I seem to be reading a lot about these topics at the moment, so I'll post this for the RPS community mindmeld. Carnegie Mellon assistant professor of entertainment and technology, Jesse Schell, speaking at DICE 2010, says that game design is all very well, but fantasy and neat game design takes a back seat to "busting through to reality". The thing that is most valuable to games now, he argues, is where the connect with reality, or what we perceive to be reality. The bottom line is that everything is becoming a game. He takes a while to spool up, but take a look. (If you get a vague feeling of horror and dread towards the end, I think that's okay.)
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