Penny Arcade has kicked off their annual fundraising for the Child's Play charity. They apparently accept donations year-round, but really kick it into gear for the holiday season.

Of less national/global appeal, but just as interesting if you happen to be in Central Massachusetts, is the exhibit "Save the Princess – The History of Storytelling in Video Games" at the WPI Gordon Library in Worcester. This exhibit is fairly static, displaying boxes of key pieces of software, from Wizardry on the Apple II to Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo, though a playable NES is present.

Speaking of working consoles, the last Xbox 360 demo unit I saw was running a first-person shooter. I was a bit saddened at the lack of gameplay advancement this console promises. I'm reminded of the emergence of 16-bit consoles, which empowered designers to create the worlds they'd always envisioned and had attempted with 8-bit machines. By contrast, 32- and 64-bit machines enabled entirely new kinds of worlds to be built, and the 128-bit generation clarified those aspirations. I had hoped that every other console might be something truly unique – not an improvement on what already exists, but the creation of something heretofore unimagined. The Xbox 360 does not seem to be the home of such inspiration.

If you want inspiration, check out Business Week, which has a brief yet pointed online interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. I think it's an understatement to call him "the Steven Spielberg of video games". We'd have movies without Spielberg; I seriously doubt we'd have video games without Miyamoto.