Let's hit the links before the weekend.
-At Gamasutra, Ian Fisch details 10 game design pitfalls. It seems to me that almost everything he lists comes down to the same lesson: playtesting, playtesting, playtesting. I was also interested in pitfall number 8, "Entering production without something fun." Consider how much fun it is to jump from building to building in Crackdown, or how Horde mode was the way to play Gears 2. If a game doesn't absolutely nail one core mechanic, it doesn't matter what else the developers add to it.
-So, not a day after I do a faceplant trying to tell the world that PC gaming is broken, I see that Electronic Arts thinks the PC is the biggest platform of all, thanks to digital distribution. The lesson, as always: I'm an idiot. Let's just move on.
-Speaking of which, if you want to read somebody who knows what he's talking about, Ed Borden explains why digital convergence is a myth. His core observation: we thought that PCs would take on the functionality of the rest of our consumer electronics, but instead, the rest of our consumer electronics have taken on the functionality of our PCs. And that might be the worst possible news for Microsoft.
-I don't have anything to add to reports of 3D Realms' closure, but it strikes me as huge news all the same. Somehow, that this would be the final word written on Duke Nukem Forever -- that it would go out not with a bang, but a whimper -- is more tragic and more appropriate than any ending I could have imagined. I'd been prepared for anything from a monumental success to a Daikatana-level catastrophe. But I still thought they'd eventually release something. As is usually the case, if you want the smartest take on an important story, read what Jeremy Parish has to say.
-Ben Fritz leaves the Cut Scene for the Los Angeles Times. He'll continue to do great work no matter what he covers, but I hope they're planning to put him on the games beat at least part time.
-Still trying to summon outrage about major league baseball players using performance enhancing drugs. Frankly, there's no one who would surprise me at this point. And if everyone's doing it, then it's a level playing field. This is the world we live in.