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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Congress Slashes Funding for Peaceful Conflict Resolution Game 84

In a departure from the usual video game setting a recent educational video game called "Cool School" was designed to teach kids peaceful conflict resolution. Unfortunately Congress has decided to slash the funding of this program that has been receiving rave reviews from the testers at schools in Illinois. "Cool School focuses on taking players through a school where just about everything (desks, books, and other objects) are alive and have their own personality. Over the course of ten levels and over 50 different situations designed by Professor Melanie Killen and then-doctoral student Nancy Margie (both of the University of Maryland). The primary goal of the game is to teach students how to solve social conflict through skills like negotiation and cooperation. During the title's development, Killen and Margie were able to work with some talented members of the video game industry, including independent developer F.J. Lennon and animator Dave Warhol." The game is now available as a free download and will play on both Mac OS X and Windows XP.
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Congress Slashes Funding for Peaceful Conflict Resolution Game

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  • Ha ha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:13PM (#23481518) Homepage Journal
    I bet they won't cut funding for that game America's Army...

  • Good... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:17PM (#23481584)
    This hardly falls under what I'd consider the governments constitutionally mandated functions. At a time in history where we are over committed to the tune of $500k/person we don't need to be spending MORE money on non-essential, non-core services. I can think of a whole laundry list of other spending that needs to be done away with, but at least this is a start.
  • Re:Really.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CogDissident ( 951207 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:19PM (#23481626)
    The software "is" free, literally. To anyone who wants to get it.

    They shouldn't have to give away the source code, and it shouldn't "have" to be inter-operable with linux. It is made for schools, and over 95% of schools run windows. Optimizing it so it runs in wine (which it probably does, its not a graphically-complex game) would have cost money, and had very little in returns.

    Now get off your linux soapbox and learn that the real world doesn't revolve around your chosen operating system.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:38PM (#23481984) Journal
    Although TFA is somewhat vague on the point, it seems the problem is not quite that trivial.

    No, the problem is as trivial as he said; it's just that the original plan seems to have been much more grandiose. Come to think of it, if they *had* gotten the funding to send a DVD to every school in the country, wouldn't we be getting a story long the lines of "Congress Doesn't Know Internet Exists!!!", with pages of moronic comments about "tubes"?

    I don't get the GGP's complaint about Ars Technica, though. It's not the article's fault that it's not mostly about the one sentence the editor fixated on.

  • by rjhubs ( 929158 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:49PM (#23482180)
    maybe the question that should be asked is, why should congress fund any sort of game development? leave education to the educators, and the moral development to families and communities. the only governmental role in morality should be to protect us, not propagate their morals. Even if in this case it is something we all probably could agree on is good, government still shouldn't do it.
  • Question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cptnapalm ( 120276 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @05:02PM (#23482368)
    So which of Congress's enumerated powers did this fall under?
  • Re:Really.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:27PM (#23484696) Homepage Journal
    Seriously. Think about it. It was a game meant to teach the youngins. I doubt much time, if any at all, was put into security considerations for the code. It may work great as a game, but be a horrible vector for anyone who wants to exploit a schools computer systems. And if distribution met its goal, practically every school would have this somewhere. This is one case where keeping the source closed makes sense. And you can't tell me "the issues would be fixed if it was just open source". It is taking too long as it is to get to the schools. Imagine someone finding a bug, and somehow through magic there is a whole trusted system of which this patch will get reviewed and distributed back to the schools, and have them actually update all copies. It just won't happen that way. Obscurity may be bad security, but it is better than potentially giving the assailant the club to beat you to death.
  • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by philipgar ( 595691 ) <pcg2.lehigh@edu> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:46PM (#23486912) Homepage
    you neglect to mention that fact that IMMEDIATELY following this statement the constitution lays out a list enumerating exactly what those powers are. If the line "common defense and general welfare" was taken to grant congress power over everything related to the above there would be no need to explicitly list what congress is allowed to do.

    Additionally, if this line was to mean congress could do anything not explicitly forbidden by the first 9 amendments, there would be no need for the 10th amendment which states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." It is not arguing semantics to say that when the authors of the constitution wrote the line about "common defense and general welfare" they meant the powers that they were explicitly granting following that statement.

    However, the real argument that has been used for years is at the end of enumerating congress' rights which states " To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." This has fueled the famous "necessary and proper" debate that has raged between strict and loose constructionists for years. However, I don't think anyone of the founders would argue that this statement gives the federal government the power to do anything not denied them in the first 9 amendments (hence the 10th amendment).


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