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

Having just done some rather complex layout work on another Top 10 countdown (coming soon to this very weblog, countdown fans!), I'm attempting to relax a little by penning the intro to the latest GameSetLinks RSS-trawl.

This time round - a little Insomnlunacy about the state of the game media, Momus on games and moral panic, a Joystiq look at developers' innermost design thoughts, the New York Times on the top titles of the year, and quite a few other fripperies.

Good golly:

Insomnia | Commentary | State of the Gaming Media
Not from the regular source of Insomnia lunacy, but a little ranty, even as it praises Gamasutra, which I appreciate. Some good points buried in there somewhere.

Video Games - With Grand Theft Auto and Left 4 Dead, a Bountiful Year for Gamers - NYTimes.com
It's odd how a lot of mainstream critics love Grand Theft Auto IV a lot more than niche critics. Don't really understand it.

'SSH, Games, Blogs, Passwords' - Hak5 — Revision3
The latest Revision3 video podcast show features a look at some of the IGF Student Showcase entries, rather neatly.

Telling stories: Balancing gameplay v. narrative - Joystiq
Ex-Gamasutra stalwart Dobson tries "asking whether or not narrative shares an equal burden as gameplay in carrying the video game experience" to a bunch of industry folks - with interesting results.

New Indie Videogame Movement - WSJ.com
A nice IGF-mentioning WSJ piece on the indie games scene which I (and apparently the rest of the indie world) was interviewed for, heh, although my remarks are on the cutting room floor, I believe.

click opera - A brief history of moral panics
Quirky pop star Momus: 'To recap, our brief history of moral panics sees a pattern emerging which is not to do with general social standards changing, but to do with the same panic happening at different dates around different media. If we use moral panics as a way to measure how hot a medium is, we get something like this: Books: hot in 1959ish. Pop Music: "bigger than Jesus" in 1965 (vinyl, pop) and 1985ish (CD, rap). Film-in-cinema: peak in power 1976ish. Film-on-VHS: peaks 1984ish. Internet: considered at its most dangerous circa 1996. Computer games: hot and dangerous now, baby!' Via Xian.