"The Wedding Planning Game, he said, is a never-ending fetch quest; a months-long hunt for vendors, reservations, orders and contracts, culminating either in a successful ceremony or your premature death. It's like Pokémon: the perfect photographer, florist, caterer, DJ, officiant, jeweler and bridesmaids - gotta catch 'em all."
Our favorite, new off-topic stories, in no particular order.
"Dave Weinstein, formerly of Red Storm fame, now speaks on the huge prevalence of unregulated character theft and the black market sale of virtual goods. Weinstein addressed game developers at Gamefest 2006, warning that organized crime had targeted MMOGs as an easy method of generating cash in a largely unregulated market. Part of the problem is a lack of law enforcement infrastructure in dealing with the value - and following the theft - of virtual property. 'The police are really good at understanding "someone stole my credit card and ran up a lot of money,"' Weinstein said. 'It's a lot harder to get them to buy into "someone stole my magic sword."'"
"'The Art of Play: Symposium and Arcade,' a joint venture by the Carnegie Mellon School of Art and Montreal-based Kokoromi, couldn't be more aptly titled. From 12 to 5 P.M., guests had free reign over a room populated with the most artistic videogames the industry has yet produced, from classics like Grim Fandango to newcomers like flOw. Sadly, the Commodore 64 blue-screened, so I never got to enjoy Moondust - allegedly the first 'art videogame' - but there was plenty to keep me occupied."
"Let's face it: Games, in general, suck. Most are repetitive and shallow. Most eat up precious moments of our lives without giving us anything more than idle entertainment in return. The really good games, the ones that we would only be half-embarrassed to show Roger Ebert as art samples, are few and far between - maybe one game per console generation, if that. This is hardly what we would recognize as an "art-full" medium. Yes, games pass the zero-utility test, but that's not enough to stand them up proudly next to a Kandinsky painting."
"No other medium actively erases its past and makes classic works so inaccessible. Technological advancement, the relative youth of the games industry and standard market forces all play a part in relegating prior works to the sidelines of public discourse; but whatever the reason, this phenomenon is bad for gaming and disastrous for gamers. For games to be considered a worthwhile craft, classic works need to be kept alive as reference points for developers and audiences. Currently, classic games are the ones you are least likely to be able to play. Such is veneration in gaming."