NPR Monkey See

You won’t read about it in the headlines, but deep in the high-tech corporate campus of the Research Triangle Park, in Durham, North Carolina, desperate refugees fight for survival against mutant cannibals in a dystopian wasteland where civilization is just a dim memory.

No, it’s not a hyperbolic recession metaphor (at least not exclusively), it’s Fallen Earth, the post-apocalyptic virtual world created and maintained by RTP game company Icarus Studios. Fallen Earth, you see, is a video game — one in which thousands of players play simultaneously via the Internet and their personal computers.

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This holiday season, why not give the gift that, if properly selected, will hijack your loved one’s life for several months, devouring all discretionary time?

The trick, of course, is selecting the right game – especially for children and younger gamers. You’ll lose a lot of cool points if you get your niece Cooking Mama 3 when what she really wanted was Command & Conquer 3.

Below is a list of some of the best recent games for gift-giving, arranged by ESRB Rating. Most of these titles have something to offer children and adults, with a bonus pick for grown-up gamers who might be interested in blowing up space zombies. Read the rest of this entry »