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Games with Gold titles revealed for June
3 years ago

Games with Gold titles revealed for June

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The one-year anniversary of the Games with Gold program brings with it the standard two titles each for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, as well as a bonus game for Xbox 360.

The first title for Xbox 360 is Dark Souls. This is an action-RPG for those who enjoy a grueling, teeth-grinding challenge, perhaps even to a masochistic level. The difficulty is legendary, and not for the faint of heart; however, for the grand total of no money, it might be worth it for those on the fence to give Dark Souls a chance and forever be trapped in the mindset of "just one more try." The game will be free June 1-15.

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Happy Wars gets even more joyful with latest update
3 years ago

Happy Wars gets even more joyful with latest update

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The 13th title update for Happy Wars has been released. The upgrades and changes this time around include support items, which are consumables used to hasten the progress …
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World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition review (XBLA)
3 years ago

World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition review (XBLA)

World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition was developed by Wargaming.net and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on February 12, 2014 following an initial beta release and is free-to-play. Additional in-game resources were provided for review purposes.

WoT Title

A low sun sets over an open field marked by hedges in autumnal colours of yellow, orange and red. The ground is marked only by the brown furrows of a farmer's plough and the occasional tuft of unkempt grass. A boggy lake glistens to the left, and the only sound – aside from silence – is that of crickets calling out from the reeds. Suddenly, a red diamond appears on your mini-map. A German light tank speeds across the field, and the shots of your comrades begin to ring out as each takes aim and fires. You lead the target by a few metres and make a final adjustment to the height of your shot. You fire. The German tank explodes in a shower of hot metal. Welcome to World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition. Read More

Minecraft, Halo creators praise Microsoft self-publishing
4 years ago

Minecraft, Halo creators praise Microsoft self-publishing

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Microsoft's recent decision to pursue self-publishing on its forthcoming Xbox One, and possibly the current Xbox 360, has garnered a lot of much-needed goodwill moving into the next generation. …
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Monaco creator feels effort was 'largely wasted' on XBLA
4 years ago

Monaco creator feels effort was 'largely wasted' on XBLA

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The man behind Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine shared his disappointment over what he feels was a lackluster performance on Xbox Live Arcade. As reported by Joystiq, Pocket Watch …
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Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers review (XBLA)
4 years ago

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers review (XBLA)

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers was developed by Stainless Games and Wizards of the Coast and published by Microsoft Studios. It retails for 800 MSP and was released on June 26, 2013. A copy was provided for review purposes. MTG2014-1

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers (Magic 2014) is the fourth edition of the popular series to grace the Xbox 360 and unsurprisingly, it delivers new cards, new features (including a sealed play mode) and an all new campaign mode. Like any annual release such as FIFA or Madden, your decision to buy (or not to buy) Magic 2014 will largely depend upon factors related to whether or not you actually enjoy the core experience and what value the new features provide over previous iterations.

The Duels of the Planeswalkers series (DOTPW) is designed to provide a fun and cost effective gateway for new players to enter the Magic The Gathering (MTG) arena, and Magic 2014 carries on that tradition admirably. MTG is a complicated card game which features a basic set of rules for placing cards (spells) onto an imaginary battlefield. Each spell costs a set amount of mana, which is in turn generated from the placement of land cards. The real skill of MTG is found in building a deck of cards which complement each other well enough to overcome the opposing deck and reduce your enemy’s health from twenty to zero. Magic 2014 explains these complex mechanics through a series of simple tutorials positioned before the main campaign, and then with helpful text boxes from then on.

For veterans of the DOTPW series or those who have strong knowledge of MTG in general, Magic 2014 provides the most feature rich installment to date and we are pleased to report that all of the new features enhance the overall experience without detracting in any way from the core gameplay.

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XBLA is going away, and that might not be so bad
4 years ago

XBLA is going away, and that might not be so bad

Xbox Live Arcade is a dead platform downloading. Microsoft's designated home for small and inexpensive downloadable video games will not make the jump to the next generation. When the Xbox One releases later this year, all of its video games will live in the same space. The nearly nine-years-old Xbox Live Arcade might continue to exist on the Xbox 360 and slowly fade away during the transitional year(s), or Microsoft might quickly yank it like a Band-Aid through a dashboard update. In either case, XBLA has been read its last rights.

One day soon, gamers everywhere will turn on their Xboxes and find all available games under an aptly named Games section of the dashboard. It's tempting to read this move as another case of Microsoft pushing independent developers farther away from the green glow of the Xbox spotlight. It's tempting to assume that the new dashboard will shine that light even brighter on big-budget game releases and multimedia options, and that may well end up being the case. However, some indies, believe it or not, actually enjoy working with Microsoft. Additionally, Microsoft's Phil Spencer told Eurogamer that he feels the new layout, which includes a recommendation system, will "solve fantastically some of the challenges that independent developers face, particularly around discovery and connecting their game to an audience, by some of the platform features we have in the machine itself."

We'll have to check back in a few years into the Xbox One's life to verify whether or not Spencer spoke truly — but no one wants to wait that long. So here and now, what does the elimination of Xbox Live Arcade mean? Will it continue the Flight of the Indies? Or will it better a system that obviously has more than a few kinks and bring back the downtrodden and departed?

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Xbox One retail, Arcade and Indie Games will just be 'Games'

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Xbox One Dashboard

In the above screenshot of the Xbox One dashboard, you will notice that the categories above lists "Games" alongside other categories like "TV & Movies" and "Music" with equal representation. This matches our current Xbox 360 dashboard. However, in the Xbox 360, "Games" is further divided into categories such as "featured," "arcade," "on demand," "indie," etc. Each category represents the different tiers of games in expected presentation, length, genre, and pricing. Obviously, our own website is based exclusively around the Arcade games.

Well, it looks like all that will change with the Xbox One. In an interview with Eurogamer, Microsoft VP Phil Harrison said the following:

Phil Harrison: In the past we had retail games which came on disc, we had Xbox Live Arcade and we had Indie Games, and they had their own discrete channels or discrete silos. With Xbox One and the new marketplace, they're games. We don't make a distinction between whether a game is a 50-hour RPG epic or whether it is a puzzle game or whether it is something that fits halfway between the two–

Eurogamer: So no Xbox Live Arcade, no Xbox Live Indie Games – just games?

Phil Harrison: Just games, right. Search, recommendation, what your friends are playing, game DVR – these all go to helping you discover the games you want to play, so I think we solve fantastically some of the challenges that independent developers face, particularly around discovery and connecting their game to an audience, by some of the platform features we have in the machine itself.

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XBLA popularized independent games on console, says Castle Crashers developer
4 years ago

XBLA popularized independent games on console, says Castle Crashers developer

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In a recent interview with Xbox 360 Magazine, John Baez from The Behemoth praised Xbox Live Arcade, saying, "I think without a doubt the indie console community would not …
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Retro City Rampage will run amok on Xbox Live Arcade
4 years ago

Retro City Rampage will run amok on Xbox Live Arcade

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The 8-bit action-adventure parody, Retro City Rampage, is finally headed for Xbox Live Arcade, reports Eurogamer. Marred by delays, the title was initially to be released simultaneously across multiple platforms, …
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