"Games offer a way to simulate and view complex systems from the outside, to pick them up and play with them as a child might play with a toy machine, to understand what they are able to do and where they are broken." Bea Malsky at The New Inquiry writes about casual time management gaming, Marxism, affective/emotional labor, worker alienation, and whether just maybe Diner Dash is doing subversive feminist work.
Gambling For Kids: A How To Guide - a discussion of claw games, Panini sticker books, and in-app purchases in free-to-play games for kids.
Fans of flora versus undead violence rejoice! Plants versus Zombies 2 has been announced for Spring 2013. However all is not well at PopCap games, with a recent layoff of 50 employees, or 10% of its staff, citing the increased popularity of Free-to-play, social and mobile games. Somewhat stickily amongst those reported laid off was Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan.
"What kind of a**hole enters his game in the IGF before it’s done and then decides to delay release for 2 years?" The creator of Monaco discusses the philosophy of one or two buttons in gaming. His answer: None. (NSF People who don't like Penny Arcade.)
A woman is convicted of neglect after becoming addicted to the online version of Small World. MMO addiction is well-documented - will the Facebook-fuelled popularity of casual gaming see a rise in similar stories? [more inside]
OMGpop is potentially all your Flash Fun Fridays come at once. Clones of addictive classic multiplayer games like Bomberman, Pictionary, Tetris, even Mario Kart and Guitar Hero - plus a whole lot more, all wrapped up in an extremely slick interface with an added dash of chat and social networking features. Not yet out of beta, the hype is certainly extensive, but is the business model sound? [more inside]
Friday Flash Fun: Dot Action II. The first 30 or so levels are pretty easy, but it does get harder.