[Showcasing highlights from big sister site Gamasutra's Expert Blogs, industry veterans talk about alternatives to the word "game," classic Treasure shoot 'em up love, and Wii's hardcore gaming conundrum.]

In our weekly Best of Expert Blogs column, we showcase notable pieces of writing from members of the game development community who maintain Expert Blogs on Gamasutra.

Member Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while the invitation-only Expert Blogs are written by development professionals with a wealth of experience to share.

We hope that both sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information about the blogs, check out the official posting guidelines.

This Week's Standout Expert Blogs

How to Replace Levels In MMOs, Part 3
(Brian "Psychochild" Green)

In part three of a series of posts exploring the alternatives to having character levels in MMOs, Brian "Psychochild" Green proposes a system, inspired by Lord of the Rings Online's "deeds," that throws levels out the window completely.

He argues that there are other methods aside from leveling that can give gamers a sense of achievement, solid pacing and relevant information.

Project RS3: I'm No Fanboy, I Just Appreciate Art
(Michael Molinari)

Michael Molinari has already deemed Treasure's Project RS3 "one of the greatest shmups ever created," despite the fact that the top secret game has yet to release.

More than a raving fanboy's soliloquy, he explains why his prediction is probably right, at the same time reflecting on the cult of Treasure -- the company behind Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga, two of the best "shmups" ever to exist.

A New Word for Game
(Tynan Sylvester)

The word "game" is "holding us back." That's according to a blog post by 2K Boston's Tynan Sylvester. Since the days of Pong, Space Invaders and Galaga, the medium has evolved beyond simple packages of action-reaction rules.

Open-ended, virtual worlds of today are a far cry from tabletop games like Hungry Hungry Hippos, but they share the same descriptor. But if we no longer call them "games," what should we call them?

Opinion: Too Much Action and Not Enough Adventure Gameplay
(Reid Kimball)

Reid Kimball says many of today's games rely too heavily on action aspects: acrobatics, combat, taking cover or driving. Meanwhile, developers are missing out on opportunities to explore the narrative possibilities of awkward bathroom encounters...

"Playing to Win" and a Philosophy of Competition in Gaming
(Ian Fisch)

Wii fans have high hopes for the success of the promising Wii-exclusive FPS The Conduit, but recent poor-performing hardcore games on Nintendo's white box aren't exactly confidence builders.

Ian Fisch writes that hardcore gamers, who commonly own a Wii alongside high-powered consoles and PCs, may find little incentive to buy The Conduit, even if the title does push the hardware to the brink. There is room for hardcore success on Wii, but "It just takes the right idea," he says.