About Author: Nathan Bowring

I'm a college student always looking for a fun game to play between classes. I've been playing XBLA games for some time now, and I'm a huge fan of the price and creativity of these games. Writing about them is almost as fun as playing them. Almost.

Posts by Nathan Bowring


#IDARB releases early


February has started early this year, as next month’s Games with Gold offering is already out on Xbox One. #IDARB began its life as a single red box and a call to action on Twitter, and has since evolved into a 4v4 competitive multiplayer game that takes 8-bit sports to the extreme. Its crowd-created roots had a lot of control over the content in the final product, which includes local and online play, vast customization, and social media integration that can change the game in real-time. The game’s official Twitter celebrated the release, greeting players with an oh-so-comforting “welcome to the madness, everyone!”

#IDARB is free for all Xbox Live Gold members starting today. Those without Gold can pick up the game from Xbox Store for $14.99. Be sure to check out our review; this new esport is worth a look at any price tag.


Game of Thrones episode 2 coming February 4


Winter may be coming, but the next episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones is going to arrive sooner. Episode 2: The Lost Lords will continue the story of House Forrester, a household caught in the middle of the War of the Five Kings. Telltale released a first look at the episode, and while it doesn’t give away much it seems players can at least count on visiting The Wall. The Lost Lords launches February 4 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One for $4.99, and is available as part of the season pass. Check out the first look trailer after the jump.

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The Escapists coming to Xbox One in February


Ever wanted to live the life of a convict without committing a crime? Then The Escapists from Team17 and Mouldy Toof is your game. Both a strategy game and jail simulator, the game throws you into prison and tasks you with breaking out. The game features six unique prisons to escape using six various methods. Escape isn’t easy; as an inmate you’ll need to gather the necessary supplies and set up your escape route while sticking to the prison’s schedule and avoiding guards. You can do prison jobs to earn funds for supplies, or just steal what you need (you’re a criminal, after all). The game also features an elaborate crafting system, featuring almost 200 items to find and create.

The Escapists is coming to Xbox One through ID@Xbox on Friday, February 13th (good luck with those escape plans). Check out the teaser trailer after the jump.

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Telltale Games has new CEO and is working on original IP

Telltale Games

Telltale Games is planning to have a big year in 2015, and it all begins with the announcement of a new CEO. Co-founder Kevin Bruner has taken over the role of CEO, replacing fellow co-founder Dan Connors. Former CEO Connors will remain at Telltale in his new executive advisor role.

In a statement, Connors talked about his new role as well as Telltale’s progress as a company. “2014 marked our tenth consecutive year of continued growth since co-founding Telltale with Kevin Bruner in 2004. In that time, we’ve been incredibly proud to have accomplished so much with some of the most talented people in entertainment.” Bruner also released a statement, elaborating on what’s next for Telltale. “Our top priority is to continue fostering an environment where the most talented and creative storytellers in the industry are working side by side with the world’s biggest creative partners.”

Bruner also talked about future Telltale projects, stating that beyond the games we already know about there are also “unannounced partnerships” and an original IP on the way. Telltale has become famous for its episodic games adapted from licensed franchises, including there current Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands series, so an original IP will be a big change of pace. With so many games in development, it sounds like the future will be bright for both Telltale and its fans.

Source: Polygon


Xbox Live founder leaves Microsoft


Boyd Multerer has left Microsoft after 17 years of working for the company. He marked the occasion by tweeting, “Goodbye Microsoft. It was a good run. Xbox was Great! Time to do something new”. He leaves behind a long legacy of accomplishments, most importantly the creation of Xbox Live.

According to Polygon, Multerer began his career at Microsoft in 1997. In 2000, he lead the development team that created Xbox Live for the original Xbox. He later became the product manager for XNA, paving the way for independent game developers to create for Xbox 360. Most recently he was the director of development, overseeing the design and development of the Xbox One. His tenure at Microsoft was impressive, playing a large part in the making of the Xbox consoles and experiences we’ve loved over the years.

Source: @BoydMulterer via Polygon


Xbox One holiday price drop has ended

xbox one price cut end

All good things must come to an end. True to their word, Microsoft ended their holiday price drop for Xbox One on January 3rd. The deal started back in November, when all new console bundles received a $50 discount for the holiday season. Now that the deal is officially over, the console will once again cost $500 with Kinect or $400 without. The promotion was a massive success, as it boosted sales enough to make Xbox One the most-bought console on Black Friday and the top-selling console for the month of November. To those of you who grabbed the deal before it was too late, we hope you’re enjoying your new console.


Minecraft: Story Mode announced


Telltale Games and Mojang has announced Minecraft: Story Mode, coming to Xbox 360 and Xbox One next year. It will be an choice-driven episodic game, just like Telltale’s current Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands series. Yeah, we don’t believe it either.

Minecraft: Story Mode will see Telltale do the seemingly impossible: bring a narrative-driven experience to Mojang’s open-world, open-ended sandbox. Taking place in the familiar blocky world of Minecraft, the series will introduce new characters and story while retaining the core themes of the original. Telltale will be collaborating with Mojang as well as the Minecraft community to make the game as authentic as possible. The game will be a standalone product, so you won’t need the core Minecraft game to enjoy this new adventure.

Interestingly enough, this game was announced in the wake of a recently-rejected script for the Minecraft filmMinecraft: Story Mode may be a big risk, but if anyone’s going to get a story right, it’s going to be Telltale. Keep an eye out for more on this game in 2015.


Project Root coming to Xbox One


Argentinian indie developer OPQAM wants to give gamers some classic arcade-style shmup action, and that’s exactly what they’re doing with Project Root. Recently announced by OPQAM and Reverb Triple XP, Project Root is an overhead shooter with free-roaming open environments. You play as Lance Rockport, a rebel pilot attempting to end the Prometheus Corporation’s plans for world domination. Taking flight in an advanced F-72 Zonda fighter, you’ll fight enemies both on the ground and in air across eight distinct levels. Players fighting in this revolution can also look forward to upgradable firepower, special weapon drops, and crazy boss battles.

Project Root is coming to Xbox One in early 2015. Check out the reveal trailer after the jump.

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Mojang turned down Goonies-inspired Minecraft movie


Warner Bros is working towards a potential Minecraft film, but the studio has yet to find the right story. Shawn Levy, director of Night at the Museum, proposed a Goonies-style adventure film which was ultimately shot down by developer Mojang. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Levy explained how it all happened.

“What happened simply is Warner’s asked me to develop, ‘How might this ever be a story for a movie?’ Because it’s not a narrative game. And we came up with an approach that felt good to us, and I discussed it with Mojang. And they’re like, ‘That doesn’t sound like what we want. If we’re going to see a movie get made, we don’t know what we want, but that doesn’t feel right.’ And I said, ‘OK, well that’s a movie I can envision.'”

So just what was his idea? He goes on to explain, “It was not a comedy. It had a bit of a Goonies flair… [I]t was an adventure movie, and I thought it could have been a lot of fun and fulfilled a lot of the qualities that people love about the game.”

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JUJU review (XBLA)

JUJU was developed by Flying Wild Hog and published on Xbox 360 by Nordic Games. It was released December 9, 2014 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.


So what is JUJU? I’m not able to tell you that. I completed the game, and I have no idea if JUJU is the main character’s name, or the world it lives in, or the totems you need to collect. What I do know is that JUJU is an increasingly rare XBLA title, and it has a terrible name for which to use in a Google search.

JUJU is a happy-go-lucky side-scrolling platformer that’s all about the colorful visuals. The game looks like a toddler’s fever dream, filled with giant toys and smiling unnaturally colored animals. It’s about as kid-friendly as kid-friendly gets, even going so far as to have a main menu that only uses pictures. Unfortunately, the game has a severe case of style over substance, as its core gameplay is not as fun and whimsical as you might expect. JUJU feels like an uninspired re-skin of similar titles, and attempting to finish it quickly becomes a chore.

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