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Video games grow up

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Video games, once the stuff of childrens' Christmas morning cheers, are growing up – and branching out.

That's the latest message to come from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which released a report Sunday [PDF] that found that 53 percent of Americans play video games.

But these gaming trends include more than just an occasional bout of "Minesweeper" on a lunch hour or even a regular round of Halo after a day at the office. Video games are now finding their way into all sorts of new areas of daily life. A sampling of recent examples:


The military, long a proponent of simulations for training, turned to gaming for recruiting in 2006 with "America's Army." Its latest venture, unveiled Dec. 1, marries cutting-edge commercial gaming technology with the real-life (and classified) performance of Air Force jets for pilot training.


First there were games about sports, with new technology springing up to present ever-more-real simulations. Now it's starting to go the other way: we have professional athletes leveraging these advanced technologies to get an edge over their on-field opponents.


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