[GameSetLinks is GameSetWatch's daily link round-up post, culling from hundreds of weblogs and outlets to compile the most interesting longform writing, links, and criticism on the art and culture of video games.]

Woop, continuing with the GameSetLinks as the week wends on, it's time to take a wander around some of the more interesting in-depth pieces of late, starting with GSW columnist Simon Parkin's piece on game achievements at Eurogamer, discussing a startling phenomenon -- and one that didn't really exist in games until quite recently.

Also in today's bumper set of links -- Troy Goodfellow on games for foreign policy geeks, more on a recent survival horror game academic conference, Elder Game on City Of Heroes' user-generated quests gone wild, and lots more.

Goo goo ga ga:

Over-Achievers Article - Page 1 // Xbox 360 /// Eurogamer
'Of course, at their worst, Achievements seek to somehow make up for a lack of interesting in-game challenges... But at their best, they inspire us to play the game in new and interesting ways...'

Elder Game: MMO game development » User Generated Quests and the Ruby Slippers
'When City of Heroes released its user-created mission generator, it was mere hours before highly exploitative missions existed. Players quickly found the way to min-max the system, and started making quests that gave huge rewards for little effort. These are by far the most popular missions. Actually, from what I can tell, they are nearly the only missions that get used.'

Boardgames! | Daily Rodent
Wow, Rab of Consolevania has a board game review videocast that appears rather awesome.

Crispy Gamer - Feature: War and Peace and Everything in Between: 10 Games for Foreign Policy Wonks
'It wasn't long before I started thinking about games that have lessons for people interested in foreign policy. After all, politics and diplomacy have been central themes in gaming since Diplomacy, and maybe even earlier than that.' Only on Crispy, folks! Great piece, tho.

Chris' Survival Horror Quest: 'Thinking After Dark: Tidbits'
Fascinating discussion on the recent horror game academic conference in Canada - unfortunately the papers aren't available online, though many will be published soon.

Charge Shot!!!: Battle.blog – Going Solo, or Rubbing My Nose In It
Fun, eventful writing about going up against the crazies still playing Starcraft 2 competitively online.

The Brainy Gamer: OMG, girls in trouble!
'Most video games for girls send a steady flow of narrow images and self-limiting notions about how to succeed in today's culture. They reinforce all the worn-out essentialist tropes: be beautiful, be fashionable, be popular.'

ZA Critique: Bejeweled 2 | Moving Pixels | PopMatters
'The enormous amount of options and chaos going on in the average game takes time to master. Bejeweled 2 isolates the desire to manage that chaos into its purest and most accessible form.'