[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.]

Almost the weekend, and you may see a little slowdown in GameSetLinks next week, since I'm flying out to Cologne on Saturday for our own GDC Europe event and the massive consumer GamesCom event. But I'll try my best to keep you entertaining (and Eric posts most of the good stuff here anyhow!)

Anyhow, in this round-up - a discussion of Gears Of War's first impressions, that awesome New York Times article on The Beatles: Rock Band, Assembly demo-party results goodness, an impressive collection of educational games donated to NCHEG, and various other things.

On the roof:

Brett's Footnotes¹: First Impressions
'The game is very successful in the running, gunning, and cover areas, but less consistent in how it introduces its enemies. Here are a few rules that came to mind while playing.'

While My Guitar Gently Beeps - The Beatles - Rock Band - NYTimes.com
Exemplary long-form journalist from the NYT, of course.

Inside the short, troubled life of a music start-up | Digital Media - CNET News
Really, really awesome reporting, and shows how you can lack business model behind the hype, also a problem in the game biz at times recently. (Though at least virtual item sales make more sense than monetizing music plays off advertising alone!)

Reddit: Assembly 2009 results + discussion
Assembly results are out - the top demo-party around, lots of great real-time stuff.

CHEGheads Blog » Buckleitner’s Great Gift - National Center for the History of Electronic Games
Nice: 'NCHEG’s collections have grown rapidly, and I wanted to take a moment to highlight one of the largest recent additions: more than 5,000 educational children’s computer games donated by Dr. Warren Buckleitner, Founder and Editor of Children’s Technology Review.'

Brett's Footnotes¹: The Perfectly Executed Mini-Mechanic
'I've noted down a few impressive "mini-mechanics" -- little bits of games that aren't the center of it but do a good job of reinforcing the main game.'