- As is often happening nowadays, I'm piling up GameSetLinks so efficiently that I need to spit them out in a couple of discrete lumps. This set deals with high-brow interviews, CIA arcade game abductions, and all kinds of other craziness:

- New blog The Brainy Gamer (stop boasting, there!) has posted a swift interview with gaming academic Mark J. P. Wolf, who has written a number of earlier books about the video game medium, and is soon debuting 'The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond'. Wolf talks about the state of game studies, and also offers some randomly fun 'playing now' game tips: "I would actually recommend some older games from the 1970s or 1980s, games like First Star's Spy vs Spy, or M.U.L.E."

- GSW has been semi-obsessed with Polybius for a good while now - it's a mythical early '80s arcade machine that was allegedly an experimental creation (including horrible side effects) of the 'men in black' - so thanks to TIGSource for pointing out that some crazy people have recreated the 'urban legend': "This game really did kind of screw up my vision after a few playthroughs, so I would strongly suggest playing in moderation." On that very front, Erin Mehlos did a great Polybius illustration (pictured above) for Gamasutra.com a while back - one we toyed with putting on a T-shirt.

- Both interesting and completely random is Virtual Pets Blog's history of Dream Pets and Dakin - game-related because Sega Toys licenses the new Dream Pets, physical/plush and virtual pets are increasingly tied (see Webkinz!), and the timeline and overall history is very readable: "Due to the prominent influence of Dream Pets on today’s virtual pets, we decided to trace their history and try to fill in the blanks. It reads like a movie script with several highs and lows, an earthquake, a tragic plane crash, bankruptcies, acquisitions, and a suicide. Through much of it, one man, Robert Solomon, played the leading role."

- GameTap's editorial section needs an RSS feed, still, but I managed to find a thought-provoking piece on 'Violence In Media' by Ready At Dawn's Ru Weerasuriya, in which "...the mind behind games both warm and fuzzy (Daxter) and violent and brutal (God of War: Chains of Olympus) has some strong opinions about censorship in the industry." Some snappy rhetoric: "Is there violence in games? Yes. But do games engender violence? No. Ignorance does."

- Jesper Juul is kind enough to point out the launch of a new gaming academic journal, Eludamos, and there's all kinds of craziness in there. For example: 'Electroplankton revisited: A Meta-Review' from Martin Pichlmair, which says amusing stuff like: "Electroplankton should be regarded as an art game by all standards, if only because it is a game designed by an artist." Lots more in there, for those who want to see what academics are talking about in games nowadays.

- Both Brandon (at Insert Credit) and John (at 3PointD) pointed this out, a conversation with Nintendo's Satoru Iwata set up by Shigesato Itoi, who, you may know is best known in the game world as the creator of Earthbound. It's handily translated into English, too, and it's all very arch and oblique, e.g. this, from Iwata: "It's about the relation between the creator and the customer. The king isn't the creator. He's the customer."

- Arcade Renaissance has handily spotted the first footage of Japanese arcade shooter Illvelo, commenting: "With the location test this weekend, the first video footage of Milestone's new game, a cel-shaded shooter have hit the web. After Karous and its dynamic blacks and whites, the artists at the company look as though they wanted to expand back into the bright colors and odd surroundings that were present in Radirgy." And lo, this looks pretty adorable.

- An (indirect) update to a previous GSW post has Dan Amrich of Official Xbox Magazine commenting to the reaction to his 2/10 Space Giraffe review on his Bunnyears.net blog, and I think he justifies his point of view in a fair manner: "I really do stand by my review. Space Giraffe is unique, which is to be applauded, but hostile to the player, which is not. It took a while to understand the game — really, even after taking the tutorial twice and fiddling with the game for a week, the game simply didn’t give me the feedback I needed to learn how to play it. And once I did get a bead on it, I didn’t like it for all the reasons stated in the magazine."