In response to "Cluster Fun" from The Escapist Forum: Bah, Richard Florida. In Rise of the Creative Class, he suggested that cities with higher percentages of gay citizens would be more 'creative'. Oh, and also more hippies.
After many large N.A. population centers tried and failed to build their own Greenwich Villages and Yonge & Wellesleys in a misguided attempt to level up their city culture, Florida moved on to writing expensive, nebulous proposals full of helpful infrastructure suggestions that don't actually suggest anything in particular.
I think many people underestimate the need to be face to face on creative projects.
Living and working in Australia, it's always amazing how much difference face to face contact with publisher based producers is so much more productive than phone, video and email contact.
You can sit down with someone and show them something, they can give instant feedback, you can even punch them in the throat if their suggestions are stupid.
In response to "Bushido and Beamsabers" from The Escapist Forum: I agree with Anoctris that the article probably goes a little overboard on Samurai/Mecha romanticism (which I say, even though I myself am a mecha fan :P )
Glorifying needlessly complicated control schemes is the true fault of the article though. Which is odd because Virtual On is mentioned without identifying why that series was so damn popular: it was simple to learn, but had deep gameplay. That's the holy grail of gaming!
Also Armored Core isn't quite what I'd consider "welcoming" to new players. Even as someone who wants to enjoy mecha games, I just couldn't get into the series for its awkward controls.
If more mecha games had Virtual On's combination of accessibility and depth, they'd be a lot more popular with the Western audience. Maybe not as popular as more realistic games (because western culture still scoffs at the inherent inefficiencies of giant, walking tanks) but quite a bit more popular than they currently are.
I think people love mecha games because it lets you pretend like you're something larger then life. In a mecha game you can battle to the destruction of your mech, then eject and live to fight another day. Also, with mecha combat the battle can seem more intense and longer with a larger focus on skill and training, not impersonal things like luck and strategy. In a mech you won't die from a single bullet to the head. Your skill in piloting the mech and ability to properly gear your mech for the fight will decide who wins. It's a romanticizing of war. You can have all the glory of combat without the risk of death. That's just not a Japanese thing that a human nature thing.
I'll never forget in one of the battletech books "Ideal War" a couple of mech pilots get captured and one of the pilots has a nervous break down because he's no longer safe "in his metal," and can now face death and war upfront and personal. That's what fantasying about being a mech pilot gives us. We can be a war hero but the chance of death in combat lowers incredibly. To the point where it's no longer a factor in worrying about our survival.