"For nearly five years we've been in a cycle of manifesto-building, where disgruntled writers theorize an end or a beginning to this or that. Every game conference, from E3 to GDC to the smaller indie events, has had some form of panel where three or four bemused writers sit and field angry questions from people who feel something rotten in the state of Denmark. So I'm here to tell you game journalism is fine."
Our favoritie off-topic stories, in no particular order.
"Pinball fans aren't quite like gamers. They're techie, true, but in a solder-and-solenoid way. They're generally older and have a longer sense of history. Hearing the phrase 'penny arcade,' you and I think automatically of Gabe and Tycho, but pinball scholars maintain exhaustive histories of actual penny arcades.
"That said, the relationship between pinball and videogames is deep and venerable."
Allen Varney gets to know the ball-bound ancestor of the video game.
"The Matrix Online picked up after the third film in the trilogy, and if a fourth movie were ever to be made (and that's a big 'if'), it would reflect everything that happened in the online game. And the die-hards who collaborated with Morpheus and ran missions for Seraph would be remembered. As he said in 2005, 'Our intention is that players who play a really big role, or make a key decision, become part of the Matrix canon, and they become part of the story.' It was a long shot, but it was a breakthrough. And when you think it through, it was all but inevitable."
"Ironically, perhaps a bit like reading Playboy for the articles, many fans claim to play these games for the stories. The majority of the time these games are click-through dialogue over still images and descriptive prose, with the occasional break to pick a plot branch (think Choose Your Own Adventure) that helps to decide which of your often rudely-used playthings has now become the love of your life.
"It seems rather paradoxical: In a game full of superficiality, stereotype and cheap thrill, why do players need such elaborate storylines?"
"At the 2007 D.I.C.E. Summit this past February, Michael John, independent game designer and proprietor of Method Games, became the talk of the town by saying the U-word in his presentation on open market dynamics. John also blogs for Gaming Mercenaries, a site devoted specifically to spreading the word about disconnecting from the mothership of classical third-party development.
"Near the end of his presentation, John attacked the union notion head-on: 'You say this word in a room of game developers, they think of Hoffa and Tony Soprano. Here are some things I've heard. Unions will bankrupt small studios. Unions let slackers keep their jobs. ... Yeah, if we're stupid.'"