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Video Games

Electronic Gambling Machines
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

They look like slot machines. They sound like slot machines.

But they aren’t in casinos — which is the only place you are supposed to be able to find slot machines in Missouri. 

Thousands of new gaming devices have been popping up at gas stations, veterans homes, union halls and fraternal lodges across the state. Their growing presence has raised the hackles of state regulators and the traditional gambling industry, which says the machines are draining business from them. 

Illinois brought in more tax money from gambling in the fiscal year that ended in June. That’s just one of several highlights from a new report released Monday.


Tamsen Reed in front of the Webster University communications department building. May 17, 2019.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:45 a.m., May 21, to reflect new witness statements — The first time Tamsen Reed heard the rumors was over a text message from a soon-to-be roommate. Almost immediately, she began to feel trapped.

The rumors kept piling on. She’d hear them in her university classrooms. Once, a stranger shared them with one of Reed’s housemates, not realizing they lived together. Another time, a date brought them up to Reed.

Missouri Attorney General and senatorial candidate Josh Hawley speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Chesterfield on Oct. 29, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley is introducing legislation that would allow internet users to effectively opt out of having certain data shared with websites.

It’s the GOP senator’s latest salvo in his advocacy against large technology companies, a posture that’s brought Hawley national praise and criticism.

Jeremy Murray leads the Francis Howell Central High School esports team review, watching a video of a match they played against students from another high school.
Andy Field | St. Louis Public Radio

In a dark classroom at Francis Howell Central High School, students are gathered around a glowing projector screen displaying a video game. On it, avatars shoot machine guns, blasters and orbs at each other.

The students are watching a video of a match they played against students from another high school earlier in the week — “reviewing tape,” like high school football players do after a game.

A student fills out a worksheet while playing a video game with the language set to Italian.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s an all-too-familiar battle for some parents — getting their kids to stop playing video games and do their homework.

But in one classroom at St. Louis University, video games are just another learning tool, like textbooks or worksheets. The course, Intensive Italian for Gamers, is a hybrid of traditional instruction and in-class video gaming. The preliminary results are promising, with students in the class scoring higher on their finals than those in traditional Italian classes at SLU.

How Has The 'Crack Cocaine Of Gambling' Affected Illinois? The State Hasn’t Bothered To Check.

Feb 21, 2019
Orville Dash, 81, said he spent about $2,400 a week on video gambling machines at the height of his addiction, in 2015 and 2016. He often played at locations around his home in Maroa, Illinois, a farming community of close to 1,700 in central Illinois.
Whitney Curtis, special to ProPublica Illinois

Orville Dash sits in a recliner with a clipboard. Tall and broad-shouldered, with wispy white hair where a pompadour once rose, the former statistical engineer for Caterpillar removes a sheet of paper, clicks on the flashlight he uses for reading and goes over his numbers.

One spin every six seconds. Ten spins a minute. Six hundred spins an hour.

The 81-year-old widower estimates that, at his worst, in 2015 and 2016, he spent about $2,400 a week on video slot machines, which he played at a hotel and a handful of restaurants and bars around his hometown of Maroa, a farming community of close to 1,700 people north of Decatur in central Illinois.

University of Colorado Boulder esports student-athletes compete in a tournament last year. The University of Missouri-Columbia is adding an esports team in 2019.
Jeremy Elder | via Flickr

Mizzou’s newest athletes won’t be bruising each other in the football stadium. Instead, they’ll spend hours in front of the screen tapping furiously on keypads.

The University of Missouri-Columbia is joining a growing number of colleges and universities adding competitive video gaming — commonly called esports — to its roster of varsity sports. Mizzou announced last week it will form an esports program beginning in fall 2019.

From left, Nigel Darvell and Charles Whitehead discussed video-gaming addiction on Friday’s "St. Louis on the Air."
Caitlin Lally | St. Louis Public Radio

The World Health Organization recently announced that digital gaming can be addictive. The type of addiction falls under gaming disorder, which is “characterized by impaired control over gaming … to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities … despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

Carol Mertz, Christopher Badell and TJ Hughes discusses the local independent game production community on Monday's St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis on the Air

Could a St. Louis game producer be responsible for the next Cards Against Humanity or Minecraft? On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed what turns out to be a bustling independent game production community in St. Louis.

There are several dozen tabletop game developers and hundreds of professional (and hobbyist!) digital game developers located in the St. Louis region. At the last St. Louis Game Jam, a weekend-long meetup where people develop a game, over 300 people attended, making it the second biggest jam in the country.

2 cancer survivors, 1 video game and a documentary, too

Dec 23, 2016
The Dev Diary movie poster features three smiling Coster brothers rendered in pinks and yellows.
Provided by James Reichmuth

In late 2015, St. Louis filmmakers James Reichmuth and Alessio Summerfield were looking for subjects to include in a documentary film about locally produced video games. They found an ideal source in Butterscotch Shennanigans, a game development studio, that “was putting out a huge game at the time” and “going through some personal turmoil.”

Pokémon Go has had St. Louisans out and about exploring St. Louis. Where have you been that you did not expect to go?
Sadie Hernandez | Flickr | http://bit.ly/2a4fmhe

Pokémon Go has become an unequivocal sensation in the past couple of weeks across the world and right here in St. Louis. On the negative side, it has been associated with some crime.

Courtesy of Butterscotch Shenanigans

Sam Coster had an unusual inspiration for his hit computer game – his fight against cancer.

“The game is designed specifically to deliver a feeling of awe and wonder and immersion so it’s literally designed to be the place that I wanted and needed to go during cancer treatment,” Sam said.

Courtesy of Pixel Press

There is a new way to look at video games coming out of St. Louis. The Pixel Press Floors app, which was released Wednesday for iPad, allows people to draw their own video game levels on graph paper.  The app then allows users to take a picture of their drawing and turn that picture into a “run-and-jump Mario-esque style” video game.

Video games can cause real sports injuries

May 8, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As always, doctors this spring will see an increase in overuse injuries that come from the golf course, tennis court and our beloved baseball diamond. But now they are also treating patients injured from playing these sports in their family rooms.

Nintendo, specifically Wii, and other computer games, such as Guitar Hero, have spawned a spate of injuries familiar to many athletes -- tendonitis, bursitis, sprains and strains. Shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands can all feel the pain, just like the real deal. Well, maybe not just like ... but close.