Features Archive


Minecraft Mondays: Eco-friendly Edition

Props to XMaloX for recreating our logo in-game

Welcome to our second edition of Minecraft Monday! Each Monday for the foreseeable future, we will be showcasing a community member’s world. If you are interested in being featured, please email Shawn@xblafans.com. If you’re new to the world of Minecraft, check our our introductory guide here and find out what over 2 Million Xbox Live players are going on about.

We’ll leave it to our video guru Shawn “MrTheVestman” Saris to introduce this weeks very environmentally friendly world. Read the rest of this entry »


E3 Preview: So seven strangers walk into The Cave…

The “point and click” adventure game genre simply refuses to die. Ron Gilbert, creative mastermind behind Monkey Island, leads Double Fine‘s upcoming console-bound return to adventure games, The Cave. Gilbert isn’t redesigning the wheel here (though I wouldn’t put it past him) but The Cave definitely has everything for the contemporary adventure game fan.

The Cave is an adventure game of the 2D platform and puzzle variety wherein you guide three characters along a journey through a mysterious, question-answering cave. Seven characters — amongst them a Hillbilly, Knight, Scientist, Monk, Time Traveler, Adventurer and a set of creepy Twin children — each find themselves with a deep desire which they believe the cave can satisfy. Though they have an overt motive for venturing into the cave, Gilbert says there’s something deeper going on in The Cave. Read the rest of this entry »


XBLA’s Most Wanted: Avatar Party

While it could easily be argued that Nintendo doesn’t fit in very will with mature gamers at times, they do have somewhat of a monopoly on a few types of games. Take the Super Smash Bros series, for example. They’ve had total control of the fighting sub-genre they helped make popular since the first game in the series. Sure, great games like Small Arms have had their day in the sun, but Mario and his crew have remained the relatively unchallenged kings. They’ve remained at the top for so long that Sony decided to try their hand with the long-titled PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. It too boasts the best that Sony-owned franchises have to offer: characters like Nathan Drake, Kratos and Sweet Tooth. So why hasn’t Microsoft joined in and created a mascot fighter. Kotaku tracked down Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s game studios at E3 and asked that exact question. His response was that players “do not want” that type of game. We disagree, as do the Smash Bros series’ collective 21.45 million copies sold

And what of Mario Party? Would you believe that Mario Party 8 alone has sold more than 7.6 million copies? Mock if you want, but that series is successful because it’s fun. They’re games that anyone, old or young, can get into, understand, and have fun with. It’s great for family game nights, college dorm competitions, double dates, and more.

So where’s our Avatar Party? Such a game does not exist, but it could, and could potentially draw in those players who reluctantly turn on their Wii once and a while to play Smash Bros or Mario Party. We think combining the two could be a potential gold mine, even if we’re not using system-based mascots. So join us as we try something new. Instead of pitching the return of an old game we love, we’re pitching a new one entirely: Avatar Party.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Night Streaming: Win Pinball FX2: The Avengers Chronicles


So our amazing friends at Zen Studios have given us permission to stream one of the new tables this Sunday night. We are incredibly excited to be able to show you the Infinity Gauntlet in action this Sunday at 10 PM EST on our Twitch.TV Channel. We will also be giving away two copies of the game during the stream, so you can get in on the action well before the Wednesday Launch.

The Avengers Chronicles contains four new Marvel tables for Pinball FX 2: The Avengers, Infinity Gauntlet, Fear Itself and World War Hulk. Our review can’t go up till Tuesday, but we can give you a sneak peak at the Infinity Gauntlet, which features Thanos — the villain teased in the recent Marvel’s The Avengers Movie –, the Silver Surfer, and Adam Warlock as they battle over six gems of power. There are well over 139 lines of dialog contained within the table, and it’s one of the most unique tables Zen has ever made and will definitely be worth checking out tomorrow. We hope we can do it justice; if only I was a true pinball wizard!

The Avengers Chronicles will release on Wednesday, June 20th for 800 points.

When: Sunday June 17th from 10PM-10:30PM

Where: XBLA Fans on Twitch.TV

What: Streaming the Infinity Gauntlet and giving away two copies of the Avengers Chronicles 4 pack of tables.



E3 Preview: What’s a Bellator and why is it so fun?

Have you ever had a friend that just doesn’t seem to get it? No matter how many times he’s informed that you’re just not into a band, a sport or some other such thing he just keeps on dragging you out to experience it. He can only be denied so many times before you reach the end of your Seinfeldian Excuse Rolodex and bite the bullet. So it is with MMA and one of my closest friends. Despite maintaining a serious passion for a number of sports, MMA excites me about as much as the prospect of playing Superman 64.

It’s of little surprise, then, that enthusiasm was low while trekking across the convention hall en route for an appointment to play 345 Games’ Bellator: MMA Onslaught. The nice folks at 345 ran through a quick overview of their fighting game and demoed a match in the blissfully peaceful office off the show floor. John noted how much better the visuals were than the last time he had seen the game. Then Matt McEnerney, senior producer at 345, and company showed off the game’s surprisingly deep RPG elements — character creation and progression. Once they were done tinkering, the fight was on. The more of the game that was shown, the more I suddenly found myself eager to give a try.

Read the rest of this entry »


E3 Hands-on: Storming the stylish battlefields of Happy Wars

There are a myriad of reasons — some massive, others minuscule — for wars throughout history. Wars ranging from the disagreement you had with your mother to World War II to the intergalactic alien space combat we’re likely to experience in the near future. No wars have been particularly fun until video games came along, removing the consequences and the guilt of war. Yet still wars are brutal, sad, scary sort of affairs, no matter what your role is in them — and then there’s Happy Wars.

Happy Wars’ pseudo cell-shaded art style (mixed with a bit of watercolor, perhaps) hearkens back to the days of Cel Damage and Jet Set Radio. The zany visuals and overall lighthearted presentation prove war isn’t always depressing and vile. White is pit against black in this 15 vs. 15 multiplayer action game in an effort to capture towers and destroy the enemy team’s castle. Players can pick from a warrior, mage or cleric class and acquire new skills as they level up and attempt to out-maneuver the enemy team.

Our demo was cut into thirds, with a tutorial and gameplay rundown to start, an explanation of the deeper features of the game following that, and lastly a match played to completion on the game’s desert themed level. Read the rest of this entry »


Straw Poll Wednesday: Do you use your controller’s rumble feature?

Do you use your controller's rumble feature?

  • Absolutely. It helps me feel more immersed in the game. (58%, 101 Votes)
  • What? I can turn rumble off? (24%, 42 Votes)
  • Nope, I like my batteries to last more than a few hours, thanks. (9%, 16 Votes)
  • No. It's distracting and even more irritating when it rumbles on a table. (9%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 173

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View from the back — Dungeon Fighter Live: Fall of Hendon Myre

They’re crowding the front of the room on the 54th floor of a Los Angeles hotel, cameras flashing in rapid succession. A small group of men are before them, footage of their last work playing on a large screen. It’s difficult to get a good view of the promo vid that is running while all of the members of the Korean gaming press are nearly tripping over each other to secure the best possible angle from which to grab the perfect shot for their readers back home. The level of excitement among this crowd is palpable, if not completely understandable.

After all, what’s being shown at this point is nothing new, the footage is of 2010’s Dungeon Fighter Online (released in 2005 in Nexon’s home country of Korea). The speakers have thus far provided a nice little history lesson for the uninitiated, but those in attendance have hardly been treated to breaking news or exclusive footage at this point. With more exciting photo ops and demos of this fall’s hottest games vying for attention during E3 week than any one journalist can possibly tackle, why is the foreign press causing such a hullabaloo over a PC game that released seven years ago in their country?

Read the rest of this entry »


E3 Hands-on: Lord of the Rings goes core MOBA in Guardians of Middle-Earth

The Lord of the Rings franchise is no stranger to video game adaptations. Of the many we’ve seen over the years, most of them are translated directly from the fiction into a playable form. We’ve guided Frodo on his journey to Mordor and fought to defend Minas Tirith as Aragorn. Guardians of Middle-Earth is not an adventure but instead a war waged by good and evil in a massive arena.

Guardians of Middle-Earth is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game with many of the genre staples. Unlike other MOBA forays on XBLA (Awesomenauts, Monday Night Combat), Guardians of Middle-Earth is the classic isometric experience complete with three lanes (in the main map), creeps, towers, the whole shabang!

Well. Mostly. There’s no hiding the core MOBA-ness of this game, but the developers at Monolith also want to bring new mechanics to the table and tailor the experience to the console. For instance, you can upgrade your minions and towers, but there’s no shop and there are shrines to fight over which grant buffs. How’s that for new mechanics? Read the rest of this entry »


Contest: Remake the XBLA Fans logo in Minecraft *Ended*

UPDATE: Congrats to XMaloX

As part of our newly designed summer schedule, we are bringing back weekly site contests. We also plan to do more weekly streaming events on Twitch.TV and more community game nights. As always, our daily twitter contests will continue. Make sure you are following @XBLAFans! We are also adding a weekly facebook contest and daily discussion questions on our XBLA Fans FB page. Make sure to join in on that action and let your voice be heard!

Each week we will bring a new contest involving some form of task or challenge. The winner(s) will be random, as we want everyone to have a chance to be involved no matter their skill level at a certain task. Some might involve gaining obscure XBLA achievements. Others will be a little craftier like this week’s Minecraft Cape Challenge (I love puns, sorry).


To enter this week, all you need to do is remake the XBLA Fans Logo in Minecraft. You may use any materials currently found in the XBLA Version of the game. Once you have completed the logo we suggest using the in game Facebook share feature. Grab that URL and post it in the comments below and you are entered! If you don’t have facebook just snapping a picture with a camera phone works too, but we’d love to see the Hi-resolution shot so we can share them in a post with our readers next week!

You may enter as many times as you want and we will count each image as an entry as long as they use new ingredients and are different. The contest will end Friday at 9PM PST.

I’ve put out a call to our friends to see if we might be able to get a few extra codes so we can have more than 1 winner but for now, we only have 1 Minecraft Cape to giveaway. They look flipping awesome.

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