Nobody's asked how NaNoWriMo is going, but I'll tell you anyway: I expect to cross the 50,000 word mark tonight or tomorrow, although the story itself will go on for a bit longer. It's been a rewarding, if taxing, experience, and I'd recommend anybody who's ever thought about writing a book give it a go next year. Or, hell, just try it in December! Writing is sweet.
-Kyle Orland has the definitive look at the Left 4 Dead 2 boycott. Not having paid attention to any of it while it was happening, I didn't realize there was a story with so many twists and turns. This just proves, once again, that Valve is one of the smartest companies around. But the boycotters made their point too, and overall the whole thing seems much more successful than the MW2 boycott.
-Speaking of MW2, I don't see a need to weigh in on the "No Russian" scene because so many others have already said basically what I would have, only better -- Kieron Gillen and Tom Chick chief among them. Nick Dinicola has a more sanguine take, arguing that Modern Warfare 2 accurately reflects the senseless state of warfare in the 21st century. He may not be totally wrong about that, but it's important to remember the extent to which we've sanitized World War II in our collective memory. Maybe there was a good reason for fighting it, but you can't tell that to the 50 million people who died, the majority of them civilians.
-Also at PopMatters, L.B. Jeffries stands up for the merits of linear narrative. He's right to frame it the way he does -- there's always a lot of excitement about emergent narratives and player-as-author design philosophies, but there's room for more than one approach. Well-scripted, linear games may not be sexy, but they'll never go out of style.
-Steve Gaynor puts together his picks for the definitive games of the decade, which he says "defined the state of the art in game design in the 00's." Good list with lots to think about. Like one of the commenters, I too think that Guitar Hero and Rock Band should be on that list in some form. They are simply too big a cultural and commercial phenomenon to ignore, and although music and rhythm games had existed in some form before, the original Guitar Hero is clearly the demarcation point between the genre as a niche and as a powerhouse.
-Sarah Palin may think she's going rogue, but it turns out to be a pretty weak build.