Cliff from the better-entertainment-through-gameplay dept.
Kwirl asks: "While the computer and console gaming industry is growing at a remarkable pace, the focus is usually on better graphics as opposed to stronger gameplay and plot development/story arc. I personally have several titles (Sims2, Half-Life2, Doom 3, MSFS2004, Unreal 2004) sitting on my shelf that were amazing games, but just couldn't hold my interest for long enough to really be considered a worthwhile investment. In the last couple of years I had thought that the answer to my gaming needs would come in the form of MMORPG's. I have purchased and played many of them, but all seem to come to a stagnant point where I recognize that only addiction would drive me deeper into the game, and not better gameplay (Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Everquest II). In truth, I have found myself spending more time playing old MUD's (TorilMud, Medievia) again, or even amusing web-based games ( KingdomofLoathing, PimpWar, NeoPets). I am curious to know how many other people here find themselves walking intentionally backwards along the technological timeline of games for your personal expenditure of free time? What games/sites do you feel give you the best return of satisfaction versus time spent playing the game over the long haul?"
The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland";
but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.