coming to a city near you... Are you game? Are you a gamer? Maybe gaming is your thing, from Pong to Ms. Pacman, from Breakout to Halo. This isn't a deep trip down memory lane but it wasn't that long ago that I wanted to get into computers so I could write my own games...ok, maybe it was that long ago. In any case, it was the allure of computer graphics and gaming that got me started writing code. Of course back then 16K was a lot of memory, the code was basic, and you had to peek and poke the memory to make it do things, but again I digress. Today it is so much easier.

Was it just last year that we released XNA Express? If you're not familiar with XNA, it is the framework for writing XBox games, and as an Express product, you can get it for free from http://msdn.microsoft.com/express. This software is a great way to get

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an awesome head start on writing modern game software. I even did a couple sessions on it at a couple campuses around the US including U of MN, UT Austin, University of Colorado and even Vanderbilt among others.

What is cool is that you don't have to be a student to get started in this stuff. User groups are springing up all over the place and now you can get help and start building out your own games. At a recent code camp in the Twin Cities (thank you Jason Bock and everyone who pulled this off) our XNA MVP Chris Williams gave a knock down presentation on how you can get started with the technology. Better than that, Chris has even gone so far as to create a brand new User Group focused on XNA in the Twin Cities. Their inaugural meeting was tonight (I'm in Austin again so I missed out), and they plan to meet the 3rd Thursday of each month. So if you're like me and missed the first one, come on out & join us at the next. You can get details at http://www.twincitiesxnausergroup.com/!