A few years ago, I was invited down to Carnegie Mellon by Jesse Schell to visit the Entertainment Technology Center. While there, I met Drew Davidson who is currently the Director of the ETC.
This past year, Drew has been hard at work trying to trick a bunch of us slacker game developers, bloggers academics and others to submit critical discussion pieces on (for the most part) well known games.
His hard work has finally paid off, and Well Played 1.0 is currently available online where you can read it for free on the ETC website, or available for free download or hardcopy purchase through Lulu.com.
I am one of the contributors to the book - but as I mentioned - I am a slacker, and all I was able to provide to Drew was a reprinting of my post on Ludonarrative Dissonance in Bioshock, which every single person to have ever visited this blog has apparently read.
Far more important than my own redundant contribution to critical thought are more than twenty other pieces contributed by all manner of game brains.
From game development legends such as Noah Falstein and Greg Costikyan the book offers insight into Advance Wars and Europa Universalis. Fellow blogger L.B. Jeffries extends the bredth of discussion on Rockstar's Bully, and professors and researchers of all kinds from some of the best schools in the world round out the book with examinations of games as complex and layered as Civilization IV, to those as casual and as accessable as Guitar Hero.
At very least, any game developer should have the online version in their favorites as a valuable reference, and any blogger, reviewer, critic or anyone else who wants to write throughful criticism of a game they feel is important should read it carefully.