Ah, long weekends. I'll be spending mine with extreme sports, both actual and virtual. Snowboarding on Monday, weather permitting, and Skate 2 before that.
-Speaking of Skate 2, Gus Mastrapa wonders why the game so explicitly favors male avatars. In Gus's formulation, "if you chose to play with a female avatar in Skate 2, you're not playing a natural-born woman, so much as a post-operative transsexual." It's easy for me, a white, male gamer, not to notice these things, but lots of games make the assumption that the people playing are just like me. That is a little odd.
-I was surprised to see that Giant Bomb readers chose Metal Gear Solid 4 as their game of the year, and not just because it seemed absent from almost every top 10 list I read. It's just that, given the ongoing commercial struggles of the PlayStation 3, it's amazing that enough people even played it to box out some Xbox 360 titles. Then again, maybe the 360 vote was split, while PS3 owners had only this one game to rally around. (Although LittleBigPlanet also placed.)
-Two great write-ups about Braid came down the transom on the same day this week. Julian Murdoch at Gamers With Jobs writes about his inability to separate the work from its author. L.B. Jeffries at PopMatters defends the only universally maligned aspect of the game, its inter-level textual interludes. I'm glad people are still playing and thinking about this game.
-In the 1980s, only Galaga could provide a soft landing for a cocaine-addled Alec Baldwin.
-From Time's Karen Tumulty: "The metaphor came from our TV screens. On the day that George W. Bush gave his farewell address, the image that got the nation's attention was one of relieved survivors scrambling out of a jet that was sinking into icy water."