2011, new year, new approach

With iHartMovies starting off really well, the blog will continue in 2011, and some of you will probably be thinking, why haven’t we made a post for a couple of weeks?Well, with Christmas and last minute deadlines at University approaching, we decided to give the site a break, and instead, do the occasional post. Starting in 2011, we will approach it differently and go for a set format, making sure we have up to date film news updates every other day, and also news of the week, along with more film reviews, and more articles about TV series episode by episode. I hope you are all having a very good Christmas and have a Happy New Year, and hopefully TV and Films will be just as good next year as it was the last. We will keep you posted 😉



Meet The Gamer: The Interactive Documentary is here

After weeks of finalising our ideas, writing out a proposal and finding the best way to communicate our idea, the interactive documentary has finally been made. The documentary shows facts about gaming, both the negatives and positives. It’s been a tough few weeks and at one point production was stalled because of lack of edit suites, but perseverance has been key and now we are the stages of promoting it, thanks to all who have followed these exclusive project blogs.
Below is the video which starts you off on the documentary below, make sure you press start game, remember it is interactive at various points:

All comments are welcome after you have watched it. Let us know what you think whether good or bad.

Meet The Gamer: What Makes Games Social?

Photo of the console 128 bits Nintendo GameCube.

Image via Wikipedia

As our editing team are applying the finishing touches to our project documentary I thought I’d write a blog about why games are social. I’ll take you back to an article written in August 2010, that includes various reports from scientists which state that Video Games improve social skills. It was reported on one website in particular, the article stated that:

‘Scientists have found that children who spend hours playing online games may be developing friendships and nurturing vital social skills, a news report said Tuesday.Rather than causing them harm, playing computer games can help boost the self-esteem of shy youngsters and increase their satisfaction with life, the South China Morning Post reported.The benefits of online games were similar to those of making friends in the real world, the researchers from the Chinese University in Hong Kong concluded.More than 600 primary school children were interviewed for the study, which found they spent an average of 67 minutes a day playing online games and 44 minutes using hand-held game consoles.’

For the full article click this link:

The one thing that was highlighted in particular in this article was that gaming helps shy children and boosts self esteem. People have always imagined a person with a hobby like gaming to not go out and socialise but in most cases it actually helps them to socialise and make more friends. Especially now with online gaming expanding more and more every year you find friends who don’t necessarily want to go out, but can keep socialising whilst online, so even when they are gaming they are not losing touch with their friends.

Another positive social aspect of gaming was reported on; games can actually help people with Aspergers disease. Here is a brief description of a particular game that helps people suffering from a form of autism:

Brigadoon” is a real-world experiment in social skills made virtual, a private enclave limited to a select mixture of caregivers and individuals with Asperger Syndrome, a higher functioning form of autism. The inhabitants, or “Dooners” as they call themselves, enjoy the same privileges as those in the more public arenas of “Second Life.” They are free to create their own digital representations of themselves, called “avatars,” build virtual houses and seek out friends. And, most importantly, they are free to create a “second life” with a level of social interaction that, for reasons of their condition, has been hard to come by in their real lives
Talk of video gaming can set off feelings of unease among parents — no one wants a kid to be glued to a screen for hours on end. But the stakes for children with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders — who have difficulties with social interaction — tend to be higher.”

For the full article click here:

This shows gaming can also ease a mental condition in a socially interactive game. So should there be more projects like ours that try and show a positive outcome from gaming?  Do you think that gaming should be promoting campaigns when it comes to the social side? The Xbox360 campaigns and Nintendo wii and also PS3 do promote the social side of gaming in adverts, with the recently new releases of motion sensor gaming from Xbox 360 and PS3 the social skills in gaming will increase. The army in the USA are already using shooting games to increase hand-eye co-ordination skills and reactions.

Let us know what you think.

Meet The Gamer: Why is gaming looked upon so negatively?

Grand Theft Auto (series)

Image via Wikipedia

Well, with the BBC investigating Gaming addiction (which doesn’t help matters at all) it’s no surprise that gaming is looked upon in a negative light. Smoking, alcohol and drugs are all addictive but the problem of gaming addiction is much less severe. It’s only in rare cases where it affects people and most gaming brings out positivity, competitiveness and is good for socialising. I suppose it doesn’t help that gaming is one of the most profitable forms of entertainment in the world because of its wide audience.

It also doesn’t send out a great message that games like Call Of Duty and World Of Warcraft are played by people day in day out, but if it doesn’t affect their education and social life or work, then it’s not a harmful addiction and that is what we’re trying to say. Other forms of entertainment like TV, music and sport are equally as addictive but they are not highlighted as an addiction in the same way. Gambling is a type of game but we don’t class gambling as gaming because we play video games purely for fun, to escape and to enjoy ourselves. I remember when I was young and I was pretty addicted to games, I used to play day in day out, but it didn’t stop me from going out to play football in the park, it didn’t stop me from playing rugby for my team and it didn’t stop my aim of getting in education at  a university level, maybe I grew out of it but I still play games now and my social skills are not deteriorating as a result.

The worrying began several years ago when Manhunt came out and there was a few cases of violent crimes linked to the game, in some cases it was circumstantial evidence but when you have a media like the one we have in Britain it’s hard to play down incidents like this. Then there was a similar case in the United States to do with Grand Theft Auto being linked to a murder and that turned out nothing to do with the game but in fact a dispute between friends.

Apart from these rare cases gaming actually does people good and there’s not a lot of campaigns like ours that promote this idea. Even when doctors prove it helps social skills and hand eye co-ordination,  it seems only the bad aspects find their way into the mainstream media.

Our interactive documentary which looks at gaming in a less biased way will be up on youtube by next monday, so stay tuned!

Meet The Gamer: Our Case Study, Mo.


The Gamer

Mo, The Gamer

This is our gamer, Mo, the character in our documentary. He owns a PS3 and he’s the most avid gaming fan we’ve met. As an actor in our documentary he will play out scenario’s and the viewer will then answer questions based on what they’ve seen. The interactive documentary is designed to change people’s perceptions of gaming whilst offering an unbiased view of the topic.

The reputation of gaming has gone downhill in recent years but these perceptions haven’t been completely true because it has been proven that gaming can several positive effects. Gaming can be addictive in some cases which can cause problems, however, this can be said of a lot of entertainment formats but that doesn’t make people a social outcast or violent. As I’ve been writing these blogs Panorama are conducting an investigation into gaming addiction.

X-Factor Semi-Final, Who Will Go?

Simon Cowell Plaque

Image by jayneandd via Flickr

Last night wasn’t cringe-worthy because Wagner wasn’t there, which was good because I couldn’t take another performance from him.

For the first time this series Simon Cowell didn’t warm to Matt Cardle, he almost mocked Matt’s illness and claimed he was ill himself but still got on with things. And then Matt’s second performance also didn’t work with Simon, will that hinder Matt’s chance of winning, probably not because he’s being favourite to win for most of the series now and I can’t see him losing, although I would like to see Rebecca or Cher winning the contract I doubt that very much however after last night’s two flawless performances from Rebecca, she has a really good chance.

Cher once again had a good week with the performances, she’s just going for it now isn’t she, I think she knows her chances of winning from the start to the series to the end are now extinguished but if she did win, then she would of won from pure determination along with abuse from the public but hopefully she makes the final which she deserves. I can’t see a final without Simon having a act, and lets face it One Direction have a huge teenage girl fan base, just like JLS did and I could see this group being in the final two next week, I ain’t a fan, they are boring.

And finally dear old Mary Bryne, could criticise her but she is too kind, I do think she should of left out the tears at the end of her second performance, like Simon said its all about reaching the final now, not bringing in emotional tactics to get more votes, but good on her, and even though I think she will go tonight she’s done well to get this far.

Hasn’t it gone quick? Next week we will have a new winner, and then the race for Christmas number one starts.

But for now a voting poll for tonight.

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

Comedian/actor David Cross at the 2007 Plug Aw...

Image via Wikipedia

The new sitcom, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, has recently began on More4 in the UK. Now, to be quite honest, I don’t really pay much attention to many of the programmes on More4, and I wouldn’t consider it as one of the most popular channels around. However, I saw adverts for this programme on channel 4, and it seemed okay. But honestly, I completely forgot about the programme, and only managed to watch it by chance when flicking through the channels and realised it was on.

The programme focuses around Todd Margaret ( David Cross), an American office worker, who moves to England to take up a job running a sales team, who are aiming to promote and sell an energy drink, Thunder Muscle (the name sure won me over). He has no idea about life in England, and knows nothing about the culture, with only one sales consultant to aid him in selling the enery drinks, Dave (played by Blake Harrison, or more commonly known as Neil from The Inbetweeners).

Each episode starts with a brief clip, showing Todd in court, being accused of a long list of crimes, before the episode flashes back to what happened before.

Now, I do enjoy my comedy programmes, although this programme isn’t the type I usually watch. However, from having seen the first 3 episodes, I have noticed, and enjoy the weird type of humour displayed throughout, including Cross’ irrelevant and unfortunate circumstances. And, although he isn’t in it much, I particularly enjoy Brent Wilts’ ( Will Arnett) comical aspect. Brent, Todd’s boss, is a sarcastic and blunt man, who tells it like it is; he’s egotistical, arrogant, and kind of reminds me of J. Jonah Jameson from the Spiderman films, although I have to mention that Brent is heavy on the bad language, which I find only adds to the humour.

Overall, this programme is something new. I enjoy the style of comedy and the sometimes cringe-worthy moments. It is full of ridiculous, yet comiacl scenarios, and I look forward to watching the remainder of the episodes. It is definitely something worth watching.

Be sure to catch The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, every Sunday at 10:35pm, on More4.

By Manpreet Singh