Great short piece on games by PBS:

Two very interesting reads regarding gender and games culture:

To My Someday Daughter

Poignant reflection of state of gaming culture and gender, by Geordie Tait.

The Other Women Of Magic: Dating a Pro Player

Great read on what it’s like when a geeky passion may cause issues with relationships, and things to keep in mind for any geeky personality, regardless of gender.

The video below is a discussion from GSW with Jenova Chen of Thatgamecompany, discussing the past games, Flower and Fl0w, and the upcoming, Journey.

Two factors that I found particularly interesting from the video was that in each game produced, they focus on integrating just one emotional focus, to keep things simple. However, throughout the process other emotions are integrated to aid with the narrative. I really like the idea of creating with a focus of just one aspect. I’ve created board games with themes in mind, but never explored emotions. That might be an interesting challenge to take on in the future.

The other factor was that they started playtesting with their prototypes on week one. That’s awesome. So many times it seems like design gets overshadowed with the designer’s ideas and the actual player experience is left until later in the process. Playtesting can change the design aspects and focus so much, it’s great to see it being incorporated so early in the development process.

Jenova Chen’s Journey – E3 2010 from Jeriaska on Vimeo.

First off, while this video has already been heavily circulated, it is still adorable:

To make you think, a video essay on video gaming versus cinema:

And amusing, a functioning house of legos:
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If only the BBC clips were available in the US :/

And if you’re curious about what’s in Mario’s closet: Mario’s Closet

Happy Holidays!

Amusing webcomic (be sure to let it load the whole way – comic 200) and in Youtube form for your convenience!

NewSuperMarioBrosWii

So I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this game since I heard about it being created, and especially since playing it at PAX this year. I have yet to only get to the mini-castle in World 2, but have some observations as of yet.

Cooperative play. My dad and I started playing this together, and quickly realized this game is not for a fan new to the Mario franchise. The controls are well done, but having knowledge of Mario timing and obstacles definitely help move the game along. Discussing strategy while playing is a different experience, as it isn’t so much backseat playing but instead, interactive. I can see experienced players finding this game very challenging, but I don’t know how well it would go in a group of varied skill levels.

Game Mechanics. The mechanics of freezing water enemies and having them float, and others sinking, have added new strategies besides just making it through unscathed. You now have to actually strategize where you target an enemy, not just getting them out of your way. Using flame from enemies and fire power as the only light sources in a level was a brillant way to expand the use of a power up.

Quick Save. Thank goodness! One of the features I really wanted to see in the Mario Brothers game for the Wii. I’m a person to play random amounts of time of a game and dislike the feeling of force to finish a portion of a game.

Dropping and adding players. Being able to add and drop players to a game is a great solution to progress. I was dreading the thought of having a different save file for everyone I play with. And having to repeat the levels for my single player files. I was really happy with finding this feature.

I would have to say, I have been much more active and vocal while playing this game than previous versions. Not only because it’s more interactive, but because the challenges are…well, challenging. I feel that I have really only skimmed the surface and can’t wait to find out more.

GamesThatGive donate money to charities when you play them. They have a number of games that are similar to the popular ones on places like YahooGames and other sites that allow free online play. If you’re going to play these types of games, such as Sudoku and Bubble Burst, you might as well be donating to charity at the same time. A great concept for games that are very popular amongst casual play.

GamesThatGive