Video Games

Courtesy of Denver Comic Con

This weekend will be a (BANG!) (ZOOM!) (POW!) good time as Denver Comic Con rolls into town.

Courtesy of City of Fort Collins

This weekend, you can go fly a kite - literally. There’s a festival in Fort Collins dedicated to the art of making - and flying - kites. Looking for a slightly more high-tech version of fun? How about a convention dedicated to vintage video games?

Yes, in this comparison Ms. Pac-Man on an Atari 2600 could be considered “high-tech.” Relatively speaking, anyway.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Adam Lefkoff still remembers as a child going with his father, an attorney, to visit a client at home.

"He had three pinball machines in his house," Adam said. "And that - as a 5-year-old living in Atlanta - that just blew my mind. 'Oh my goodness, you can have pinball machines in your house?'"

The obsession had begun.

Nintendo's Mario games, in their various forms and genres have been played around the world by hundreds of millions of people. In the original, Mario is a plumber who must speed through the Mushroom Kingdom to rescue Princess Toadstool.

The game turns 30 this year. Its famed creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, was in Los Angeles this week at the big Electronic Entertainment Expo video game conference to promote the latest version of the game Super Mario Maker.

A very public controversy has engulfed the world of video games, centered around the treatment of women and minorities in the gaming culture.

The debate has ramifications for educators, as schools ponder the educational potential of online games and the need to protect young people who play them. For some perspective on this issue we turned to Rafael Johns, a reporter for Youth Radio. Here's his commentary:

I enjoy video games.

As the ongoing, harassment-fueled controversy known as Gamergate rages into its second month with no sign of dying down, the Pew Research Center is out with new numbers on online harassment.

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

A bigger than life video game experience is taking shape in Denver, turning giant LED advertising screens into an interactive and immersive street arcade spanning two city blocks. It’s the hope of Oh Heck Yeah that the experience will unplug you from your smartphone and get you to play outside in the streets – just like back in the day.

On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.

Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.

Mobile phones and computer screens can distract us from engagement in the real world and that's been especially true of video games. But, there's an innovative game being played around the globe that's designed to use the same technologies to get its players more engaged with each other and the physical world.