"Welcome, welcome, to the biggest show in town. For today only the Carnival of Gamers appears on your front lawn, and we've got quite a show for you. So, hurry up and step right inside, check out the booths and maybe win your lady a stuffed bear!" Today, Slashdot Games is hosting 'The Carnival of Gamers', a roving blog event that collects together some blog entries on gaming written during the previous month. The entries are all self-submitted, and cover everything from the legalities of online currency to the state of videogame reviews. This is a great opportunity to check out some sites you may not have had the chance to read before, and expand your thinking on gaming in society today. Think of it as a large quickies entry, grab your coin purse, and step inside.One of the most common themes among the entries for this month's Carnival was the now 'standard' way we as gamers look at things in the game industry. Both gamers and non-gamers alike have specific views on how games are played, what games are, and the coverage of gaming. Perhaps because of the new year's turning, bloggers wanted to reflect on the way things are normally done.
Mu Productions, for example, has a piece on the future of Machinima, a unique way to 'use' games outside of the norm.
Non-traditional use of games is the center of Press the Buttons' reflection on the 'games can control pain' study that was recently covered here on Slashdot. Using gaming to keep your focus and push away distractions ... I think we've all done that from time to time.
The Game Chair laments the mainstream understanding of games on an airline flight. Does he play his PSP near a young person with 'killer games' in the media?
Tea Leaves challenges the 'hardcore' mentality with a reflection on casual gaming. In his view 'big-box dinosaurs' are an endangered species. Younger, faster, cheaply made casual games will have their day.
Speaking of dinosaurs, Design Synthesis is saddened by the lack of respect we give older games, relegating them to the bargain bin. Where are the gaming museums?
Non-traditional gaming doesn't alway have to be fun. Outside Looking In discusses the JFK: Revolution title and what it could mean, if it weren't a puerile exercise in headline-grabbing. Why not a JFK simulation, but one that could inject some fun into learning history?
On the topic of learning: Late Night PC talks about preparing for a trip to the Game Developer's conference (something I'm going to have to do pretty soon as well).
Psychochild wonders aloud what exactly is a game? As some other entries have already noted, they can be use for more than just 'fun', so what constitutes a game?
Cathode Tan considers games as narrative and games as art in a piece cogitating the often discussed dismissal of games by Roger Ebert.
On the topic of fun: Buttonmashing owns up to an on-the job-Nintendo fix. Nostalgia and pure fun combine in Nintendo's titles: how is that a bad thing?
Finally, on the topic of standards, we come to the topic of game journalism. We've been discussing that a lot lately on Slashdot Games, and three commentators bring up the topic this month in the Carnival. Videogame Media Watch author Kyle Orland digs deep into the 1up DO4 controversy. The Curmudgeon Gamer talks about the *1* problem with gaming journalism, and Continuous Play dispairs in a piece on the state of videogame reviews.
Turning now to virtual worlds, MMOFun talks the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to MMORPG communities. Those selfsame communities can turn on the hand that feeds them, a topic Man Bytes Blog covers in How I learned to Stop Leveling and Love the Nerf Bat.
For a humorous look at community gaming, Kill Ten Rats compares real-life work practices to Raiding. Raiding for the win, apparently.
When Julian Dibbell began talking about online currency being possibly taxable, I know many people desperately cried "Shh! They might hear you!" Play No Evil risks government audit by considering the legitimization of the virtual economy.
On a final general note, Virgin Worlds has a great post looking at some of the best MMOG podcasts around. Well worth listening to if you have a spare ear at work, especially to the sublimely amusing Taverncast.
Commentators couldn't resist talking about their favorite (or least-favorite) massive games, and our last selections this month are all about specific games. Heartless, for example, rips the blood-pumper from Dungeons and Dragons Online. The game, still in Beta, disappointed him by falling short of the pen-and-paper roots he was hoping for.
Darniaq talks about the recent Star Wars Galaxies NGE upgrade. He gives the new content and systems a thorough going-over, and finds both good and bad in the changes to the Galaxy far, far away.
I'll own up to it: I do some extra-curricular blogging myself. I couldn't resist making some doomcasting remarks about the original Everquest. The changes Sony Online seems to be working into all of its games leave but one option for the near future; In my opinion, a graceful shutdown of EQ Live has to be in the cards.
I've said before '5.5 Million people can't be wrong', and our last submissions this month are all about World of Warcraft. Top of Cool concurs with Blizzard's decision about gay guild recruitment in a commentary piece called 'Why Blizzard is Right'. Tobolds talks more traditional games with a Warcraft twist by reviewing the World of Warcraft board game. AFK Gamer has a great, humorous, piece about what he would do if given GM Power in Azeroth.
As you leave the Carnival, for the time being, one last post to consider: Scott Jennings takes a long hard look at the gap between casual players and hardcore raiders in Blizzard's hit MMOG. In his view the only way to fix the gap will require some major surgery. Read the post to find out what sort of stitching it will require.
Many thanks for reading, and I hope you find some of this month's contributors worth adding to your regular browsing habits. If you liked today's post, make sure and make the Carnival of Gamers a part of your monthly reading. Next month the Carnival will be setting up shop at the VirginWorlds blog, on March the 2nd. Until then, the midway is closed.