Last week, our Jon Cassady wrote up a fun little piece of news about the Second Life headquarters of John Edwards’ political machine, which was "attacked" and vandalized by unknown parties. Some people assumed it was republicans, but you know what they say: "Assuming makes you an ass out of me," or something. 10 Zen Monkeys, a name you can trust in journalism, has this entry which covers the story and the recent unmasking of the attackers. The big shock is that the responsible parties are not republicans. This is non-news, except I want to make a comment: Some parties have labeled this malicious behavior as "virtual terrorism," obviously without thinking too carefully about their words. This is not terrorism. Nobody was terrified. This is no more than dumbassery. There has yet to be any terrorism enacted in a virtual world. Wait until some big Aleut starts waving around bitmaps of static; then we can haul out the terrorism buzzword.

The first day of the Game Developer’s Conference has come and gone, bearing with it a small raft of news related to mobile gaming. Among the stories are the announcement of new media for Nokia’s N-Gage, and a keynote by Digital Chocolate CEO (and EA founder) Trip Hawkins regarding the perceived limitations of gaming on a mobile device. (Note that for these discussions, "mobile" has a value greater than or equal to "cell phone" but less than "DS and PSP".) These stories come via, who are providing intelligent coverage of the conference.

For more GDC coverage, check out these couple of stories from Gamasutra regarding the Independent Games Summit, running concurrent with the GDC. Jeff Minter, the perennial garage god of design, gave a keynote that covered his impressions of the publishing industry, as well as showed off his independent title Space Giraffe, which will be distributed on the Xbox Live Arcade. Also worth reading is this coverage of a panel discussion on the necessity of innovation for independent games. I’d like to highlight this quote from Experimental Gameplay Project designer Kyle Gabler: "As computing power become ubiquitous, the only thing left is artistic expression." I’ll gladly argue the veracity of that statement, but I am happy to see the support for individual (as opposed to committee) artistry in game design.

Destructoid is running a brief story and link to YouTube video of student John Scott’s senior thesis, a ten minute video on the topic of videogames affecting individuals and, extrapolating from there, wider society. There’s nothing revolutionary in the content, but it’s worth taking a look at if you’d like to see some of your opinions reaffirmed.

Really? With pliers?

Via GameSpot, news that the LEGO corporation has partnered with NetDevil, the developers of Auto Assault, to bring a LEGO MMO to the masses in 2008. What, if anything, will differentiate this game from the freely-available Blockland? Little men in helmets.

Finally, providing further fuel to my game criticism fire, here’s a story from Slashdot sparking debate on the usefulness of game reviews. The article’s original Doubting Thomas, who presents a bias against game criticism, posts on a Sony-sponsored blog. Why do I mention that? No raisin.