I’ve been reading a lot this week, so get ready for an extra-long edition of What I’ve Been Reading, after the jump.

  • Kotaku has an eye-opening article about death threats to video game developers. The piece focuses on Robert Bowling, the former creative strategist of the Call of Duty franchise, who started receiving threatening phone calls and unsolicited packages from angry gamers. To the despicable cretins responsible for this reprehensible behaviour: go fuck yourselves.
  • With the recent success of the Kickstarter campaigns for Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2, crowd funding has become the next “big thing.” But in a blog post at Penny Arcade, Jerry Holkins expresses some skepticism about some of the uses of the crowd funding model, noting that some developers are putting up Kickstarter campaigns for products that are essentially finished. I, too, remain skeptical about Kickstarter. My gut tells me it’s a fad that will pass and that old models of funding – venture capital, bank loans, selling product rights – aren’t going away any time soon.
  • Are you a compulsive e-mail checker? This flowchart probably describes your life.
  • The Mary Sue has a piece about the concept of the “fake” geek girl and the idea that any woman who says she likes something stereotypically “geeky” must be feigning interest in order to get attention. As far as I’m concerned, this piece is right on the money. The notion that all geek girls are poseurs is fucking bullshit. The person who recommended that I watch Fringe was – guess what? – a woman. My former roommate was a woman who could kick my ass at pretty much any video game (a fact that didn’t threaten my masculinity in the slightest). I used to hold weekly Chuck viewing sessions with a group of friends that was mainly women. A couple of my female friends used to be hardcore Kingdom of Loathing players. Girls can legitimately be into “geeky” things too. It’s time that we stopped treating “geek girls” with suspicion and simply accepted that they exist.
  • In a related editorial at Destructoid, Jonathan Holmes writes about the idea of “gamer cred” and how it’s a useless metric. It’s a great piece, and it highlights two important two points: 1) Nobody in the real world gives a flying fuck what your Battlefield 3 rank is. 2) The endless focus on achievement and mastery in “gamer culture” can be alienating. It’s the kind of attitude that leads people to view “geek girls” with suspicion, especially if they exhibit less than prodigious skill at a video game. Here’s a tip: instead of shunning them for not being experts, teach them how to play. Be inclusive. Stop caring so much about winning at all costs. Games are supposed to be fun, and the more people you share them with, the more people will be able to have fun.
  • And finally, the world’s most confusing cosplay crossover. (Seriously, what the fuck is going on in that photo?)

Have any opinions on these articles? Any other interesting articles on the web that you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments below.