[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.]

As we perambulate weekend-wards, time for another GameSetLinks, and this one is peculiarly and happily eclectic, starting out with a discussion of poker players who are also Magic: The Gathering experts, a trend that's been hanging out there for a while now. (Timely, too, given Magic's XBLA appearance this week.)

Also in here - character naming in games, Will Wright's perfect team, the making of MDK, the speaking of Kieron Gillen, and rather more things besides, we fear.

Refresh ext. IP:

Poker players with "Magic: The Gathering" background succeeding at WSOP - ESPN
Interesting - also see David Kushner's awesome book on the subject, of course. (Via The-Inbetween.)

Back of the Cereal Box: It’s a Secret to Everybody
Whoa, INSANELY LONG and amazing piece on character naming in video games.

Ready Up! interviews Kieron Gillen on game journalism
A rather fun interview, I fear - Gillen continues to advocate strongly for more human/personal writing about games, which is super important.

Corner Office - On Will Wright’s Team, Would You Be a Solvent, or the Glue? - Interview - NYTimes.com
'Will Wright, developer of The Sims , Spore and other computer games, says some team members are motivational glue, while others, or “solvents,” may be more disagreeable.' Heehee, not gonna say which is which of the Maxis guys I know!

Press Start to Drink: That's Not a Real Game: Videogames, Gender, and the Popular Imagination
'Ultimately, I suggest that while videogames are becoming more popular and accepted as activities for the family, women, the elderly and non-traditional gamers, the hardcore, masculine gaming community, feeling threatened, is simultaneously marginalizing, feminizing, and trivializing this new crop of casual game players and the games and systems they play.'

The Making Of: MDK | NowGamer
The NowGamer folks 'talk to ex-Shiny boss David Perry, on his genre defying 1997 classic MDK.'