What’s Arcade NEXT?

What’s Arcade NEXT you ask? Well let me tell you! It’s the name of Microsoft’s most recent additions to the Xbox Live Arcade. Not only are they the most recent additions, but they are also the first ones on the Arcade to support Microsoft’s newest requirements for Arcade games (Microsoft is also saying that these games are the “NEXT” generations of “visual fidelity and platform-defining gameplay,” but I feel like that’s just a marketing scheme to get more sales). Before, all XBLA games had a maximum of 200 Gamerscore, and although 200 isn’t a bad amount, with the average price of XBLA games much higher now, a lot of gamers are mad that they still only get 200 Gamerscore. So to make them happy, any new XBLA games will now have 400 Gamerscore and up to 30 achievements. Personally, I’m very happy about this change because the average XBLA game isn’t 5 dollars anymore. Now that we’re paying 10 or 15 dollars per games, I think 400 is a much better number.

What games are included in Arcade NEXT you ask? Well, there’s 4 in particular. Continue reading

Trials Evolution Review

Over the course of my gaming history, I’ve noticed one defining factor in any great game. They all seem to allow me to travel through time! Well, ok, not really travel through time, but I feel as if I am. I’ll be playing a game for, oh I don’t know, 30 minutes, but then when I look back at the clock, 3 hours have gone by! It’s as if I traveled ahead several hours! I know this might sound ridiculous to the more casual gamers reading this, but any serious gamer should know exactly what I’m talking about. The last game that did this to me was Skyrim, but now Trials Evolution is doing it to me too, and I’m loving every minute of it (Or was that an hour? I can’t even tell anymore…)
You can now fully customize your rider’s clothes, along with the parts on your bike.

Trials Evolution, RedLynx’s exciting new sequel to Trials HD on the Xbox Live Arcade, introduces the player to the world of trial bikes. What are trial bikes you ask? They are light and nimble motorcycles that can climb extremely rocky and steep terrain at incredible speeds. In Trials Evolution, you will use these bikes to climb huge obstacles as you progress through various locations, with increasing difficulty as you progress. Although the game feels like it has a large amount of depth in its worlds, the player is still on a 2 dimensional plane like any side-scroller. The difference is that Continue reading

Getting Hacked Is Not Fun!

I tried to log into my Xbox Live account today, and I got an odd error message. It basically said that my account was invalid and that I needed to get a valid one or download the account again. I thought this was odd, but I figured maybe the Xbox was just being weird, so I tried redownloading the account. I then got another message. My account was unable to be downloaded and it gave me an error code. I immediately looked it up online, and whaddya know, it looked like I was hacked. I was going through some forums and I found a correlation between all of them. First off, this is happening to a LOT of people. Second, there seems to be a recurring theme. Seemingly every person that was hacked had a mysterious achievement pop up on their account at some random time way before they noticed any strange transactions. They all noticed that a couple achievements for FIFA 12 randomly popped up on their account. As weird as it sounds (Microsoft still doesn’t know how it works), they somehow hack your account by giving you these achievements. This happened to me a while back. I saw the achievements, but I at the time, I didn’t think twice. I live with a roommate, and so I figured that maybe he played FIFA on my Xbox or something.

Well as soon as I figured this out, I started to freak out. After all, my credit card is linked to my account, and I’d really rather keep that information private. So, I went online, and I tried to access my account. I reset my password, set everything up again, and then looked at the damage by going to my recent download history. There were two strange downloads. One was called “Premium Gold Pack” and the other was “Premium Gold Jumbo.” I had no idea what those were, so I looked at more of my account and I realized that over 2000 Microsoft Points (For anyone who don’t know what these are, they’re basically Xbox’s digital currency) were taken off of my account! I immediately figured that these hackers were waiting for me to get Microsoft points! After all, I had just added some to my account a day or two before so that I could buy Trials Evolution!

After seeing all of this, I immediately called Microsoft. Their customer support was actually a lot better than I expected. They walked me right through the steps and I told them everything I just told you. They said that it was a known problem, and as of right now, they have no idea how the hackers do it. All they know is that the FIFA achievements are almost a sure sign that your account is hacked. So they took my info, made an account investigation report, and submitted it so that my account could be reviewed. They said my account will be down for up to a couple days, and then they’ll send me an email when they’re done. I should get my points back and everything! Besides the fact that I’m dying to play Trials, I’m extremely happy that they fixed the problem. Also, it doesn’t look like anybody used my card either, which is fantastic news.

So my message to every Xbox user out there is to watch out for that FIFA achievement! If you get it, contact Microsoft and/or change your passwords, because nobody likes getting their stuff stolen…

Not Just Another Gaming Website

I’ve been in talks with a friend (the one who is getting me into E3) and he’s been telling me about this company called shifted2u.com. It’s an entertainment & news site, with a section dedicated to video games. Apparently the company is really starting to get big. If I remember correctly, I was told that they received over 9 million hits in their first year (which is pretty darn good). They have a lot of connections to the gaming industry, and they were compared to the next IGN or G4. As crazy as that sounds, I’m excited to see what they do in the near future. I was asked to potentially do some writing for them, so I’m in the process of checking that out. They are also the ones hosting the E3 after-party this year, and so I’ll probably go to that as well and hopefully make some connections. I know that doesn’t really affect anybody reading this, but I figured I’d still share my story as to how I got to know who they are, and then recommend that you all go and check them out for yourselves. They’ve got a pretty awesome website, and I think they’re going to be doing some pretty big things in the future. Just click the link at the beginning of this post and it will take you there. If you aren’t interested in gaming news, they have plenty of news on other topics as well, so don’t be discouraged because you think it’s all games.

I’m telling you, these guys might just be the next big thing in gaming, so you might as well go check them out! Also, if anyone reading this has his or her own favorite places to receive gaming news, feel free to post about them in the comments section below!

The Problem With Kinect

Ever since I first saw Kinect (If you don’t know what Kinect is, go here), I thought it was pretty cool. A bit gimmicky, but it was definitely better than what the other consoles were developing, like the Playstation Move. Kinect’s capabilities are pretty impressive. It can detect movement from each individual person in the frame, and distinguish who’s who through your physical appearance and voice. It can also track certain body parts as well, turning your whole body into a huge Xbox controller (Just like Microsoft’s motto for Kinect, “You are the controller”). The problem that everyone, including myself, had with it was that we were afraid of how Microsoft was going to use it. We were first amazed by Peter Molyneux’s (The man behind the Fable franchise as well as others) showcase at E3 entitled “Milo”, where he had a representative interact with a virtual boy by using the Kinect. You could talk to him, hand him things, and interact with the boy’s environment (Or so we thought). It turns out that the showcase was a scripted video, showing what the Kinect might be capable of in the future. This was the first of many disappointments. Continue reading

Why Xbox?

When I tell people I have a blog about Xbox, a common response I get is, “Why Xbox? Why do you choose to only write about 1 system?” I thought this was a great question to discuss, so I’ve decided to write a post about why I prefer to play Xbox instead of other systems. I’ll begin by talking about the other consoles, and then say why I’ve chosen Xbox as my favorite. Note: Although I might be biased toward Xbox, since I have played it the longest, I’ll try to weigh out the pros and cons of each. I do not hate any of the consoles, so don’t accuse me of “hating on them” like so many people do online. I appreciate any and all video game systems. After all, the advancement of video games would not spread as fast as it does if it weren’t for some great competition. So let’s begin! Continue reading

E3 2012

E3 2012 is still pretty far away, but I would like to remind everyone that if you’ve ever wanted to see the latest and greatest in gaming, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is what to pay attention to. You might not be able to go if you aren’t a part of the gaming industry, but don’t let that stop you! G4 TV always has their hosts on the show floor, displaying the latest games that you’d see if you were there. As I’ve stated before, I’ve been given an opportunity to go this year, and I’m extremely excited. I’m not sure how I’m going to approach it though. I don’t know if I want to live-update blog posts, or just blog at the end of each day. I’ve pretty much decided that I want to just stick in the Xbox-related section of the event, but I’m not really sure of where to go from there. I was also thinking that I could have anybody that happens to be on my blog at the time comment about what they want me to do. For instance, if you’d like me to check out a certain game, I could do that, and then tell you what I see. This would all depend on if I had time, of course, because I might be going to the developer meetings as well, but we’ll see.

I’m also going to try and grab as much free stuff from the booths as possible. Then, if I end up getting more followers, maybe I can have some giveaways or something (or just grab some stuff for people if they want something). We’ll see when the time comes. I’m just super excited to go, and I figured I’d ask everyone reading this if they’re already hoping to hear specific news about a game when E3 hits. I’m sure Halo 4 and COD will be there, and so I’ll probably try to check those out. I’ll also look for any new hardware accessories while I’m there. Most of all, I’m hoping for some brand new IP’s. These last few years have been dominated by sequels and and continuations of old games, and I’m really hoping to see some fresh new games out into the market. It’s not that I don’t like playing a bunch of trilogies (Halo, Gears of War, Mass Effect, Modern Warfare, etc.), but when every game ends in a number, then I just don’t get the same level of excitement. I want new experiences, new worlds, new characters, and new stories. Is that too much to ask?