Editor's Choice

Our favorite, new off-topic stories, in no particular order.

Editor's Choice

"Did you know you can win the first level of Star Wars just by standing in one place, turning in constant circles and holding down the "X" button? Aunt Wendy got something right. He was thrilled. And when he heard the cheerful chimes, a signal to those of all ages that you've won something, there was jumping around and fists in the air and lots of shouting I didn't understand.

"But then the next level came up, and things started to go downhill. The instant it began he looked confused. It took him a few seconds to put it into words, but then he said it. 'I already won this level.'"

Wendy Despain cleanses her doors of perception, and sees games as they truly are: fun or not.

Editor's Choice

"It's a fact not often recognized by the gaming community: Licensed games often sell well. Of course, it's easy to be dismissive. These games are not designed or marketed to us, the gamer. We might even take umbrage with their success, as if developers and publishers can simply slide around us, their loyal fan base, to make a quick buck off of impressionable, young gamers and their willfully ignorant parents."

Jon Schnaars explains why "Little Girl Games" are kicking your game's ass.

Editor's Choice

"Weta Workshop sits under the hills and near the sea, up the road from Peter Jackson's Stone Street Studios and post-production lab and the Stone Street Film Studios. There are no signs or overt security; it's easy to wander right past and end up in a local chip shop begging for directions. People in and around Weta are friendly, and they're in all shapes, sizes, types and colors. The artwork, sculptures and miniatures are, well, it's a helluva candy store all right."

Colin Roswell gets invited inside Weta's workshop and lives to tell the tale.

Editor's Choice

"I grabbed a drink and wandered over to chat with EA's Doug Church. In one corner, the then-phenomenal Guitar Hero was on. I crossed the room to introduce myself to Moledina, and because I cared about such things, began to ask a series of questions, tantamount to 'So what's it like being a conference director?'

"Moledina paused, looked at the ceiling, and began, 'I don't know how to put this,' and instantly I thought that this would be the most profound comment on the nature of conferences, as they related to life and the universe, 'but I'm going to have to ask you to leave,' he said."

N. Evan Van Zelfden recounts his experiences at (almost) every game convention ever held.

Editor's Choice

"It would be easy to dismiss the videogame Christmas No. 1 as the choice of the lowest common denominator, a game propelled to stardom thanks to uneducated parents buying for children swayed by whichever publisher with the most money. Indeed, past winners give some weight to this viewpoint: Activison won the title in 2007 with Call of Duty 4 while publishing behemoth Electronic Arts took home the accolade four years on the trot before that (FIFA Soccer 2007 in 2006, Need For Speed Most Wanted in 2005, Need For Speed Underground 2 in 2004 and Medal of Honor: Rising Sun in 2003). But is there any science behind winning the accolade?"

Simon Parkin examines the economics (black and white) behind the race to Christmas number one.