- Eek, this tangled miscellany of game links has been hanging around since last weekend, so it's time to unleash them on the slavering world. Apologies if a couple are approaching a ripe vintage:

- The New Gamer's journal has spotted something neat and game-tangential - "Seemingly in order to promote the recent Canadian paperback edition of Douglas Copeland's latest novel JPod, Showcase has made available a short, five minute, film adapted from the book." For those not aware, the book "...concerns a group of video game programmers whose last names all begin with "J". They live and work in a development "pod", which they refer to as the "jPod", within a company that Coupland has described as "resembles, but legally no way is Electronic Arts"".

- A little while back, 1UP posted an excellent article named 'Clash Of The Cultures', which explains: "New ideas are always being bounced around, warped, and remade, creating concepts that are both uniquely tailored to the local culture while still maintaining a feeling of familiarity. But why do gamers in each of these markets like the games that they do? Why are American sales charts dominated by the likes of big, burly men with guns while the Japanese flock towards fanciful RPGs?" This is a sophisticated, smart multi-interview feature, even chatting to Keiji Inafune about the concept, so... yay!

- RetroBlast! has spotted that Stern is building a Family Guy pinball machine, and what's more, the game is "...designed by Pat Lawlor, his team at Pat Lawlor Design, and the engineers at Stern Pinball." You may remember my Pinball Hall Of Fame feature lauding Lawlor, noting: "Why would you know Lawlor? Uh, try Whirlwind, Funhouse, The Addams Family, Twilight Zone, and many more - he was responsible for multiple games in most pinball fans' Top 10." So... at least the sole remaining pinball firm is doing it in style!

- In many cases, successful publisher-owned studios are kept at arm's length from their corporate overlords, and this seems to be a major theme behind Edge Online's article about life inside Bungie published last week Prime evidence: "Head of production Jonty Barnes, a slender Englishman very recently arrived from new stablemates Lionhead, was stunned. “Actually, it’s very much like a publisher-developer relationship. Lionhead and Bungie are equally intermixed with Microsoft, and that’s quite incredible considering the geographic locations.": Didn't know that Bullfrog/Lionhead super-veteran Barnes had jumped to Bungie, either.

- This is cute: LJ user 'Jokeyxero' has been listening to a recent GDC Radio podcast at GSW's sister site, explaining: "The follow quote has been transcribed from the GDC Radio podcast episode "How to Prototype a Game in Under 7 Days"... The speaker is Kyle Gabler from Carnegie Mellon University's Experimental Gameplay Project and now with EA." The punchline is: "I think the lesson we learned there is to stop hitting your head against the wall, just use the magic key", and I'll let you click through to read the preamble - but it's head-smackingly good advice.

- All this time, I was figuring that adventure game maker Vince Twelve was using a pseudonym. But an comment in a recent GSW piece about him reveals his similarly named, famous pater, since his dad, Otis Twelve, comments: "I must say, I am a bit miffed that no mention has been made of Vince’s roots. Do people think that such off-center innovation, staggeringly clever story telling and Dadist flair for the poetic title, spring spontaneously like flies from the cerebral dung of our intellectual byways?" There, Otis, we mentioned you now - you might know him as part of "the Omaha-based Ogden Edsl... who recorded deliciously tasteless novelty numbers like "Kinko the Clown" and "Dead Puppies" of Dr. Demento fame", and nowadays writes award-winning fiction. Blimey.