Back to the grind with GameSetLinkDump goodness, then - headed (at least in my mind) by the announcement of Wadjet Eye Games' 'Emerald City Confidential', to be published by casual PC folks PlayFirst in January.

It's a gorgeous noir-ish take on the Oz myth which reveals what a lot of people don't realize: that the sometimes formulaic 'casual game' biz is getting increasingly sophisticated and intriguing in places, even for the core/artistic game geeks among us. Golden age adventure game return now, plz.

To those links:

OXM vs. XNA | OXM ONLINE
The lovely OXM folks try - and fail - to make an XNA game. This is why we need more 'average person' accessible game creation tools, of course.

Format Magazine interviews indie Flash geeks PixelJam
Part of a video game issue reprinted on their site that looks good - via Phantom Leap.

Play This Thing! explores the work of South American indie Tembac
'Coming straight out of Buenos Aires, another indie auteur by the name of Agustin Fernandez a.k.a. "Tembac". Agustin's work encompasses genres, where he tends to take established mechanics and completely reconstructs the dynamic into a new mold.'

Guest blog featuring Dave Gilbert - PlayFirst Grapevine
Nice, Dave 'The Shivah' Gilbert's new adventure game, 'Emerald City Confidential' for PlayFirst, revealed, and it's a noir Wizard Of Oz adventure title, complete awesome: 'I had just watched The Maltese Falcon for the first time, and I wondered what the Scarecrow would have been like if he was played by Peter Lorre."

Raph’s Website » UGC and IP in a cloning world
'If UGC really does succeed in democratizing game creation to the extent that many of us hope, we’re going to have to reach an accomodation with this question. When people learn and create Tetris within LittleBigPlanet, should Sony claim ownership?'

Sex & Games: Artmunk's Velvet Express Released
Ah yeah, this is from the LoveChess guys, they sent me a postcard about it but I forgot to mention. It's very odd and European - the <a href="http://www.thevelvetexpress.com/">official site</a> is incredibly NSFW, too.

Game (demo) recommendaton: Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm
Even if you don't watch Naruto (which I don't), check out the PS3 demo of this CyberConnect 2 developed title - really sharp anime cel-shaded art and an interesting free-range fighting game style set it apart from your average anime license.

Siliconera » Yaris Not Yanked From Xbox Live, It Expired
'Yaris was a free brand supported advergame “available for download in the U.S. and Canada for one full year” according to a Microsoft press release announcing the game.' Aha, thanks for someone for spotting this, was trying to work out what happened.

The Video Game Atlas - Wii Maps - MegaMan 9
Neat to see all the art laid out like that - slight spoilers, I guess! Shame the site doesn't have an RSS for keeping up...

T=Machine » Micro-micro-payments via electricity bill
'A new startup has appeared that essentially charges people a per-second subscription to play games that is added to their electricity bill.'