• "I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people recently about how they bookmark stuff. It seems to be on a lot of peoples’ minds as more and more of our reading moves onto screens. So I thought I’d share a few things, and ask for some feedback." James on bookmarking and annotation – something I'm a big fan of.
  • "For the past 20 years I’ve had this urge to make a series of games that never were – mainly to suggest lost archives now discovered; to create an emotional resonance akin to that experienced by, say, new-found Beatles demo tapes – but also the idea of recreating contemporary games and themes in an old style to suggest an alternative past and present." Lovely writing, smart ideas, nice little game, but the clarity of thought is the real stand-out here. Another example of why I love Denki so much.
  • "…The teachers, by applying the rules and practices of arithmetic to play, prepare their pupils for the tasks of marshalling and leading armies and organizing military expeditions, managing a household too, and altogether form them into persons more useful to themselves and to others, and a great deal wider awake.” Well done, Plato.
  • "Everyone seems to be compiling lists of the best games of the decade, so here, with minimal special pleading or argumentation, is mine." Steven Poole's list is good, though two entries for the MGS series is one too many, IMHO. I'd swap one of them for something Harmonix-flavoured.
  • "This is a list of old game releases. These games were priced at nearly $50 a year ago, now probably a lot less. Why buy a new game when there are plenty of fun games out there worth renting or buying for less?" Games released twelve months ago this week, by Andre Torrez. He's right, you know – games don't have to be about nowness all the time.
  • "It’s pretty difficult to talk about what you’ve got wrong. When you’ve been working on something like School of Everything very intensely for two years you can’t really blame the mistakes on anybody else. But the truth is that we need to rethink because we haven’t managed to make the idea financially sustainable yet." And so they're doing out loud. It's a big move; I hope it works out OK for them, because they're definitely Good People.
  • "In the desert 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles is a suburb abandoned in advance of itself—the unfinished extension of a place called California City. Visible from above now are a series of badly paved streets carved into the dust and gravel, like some peculiarly American response to the Nazca Lines (or even the labyrinth at Chartres cathedral). The uninhabited street plan has become an abstract geoglyph—unintentional land art visible from airplanes—not a thriving community at all."
  • "On the contrary, the quick wins of some big ticket consulting sessions sell our discipline short by pretending that design is some magical elixir that can be poured into a situation and zammo everything is fixed up. Like accounting, medicine, and just about every other profession, design is a practice which is persistently useful at regular intervals. If anything, during this transitional period where business and government are slowly coming to terms with the potential yield of having design as an integral part of the conversation it behooves us to collectively seek longer engagements, not shorter." Some excellent stuff from Bryan Boyer.
  • "As a real-life pro skater, you might spend three hours out of every day practicing. Three hours trying new tricks, screwing up and the ground abruptly slipping out from under you. Imagine living your life in that fog of frustration, embarrassment, adrenaline and pride. Now let's imagine you got really sick, swallowed, like, nine Paracetamols and passed out in bed. THPS2 is what you'd dream." Quinns goes misty-eyed over THPS2, and he is right to do so. It was wonderful.
  • "It’s pretty common to want SQL queries against a particular table to always be sorted the same way, and is one of the reasons why I added the ordered scope to the utility scopes gem… Well now you can specify default ordering, and other scopes, in edge rails directly in your ActiveRecord model." Hurrah!
  • "With the recent addition of dynamic scopes, however, you now have a way to both quickly specify query logic and chain further conditions. The naming works in the same manner as dynamic finders and the chaining works in the same fashion as conventional named scopes." Ooh. New in Rails 2.3, and passed me by a little.
  • Really rather good series of tutorials on the FCE4 basics.
  • "So here's my theory: WoW doesn't resemble a film. It resembles, rather, a medieval cathedral. And a magnificent one: it is the Chartres of the video-game world. Like a cathedral, it is a supreme work of art that is, on a brick-by-brick basis, the creation of hundreds of artisans and craftsmen, many of whom will be long gone by the time it comes to completion; indeed, since WoW is in a state of permanent expansion, it may not ever be "complete". All those programmers are the modern-day equivalent of stonemasons, foundation-diggers and structural engineers."
  • "This December, the Eisner-winning artists behind such acclaimed projects as "Sugar Shock," "Umbrella Academy," and "BPRD: 1947" will present "Daytripper," their first original title from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint… The comic, which jumps around moments in the life of Brazilian aspiring novelist and newspaper obituary writer Brás de Oliva Domingos, will follow the main character as he explores and evaluates his own existence and attempts to discover the answer behind the mystery of the meaning of life itself." Oh. This sounds good!
  • "If / when telly people complain that their industry was blind-sided by the internet/interactivity I think it might be fair to point out that this was made in 1990. And that it was shown – ON THE TELLY. Or would that be mean?" Douglas Adams' documentary "Hyperland", a crash course in hypertext written and shown pre-the-web.
  • "The best games communicate their systems to us in ways that feel satisfying, and the quality of this dialogue between player and game often determines the success or failure of the game." Michael Abbott's been playing Demon's Souls.
  • "Raphaël is a small JavaScript library that should simplify your work with vector graphics on the web. If you want to create your own specific chart or image crop and rotate widget, for example, you can achieve it simply and easily with this library." Looks really rather interesting, and potentially beautiful.
  • "For the past three decades, Popovich has been one of a secret tribe of big game hunters who specialize in stealing jets from the jungle hideouts of corrupt landowners in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil and swiping go-fast boats from Wall Street titans in Miami and East Hampton. Super repos have been known to hire swat teams, hijack supertankers and fly off with eastern bloc military helicopters. For a cut of the overall value, they'll repossess anything." As jobs go, this one is pretty extreme; it's a great article.
  • "There is one thing that our current consoles are terrible at; lighting. Our current lighting solutions are improving, but for the moment we have much difficulty simulating indirect lighting, especially in real-time… To hide this problem, we tend to instinctively desaturate everything. The mere presence of saturated colors unbalances the rest of the image. Since we often have some form of ambient occlusion in our environments, this visual effect makes the game look more visually convincing." And so: everything is brown.
  • "There've been studies on how gamers actually become better business leaders," she says. "They're very familiar with that creative, collaborative team space that's so much a [part of] our businesses." And creative, unstructured play means letting players fail, she asserts.

    Giving players the opportunity to have failure states — not just a "strict message that's being delivered" — is the right way to encourage players to learn and explore. She noted educational game Electrocity, a SimCity inspired resource-management game, that allows for mistakes and consequences. "Sometimes in those moments is when people 'get it' strongly," says Bradshaw.

  • "Gee says he's been struck by the lack of age grading in successful communities — people of all ages are participating. Another feature is the lack of distinction between the "mentor" and the "mentors," within the community. "On one day you'll teach and another day you might learn… everybody is in one role or the other all the time and there are no fixed statuses in that regard."" James Gee in conversation with Henry Jenkins.
  • "The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you're alone in the forest, it's hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible…" An interesting take on conversational IF, even if some of the most interesting endings – and best writing – his relatively cryptic to access…