All kinds of happy goodness on GameSetLinks, this time out, headed up, at least visually, by the completely bonkers 'cyberpunk' PC MMO Otherland, which is the only game I've seen that makes Second Life's mandelbrot chic excesses look visually tame.

Luckily, there's some other stuff in here to make your brains explode less, including the latest instalment of the adorably quiffed Kenka Banchou series, classic Chris Crawford game box scans, the case against art games (rise up, artisans!), and quite a few others besides.

Man of mystery:

NCSX Import Video Games & Toys: Kenka Banchou 3: Zenkoku Seiha - New Import, In Stock
An interesting cult schoolyard brawler series that's Japan-only gets a third instalment: 'The new protagonist in Kenka Bancho is a fresh-faced youth named Takashi Sakamoto who's living on the wrong side of the school yard. He's tough, fast, and has got a serious problem with authority figures. To that end, he gets into fights with other toughs and bristles in the presence of teachers.'

Old Paradigms and a Podcast | How They Got Game
The Stanford Cabrinety Collection has some really interesting scans of early Chris Crawford simulation games for Atari - not just Scram, which was the nuclear-related one I knew about.

Feature: 15 Indie Games for the Holidays - Big Download Blog
Great selection, and another example of people caring about the indie scene, hurray.

One more past blast: Enigma - The Gameshelf
Andrew Plotkin knows good puzzles when he sees them - so I direct you to Enigma, an update of Atari ST puzzle classic Oxyd.

gamebunny » Blog Archive » Otherland: What In The World?
The PC Gamer screenshots/info made it look MMO-bubble cuckoo in the best cyberpunk ways: 'Singapore-based developer, Real U is bringing author, Tad Williams' sci fi novels to life, where varied virtual worlds are lorded over by the super rich. One moment you are traipsing across a “steampunk Mars world”, the next, a “Through the LookingGlass” environment where Oz is “over-industrialized” and out of control.' [UPDATE: Wait, GamesRadar has the preview up, with suitably Bladerunnerneon screenshots.]

Game Design Advance » The Case Against ‘Art-Games’
It's sorta fun we're having this discussion, even if it all seems a little definitionally random: 'The prevailing wisdom may be that games have not achieved the vaunted status of ‘art’, but perhaps the problem isn’t with games. Perhaps the problem is with our own ability to recognize their artistic merits.'

GAMBIT: Updates: Introducing Ochos Locos and the Locos Engine!
'Ochos Locos is a tiny game with a tremendous goal: get players of all ages and nationalities playing and, eventually, creating together. Developed in Python, Ochos Locos was originally created for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO laptop and is also now available for Windows and Linux environments.'

Free Pixel » Looking into Shadows - should Machinima be interactive?
Excellent piece on the PS3 demo: 'Linger in Shadows tries to make exactly this activity, the play with the material of the projected image, accessible to the player. When I shake the PS3 controller, I shake the image, break the sound and continuity of the “film” clip, and find the space in-between. Like the momentary blackness between two projected film images we explore the space between individual visual
moments.'