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Playing videogames causes brain damage
August 22nd 2001, 15:25 CEST by Speed

English sensation newspaper <a href="http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,539166,00.html" target=new>The Observer</a> has posted a story which has been taken over already by several other sites including <a href="http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-200-6929338.html?tag=mn_hd" target=new>C|Net</a> stating that Japanese researches have found disturbing evidence that playing videogames causes damage in the frontal brain lobe, making that gamers will grow up to become violent and anti-social people.<blockquote><i>Kawashima asserts that children must be encouraged to practice basic mathematics, reading and writing to boost the development of the frontal lobe. He is convinced that children who play video games excessively will not develop their frontal lobes and will consequently be more prone to violent acts because they will be less able to control their behavior.</i></blockquote>One detail to the whole story is that the Japanese research team is running out of funding and are desperatily looking for new money to continue their research. Press attention is something that might help in getting new fundings and therefore their "findings" are a bit dubious to say the least.

What do you think?
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Playing videogames causes brain damage

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#1 by "muah"
2001-08-18 02:04:47
muah@muah.com www.muah.com
just curious as to whether this works, morn :) I hope you'll forgive me
#2 by "Morn"
2001-08-22 15:25:15
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Uga uga!

- Morn
#3 by "Morn"
2001-08-22 15:26:03
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
#1: Bitch! Just wait for PC 6.0! Sucker!

- Morn
#4 by "Scott Miller"
2001-08-22 15:27:27
scottm@3drealms.com www.3drealms.com
If video games cause brain damage then I'd be one heck of a stupid person.
#5 by "Mad_Dog"
2001-08-22 15:32:21
markyork@cox-internet.com http://www.opencrap.org
If video games cause brain damage then I'd be one heck of a stupid person.


Um... Err... Nah, I ain't touching that one.
#6 by "fyrewolf"
2001-08-22 15:36:28
I don't understand how video games connect here.  He's saying that children who read more and do more math have better developed frontal lobes.  If children are playing video games excessively, then they're not using that time to do math or read.  But they could be doing anything else and get the same result.  They could be sleeping, playing sports, watching tv, listening to music, eating, robbing banks, bothering the neighbors, or just playing in the backyard.  You can take the video game connection out and still get the same result.
#7 by "Paparazzi"
2001-08-22 15:43:47
tom187@dingoblue.net.au
#5 Mad_Dog
If video games cause brain damage then I'd be one heck of a stupid person.

Um... Err... Nah, I ain't touching that one.


Yeah i was trying to figure out if i should reply to that too, hehe


================================
I see stupid people. They're everywhere.
They don't even know they're stupid.
#8 by "Ozymandis"
2001-08-22 16:03:33
ask
Well, I dunno if I can buy this.  Although if you look into your average gaming forum you do see plenty of people with lowered frontal lobe development :P
#9 by "asspennies"
2001-08-22 16:24:00
asspennies@counter-strike.net http://www.asspennies.org/
#8 Ozymandis
Well, I dunno if I can buy this.  Although if you look into your average gaming forum you do see plenty of people with lowered frontal lobe development :P

Yes, we call them teenagers.  Male teenagers mostly - and we all know what testosterone does to the brain.
#10 by "Bertrude"
2001-08-22 16:45:43
I'd be interested to see what games they were using for the tests. Depending on the type of game used I'm sure you'd get very different results.
#11 by "Flamethrower"
2001-08-22 17:03:09
patch@evilemail.com www.Jesus-vs-Judas.com
Makes entire sense to me. The more Taxi drivers drive, the bigger the parts of the brain that deal with navigation get.

So, the more you play games, the bigger, thicker, stronger, parts of your brain will become that those games activate.

"Thick brain" being a good thing here.

Language skills, and restraint (which video games do NOT encourage, ever), are important things for children to develop. And playing games to the exclusivity you avoid developing other parts of the brain has to be a bad thing.

What the report says is entire common sense -- to much of one thing == fucked up autistic kids. Well-rounded development == not so bad.
#12 by "Jeremy Witt"
2001-08-22 17:06:18
kimsbitch@succubae.com
Yeah, this is kind of a non-story... but we can still talk about RTS games!
#13 by "theSAiNT"
2001-08-22 17:13:30
csl56@wincoll.ac.uk
I thought there was this other research thing they did which already said playing video games lowered IQ. But then there was another one that said playing games increased hand eye coordination and manipualtive skills (as you can see from my typign it works a treat). I don't think these research things prove very much. It depends on who's paying for the research and what it wants to find out. If you want to prove it either way, there's gonna be evidence for it. So you pay the researcher to publish some of the evidence and not the other bit.

Maybe I'm just being a bit skeptical but there you go....

Comes from all these computer games....
#14 by "szcx codemonkey"
2001-08-22 17:15:57
Murder simulators ate my brain!
#15 by "Speed"
2001-08-22 17:38:24
speed@crew.fragland.net http://www.fragland.net
Personally, my opinion is that these researchers are just looking for some extra cash so they can keep researching whatever they think is interesting and having a go at a popular subject is always a good move to get some attention
#16 by "Chet"
2001-08-22 17:42:30
chet@AllOfYourGodsAreDead.com http://www.portalofevil.com/news/
Pretty misleading headline, not just by you  but by the observer as well.  According to what the guy actually shows, and not the hype in the article or his pleas for funding, playing video games do not stunt the growth but just does not use certain parts of your brain, parts that should be exercised for growth when we are younger.  If you look, video games do as much "damage" as listening to music.

Why do people feel the need to spread misinformation?  This is not to slam planetcrap here, as obviously the observer started the slant.  Damaging something vs not helping something develop are two different things.   Add to that, this study acts as if video games happen in a vacuum and that would be the only thing these kids did instead of just a part of a normal healthy life.  I don't think video game time is replacing math time, why doesn't he compare this to kids playing baseball or checkers? or other similar activities?

I don't think your kid is going to develop emotionally or socially if all he does is math problems all day, but then no one is claiming that is all some kids would do.  And please, show me a generation where reading aloud and doing math problems were norm for kids.  

Chet
#17 by "None-1a"
2001-08-22 17:48:08
none1a@home.com
I'd be interested to see what games they were using for the tests. Depending on the type of game used I'm sure you'd get very different results.


The news sotry from zdnet just say a nintendo game.

It depends on who's paying for the research and what it wants to find out. If you want to prove it either way, there's gonna be evidence for it. So you pay the researcher to publish some of the evidence and not the other bit.


This one sound more like junk science  then a payed for report. They probably have more important childhood development studies going on, but the details of those are intereting to the public, so little funding support for them. The team comes up wtih some easy to prove thing that they can spend a few hours on and get the results that the public will support (video games and the developing brain). They make some crap up about needing money to fund more studies (you know use two games instead of one, bring in more types of children, ect), once they get that money it's given to the more important studies and this one just fades out.
#18 by "UncleJeet"
2001-08-22 18:16:27
jeet@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
What about adventure games that stimulate problem solving skills?  For example, should a kiddie run across a problem in life that requires a monkey, three wads of chewed gum, four pieces of eight, skeletal pigeons, and half a pint of goat's blood in a pig's bladder - then they'll be able to quickly solve their conundrum by drawing on their gaming experiences!
  Honestly, the amount of energy spent in the frivolous pursuit of stupidity amazes me.  Research like this is somewhat akin to people getting degrees in Public Relations.  If you've never looked much into PR or Mass Comm in general, you'd be amazed at how many excessively-multisyllabic words have been created to replace words such as "talk" and "listen."  It boggles the mind.
  The fact is, if you're kid's sitting around playing Quake all day long, he's most likely going to end up somewhere between a vegetable and giant squid.  If the kid simply must play games, give him some logistical puzzle games (ie Myst (yuck, I know) or The 7th Guest or any number of shitty logistical puzzle games.  Give him an adventure game or two (preferably one without spoken dialogue - you know, to encourage the act of being able to understand what words look like.)  Hell, give him ANYTHING besides the myriad of no-brainer shooters out there.  But, of course, don't take the shooters away from him completely.  They're fun.  Kids need fun - they'll have enough of a lack of it later in life, to be sure.
  If we moved part of the present into the past, I'm quite sure we would find detailed scientific studies that show how watching Howdy Doodey would cause kids to grow up to be puppet molesting adults.
  Common sense....ah, the memories.  Does Thomas Paine have e-mail?

UncleJeet
#19 by "MCorleone"
2001-08-22 18:17:12
www.planetcrap.com
I probably lost one year of brain development to the SSI Gold Box games on the C64.  Well, those and Magic Candle 2.
#20 by "UncleJeet"
2001-08-22 18:20:38
jeet@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I should be arrested for crimes against the language for that last post.  It's not my fault.  When I'm doped up on codine in an empty stomach, grammar gets fuzzy.  :)  Stupid toothache.

Uncle "Dentists Are The Evolutionary Advancement Of The Inquisition's Personnel" Jeet
#21 by "Biggles"
2001-08-22 18:48:58
http://www.penismightier.com
I don't understand how video games connect here. He's saying that children who read more and do more math have better developed frontal lobes. If children are playing video games excessively, then they're not using that time to do math or read. But they could be doing anything else and get the same result. They could be sleeping, playing sports, watching tv, listening to music, eating, robbing banks, bothering the neighbors, or just playing in the backyard. You can take the video game connection out and still get the same result.


I, for one, started reading stuff about as early as I started playing games on my trusty 'ol Amiga. I was just as active in sports, personal reading, and academics as I was in playing Defender of the Crown and Rocket Ranger.

I too don't see how this news blurb can be taken at face value. In my eye, it's sensationalist at best. Just as the quote says, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduct that no other activity than video game playing will cause other portions of the brain to atrophy.

It seems that everyone always wants to look for the easy excuse. Itís just a shame that sometimes video games get the wrap.
#22 by "Ergo"
2001-08-22 18:49:58
stuart_harms@mentor.com http://www.opencrap.org
Magic Candle 2.


Awesome game, though not as good as the first one.
#23 by "Sgt Hulka"
2001-08-22 18:56:13
sgt_hulka@hulka.com http://www.happyhappyjoyjoy.com
Speed, thanks for posting this!  It's more ammunition for my story!


......."Your signature goes here dumbass"
#24 by "MCorleone"
2001-08-22 19:16:18
www.planetcrap.com
Actually, it could have been Magic Candle 1.  It had a white box with a imp sort-of dude on the cover.  4 Double-sided floppies.  Plot was to refresh old protective candles to keep the Arch-Demon Dreax from returning.  Amazing dungeon hacking, but reloading on herbs and medicines after each jaunt was pretty tedious.  In retrospect, though, I was probably using too low characters for certain battles, therefore relying on those...
#25 by "shaithis"
2001-08-22 19:16:25
chrisb@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
This has nothing to do with the topic, but...

Kids need fun - they'll have enough of a lack of it later in life, to be sure.


I would suggest, Jeet, that people have a larger lack of "fun" as children than at any other point in their lives.

I know that's an unpopular opinion - but my recollection of being a kid is that it mostly sucked. It was about waiting for other, older people, that you were supposed to respect for no reason, to give you permission to do shit you didn't want to do in the first place.

Being an adult, with all of the freedoms and all of the responsibilities, kicks ass over being a kid.

-shai
#26 by "Ergo"
2001-08-22 19:23:44
stuart_harms@mentor.com http://www.opencrap.org
Actually, it could have been Magic Candle 1. It had a white box with a imp sort-of dude on the cover. 4 Double-sided floppies. Plot was to refresh old protective candles to keep the Arch-Demon Dreax from returning. Amazing dungeon hacking, but reloading on herbs and medicines after each jaunt was pretty tedious. In retrospect, though, I was probably using too low characters for certain battles, therefore relying on those...


Yep, that was the first one. I agree, the herb thing was pretty annoying.
#27 by "Battle-Dwarf"
2001-08-22 19:41:03
Phil sucks dicks for the NY KNICKS ---really, she does... :-)
Quote:
[I know that's an unpopular opinion - but my recollection of being a kid is that it mostly sucked. It was about waiting for other, older people, that you were supposed to respect for no reason, to give you permission to do shit you didn't want to do in the first place.]


Yep. Sounds right to me.  :)

That's all I can remember in my childhood 'respect your elders', which is why I played video games so I wouldn't deal with 'em. Little did I know, the 'adults' wanted the kids to believe that so's they could do thier dirt.

It's funny. In this day and age, kids (in the states) have absolutely ZERO respect for elders. And that's not necessarily a bad thing because _NOW_ they know what we adults know, today.

The Male Battle-Dwarf
#28 by "Biggles"
2001-08-22 19:53:53
http://www.penismightier.com
That's all I can remember in my childhood 'respect your elders', which is why I played video games so I wouldn't deal with 'em. Little did I know, the 'adults' wanted the kids to believe that so's they could do thier dirt.

It's funny. In this day and age, kids (in the states) have absolutely ZERO respect for elders. And that's not necessarily a bad thing because _NOW_ they know what we adults know, today.


Yeah, that's true. Sometimes I wonder what my childhood would have been like if it reflected the developmental stages of today.

Video Games were definitely an escape of sorts. Even today, to an extent, when I'm away from the dorm I usually start using the machine. For some reason its treated as a 'safe zone' where noone bothers me. I haven't quite figured out how that works, but I suppose I should just take it as the gift it is, eh?

Speaking of games and dorms, turns out my college just upped the firewall a notch and now we cant host OR play online stuff. yay!
#29 by "Battle-Dwarf"
2001-08-22 19:57:21
Phil sucks dicks for the NY KNICKS ---really, she does... :-)
Quote:
[Speaking of games and dorms, turns out my college just upped the firewall a notch and now we cant host OR play online stuff. yay!]

A lot of schools have finally 'caught on' to people playing games on thier servers. It looks like the free ride is over. :(
  
Th' Male Battle-Dwarf
#30 by "Biggles"
2001-08-22 20:07:56
http://www.penismightier.com
A lot of schools have finally 'caught on' to people playing games on thier servers. It looks like the free ride is over. :(


Yeah. As much as some people try to defend the move, I still say I should have control over what I paid for, in a room that I paid for, during a school year that I paid for.

It should also be noted that they never informed us of this, even before we paid. We discovered this from friends who tried to load of Quake/CS/UO/etc and couldn't connect.
#31 by "Dumdeedum"
2001-08-22 20:08:20
Computer game studies are creating a dumbed-down generation of news media far more disposed to sensationalism
than their parents, according to a controversial new study.

The tendency to lose control is not due to the media failing to absorb the information involved in the computer game itself, as previous researchers have suggested, but rather to the damage done by stunting the revenue stream.

Reports such as this are like boils, ignore them and they go away.
#32 by "hiredgoons"
2001-08-22 20:26:08
dburoker@home.com
What a bunch of crap.

Naturally, all of the hyperbole is at the top of story and the actual findings of the study are buried at the end:

"The study looked at the brain activity of hundreds of students playing a Nintendo game and compared it with other students who were carrying out basic arithmetic. It found that much more brain activity was needed to solve the simple mathematic tasks than was used to play the computer games and that activity in the frontal lobe varied significantly."

There is nothing in the study about brain atrophy.  The study was looking at brain activity and found that certain areas of the brain are more active than others depending on whatever task occupies the brain.  Videogames which contain lots of pictures and sound will stimulate those centers of the brain.  Mathematical problems will stimulate logical and mathematical centers.  BFD.  That's neuroscience 101.

The only measuring tool the study used was a PET scan, which can roughly localize and measure brain activity usually in the form of cerebral blood flow.  It doesn't measure tendency towards violenct activity, personality types or anything else.  Given the incredible sophistication of the brain, it is a very coarse measuring instrument.  Any conclusions beyond saying "the visual cortex was stimulated x% more given stimulus Y as compared to Z" is pure speculation on behalf of the scientist (or the reporter).

#33 by "None-1a"
2001-08-22 20:27:13
none1a@home.com
I would suggest, Jeet, that people have a larger lack of "fun" as children than at any other point in their lives.


Sure as hell does help that almost ever activity that was once thought of as 'fun' is now just an injury waiting to happen. In our gandchildren are going to be allowed to do nothing but sit an vegitate, I hear hear doing nothing is also bad for development so we may just end up killing them before we get attached.
#34 by "diseased"
2001-08-22 20:30:35
diseasedanimal@yahoo.com
My mom always told me nintendo would turn my brain to mush.
#35 by "Battle-Dwarf"
2001-08-22 20:32:34
Phil sucks dicks for the NY KNICKS ---really, she does... :-)
I see where you're coming from. However <comma> when you write things like this:

[Computer game studies are creating a dumbed-down generation of news media far more disposed to sensationalism than their parents, according to a controversial new study.]

then draw a conclusion like this:

[Reports such as this are like boils, ignore them and they go away.]


Well. Then, how does this 'solution' help if we don't want to acknowledge the problem? Surely you're not suggesting this kind of study might cause video games to _not_  generate enough revenue to substain itself ---eh??

Gotta go. On the run!
  
The Male _BATTLE_DWARF
#36 by "MCorleone"
2001-08-22 20:36:53
www.planetcrap.com
Hey - does anyone know a good game to kill time while at work?  Preferably a very simple but good windows-based RPG...  Like a Nethack for Windows with a good save feature to click off quickly?

Bejewelled is getting tired...
#37 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-08-22 20:36:56
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicboy.com
Shai
I would suggest, Jeet, that people have a larger lack of "fun" as children than at any other point in their lives.

I know that's an unpopular opinion - but my recollection of being a kid is that it mostly sucked. It was about waiting for other, older people, that you were supposed to respect for no reason, to give you permission to do shit you didn't want to do in the first place.

Being an adult, with all of the freedoms and all of the responsibilities, kicks ass over being a kid.

I would have to say I agree with this.  I'm having more fun at this point in my life than I ever did as a kid.  I live on my own, I have money, I have a car and I have total freedom to do whatever the fuck I want to do ... outside of work of course, but even then I make games, so...
#38 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-08-22 20:38:56
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicboy.com
My mom always told me nintendo would turn my brain to mush.

I remember those speeches.  I remember being forced to go outside and play because it was better for me.  Sitting on the front porch with my friends bitching about not being able to play video games didn't seem all that much better to me ...  ;)
#39 by "Caryn Law"
2001-08-22 20:43:11
carynlaw@pacbell.net
#36 MCorleone
Hey - does anyone know a good game to kill time while at work?  Preferably a very simple but good windows-based RPG...  Like a Nethack for Windows with a good save feature to click off quickly?

Bejewelled is getting tired...


Yeah, I know one, but it isn't very popular yet. It's called "Work" -- it's got an experience-based reward system where you get more cash and experience the more projects you complete. Depending on your alignment, you can advance through a bunch of levels until you're actually running a dungeon (they call them "departments" in the game) of your own.

(I'm very sorry. :)
#40 by "shaithis"
2001-08-22 20:54:18
chrisb@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
Aww, that ain't no fun game!

-shai
#41 by "Lucky"
2001-08-22 20:55:19
. . .gamers will grow up to become violent and anti-social people.


Wow! Gamers found to be anti-social!! (Gasp!) What next, Japanese cartoons found to cause epileptic fits or something? Will this wheel of *unprecedented scientific discovery* never end?
#42 by "diseased"
2001-08-22 20:59:50
diseasedanimal@yahoo.com
I remember those speeches. I remember being forced to go outside and play because it was better for me. Sitting on the front porch with my friends bitching about not being able to play video games didn't seem all that much better to me ... ;)


Haha...that sounds familiar.  I got so addicted to the nintendo (my first gaming system) that my parents had to ration out time for me to play it.  An hour per day max.  When The Legend of Zelda came out they practically had to physically remove me from the TV room.  :)
#43 by "fyrewolf"
2001-08-22 21:08:37
I was always annoyed about having to fix my damn weapons in Magic Candle.

And couldn't you also get jobs in that game?
#44 by "Dumdeedum"
2001-08-22 21:31:08
#35 Battle-Dwarf
Well. Then, how does this 'solution' help if we don't want to acknowledge the problem? Surely you're not suggesting this kind of study might cause video games to _not_ generate enough revenue to substain itself ---eh??


/me hands battle-dwarf correct end of stick.

The revenue thing was just a jab at the media peddling anything they can to gain a larger eyeball share, nothing to do with games at all.  I should probably have pointed out that the first two paragraphs are in fact cunningly re-worded paragraphs from the observer article done for 'umourous effect, after all, we've all got stunted brains and often miss things like that.

And don't call me shirley.
#45 by "brennan"
2001-08-22 21:32:20
scott.gs@home.com
Re: kids

You guys ever watch "American High"?  When I watch that show and there are disputes between the parents and kids, almost every time I find myself siding with the kids.  This surprised me, since I expected the adults to be reasonable, but Jesus, I cannot believe how many variations of "because I said so" there are.

I agree 100% with Warren: I'm having way more fun now than I ever did as a kid.

-brennan
#46 by "MCorleone"
2001-08-22 21:36:02
www.planetcrap.com
39:  Yeah, but when I'm waiting for people to finish stuff that I gave them to do, I'd like a little something to kill time.  

After 2:00 in the afternoons (I start at 7:30am) I like to "camp" and turn the bot on.
#47 by "Speed"
2001-08-22 21:38:31
speed@crew.fragland.net http://www.fragland.net
Hulka : 2 comments ->
1. Which story ?
2. I don't post the stories. I only submit what I think can bring up a good discussion here, and Morn decides wether or not to post them.
#48 by "shaithis"
2001-08-22 21:44:31
chrisb@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
I guess my opinion wasn't as unpopular as I thought =)

-shai
#49 by "UncleJeet"
2001-08-22 21:44:42
jeet@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
shai -
  I can see your points about grown ups getting to have more fun.  I don't see it as such, though.  Maybe different fun, but I certanily wouldn't say more fun.  Let's do a quick rundown.
Kid Pros - zero responsibility, large capacity for the suspension of disbelief, the joy of discovery, TOYS, could get excited over getting a .50 candy bar, anything with buttons was fascinating, talking about adults and how stuffy they were, discovering girls, etc...
Adult Pros - money to buy expensive toys, the illusion of complete freedom (more on that in a minute), um....ok, working a job you like (small percentage of adults)
Kid Cons - Bedtimes, answering to adults, having to play nice with others, sharing, being treated like a kid, school, homework
Adult Cons - more money renders the ability to get excited over a .50 candy bar moot, as it's no longer special....(so you get excited about a $400 game console instead....same thing, basically), complete freedom is a bullshit illusion - adults are typically bound to their jobs and the paychecks they bring, rent, utilities, bosses, accountability, responsibility, bedtimes (if you have a job that demands you show up to work on time, of course)

  Basically the two are pretty similar, except that the context of things changes slightly.  Kids get summer off, adults get two weeks.  Kids don't have to pay for their vacation, but adults don't get told they can't buy something.

  It's a series of trade offs.  I would much prefer to be a kid again for the simple fact that I had a great childhood.  I had a lot of friends, good parents, was a bit of a miscreant, got into trouble, got out of trouble, had lots of adventures.  It was great.  Being an adult is much the same, but on a different level.  I still have good friends and good parents, I'm still a bit of a social malcontent, I still get into trouble, but I get out of it a lot more often now, and I still have adventures.  The thing is, I have responsibilities now that I didn't have as a kid.  For every freedom it looks like we have, there is something that counters it.  Maybe if we all had jobs we loved that weren't exceedingly demanding, life would be great.  But most people have to work high stress jobs where the reward for skill and hard work is only more work, and when you spend most of your life on the job, the positives just don't quite seem to outweigh the negatives most of the time.  There are times when I enjoy being an adult, don't get me wrong.  I love being able to go out when I want.  I love being able to get drunk.  I love being able to sleep with your sisters.  I just hate when they talk.  :)

Uncle "Do I Hate My Job?" Jeet
#50 by "ReSpawn22"
2001-08-22 21:47:05
respawn21@hotmail.com -none-
I got drain bramage!
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