I Play Games, so I Kill People

By Ryan Krause –

Games make kids violent. No, actually that’s a myth.

I’ve played many violent games: Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Gears of War, Halo, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Dead Space and many more.

Heck, some games like Dead Space reward you for dismembering zombies with a plasma cutter. In fact, the whole point of the game is to basically be as violent as possible.

Ryan Krause. Image taken by Spencer Barnett and Laura Revelt.

But hey, you don’t see kids running around with plasma cutters chopping people’s limbs off.

These games are rated “M” for mature for a reason.

And yes, of course, there is violence in the world, but it’s not directly related to games.

Some kids have said that the game, Grand Theft Auto, taught them to be violent, but it’s not their fault that their parents let them play these 17+ rated games.

Game stores are supposed to ask for identification if the customer looks underage for a game.

That’s why there is the ESRB rating.

It’s not the game company’s fault that kids buy their games underage and that parents don’t monitor their 12-year-old who bought it.

Some people say that the kids aren’t at a good age for judgment, but isn’t that what parents are for?

Parents are supposed to be guiding their kids. While their kids might be playing Call of Duty, it is their parents’ duty to make sure no overly violent games are in possession of their children.

There was a news story on FOX claiming that games cause rape.

Dead Space 2 is full of graphic violence. Image owned by Electronic Arts.

On the FOX News website, Carole Leiberman said, “The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of (sexual) scenes in video games.”

How can one know what goes on in another individual’s brain?

Another quote – this one is by Dr. Jerry Weichman – on the FOX News website was, “If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant.”

The parents of such a child should not have let their kid play such a game or allow it in their presence.

They should have thought ahead of what their kids could have been up to.

Games like Call of Duty give you a rating for how well you kill people. Does that make kids go around and kill people and act out scores?


According to USnews.com, “The average video game player is 35 years old and has been playing for 12 years.”

“According to FBI statistics, youth violence has declined in recent years as computer and video game popularity soared,” they also stated.

Kids have a better outlet with video games because, in short, they’re not real.

Every single head-shot, every stab, every punch and every curb-stomp is simulated.

And all of these actions are performed on virtual characters who have no feelings whatsoever. I promise.

The ESRB ratings. Image owned by ESRB.

For the advertising of the game, Dead Space 2, the creators emphasized on how violent the game is and how your parents would hate it.

It attracts teenagers who need a way to vent their frustration with everyday life, and have fun doing it.

Now, every console comes with parental controls that restricts what games can be played based upon the ratings.

Basically it all comes down to how well parents monitor their kids. It’s not the company’s fault their games are misused.

It’s like blaming Marlboro for giving you lung cancer or McDonalds for making you overweight.

You’re already given a heads up – caution labels, nutritional information. The final decision to lift the cigarette or Big Mac up to your mouth and ingest it is in your hands – literally. And if you can’t control yourself, well, parents are there for a reason.

Games have warnings of their own. They did their job. It’s time for the moms and dads out there to do theirs.

Microsoft Kinect Sales Skyrocket

By Eric Gerlach & Evan Shertzer

Some people use it for fun, others use it for exercise. Either way, a lot of people are using it

Recently, the Xbox Kinect passed 10 million sale milestone. According to digitaltrends.com, the Guiness Book of World Records has named the Xbox Kinect “The Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Device.” Within in the first sixty days, Microsoft sold over eight million units.

Two gamers test their skills on the Xbox Kinect - Photo from bytefish.com

At Penn Manor, there are few students that own the Xbox Kinect, like freshman Ethan Barley.

“I used to use it a lot,” said Barley, “it is good for working out and it is a lot better than the Wii. The Wii sucks.”

The Xbox Kinect is made up of a microphone, console, sensors, and 3D camera.  The 3D camera picks up the human’s motion and depth allowing you to control the images displayed on the TV screen.  This new technology was presented and released by Microsoft in November of 2010.

“I’ve played it twice. It was fun and enjoyable,”  said freshman Brad Underkoffler, “I would like to play it again.”

The Xbox Kinect does have a somewhat hefty price attached to it: $150. It may seem like a lot of money to a high school student, but Underkoffler tells us it’s worth it.

“It costs a lot, but it really is worth the money,” said Underkoffler.

The Xbox Kinect and Console - Photo from digitaltrends.com

The Kinect breaks the sterotype that video games are an unhealthy habit for kids. You’ll still get a workout. Multiple Kinect compatable games involving fitness, like The Biggest Loser and EA Active 2, have been published.  These games help players stay active and healthy. And the games are a big benefit for those who are uncomfortable working out in front of others at school or at their local gym. Plus, if the weather doesn’t allow you to go outside, the Kinect allows you to still get some exercise.

“Without the Kinect, I would probably get fat,” Barley said.

In short, its innovative concept and impressive hardware make Microsoft’s newest toy a revolutionary device, bringing new possibilities to the gaming community.

Apple’s iPad 2 – a Thumbs up from Penn Manor Students

By Eli Marcelino and Cheyenne Weber

The iPad 2 was released today and is thinner than ever.

Should you get one?

“I think it’s awesome. I like it because it is thinner than the iPhone 4,” said Erin Patterson, a Penn Manor sophomore, who also added, “I really want one.”

The New Realease of Apple: iPad 2. Photo courtesy of http://www.devicemag.com

Nearly $5 billion worth of iPads have been sold  since its launch, and a quick glance at the history of the iPhone, which launches a new model every year, suggests that we should expect to see the iPad 2 right around the first anniversary of it’s predecessor’s launch.

According to published reviews,  the new features the regular iPad doesn’t have are…

1) Longer battery life

2) Thinner and lighter though not a major consideration since iPad as it is is already quite light.

3) Faster processor – Run applications at lightning speed.

4) Camera – Great for taking videos and pictures. Why carry another camera or video recorder when you have your iPad 2.

5) Video Conferencing – Using a tablet for video conferencing would be an awesome experience. The right user experience would probably demand 2 cameras – one front and the other back.

6) HDTV connection – Connect the iPad 2 to your TV and project what is on the iPad 2 on the screen there.

“I think it will have more technology than the first one, and I also hope that it could have Broadband Internet,” said Roxana Perez, a Junior.

The original iPad came in six different variations and the new iPad 2 comes in 18 different variations.

The good news is that the iPad 2 costs just what the original iPad did.

“The base-model Wi-Fi editions cost $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB), and $699 (64GB). Both sets of Wi-Fi/3G models cost $130 more than their Wi-Fi counterparts,” said Snell.

There’s no price difference for white or black models.

The iPad 2 also has 512MB of RAM—twice that of the original iPad—and a 200MHz bus speed, likewise twice that of the original.

Is it worth getting?

“The iPad 2 is an improvement on the original iPad in numerous ways, it’s still an evolutionary product, not a revolutionary one. If you’re happy with your current iPad, there’s no reason to dump it just because there’s a shinier, newer one. (This is not to say that millions of people won’t do just that. I mean: shiny!) If you’ve invested in iPad accessories such as a dock or case, keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to use them with the new iPad,” said Macworld’s editorial director Jason Snell.

Students Go Black Ops about the New Map Pack

By Alex Sanchez –

Fact: Black Ops sold more copies then any other Call Of Duty game before it. Another fact: the latest map pack is the greatest map pack ever for the Call Of Duty franchise.

Poster for First Strike. Photo courtesy of Call Of Duty Wiki.com

On February 1, the new map pack First Strike was released for the Xbox 360 and many people have been more than happy with the results.

In this map pack, five new maps have been added. Four normal multi-player maps, Berlin Wall, Kowloon, Stadium and Discovery are in the pack. The maps bring a new feel for plays as there are things that make each map different.

First there’s Stadium which is the new version of Nuke Town with added changes.  It’s a medium-sized map which takes place in New York.

Then there’s Discovery which one of the biggest map for Black Ops, and is the hardest.

But not to Penn Manor freshman Eric Shetrompf who says, “Discovery is a big map but it isn’t that hard to move around. You want to look out for the ice bridge.”

The ice bridge is one of the new features that this map has where there’s a bridge made out of ice that can be blown up.

Kowloon is next and this map is based off the mission in Black Ops’ campaign called “Numbers.” This map is full of hidden places and is the best map for all game types. In fact Shetromphf has even more to share about this map.

“There’s a lot of places to hide and lot of campers which makes it hard to move around when you first play the map,” Shetromphf said.

Also in this map, there’s two zip lines which let players move around the map with ease but when you do this you can’t defend yourself or attack anyone until you’re on the other side.

“I’ve died when I used it a few times and I’ve killed (those) who have used it,” said Shetrompf.

Now for the Berlin Wall, which if you don’t know what that’s based on, you must have failed history.  This map is in Germany. This map is made for snipers because there’s a lot of long-range places and camping spots just for long-range fighting. But the worst thing about is the No-man’s land which has auto turrets that will shoot and kill anyone in it. But its a great way to go across the map so if you want to press your luck to get to the other side-good luck.

Last, the best thing about this map pack is the zombies map called Ascension.

In this new zombie map you’re in a Russian space station where a man’s voice says, “Hurry the mechanism must not be damaged. You must repair the mechanism and hurry, she is coming!”

This is just the beginning for him because if you do the Node puzzle you get a surprise – but you going to have to find that out for your self.

This map is the biggest and hardest map for the C.O.D. series yet. But don’t take my word for it.

Listen to what Shetrompf  has to say about this map, “It’s the best zombies by far…. It’s so intense and there’s so much stuff in it that you really need some team work or else you’re dead.”

You start off in one room and you have to earn points by killing zombies and unlocking more and more doors and weapons. The point of it all is to to survive to the highest round that you can. And there’s new things like new perks weapons Easter eggs and zombies.

Now the map pack First Strike is out for PS3.

Nothing has changed from the Xbox version.

Anthony Fulginiti has the map pack for the PS3 and he says that, “It’s easy to get used to… when I first got it I went to Stadium and I learned the map quick and I got a good score in the end.”

So for PS3 users, the multi-player experience is a bit easier for them.

As for the zombies experience he says that, “It not as good as I thought it would be, the monkeys are easy to beat and the zombies are smarter than the normal zombies, but not that much.”

The results are in and First Strike made records as the most downloaded map pack in C.O.D. history.

So it must be good and at a good price. But if you’re a Wii user as of right now the Wii gets no map pack but keep your hopes up because there is a new patch coming.

Companies are “Steamed” Over Piracy

By Ryan Krause –

Why buy it when you can get it for free?

That is the mentality of many.

Some Penn Manor students, and others around the world, partake in illegal downloading and companies are now working hard on methods to prevent that from happening.  There are two major companies that are essentially leading the charge against piracy known as Steam and OnLive.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is known as “Any technology used to limit the use of software, music, movies or other digital data.”

One of Steam's goals is to prevent piracy. Image owned by Valve Corporation.

Steam, a program created by Valve Corporation, was made to minimize the amount of space that physical copies of games take up. But it was also created to prevent piracy.

Some major computer games are Steam only, for example the Call of Duty series and the Fallout series.

Steam only lets an individual play a game after they buy it. It adds the game to your account so only that person has access to that certain copy. If someone else logs on to their account, it notifies them right away.

One can either buy the actual disk, but have to activate it via an included game code, or one could buy the game directly off of Steam.

“Steam is great because they actually have a good anti-piracy system that works well,” said a Penn Manor senior who wished to remain anonymous for previous trouble with the law on this topic. “I know from experience, their games are extremely hard to crack.”

Some think that piracy really isn’t all that bad, as long as they feel that the product isn’t cheap and not worth their money.

“I think it’s alright if it’s overpriced,” said the anonymous student.

But Internet piracy is all fun and games until you get caught.

“My ISP (Internet Service Provider) emailed me,” said the senior. “They were all like, ‘Ya dead kid!'”

Steam is a very solid platform for game management, there were always nice things to be said about it. It’s also mainly known for the fact that all the games that are purchased are online.  So one who buys a lot of games, wouldn’t have a lot of clutter everywhere.

“I am usually a fan of physical copies since most online distributors only allow a certain amount of downloads, but Steam is good about it and usually allows unlimited downloads,” said the anonymous student.

A clutter of computer games. Picture by Ryan Krause.

“Downloaded files simply cannot compare to a stack of physical, tangible games,” said Penn Manor senior Jerome Lynch. “The ability to have hundreds of games on a shelf as part of a collection is something that is not possible to achieve with games that are available exclusively through digital distribution.”

Many people like to have the physical copies for the sake of collection or resale.

Lynch said, “As a collector, this is something that I will miss once digital distribution completely replaces physical media.”

Other companies are also working on their on programs for rights management.

OnLive was created for both DRM and to be different.

It has a revolutionary feature that doesn’t require a lot of hardware to play “high-end” games. High end games are newer games that have very high graphical properties and cannot be handled by a simple machine usually.

The OnLive controller and console. Image owned by OnLive.

OnLive actually has the games hosted and played on their own computers, while the user controls that computer from their own personal TV or computer. This means that the person playing isn’t hosting the game on their personal machine, so it doesn’t require a powerful computer. Essentially, the player is only seeing a projection of what that remote computer is showing. OnLive sells a very small box to plug into one’s TV, or one can just download the program for free on their computer.

To help put a stop to piracy, gamers have to buy or rent the games on the OnLive program to play them. There are many time-based demos on there as well. It’s an effort to help stop piracy because players who don’t wish to buy an entire game because of the price will have the ability to rent for the cheaper price. Most gamers only play a game for a little while, usually within that time-frame.

Although there have been complaints about how the program doesn’t host enough popular games, OnLive stated that their selection will broaden once more companies submit more games for them to host.

iPad 2: Now Thinner and Better

By DaYonte Dixon –

The new iPad 2 was just released Wednesday and the fans are lining up for it.

Apple is now selling a new, lighter, cheaper and more easy-to-transport  iPad. The iPad 2 is one-third thinner than the original version, which was one of the main complaints about that early version.

It will begin shipping in over a week, according to the company, and with the hype around the world has carried into Penn Manor high school.

“People are going crazy over the new iPad,” said Alex Kirk, a Penn Manor student. “Actually I already asked my mom if i could get it today.”

Most people just want it because of the word “new” that is in front of the name but Kirk has done some research.

“I heard it is as thin as the iphone and holds more memory,” said Kirk.  “I also heard that it’s selling at the same price as the original, that’s why I want to go out today so I don’t miss the opportunity of this great pricing.”

But it comes with many more new features than the last tablet Apple put out. According to the company, the new pad has rear and front facing cameras for recording video, taking photos, and for FaceTime video chat. The new iPad also has a new A5 dual-core processor which offers up to nine times faster graphics processing.

Ipad 2. Photo courtesy of http://www.devicemag.com

Apple’s official statement says, “The faster speeds of the new processor will not have any greater power consumption than the previous A4 processor.”

So it’s sort of green and fast.

The new iPad will also be available in two different colors, black and white.  It will also be available for both AT&T and Verizon.

“Once I heard about the iPad 2, I eliminated a laptop from my Christmas list,”  said senior Demetrius Dixon, a Penn Manor student.

“But I plan on getting it a lot earlier than Christmas.” added Dixon, who is off to college this year.

With all the hype around the world, and at Penn Manor, the iPad 2 may end up being very successful.

According to Kirk and Dixon, many of Apple’s first ipad 2 sales will be coming from Penn Manor students themselves.

The New and Improved MacBook Pro Makes its Debut

By Simon Zimmerman-

The Apple company has recently come out with its new line of updated and improved laptops, hoping to increase sales.

They are still the same style as their previous line, with 13,-15,-and 17-inch sized models and the same prices ranging from $1,199 to $2,499.

As a customer, you would not notice the changes of this new line. This is because all of the real improvements are in the performance, not the cosmetics.

With faster processors, more powerful graphic processors, an HD camera and a USB port called Thunderbolt, this new line could make the church bells ring for hardworking college and high school students.

The benchmark results of the new MacBook Pros compared to the previous ones. Photo Courtesy of http://www.macrumors.com/

“My laptop is two years old so it is very outdated compared to the (new)line,” said senior Lars Andersen. “So the features are very much improved and I would consider buying one.”

College is swiftly approaching for Penn Manor seniors and many are in need of a new and faster laptop with the hard and grueling work that comes with college.

Purchasing a laptop from this new line would be one way for college students to be more efficient.

According to Macrumors.com, “The slowest MacBook Pro performs on par with the fastest previous-generation MacBook Pro, and the fastest MacBook Pro is 80 percent faster than the fastest previous-generation MacBook Pro.”

Therefore, no MacBook before this new line has been more efficient or even close to the same speed.

“I already have a laptop but I wish I would have explored the new MacBook line with all of its new updates,” said disappointed senior Josh Carle.

Although many, like Carle, already have a functioning laptop, the new line of Macbook Pro’s are undoubtedly outperforming the old.

Parking Made Easier for iPhone Users

By Sarah Schaeffer –

Driving down a city road, searching.

Finding a parking spot in a busy city is rarely easy and never enjoyable. Everyone has experienced the headache of seeing the perfect spot in the distance, speeding up to claim it and then feeling the crushing disappointment when a minuscule vehicle is already planted between the white lines.

There’s an app for that.

This headache may soon be eliminated by a new app available for iPhone users. This app, called Parker, was created by San Francisco-based company, Streetline, in an attempt to bring parking into the modern times of technology.

Parker iPhone app helps users find parking spots free of stress. Photo from socialmediaseo.net

Parker works with a system of battery-powered sensors installed in parking spaces. The sensors send information to a receiver located in a nearby lamp poles, which in turn sends information to a data center located in Dallas. From Dallas, the information is sent to the app and is then accessible by app users with the help of Google Maps.

“This is a creative way of showing parking availibility. It’s a good way to use technology to help the public..,” said Zia Yusuf, CEO of Streetline, in an interview with USA Today.

Currently, this technology is only available in Los Angeles, Roosevelt Island in New York City and, soon, For Totten Metro station in Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City.

Like many apps, this new technology has the potential to sweep the nation, especially since the price is right. Each year, the sensor system costs the city only $420 with the app costing purchasers only $1.99.

As for the possibility of such a system being installed in Lancaster, the general consensus of student drivers at Penn Manor is a “go.”

“I think that’s pretty useful. It’s a good idea,” said senior Corey Morales.

“Yes I would [use Parker]. That’d be pretty sick,” said junior Clayton Secrest.

“I would use [Parker]. It would save a lot of time when looking for a parking spot. It would be less stressful,” said junior Mitch Domin.

Only time will tell the fate of Parker, but Penn Manor is optimistic.

For more on Parker and to see the new technology in use, follow this link from USA Today.

TSA Advances Tech-Ed in the Elementary Classroom

By Brian Dunne –

The goal is to get a little technology to every fourth grade elementary class in the Penn Manor district by the end of this year.

Sean McKnight, Penn Manor technology teacher and a few high school kids from the TSA (Technology Student Association) are teaming up once a month at elementary schools throughout the Penn Manor district. Their goal is to introduce engineering to elementary kids while taking it down to the elementary level so younger kids can get engaged and perhaps be interested in a technology field in their future.

McKnight teaching tech-ed to fourth graders. Photo by Brian Dunne

The students in Wayne Martin’s fourth grade class were all put into groups and were all instructed to create water sheds with meat plates, straws and Turkey Hill bottles. The focus of the project was to obtain as much water in the bottle as possible, but also to block as much debris as possible.

Maeve Snyder, TSA President, and one of the student helpers, was very enthusiastic about the whole project.

“I think it’s cool that kids get to solve problems, that’s a really good experience to have,” said Snyder.

Research says at this age students are most receptive to this kind of information because they’re still willing to learn and are still very creative.

“Students have moved to being consumers rather than being problem solvers,” said McKnight. “Students are not creative like they once were.”

The students discussed some key topics before creating their projects and went over the five step loop called the technology design loop. They talked about things like procedures, consumption, conservation, brainstorming, stating the problem and identifying the problem.

The fourth graders loved working with technology. Photo by Brian Dunne

The design loop is the base of just about every tech problem, and it’s what McKnight used for his demonstration.

The five steps were:

Step 1. What is the problem?

Step 2. Brainstorm solutions

Step 3. Create the solution you think is best

Step 4. Test your solution

Step 5. Evaluate your solution

Billy Burke, a fourth grade student for Martin, thought that the project was pretty fun.

“I like that we were actually experimenting. I like to build science experiments,” said Burke.

This is the first tech-ed program for elementary schools in the state of Pennsylvania, according to McKnight.

He said the goal is to introduce this once to all of the fourth grade teachers and students, and eventually make it part of the curriculum for years to come.

Verizon iPhone off to Slow Start

By Joey Jackson
Verizon users’ long wait is over, the iPhone is here.

Apple’s iPhone was released on the Verizon network Thursday February 10, but after record claims of online pre-order sales, many were surprised with the turnout on the opening day.

The Apple iPhone is now available on the Verizon network
According to Dailytech.com, the iPhone sales for Verizon didn’t live up to the expectations many people had prior to opening day.

There are many theories for why the Verizon iPhone is starting out slow.

These ideas range anywhere from AT&T’s $49 iPhone 3GS that Verizon cannot offer, to the fact that people are unwilling to switch from AT&T to Verizon’s inferior iPhone.

There are a few differences between the Verizon iPhone and the AT&T version.  A few examples of the superiority of the AT&T model are that, on Verizon, you are unable to conference call with more than one other person. Also, it is impossible to surf the web while on a call.

The disappointing sales numbers of the Verizon iPhone can even be represented within Penn Manor, where only one Verizon iPhone user could be found.

Junior Alex Lombardo is the lone student at Penn Manor who went out to buy the Verizon iPhone on the opening day.

“So far I’m happy with it.  It was a little glitchy when I first got it, but by the end of the day it was fine,” Lombardo said.

Verizon almost lost Lombardo to AT&T, but then he said he heard rumors of a deal between Verizon and Apple starting at the beginning of the new year.

Alex Lombardo, one of the few willing to buy the iPhone opening day. Photo by Joey Jackson

“I was going to make the switch, but then I heard rumors that the iPhone was coming to Verizon, so I decided to just wait.”

Others at Penn Manor weren’t as lucky to hear the rumors before they switched.

Junior Bob Warfel was one of those people.

Warfel had the misfortune to switch to AT&T soon before the rumors surfaced.

Although he wouldn’t have switched had he heard about the rumors, Warfel said that he’s not upset that he switched.

“I’d rather have AT&T because I feel like Verizon will have some things to fix since its new with the iPhone, and I hear that the iPhone 5 is coming out six months earlier on AT&T,” said Warfel.

Sales of the iPhone 4 are starting to even out already between AT&T and Verizon, and only time will tell if one carrier will take control.