The Xbox 360 continues to get more backwards compatibility updates, this one adding a lot of new games from the original Xbox that will now run on the 360. This update adds 84 news games, bringing the total to 465:
2006 Fifa World Cup Germany
25 to Life
AMF Bowling 2004
Armed and Dangerous
Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance
Batman Rise of Sin Tzu
Blinx: The Timesweeper
Blitz The League
Blood Omen 2
Burnout 2: Point of Impact
Cabelas Dangerous Hunts 2
Championship Manager 2006
Colin Mcrae Rally 2005
Crime Life: Gang Wars
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
Dungeons& Dragons Heroes
ESPN College Hoops 2k5
ESPN NFL 2k5
FIFA 06 Soccer
Fight Night: Round 3
Final Fight: Streetwise
Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone
Freestyle Street Soccer
Future Tactics: The Uprising
Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee
Godzilla Save the Earth
Goldeneye Rogue Agent
Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball Max’d
High Heat MLB 2004
Hunter: The Reckoning
Indiana Jones And The Emperors Tomb
MLB Slugfest Loaded
MVP Baseball 2003
MVP Baseball 2004
MVP Baseball 2005
Nascar Thunder 2002
Nascar Thunder 2003
NBA Inside Drive 2002
NBA Street V3
NCAA College Basketball 2k3
NCAA March Madness 2005
NCAA March Madness 2006
NHL Hitz Pro
Nightcaster: Defeat The Darkness
NTRA Breeders Cup: World Thoroughbred Championships
Playboy The Mansion
RLH Hunt or be Hunted
Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown
Shrek Super Party
Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
Starsky & Hutch
Techmo Classic Arcade
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
The Bard’s Tale
The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Guy Game
The Lord Of The Rings: The Third Age
Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers
The iconic Halo 3 theme (more specifically the track titled Mjolnir Mix on the Halo 2 soundtrack) is now available as a playable track for Guitar Hero 3 on the Xbox Live Marketplace for the low low price of zero Microsoft Points (or zero dollars). So, if you like the theme (and my wife loves it), you can try it out and see how well you can “play” it yourself in the plastic musical instrument game. Hopefully they’ll add it to Rock Band as well.
Microsoft has gotten XNA Game Studio, its tool for creating games that run on both the PC and Xbox 360, out with the first beta of its version 2 release, showing the fast maturation of the platform only a year after the first version. New features include support for Visual Studio 2005, multiplayer games that use Xbox Live or System Link, among the usual refinements and enhancements. Users of the free XNA Studio Express can get the beta and run it side-by-side with the free 1.0 by following the instructions here.
Doritos’ Unlock Xbox competition has ended, with fans choosing the the fan-created Doritos-themed game that will be released for the Xbox 360 next year. The promotion, where fans sent in game ideas and had the best of them created into simple online games, then everyone voted on the best one which would become an Xbox Live Arcade title, certainly turned up some strange game ideas, especially the winner.
The winning game is Doritos Dash of Destruction. In the game, designed by Mike Borland, you race a dinosaur and a Doritos delivery truck. The truck must make its way out of the city, while the T-Rex must catch the truck and eat it (presumably because he likes eating Doritos, not trucks). When you absolutely have to create a game based on a chip company (and you can’t use the creepy Burger King as a crutch), this is what you get. I bet the game will be at least somewhat fun, and certainly worth checking out at its price of free.
Expect to see Dash of Destruction as a fully realized Arcade game by Summer 2008.
Microsoft has announced the Heroic Map Pack for Halo 3, the first pack of multiplayer maps for the hit game. The map pack will cost you when it arrives December 11, 800 Microsoft Points or ten dollars, but if you’re patient enough to wait until Spring, you can get it for free. When the map pack goes free, a new pay map pack will be released, which should create a weird community dynamic between those who have been playing these maps for months and those who just got it, especially as the experienced players buy the second pack.
There are three maps, and here’s the description:
Standoffâ€™s symmetrical valley, with its entrenched bases and fields of boulders is ideal for mid-sized objective and Slayer game types, while Ratâ€™s Nestâ€™s vast, labyrinthine passages bring something new to the â€œHaloâ€ multiplayer experience: an indoor vehicle paradise, strongly influenced by the Campaign mode, ideal for big team battles. Finally, Foundry is the ultimate Forge map â€“ players can edit every single object in this voluminous industrial warehouse, place stairways, walls, bridges and tunnels to create an entirely new play space and build almost any kind of map they can think of.
The image above, as well as the two below, are provided by Microsoft. Click them and you can see on Zooomr the original 14-megapixel screenshots.
Rock Band went on sale at midnight this morning, with midnight events all over the country. In West Hollywood, they had Hellanor Brozevelt performing at Best Buy, while the New York launch was at the MTV Store. Looks like the game is dissapearing fast from store shelves, though Amazon still has the PS3 bundle (they are sold out of the Xbox 360 bundle), while Best Buy is sold out of the Xbox 360 bundle and the PS3 bundle.
While you wait to get the game, watch this video from MTV of one woman trying to play all four instruments (2 guitars!) by herself:
Joystiq aggregates all the reviews for you, and seperately they even aggregate the negative reviews of the game. The consensus seems to be that the game is definitely a hit, but certain missing features (one of which is coming in a patch soon) hurt the game. The main thing to remember: This game is only fun played with friends, so don’t get it if you’re a loner. Guitar Hero might be more for you.
Looks like I’ve got a decent shot at getting Rock Band. Referral income is $88 so far, a little more than half the way to getting the bundle. If you are going to buy the game or accessories for it (or Guitar Hero), be sure to use this page to start your order.
Maybe I’ll head down to Best Buy to demo the game. My wife is getting really excited about getting it. Looks like we’ll be fighting over the drums.
Here’s everything that’s built up over the weekend, so we aren’t still talking old news on Wednesday:
For one week, the Xbox 360 was actually bigger in Japan than Sony’s PS3, with the 360 outselling the PS3 as sales increased from the previous week by about 500%. It’s not Wii-level (and the low-selling PS3 isn’t that hard to catch), but it’s a start towards gaining a real foothold in Japan. On the other hand, PS3 sales in the US are up double so far this month after the console’s price dropped to $400.
Another Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget: Wedding Tip of the Day, the perfect Gadget if you’re planning for a wedding. Every day, tips and ideas for planning your big day, with eight different styles to customize the look.
Zumobi, a company spun out of Microsoft Research, has announced that its new UI for mobile devices will be released December 14. Zumobi works by displaying up to 16 “tiles” in a grid of web services and content on a single screen, allowing users to choose quickly from the available sites. It’s a complicated but supposedly genius idea, one we’ll have to play around with to fully understand.
Apple finally admitted that porting its UI over to Windows is stupid, and has fixed a lot of the Mac problems in the Windows version of Safari. Windows can now be resized from all edges, not just a little thing in the corner, and ClearType font rendering can be used instead of Apple’s patented EyeStrain technology, among other fixes.
Proposing marriage is hard. I mean, it’s been done to death for so many years and by so many people, and you want to be original and romantic, that deciding on a method of proposing can be tough. One Halo 3 player decided that the best way to do so with his girlfriend of two years, also a Halo player, was to propose in the game itself.
Thanks to the Forge map editor, you can place objects on a map and then hold matches in your custom map. Moviesign set up a large weapons cache in the shape of “MARRY ME?” and led girlfriend furtive penguin to the spot, promising a powerful weapon was waiting there. Oh, there were weapons, but I think she was more than a bit surprised.
Me and the missus, we dated for over four years, so I proposed to her in a more traditional romantic way, showing up at her doorstep with flowers, champagne and the ring. I figured that she had been waiting so long that if I surprised her, she might have a heart attack, and I think I was right, since even as is she was overwhelmed. Guess I picked the right gal.
Today is the five-year anniversary of Xbox Live, and Microsoft is celebrating by giving away some free stuff. All Xbox 360 owners should head onto Live today or tomorrow before midnight and download Carcassonne, a board game for 1-5 players either on your console or Xbox Live (you can read more about it here). Players in Korea get Hexic 2 instead.
Also, Microsoft is giving 500 free Microsoft Points to users who have been active on Live since 2002, a $6.25 gift for the early adopters.
Along with the freebies, Microsoft is announcing a new section to Xbox Live which will launch December 4 (confirmed as the day of the Fall update). Xbox Originals will sell games from the original Xbox for download for 1200 Microsoft Points, or $15. The initial lineup of games will include the legendary original Halo, Psychonauts, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Fable, Indigo Prophecy, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex, and Burnout 3, with the final list of launch titles still being finalized.
I spoke to PR and they explained to me that these are almost exactly the same code as the original games, meaning the downloads are about the same size they were on the original DVD9 disks. Games will run between 2 and 7 gigabytes, using the same backwards compatibility as if you had just popped in the disk itself. That means the feature is not an option for Xbox Arcade consoles without a hard drive, and 20-gig drives will have to manage drive space to hold these.
Games will support Xbox Live if they originally did, and there are no Achievements. Microsoft has a page listing known issues with Originals titles, including occasional framerate issues, HDMI 720p not supported for PAL users on Psychonauts and random audio static in Fable. Additional unnecessary content, like game trailers and demos for others games, have been removed, so selecting them will cause the game to crash.
This December’s Xbox Live update will include a new feature that lets parents keep their kids from playing too many darn video games. The Family Timer, similar to a feature in Windows Vista, lets the parent set a certain number of time per day or per week that the kid can play games, and will cut them off when they reach their limit. Parents will love it, kids will hate it, and the kids will try figure out a way to get around it.
Your wedding anniversary? Great password, mom. Never would have guessed that!
One thing Microsoft could have done was integrate it with Vista, letting you update the settings from a connected PC. This would help encourage parents to set up the 360 as a Media Center Extender, too. Of course, maybe Microsoft wants to encourage parents to pick up a controller and become gamers, so there are good arguments on both sides.
I am getting kind of desperate for Rock Band. The game looks amazing, and all I want is that giant box in my home, me on guitars, the wife with the microphone, having a great time. With 11 days to the game’s release, I am stuck with one simple fact of life: I can’t afford it. So, I’ve got a plan: Earn it through referral fees.
The plan is that every Amazon referral related to Rock Band or Guitar Hero will count towards the purchase, and once I reach $169.99 in related referral earnings, I’ll buy the game. So, in order to do so, I just have to link to the products from here, and encourage you guys to, if you are already going to buy the game, to do so from this here blog. If you don’t want it, don’t waste your money for my six percent, but if you’ve been waiting for Rock Band, make this blog part of your route to getting it.
Before this has even started, I’ve earned $6 from someone who purchased the Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Bundle for the Xbox 360. So, that’s 3.53% of the way towards my goal. If you want to help, buy something from this list:
Microsoft and ESPN announced an agreement to bring ESPN content to the Xbox Live Video Marketplace. The deal will bring both sports events and original programming to the video download store, starting with select NCAA college basketball and football games. The NCAA games will cost $3, or 240 Microsoft Points, in standard definition, and $4.50/360MSP in high defintion.
Original ESPN shows, like Madden Nation, the X Games, World Series of Poker, The Contender and others will cost the standard Xbox Live rate of $2/160MSP for standard def and $3/240MSP for high def. After the break, the full press release.
If you’re getting bored and are desperate for something new to play, and find your wallet sort of empty, you can get a totally free game off Xbox Live Arcade, called Yaris. Yaris is the name of one of Toyota’s cars, and the game is a promotional vehicle for the, er, vehicle, which is why it’s free. It’s not the greatest game in the world, but for the price, it’s pretty worth it.
Yaris is a racing action game. You drive down a mostly tubed corridor, with a tentacle arm attached to your car that shoots at obstacles and enemies. You need to collect coins, kill enemies and thus earn the money to buy better weapons, shielding and vehicle types. If you get into it, and get to be good at it, you could really enjoy the game. Either way, it’s free, it has Achievements and online play, so there’s no good reason not to give it a shot.
Little Gamers, a popular seven-year running webcomic, has gotten an official game, and that game runs entirely on Microsoft’s XNA Framework. That means that the game will run on your PC, and with an XNA Creator’s Club subscription, the same version can run on an Xbox 360. A current build is available for download, a prototype was a finalist in the Dream, Build, Play! competition, and here’s a video of it in action:
The game is a 2D action sidescroller which borrows many gameplay elements from action games such as Metal Slugs and Madness Interactive and mixes them with the webcomic feel and humor of Little Gamers to create a unique cute but deadly combination.
During his travel all around the world, in 16 action-packed levels, Mr. Madsen, the main protagonist, will face many enemies like hippies, zombies, pirates and ninjas. Every weapon held by your opponents (and yes, that includes bosses) can be picked up and used to defend yourself; that includes more than 30 weapons available for the player throughout the game. Many power-ups will be available during his journey, ranging from beer to the deadliest flower ever known to humanity.
Microsoft never stops registering domains, and the newest ones certainly seem like they could be hinting at plans for the software company. Gary Price has the full list, but the three interesting categories are:
MSDNchallenge.com, Ilovemywebsitechallenge.org, Ihatemywebsitechallenge.org and associated other domains – Microsoft could be preparing another one of its contests for developers, web developers, people who just love or hate websites, or all of them. Microsoft runs enough challenges, and these domains are too specific, that you can be sure there’s something in the works.
Eight different vboxint and vboxprod domains – What the hell is VBox? I’m throwing a wild guess as to something video production related.
xtival.com, xtival07.com and three others – An Xbox festival? If so, it’ll be tough holding X-Tival 07 with only two months left.
Halo players, there’s a special treat for you today in honor of Halloween. A new game type, called Infection, is available only today on Xbox Live through 3 am. In Infection, players are either humans or zombies, and whenever a human is killed, he becomes a member of the Zombie team. Check it out, because they’re not sure when or if they’ll bring it back (and it counts as a ranked game).
There’s even a variant where the zombies are a bit slower, but invisible, and another where the humans have very limited ammo and are destined to fail under the zombie onslaught.
The Doritos contest to have fans design a free Xbox Live Arcade game has reached its final stage, and the five finalist games are available online to play right now. You have to install the “3D Life Player” browser plugin to run them, but if you do, you’ll be able to vote on your favorite, with the winner being turned into a full-fledged Live Arcade title this summer (and the online versions will remain available. The five games are:
â€œDoritos Dash of Destructionâ€ by Mike Borland of Sewickley, PA
In â€œDoritos Dash of Destruction,â€ players can choose to control one of two characters. Either a hungry T-Rex chasing a delivery truck loaded with crunchy Doritos tortilla chips or the delivery truck driver, racing to escape the clutches of the T-Rex. As the chase begins havoc ensues as the lumbering dino barrels through the completely destructible city resulting in an intense game of cat-and-mouse.
â€œDoritos Presents UDC: Ultimate Dodgeball Championsâ€ by Devan Moore of Panama City, FL
In this futuristic dodgeball game, inspired by Devanâ€™s favorite childhood game and the intensity of Doritos, players start by creating a customized team from a handful of colorful characters. Then, using special â€œpower upâ€ features to create fire balls, teams go at it in futuristic stadiums and compete for ultimate dodgeball dominance.
3. â€œMonkeys from Mt. Doritosâ€ by Juanito Lagasco, of Algonquin, IL
In this quick-play, high-fun, retro-style game, one or more people play as monkeys that collect Doritos chips exploding out of Mt. Doritos. The more Doritos players collect, the more points they earn and the closer they get to winning. But, watch out as fellow monkeys and lurking monsters want to steal your prized Doritos chips.
â€œPBâ€™s Quest for Flavorâ€ by Jeremy Mattsen of Colorado Springs, CO
In â€œPBâ€™s Quest for Flavor,â€ PB – the gameâ€™s pill bug hero – goes on his quest for the perfect chip flavor. Throughout the game, favorite Doritos flavors are introduced as weapons giving PB unique abilities. With the strength and power of Doritos, players guide PB through a household of obstacles and enemies to successfully complete his quest.
â€œRythum Racingâ€ by Kenneth Parker of Warner Robins, GA
In this original racing game, players turn up the volume in game play as they import song files and use music to â€œdriveâ€ the game. Players race around the equalizer race track, where sounds, beats and rhythms will alter the track. Deep bass sounds for example might cause the race track to ripple, throwing the race cars up in the air while other elements of the music generate power-ups.
Voting runs through November 18, so get in there now and pick which game you’d like to be playing in the future.