Read on for quick impressions and contest winners.

Just follow us at Mixer.com/WindowsCentral, enable email notifications, watch along, and participate in chat for your chance to win. After the stream ends, be sure to check back for the YouTube replay video and contest winners.

Watch and follow us at Mixer.com/WindowsCentral!

D3 Publisher’s brilliant Puzzle Quest series combines traditional match-3 puzzle gameplay with RPG-style battles and sprawling adventures. Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign is a Puzzle Quest spin-off that throws one more awesome ingredient into the mix: Marvel superheroes!

In this game, a mysterious alien element known as ISO-8 (also seen in Spider-Man Unlimited) has appeared on earth. ISO-8 has the ability to bestow people with superpowers, which of course means that both the good guys and bad guys want their hands on it.

Each level of Marvel Puzzle Quest begins with a well-written cinematic (of the talking-head variety) that sees a team of heroes (initially led by Nick Fury and Iron Man) tackling threats and thwarting evildoers’ attempts to create havoc with the new alien element. They’ll bump into Norman Osborne, the Dark Avengers, and much more supervillains and heroes along the way.

The actual gameplay is just like Puzzle Quest (and quite close to Gems of War). The player team and the enemy team take turns matching three or more gems. These matches deal damage to the other side and provide energy for use with special attacks. The complexity of the special attacks has increased a bit here, but it should all be second nature to puzzle game fans.

Although the mobile and PC versions of Marvel Puzzle Quest are free to play, Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is a $14.99 paid game. There are no free to play elements at all, so you can experience the whole story and unlock all 54 characters through natural progression. If you like superheroes and puzzle games, you won’t want to miss this one!

See on the Xbox Store

We streamed Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign for ~80 minutes. During that time, we gave out a total of twenty game codes:

See the contest winners at the end of this story.

We stream exclusively on Mixer, Microsoft’s interactive livestreaming platform. It provides some welcome improvements over Twitch, such as a cleaner website layout, built-in stream interactivity, and extremely low latency.

You can follow our channel at Mixer.com/WindowsCentral. From there, you’ll be able to watch the stream and participate in chat directly from any web browser, including the Xbox One and Windows Phone browsers. Mobile apps are also available for Android on iOS.

Some of our handy Mixer guides:

Want to know what’s next for Windows Central’s weekend Mixer programming? We stream a different game every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday). The stream always starts at the same time: 9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT, 2am GMT). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be streaming the following (schedule not finalized):

We hope you’ll tune in as often as you can! Set a recurring alarm on your phone so you’ll always know when it’s time for the stream to start.

These viewers pack a punch and have the brains to match!

Xbox One

PlayStation 4

Steam

Tonight’s prizes provided by D3 Publisher. Thanks also to our stream moderators for keeping the peace and giving away the prizes!

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Watch and win as we livestream Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign tonight on Mixer [Ended] – Windows Central

The Initiate (PC) REVIEW Honey, Where’s Home? – Cultured Vultures

Puzzle games tend to either have great plots or mind-numbingly basic ones. Now, depending on how lucky you are, you might pick out a game that belongs to the former group, but sadly, The Initiate belongs to the latter.

You have been kidnapped. After a generic cutscene of you shortly waking up alone in a hospital, your vision blurry, youre on the floor of a room youve never been in before. A mysterious, taunting voice gets you up to date on the circumstances. Basically, either you solve the puzzles, and then join the cult and walk free, or you die. Sounds like a normal Tuesday to me.

The game has you solve easier and harder puzzles, the easiest of which can be made excruciatingly hard when youre searching around for one last item and just cant seem to find it. If searching where its supposed to be and searching where it isnt doesnt help, nor does turning it off and on again, that means your save file is bugged, and when the game has a one-slot save system, youre going to have to completely restart the game. Now, many of the puzzles that are harder to beat have a simple trick thats easy to remember once you have it, but until you do it can be fairly annoying.

The game is branded as a puzzle game with horror elements, meaning youll have the occasional unexplained earthquake that, according to notes from a mystery person who did the whole initiation before you, seem to actually be unexplained earthquakes. Also present are the obligatory splashes of blood in many places on the floor, obviously only visible with the ultraviolet lamp, for the extra spook factor. These make even less sense than they already do when you find out that failed participants are blown up, leaving the house destroyed, which makes it impossible for such traces to be left.

There are two main audio factors. One is the game maker/narrator/torturer or whatever you want to call him, whereas the other is the repetitive music. With a puzzle game supposed to have horror elements, a lot can be done with the soundtrack. However, if the music is repetitive and can easily get on your nerves instead of unnerving you and giving you chills, its doing something wrong. The taunts of the torturer when youre not moving forward in the puzzles are almost on a loop, and his voice sounds too much like a countertenor with a nasal problem.

The Initiate isnt all bad. Some of the puzzles are quite clever, even if they sometimes force the hints too much, making them too easy. The game pushes the mystical aspect of the cult, with alchemical signs on the walls, too, without having any encounters of the third kind, which serves the game well. Aside from the taunting voice, the games lore is delivered in form of notes hidden around the house, sometimes from cult members, sometimes from the torturer himself, sometimes from the previous Initiate. They either talk about the cult, or tell the story of the previous Initiate, who remembers more about how he got there, but ends up doubting these memories. There are short flashbacks, too, that are quite invasive, flashing over the screen, as you remember the events that transpired before your arrival.

The game ends by giving you the first code needed for the online ARG. This is a series of puzzles, some requiring in-game knowledge, though mostly requiring searches outside of the game. These puzzles can go from easy to ridiculously obscure. The early solvers only had to solve three or four puzzles, but newcomers will have to go through sixteen/seventeen. Out of the 250 spaces there were for puzzles solved, there are roughly 215 left, and there is a large group of people working on trying to get the last puzzle solved, without any proper hunch to go on.

The Initiate is a very short game that can easily be played in less than two hours if you are very perceptive and figure out the puzzles easily, as well as avoiding any bugs. If not, the game can take up to 4-6 hours, depending on a variety of factors. Some of the puzzles are clever, but generally, theyre not too hard, and the games open ending leading to the website might have you feeling unsatisfied. The music is repetitive, and taunts can get on your nerves, but the game is still enjoyable nonetheless, and if you really sink your teeth into the post-game ARG, you might have 10-20 hours in-game on your hands, looking for clues.

Summary

If you find it cheap and dont expect much, youll probably have a good time with this game.

Review copy provided

About our review scores

5/10

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The Initiate (PC) REVIEW Honey, Where’s Home? – Cultured Vultures

Master the space-time continuum in Causality, a unique puzzle game for iPhone – Macworld

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a gameYou Should Play.

Most of the puzzle games on the App Store fall into a handful of genres: match-3, hidden object, point-and-tap. Occasionally, youll see a unique take on one of those genres (like Spry Foxs Road Not Taken), butstill in one of those genres.

Causality is not your typical puzzle game.

If I had to classify Causality, I guess Id call it a turn-based puzzlewith a twist. But even thats kind of a lie, because this is one of the most unique mobile games Ive played. Its so unique that its actually kind of difficult to explain, but Ill take a stab: In this game, you travel backward (and forward) in time to help your past (or future) self(s).

Eryeah. Its hard to describe in words, but it makes more (if not complete) sense when you get your hands on it. Youll have to pay $1.99 for this premium pick, and its totally worth your cash. Heres why:

It starts out simple: If youre asking yourself what the heck a space-time continuum is right about now, dont worryyoure not expected to jump into the deep end of Causality without getting your feet wet. Although the game eventually gets pretty tricky, the first chapter does a good job of easing you into the confusion.

Causality consists of 60 levels across four different zones, and each zone has 15 levels (10 main levels and five optional levels), a unique visual scheme, and new obstacles and challenges. The first 10 levels in the first zone are introductory: Here, youll learn the basics of how the astronauts move and how obstacles and time-warp portals work. Its not an in-depth tutorial, but youll get the hang of it pretty quickly (and if you dont, this game is totally winnable by trial-and-error).

The goal: Get the blue astronaut to the blue tile and the green astronaut to the green tile. And dont get snatched by an alien tentacle.

In each level, your goal is to direct colorful astronauts to their respective colorful tiles. There are obstacles along the way, such as alien tentacles, switch-based platforms, and crumbling tiles. The solution wont always be straightforwardin some levels youll need to bump your astronauts into each other to get them to go the correct direction. When an astronaut successfully reaches their destination tile, they stopin some levels, one astronauts tile will block anothers, so youll need to time their travels correctly.

Levels also have time constraints, which are measured as step-counts (or turns). To move time forward, tap the screen and drag your finger down; to move time backward, tap the screen and drag your finger up. This game is turn-based, so at each step or turn you can make changes to the board by tapping arrow tiles to change directions.

But it quickly gets crazy: Switches, arrow-tiles, and obstacles are one thing, but time-warp portals are where Causality gets interesting (and incredibly confusing). If an astronaut comes enters a time-warp portal, theyre teleported to a different part of the board and to a different point in time.

The purple astronaut is four steps from the portal (the tile with light shooting out of it), and the portal sends him back five stepsso you can already see his ghost.

This is where it gets tricky: when an astronaut starts to approach the portal a time-warped ghost of that astronaut will appear on the board. Its a little tough to wrap your head around, but if the portal sends your astronaut back three moves, the astronauts ghost will appear on the screen three moves before the astronaut reaches the portal. Time-warps appear as loops on your timeline, so that should clear things up a littlesort ofmaybe

Once the original astronaut actually enters the portal, theyll disappear and the ghost will become the real astronaut. Naturally, this means that many of Causalitys puzzles can only be solved with some careful time manipulating and multiple astronaut planning.

Its beautiful and relaxingish: If Causalitys uniqueand occasionally super frustratingtake on turn-based puzzles doesnt tempt you, its graphics and soundtrack certainly will.

The board may be minimal, but the background is not.

Like many popular mobile games, Causalitys primary visual aesthetic is low-poly minimalism, but its not just another Monument Valley clone. This game definitely has its own look, with single-screen boards, smooth white tiles, and bright, vibrantly-colored dynamic backgrounds. Although the boards are maybe a bit too minimalist, youll still find a lot of unnecessary (but pretty) details, including cables and electrical currents that match switches, platforms, and portals.

Old-school video scan lines indicate rewinding or fast-forwarding.

Whats perhaps more impressive than just the art is the animation, because of how the game is set up. Since youre constantly moving backward and forward in Causality, the board is almost always in motion. This is where the dynamic backgrounds really come into playevery movement, no matter how tiny or irrelevant to the outcome, is recorded on the tape and played backward and forward. Youll even see old-school video scan lines to indicate fast-forwarding and rewinding (versus just playing).

Developer:LojuPlatform:iOS(Universal)Price:$2

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Master the space-time continuum in Causality, a unique puzzle game for iPhone – Macworld

‘noded’ Review – An Attractive Minimalist Puzzler That’s Sometimes Tough to Figure Out – Touch Arcade

A node is a point at which lines come together or branch. It also drives the gameplay of new puzzle game noded [$0.99] by Pixel Envision Limited. In noded you’re presented with a series of lines and nodes in a particular shape and given a target shape to replicate. You tap on the nodes to flip their associated lines in another direction and must figure out the right series of moves to morph into the correct final shape. The goal is to complete this transformation in as few moves as possible.

The concept is simple enough, and I breezed through the first few levels with just a little experimentation before going through my final “scoring” run. It felt fast and fun and a key strategy I tried to employ was to work my way back from the acute angles in the target shape and figure out from where lines and nodes would have to swing to get to those final resting spots.

This worked at first, but as the target shapes became more complicated and mechanics ramped up the game changed for me. I found myself unable to properly visualize the moves necessary to solve the puzzle and was left with a lot of trial and error (read: groping for a clue) to complete levels. I found it particularly difficult when nodes overlapped making unscrambling things tough to do without a great many unsuccessful attempts. In most cases I gave up on finding the optimal solution and just played the game as a “pass/fail,” so to speak.

On the upside, noded is very attractive and I’m really drawn to its simple and clean graphical design. The musical accompaniment is also pleasing and worth keeping on if you enjoy a bit of a soundtrack while you play. The game also offers plenty of bang for your buck, with 80 levels to play through.

I struggled with this game, despite being attracted to it. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I wonder if the concept is just a little too abstract for the average puzzle player. If geometric puzzle games are your thingor you’re a big-time puzzle aficionado looking for a challengenoded will provide you with plenty of challenging levels for a very low price. Make sure to also swing by our forums and leave your impressions there.

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‘noded’ Review – An Attractive Minimalist Puzzler That’s Sometimes Tough to Figure Out – Touch Arcade

Xbox Indie Creators Program goes live today with first wave of games – Digital Trends


MakeUseOf
Xbox Indie Creators Program goes live today with first wave of games
Digital Trends
Current offerings already span multiple genres including rhythm games, dungeon crawlers, abstract puzzle games, and sci-fi shooters. Additional information about the Creators Program can be found on the Xbox Wire page. Any young developers interested …
Xbox announces first wave of content for Xbox Live Creators ProgramMalvern Daily Record
Microsoft Invites You to Make Your Own Xbox One GameMakeUseOf
First Xbox Live Creators Program Games are Now AvailableThurrott.com (blog)
Firstpost –Engadget –Neowin
all 116 news articles »

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Xbox Indie Creators Program goes live today with first wave of games – Digital Trends

Puzzle | Hidden objects games

Find all hidden objects in this super market store, Use the mouse to search the area for i…

Can you escape the cellar in this creapy point and click escape game? Play Cellar Door On…

Find the hidden objects in the room, Play Bobblestich Hidden Objects Game…

Find the hidden objects by your sharp and active look. Note down the timer is running on t…

Spot the hidden objects hidden around this picture of a small cottage. Play Cottage game…

Line up the letters to create the words, Play Chain Letters Game…

Flip the cards and match the scenes. Play Twin Nights Game…

Escape from the various puzzles that Georg the Ghost finds himself in. Play Georg the Gho…

Can you find your toys? Play Where’s No 1 Point and Click adventure game…

Spot the differences in this great hidden objects point and click halloween game. Play Te…

Help get the evil soul back to hell. Play Reincarnation The final happy hour Game…

Move the blueprints in a 3d world to display the proper picture, Play Blueprint 3d from a…

This cute little racoon has lost his towel. Help him find it in this great point and clic…

Solve the puzzle to scare the people in this fun Point and Click Game…

Connect the icons to battle the enemy warriors and wizards. Play Wizards Puzzle War game…

Can you complete this great point and click adventure game? play Sneak Theif 4 game…

control the Alien worm to manipulate the puny earth creatures. Play The Visitor Returns g…

Save the tribe in this fun point and click game. Play Tulula Legend of Volcano game…

Make the christmas balls with the colours availible in this fun puzzle game. Play Ball Or…

Collect all the musical parts to complete the musical score. Play Musaic Box game…

Find out what happened in the story in reverse in this fun point and click adventure game….

Solve the puzzles in this fun point and click adventure game, Play The Wok online…

Follow the story in this fun point and click adventure game. Play Q Compressing the Heart…

Help the alien escape the prison. Play Aliens Quest Point and Click Game…

Spot the difference between the pictures. Play Little Romeo and Juliet Online…

Find all the differences in the pictures. Play Music Box of Life Part 1 Online…

Get the three friends through each level in this fun point and click adventure game. Play…

Spot the difference between the pictures, Play Music Box of Life Part 3 Online…

Solve the puzzles in this fun clay point and click game. Play Fairy Clay Online…

Find all hidden objects in this workshop, Use the mouse to search the area for it.Can you …

Find all hidden objects in the cooking room, Use the mouse to search the area for it.Can y…

Find all hidden objects in the restaurant, Use the mouse to search the area for it.Can you…

Spot all of the differences in this classroom to win this fun puzzle game. Try to find the…

Find all hidden objects in the luxury hotel, Use the mouse to search the area for it. Can …

Find all hidden objects in this Shop, Use the mouse to search the area for it. Can you fin…

Find all hidden objects in the Splash room, Use the mouse to search the area for it. Can y…

Find all hidden objects in this Kids Room, Use the mouse to search the area for it.Can you…

Welcome back to Gardenscapes! Having restored the garden to its beauty and grandeur, it…

Find the spots hidden in the picture.A wrong guess deducts 20 Seconds.You have got 5 minut…

Find all hidden objects in this royal room, Use the mouse to search the area for it.Can yo…

Find all hidden objects in this image, Use the mouse to search the area for it.Can you fin…

Find the spots hidden in the picture.A wrong guess deducts 20 Seconds.You have got 5 minut…

Find the stars hidden in the picture. A correct hit adds 100 points whereas a wrong guess …

Find the pencil hidden in the picture. A correct hit adds 100 points whereas a wrong guess…

Find the hearts hidden in the picture. A correct hit adds 100 points whereas a wrong guess…

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Puzzle | Hidden objects games

Grab some cracking Android titles in this month’s Humble Mobile Bundle: Puzzles Critical Hits – Pocket Gamer

Heads up, puzzle-lovers, this month’s Humble Mobile Bundle is bound to get your brain a’tingling as it features six epic puzzlers for Android.

Ready? Let’s go.

Pay over $1 to get:

Zenge – “Zenge is a peculiar puzzle game, telling the story of Eon – a lonely journeyman who’s stuck between the worlds and time. Game is intended to be a relaxing experience, thus there are no points, stars, tutorials, move counters, in game shops or any other distractors. Just pure, immersive journey with Eon, told through gorgeous art and music.”

Pay $5 or more to also get:

Human Resource Machine – “Human Resource Machine is a puzzle game for nerds. In each level, your boss gives you a job. Automate it by programming your little office worker. If you succeed, you’ll be promoted up to the next level for another year of work in the vast office building.”

Deus Ex GO – “Deus Ex GO is a turn-based puzzle stealth game set in a beautiful dystopian future. Take control of secret agent Adam Jensen and solve brain teasing, grid-based puzzles to infiltrate enemy lairs and unravel a perplexing new mystery. Sneak, hack and fight past enemies, and augment Adam with futuristic upgrades.”

Pay over $5.82 to get all of the above and:

Concrete Jungle – “Concrete Jungle is a new take on the city building genre that swaps micro-management for a more strategic and puzzle-orientated style of city planning.

The aim of the game is to clear city blocks by gathering the required number of points from your residents, giving more room to build. As the city grows, bigger and better new buildings can be added to your deck! You’ll find yourself inadvertently creating zoning puzzles- playing against your own past planning decisions.”

Slayaway Camp – “Become Skullface, a psycho slasher bent on slaughtering campers in this darkly comic ode to 80s horror! A diabolical puzzle game that also happens to be a bloody tribute to the VHS era of videotape horror! No one is safe no law enforcement enforces the law enough and no animals or children are harmed in the summer horror hit of 1984.”

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Grab some cracking Android titles in this month’s Humble Mobile Bundle: Puzzles Critical Hits – Pocket Gamer

RPG Puzzle Co-Op Title SwapQuest Console and PC Release Date Revealed with New Gameplay Trailer – DualShockers

Independent game developer Rebusmind is currently working on a classic puzzle title with old-school RPG mechanics called SwapQuest. Today, the developer announced the game will be coming to consoles and PC on August 22.

In SwapQuest, an ancient evil known as The Horde has risen to take hold of your land, Aventana. Its up to you to rid the world of this threat by travelling throughout Aventana, swapping tiles with road on them to create a consecutive path for your characters journey. In your travels, you will find invaluable treasure and fight fearsome beasts.

The game features a levelling system for one of six character classes. As you progress, your hero will get stronger, but so will the enemy. As huge boss fights and challenging mini-games present themselves, you may feel the game is too much for just one person to handle, which is why the game includes the option to play with a friend in local co-op. Travel this massive world, uncover its secrets, and defeat your enemies.

SwapQuest is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam on August 22 for $9.99. For more information on the game, you can visit the official website.

Recently the game got a brand new gameplay trailer, which has been provided for your viewing pleasure below.

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RPG Puzzle Co-Op Title SwapQuest Console and PC Release Date Revealed with New Gameplay Trailer – DualShockers

First Xbox Live Creators Program Games are Now Available – Thurrott.com (blog)

Microsoft announced today that the first wave of games made by indie developers via the Xbox Live Creators Program is now available on Xbox One and Windows 10.

You may recall that the Xbox Live Creators Program essentially lets anyone publish Xbox Live-enabled games to the Xbox Store and/or Windows Store. Microsoft launched this program earlier this year as a way to democratize game publishing on its platforms.

The first wave of games from the Creators Program are live right now for everyone on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, Microsofts Chris Charlawrites. This is an important step for Team Xbox as we continue to deliver a large and diverse lineup of games from creators big and small from around the world.

Microsoft also provided the following list of mostly free or very-inexpensive titles that are included in this first wave:

Animal Rivals for Xbox One and Windows 10. An action-packed couch party game for one to four players. Drop into the game and fight for the Animalonias throne as one of the furry contenders in different mini-games and locations. Game itself presents a unique art style mixing the cartoonish looks and satire approach.

Block Dropper for Xbox One and Windows 10. A fast paced, arcade style, 3D platformer. Try not to fall as you guide your character through the challenging single player mode or grab a friend to battle head to head in a local multiplayer Block Battle Arena.

Crystal Brawl for Xbox One and Windows 10. Gauntlet meets NBA Jam in Crystal Brawl, a 2v2 capture-the-flag local multiplayer game that melds fast action with MOBA-like strategy. Choose from a variety of characters with different abilities, with a notable twist: each character has a unique ability that alters the terrain. Experiment with different character combinations to uncover hidden strategies!

Derelict Fleet for Xbox One. A fast-paced space combat game. You are tasked with defending a refugee fleet as you travel the stars searching for a new colony to call home.

ERMO for Xbox One. A relaxing puzzle game featured with a calming and peaceful graphics. Immerse yourself in the landscapes and colors of ERMO and let you be carried away. You will learn the rules in a few seconds, but ERMO will catch you for hours.

GalactiMAX! for Xbox One and Windows 10. In the vast darkness of space, GalactiMAX has the player shooting aliens for points to pierce the heavens in classic arcade shooter action! As more aliens are defeated, the players ship will increase in size and power. How big can this ship get?!

kubic for Xbox One and Windows 10., A relaxing optical illusion puzzle game based on M.C. Eschers art, impossible objects and other geometric designs. The object is to construct the goal configuration from a number of pieces.

Space Cat! for Xbox One and Windows 10. Shoot your way past an onslaught of enemies and bosses. Collect weapon upgrades like missiles, bombs, laser beams and much more.

Stereo Aereo for Xbox One and Windows 10. An action rhythm game that is inspired by the pop-culture influences of the 80s. You, the player, have to make sure that the mediocre space rockband Stereo Aereo, gets to their life changing concert, on time, in this comic styled sci-fi game.

Windows 10 gamers can find these new indie games in Windows Store: Just navigate to the Games section.

On Xbox One, Microsoft has created a special Creators Collection section in Store > Games.

We hope players will enjoy the games in the Creators Collection, Charla continues. Youll find creative games, some familiar styles, and some brand-new experiences; really, whatever these imaginative developers chose to make. Gamers can expect the Creators Collection on their Xbox One, and the Window Store on their PC, to regularly add new games as developers finish their work. And these are unfiltered games directly from the developers themselves, so your feedback is of course welcomed.

Good stuff.

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First Xbox Live Creators Program Games are Now Available – Thurrott.com (blog)

Are Prescription Video Games The Next Frontier In Medicine? – BOSS Magazine

The healthcare sector continues making significant advancements, but could the next one be through video games?

According to a new study from the University of California, San Franciscos (UCSF) Neuroscape lab, this unlikely source may be the healthcare sectors next frontier.

Neuroscape Lab

For over a decade, the team at Neuroscape lab has tested video games in hopes of developing supportive methods to treat mood disorders like depression and brain disorders such as Alzheimers disease, ADHD, autism, and others.

Adam Gazzaley, Director at Neuroscape Lab, and his team believe concentrated doses of video games can improve multitasking and memory issues. Additionally, they think schools should use video games to assist children with ADHD.

Gazzaley further suggests that first-person shooter video games like Call of Duty have shown to benefit high cognitive abilities, such as multitasking and focusing for long stretches of time.

There are two ways for people to take back control: modifying behavior or enhancing the brain, said Gazzaley.

Which is why the Neuroscape Lab has partnered with Boston-based tech company Akili to bring their studies to fruition.

Neuroscape Labs Project: EVO

Together, Neuroscape Lab and Akili have developed Project: EVO, a mobile game that could be used someday as a prescription video game for children with ADHD.

The two are seeking to validate the game so it can stand out from other brain-training companies. To do so, Project: EVO must go through the process of being FDA approved.

The project has recently entered the clinical trial phase, which typically lasts one to four years, with only 25 to 30 percent moving onto the final stage.

So while Project: EVO has gotten far, it still has a way to go.

If the does FDA approve the game, it will lead to the U.S.s first ever prescription video game. Moreover, the approval will also bring forth a new and innovative method of treatment: digital medicine.

In addition to this particular game, Neuroscape is working on more video games. One is called Body Brain Trainer, and the other is a still in-development video game called Labyrinth, involving an HTC Vive and a Virtuix Omni platform.

The Pushback and Support

As expected with any innovative development, the concept of video games being medically beneficial has received criticism.

In 2014, a group of 69 scientists and researchers published an open letter in opposition of brain-training video games.

We object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do, said the open letter.

Additionally, Alan Smithers, Director of the Center for Education at the University of Buckingham, disagrees with Gazzaleys studies.

The effectiveness of these studies needs to be judged with some care, said Smithers. He believes the studies are not definitive and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Interestingly, a group of 120 scientists and researchers issued a dissentin response to the group that stood in oppositionwhere they pointed out that a substantial and growing body of evidence shows that certain cognitive-training regimens can significantly improve cognitive function.

Matt Omernick, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Akili, also spoke about the growing body of evidence mentioned in the dissent.

I think its just that the evidence hasnt been clearly shown yet and thats what were trying to do here, he explained.

Similar Tech Already In Use

While brain-training video games may be a novel concept, it is not the only form in which technology has crept its way into the healthcare sector.

For years now, medical schools have used virtual reality simulators to train their students. This use of technology has become so prominent it is seen as essential to the training process.

This center supplements the hands-on training our students receive during supervised direct patient care and provides a safe environment where they can develop advanced skills critical to starting residency training, said Heidi Chumley, MD, MBA, Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC).

AUC just celebrated the opening of their new 6,800 square-foot simulation and education center, which employs virtual reality to enhance surgical skills and simulates operating room scenarios as well as patient meetings.

Technology is also currently under development to help simulate the sense of touch during surgeries.

To be able to feel the tissue and the way the instruments feel in your hand would ultimately be the holy grail of what we want to accomplish, said Dr. Brian Gantwerker, MD, Medical Advisor at Level Ex.

And for simulating a disaster, its much better to have a problem in the virtual world and learn how to manage it. This adds a layer of safety and space to learn an instrument.

Here To Stay

The team at Neuroscape is well aware of the controversy surrounding their work with video games and maintain that their efforts stand apart.

Neuroscape tries to reach beyond gamified exercises and create engaging and immersive video game experiences. We are increasingly integrating both cognitive challenges and physical movement, said Gazzaley.

According to The Verges Lauren Goode, they were not far off. Goode reported that the physically challenging video games she tested out were markedly different from just sitting at a computer screen.

Gazzaley remains hopeful that these video games will impact peoples lives positively.

If these games could be used to improve the functions of the brain, we could make a big difference, he said.

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Are Prescription Video Games The Next Frontier In Medicine? – BOSS Magazine


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