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Top 10 XBLA soundtracks to listen to while reading, studying or writing
2 years ago

Top 10 XBLA soundtracks to listen to while reading, studying or writing

XBLATop10Soundtracks

Did you know that video game music helps the brain by providing a stimulating background that doesn't interfere with concentration? OK, I can't prove that. I have no scientific evidence to back it up, but for some games, it seems like it just has to be true.

Xbox Live Arcade is home to some amazing games with some equally amazing music. Composers often sink days, months or even years into crafting the best musical experience for players – dedication that likely goes unnoticed, which sometimes is the whole point.

Sometimes, the best game music can serve as a stimulating background while studying, writing, reading or just doing some housework. Sometimes, you don’t want to notice the music or have it break your concentration. With that in mind, here are the top 10 XBLA soundtracks that serve as the best music to read, study, write or work to.

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Constant C preview: Head spin
2 years ago

Constant C preview: Head spin

Constant C poster_Robot_B

Constant C is mixes time, space and gravity gameplay mechanics into a physics-based puzzle-platformer. It's headed to Xbox Live Arcade next week, but we've already played it extensively and spoken with one of its three creators.

So what exactly is "Constant C"? Light Wang of Taiwan-based developer International Games System Co. (IGS) tells XBLA Fans that the title comes from "the equation of mass–energy equivalence [which] is E = MC2. Constant C is the speed of light."

In the game, scientists were trying to break the speed of light, but accidentally stopped the flow of time instead. As a result, all objects are frozen in time except for on-board artificial intelligences, such as the player character.

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Opinion: Stand by for (Download)fall
2 years ago

Opinion: Stand by for (Download)fall

This isn't a new argument; it's been made before. Chances are high that you've made it yourself once or twice. Recent events, however, warrant revisiting it. Microsoft teased us all last week with a feature that the Xbox One should have had at launch. It told us that we'd all have the ability to do on Xbox One what we've enjoyed doing on digital distribution platforms like Steam and Origin for years: pre-purchase and pre-download a game prior to its release. Then, in a move that felt like some sort of cruel joke, Microsoft took it all back.

Just kidding, you guys

"Whoops, our bad. Sorry if you got excited, but we're not actually going to let you do that thing we said we'd let you do that we know you want us to let you do," Microsoft said in a statement after removing the pre-download option for first-person shooter Titanfall.

OK, no, it didn't actually say that — but it might as well have. Here's what Microsoft actually told told Polygon of its blunder: "The pre-purchase offer page was posted in error. We apologize for any confusion."

The Xbox.com page for Titanfall, which releases on March 11, temporarily had the digital pre-download option that has been so conspicuously absent from digital Xbox purchase pages to date. It was quickly removed, and now Microsoft is apologizing for dangling that carrot out there before yanking it back and locking it away. Polygon captured the official explanation for how pre-downloading on Xbox would work before Microsoft "fixed the glitch."

Pre-purchase: You will be charged the full price immediately for this pre-purchase. Xbox One game expected to release on March 11th, 2014. You may download the game from Xbox Live before then, but it will not be playable until after 12:01 AM PST on the release date in your country.

For a brief time, at least, it looked like gaming digitally on Xbox was now going to be a little bit more like gaming digitally on PC. It looked like it was going to have something that has become so commonplace in PC gaming that it's no longer a value-added feature; it's an expected part of the service that is taken for granted. Unfortunately, unlike those freewheeling distributors of digital PC games, Microsoft has interests other than its own to consider.

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Opinion: Microsoft should be sorry for party rocking Xbox One
2 years ago

Opinion: Microsoft should be sorry for party rocking Xbox One

There was a time when playing a single-player game meant playing alone and playing a multiplayer game meant mandatory exposure to the (often annoying or offensive) thoughts of random players on the other end of Xbox Live. That time ended during the last console generation thanks to an Xbox Live feature that caused many to pick Xbox 360 over PlayStation 3 as their choice system for multiplatform games: party chat.

Fixing the problem

The introduction of party chat to the Xbox Live equation was a game changer. No longer did the desire to play an online multiplayer game mean that players would — almost without fail — be subjected to nonstop barrages of insults streaming into their ears from other players. No longer was getting into a game with friends and communicating with them while playing a hassle. No longer was it necessary to remember to inform friends how cool that single-player game you were playing was and why it was so cool after you played it. Up to seven of your friends were now right there with you in a party, and nobody else was getting in the door without you first putting their name on the guest list. You now had your own private party, and damn if it wasn't fun.

So improved is the party chat experience over the only option that preceded it (chatting with random individuals) that I now refuse to play online multiplayer games without first entering into a private party. Even when no one on my friends list is available to play I still start my own private party, just to keep the cacophony of the internet's worst amateur comedians and trash talkers out of my ears. The multiplayer experience is exponentially improved thanks to Xbox Live party chat, and, until very recently, no other home console has been able to compete with it.

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XBLA Fans' most anticipated games of 2014
2 years ago

XBLA Fans' most anticipated games of 2014

MostAnticipatedGamesof2014

Last week, you may have caught our five-part feature looking ahead at as many XBLA games and their Xbox One brethren as we could possibly cram into one week's worth of articles. If you missed it, go ahead and check it out right now. Start here.

All done with that? Great. Now you know what's coming. What you may not know, however, is which of those games you should be looking forward to the most. Don't worry — XBLA Fans has you covered. Read on to find out what upcoming XBLA and Xbox One games select members of our team are most looking forward to getting their hands on. Once you're done, let us know which ones you're most excited for in the comments section. We're asking you to read through our many thoughts on the big releases ahead, so we figure the least we can do in return is to read yours as well.


 

Strider

Strider XBLA

Ryan Thompson, Contributor — When Capcom first announced that it was releasing a modern Strider title, my first thought was to listen to a track by game composer Jake Kaufman entitled “Dracula Man X2 Alpha Turbo.” Kaufman was clearly having fun when he created the track, giving one potential answer to what the Castlevania franchise’s music would sound like if Capcom had developed it instead of Konami. With the imminent release of Strider on the 18th of February, Capcom is poised to give something of an official answer to the same question Kaufman must have asked himself — what would Castlevania be like if Capcom released it instead?

First of all, it would have the same level of polish as the best of Capcom’s 2D games, with controls that never fail, leaving players without excuses for failure in the tradition of both the original Strider for NES and the more famous Mega Man games. Second, it appears that, judging by the trailer, there would be more emphasis on combat and slightly less on exploration, though that might be just the frantic flow of activity in a short video speaking. Finally, as Kaufman hints in his tribute, this game would come with a soundtrack worthy of the rest of Capcom’s 2D oeuvre.

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The Xbox games of 2014: Part V
2 years ago

The Xbox games of 2014: Part V

Gamesof2014_Day5

We're late, and it seems that's become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren't doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you now in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January's releases, but now it's time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Trials Fusion


Developer: RedLynx

First announced by Ubisoft at E3 2013 and heading to Xbox One and XBLA at an unannounced future date, Trials Fusion is the next game in RedLynx's physics-based motorcycle racing series that found no small measure of success on Xbox Live Arcade. The first XBLA take on the series, Trials HD was extremely popular due to the fierce competition it inspired among players to hit the best runs on each of its 50 courses. That was nothing. RedLynx followed it up with Trials Evolution, which added an in-depth track editor and turned the franchise into a true obsession for its many fans.

With Trials Fusion's announcement trailer showing off player failure, it's evident that RedLynx once again intends to scratch the competitive itch inside gamers as vehemently as motorcycle tires scratching the dirt of a Trials course.

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The Xbox Games of 2014: Part IV
2 years ago

The Xbox Games of 2014: Part IV

Gamesof2014_Day4

We're late, and it seems that's become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren't doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January's releases, but now it's time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Strider


Developer: Capcom

Capcom’s Strider, today most commonly known for the main character’s appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise, will be the star of his own game next week on February 19 for the first time in more than 20 years. This particular entry appears to draw more from his NES game than any of his other appearances, mixing the exploration of Metroid with the visceral combat of Ninja Gaiden. As a result, comparisons to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are inevitable and likely warranted. If any company can follow in the footsteps of these giants, it’s Capcom — seeing what it does in a two-dimensional environment given the horsepower of the Xbox One will be a treat.

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The Xbox games of 2014: Part III
2 years ago

The Xbox games of 2014: Part III

Gamesof2014_Day3

We're late, and it seems that's become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren't doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January's releases, but now it's time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Minecraft: Xbox One Edition


Developer: 4J Studios, Mojang and Microsoft Studios

As was announced at Microsoft's E3 2013 presentation, 4J Studios will be bringing its open-world block-building game to the Xbox One. The 360 edition of Minecraft was a huge success and 4J is looking to build off of that success by bringing a "bigger" world to players. The Xbox One edition promises to deliver on the power of next-gen gaming by giving players more of what they want. Maps, Adventures, multiplayer features and console specific enhancements will all be improved and larger in scale on the Xbox One than they were on the Xbox 360. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will be released sometime in the month of March of 2014.

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The Xbox games of 2014: Part II
2 years ago

The Xbox games of 2014: Part II

Gamesof2014_Day2_1.1

We're late, and it seems that's become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren't doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January's releases, but now it's time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Constant C


Developer: International Games

Set aboard a doomed space station in which the flow of time has stopped, Constant C has you playing as a rescue robot navigating the paused wreckage to save the station and its survivors. Constant C is a 2D-platformer boasting gorgeous soft blues and reds on a jet-black background. As the rescue robot, you will manipulate time and space to overcome the puzzles and challenges you're pitted against. The time manipulation is based on your touch; whatever you touch returns the object to the flow of time, such as blocks paused in mid-fall. The gravity manipulation consists of tilting the 2D screen in 90-degree rotations. Both abilities will be crucial to traversing the 100+ mind-blowing stages. Met with favorable reviews on PC, Constant C is now on its way to XBLA this spring.

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The Xbox Games of 2014: Part I
2 years ago

The Xbox Games of 2014: Part I

Xbox Games of 2014: Part I

We’re late, and it seems that’s become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren’t doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January’s releases, but now it’s time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Below


Developer: Capy Games

Developer Capy Games is hard at work on two games for this year, including the Xbox One exclusive Below. Announced during Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference, the game centers on a adventurer who lands on the shore of a mysterious island. The game's major focus is exploration; your character is but a tiny portion of the screen to show the full scale of the island. There's plenty of island to see, and the randomly generated environment will ensure every adventure will be unique. Making it through the island will not be a walk in the park: the "roguelike-like" combat and permanent death will make survival difficult, but Capy promises to play fair. Only those who can brave the game's toughest challenges will find the game's hidden secrets and discover what lies below.

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