Well, the Microsoft reveal of the new Xbox came and went under lackluster presentation and it seems to be my fair duty to give impressions on the event. To start, the name of the new system was a huge point of debate among the internet crowds over the past few months, ranging from numerical consistency such as the "Xbox 720" to the actual codename of the system which was, the "Dorango". There was even a rumor floating around that the new system would be called the "Xbox Infinity". This was coupled with an image that was reported to be a leaked mock up of the official logo. However, this was soon after revealed by the creator of the image to simply be a fake piece of photoshop that he felt like sharing over reddit. Score one for gaming journalism at its best.

So what is the name of this giant of the industry? This behemoth that will take the gaming world by storm later on this year? This titan that will change the way you play and think about video games? The Xbox One, of course. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "Huh. Xbox One ey? Sounds like they are trying to turn the Xbox into a dark and gritty reboot like so many comic book superheroes have been treated to over the past few years." You would be in a fair state of mind to assume so, good readers, but no. The purpose of this name is to exemplify the overall path that the Xbox has been following over the course of the 360's life span, moving towards a more unified entertainment system. The Xbox One isn't meant to be considered just a gaming device but rather the central hub of your living room. How do I know all this? Well, it was made painfully clear by the emphasis of the presenter to focus on how you could effectively change between video games, movies, music, and television simply by shouting awkwardly at your new Xbox One. Telling it such gems as, "Xbox! Television!" which prompted us to watch a few seconds of "The Price is Right" on CBS. Followed by, "Xbox! Movie!" which brought up a few clips of the first Star Trek reboot. This was no mistake as the presenter also took the time to show us how he was able to bring up Internet Explorer side by side with the screen of the movie playing. He then directed IE to the Star Trek website were he proceeded to use his smart phone as a remote control for the browser to order up a ticket to the nearest showing of Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was at this point that one of the commentators of the stream I happened to be watching noted, "Couldn’t you just do that from your smart phone directly anyway?" Yes. Yes you could, insightful commenter. You could indeed.

The fun didn't stop there, however. We were also treated to some awkward hand gestures the presenter used to show us how you could resize the screen you are currently watching and shape it to fit within your home page so you can bother with other browsing tasks as you watch whatever movie it is that you don't care enough about to focus on while sitting in your living room. Some people came out to tell us that you could use the Xbox One to watch sports and bring up an interface to show your fantasy football league stats change in real time while you "DOMINATE!" the show. Another person, some representative of CBS or Comcast Cable or whichever heartless corporation that has nothing to do with my gaming habits came on the stage to inform us that the Xbox One will be "the new water cooler" everyone will be talking about in their free time. She then proceeded to inform us that Halo will be coming to Xbox Live in the form of a new television show and that Steven Spielberg will be involved somehow. I'm not sure if he will be directing or simply producing the show as I'm not any kind of a real journalist and such facts don't concern me so much, but he clearly seemed excited about the project as his pre-recorded video speech about it suggested. I had to admit I was a little excited about it as well until I realized I would need to own an Xbox One to watch it. Oh well.

But I know what you are wondering about dear readers. You are wondering, "What about the games?" Well, "fuck games! And fuck you for asking!" was Microsoft's general response to that question. Oh, don't get me wrong readers, there were a couple of teaser trailers presented at this glamorous event, but considering how much focus Sony put on their PS4 reveal, it seemed rather weak of Microsoft to keep it so lite on the fun. I've been suggested to "keep it chill" until E3 where it's been said that Microsoft will focus more on the games but if that's the case, what the hell was the point of all this anyway?

Anyhoo, about the games. It seems Forza 5 will be a launch title for the system, so that's something. Remedy, the good folks behind the Alan Wake and first two Max Payne games teased a sort of cross over event game called Quantum Break. It wasn't confirmed and there was little information at all but from the teaser trailer it looks like it will be a cross over game with a television show in the same fashion as Defiance, the show on SyFy that crosses over with the MMOShooter of the same name. There was a teaser trailer from EA sports that had nothing to do with one sport in particular but basically showed some decent CG shots of various sports all at once, hinting that Xbox One is all about the sports! And finally there was a big hoopla about the new Call of Duty: Ghosts game. There was supposedly some actual gameplay being shown but it was all too cinematic and shot from various angles to be ACTUAL gameplay. It was basically cinematic images rendered within the game engine, which is NOT the same as actual gameplay Infinity Ward!

And that's it. Yea. Gameplay, surprisingly lacking from the revealing of a gaming console. There were a few more interesting tidbits of information that we learned after the show. For one, and perhaps the biggest thing made clear about the new system, it will not require an internet connection to always be active in order to play your games. This was, however, coupled with the news that you will need an internet connection in order for your Xbox One to work. Obviously there are some verification elements in play here. It should also be noted that the system is heavily focused on being a home entertainment system that utilizes the internet in big ways, so if you don't have a good, fast, reliable internet connection, you don't want an Xbox One. Plain and simple. Most damning of all the news brought to light, however, is the revelation from Wired.com that the Xbox One will have measures installed to block the use of preowned games. It seems that all games for the system require the user to install them on the HDD, exactly the way a PC requires you to do. The games are then linked to your Xbox Live account, much the way Steam links games to your account in order to download and enjoy them on your PC (seeing a pattern here). Microsoft has confirmed that there will be a system put into place that will allow a second party to pay a certain fee (the exact figure has not been disclosed) that will allow them to install a preowned game onto their system. Basically, they are placing an unnecessary barrier that will force you to pay them more money than they deserve in order to enjoy a game you wanted to pay a little less for and were willing to chance second handing it for that right (it is your right under law to be able to buy and sell used games without these restrictions).

So, my final thoughts on the matter. One, if you aren't interested in using your console to play games, watch movies, and surf the web, don't bother with the Xbox One. It is strictly for those who enjoy having it all in One. Second, if you enjoy owning your games in a way that doesn't restrict your decisions about them in the future (buying and selling them used for instance) don't bother with the Xbox One. Three, games. Well, not much was shown but it was said during the show that there are 8 new exclusive IPs being developed as we speak. That's a lot of exclusives for the Microsoft brand. Whether or not they will be any good remains to be seen of course, however, it does sound like the big M is bringing a little more weight to the table this time around. In my opinion, it's going to take some spectacular exclusives to get me to look past the Xbox One's shortcomings. We'll see if Microsoft can deliver.

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Hello Worlds! Is an interesting game, to say the least. It's a mind-!@#$ and you're going to love it. You take on the role of, what appears to be, an octopus. I can't tell you exactly what you are because the sprite is so small it's almost a simple blip on your screen. That's less important that I make it sound, the reason your sprite is so small is because you're going to need all the screen space you can get.

Hello Worlds! Mechanics play like this: it's a typical platformer in most regards. You run, jump, collect coins, and solve puzzles. The puzzles are where the fun lies. Depending on the stage you are in, you will have anywhere from 2-4 split-screens; each with their own set of platforms set up for each of your identical characters. The trick is, any platform, wall, or spring board one character interacts with will have an effect on the others in their screen. So, basically, if one of your sprites are standing on a platform in one screen, the others will essentially be standing on it as well (in most cases, hovering in mid-air). If there is a wall blocking the movement of one, it blocks the way for all.
The mechanic is interesting and quite clever. Designed as a University of Washington computer science project, it's obvious the creator, richwsnider, was looking to put a delicious new spin of the genre. Adding to the games style, there are certain doors within each frame that allow different effects to the puzzle as you progress. Green doors will close out the frame in which the sprite exists, clearing any possible obstacles from the other character's way (and also taking with it any useful advantage the frame had inside). Blue doors will act just as a door should, leading your sprite into a different room with a new layout and more obstacles and solutions for you to master. Brown doors are your ultimate goal, as they clear the stage and allow you to move on.

Bonuses come in the form of stars that you earn by achieving any one of three simple tasks. Every stage will award you one star for completing it, but some will also offer you additional stars for collecting all coins as well as finishing the stage under a certain time limit. Collecting a certain amount of stars is necessary for progressing through the entire game, so it helps to back track in order to grab those missed stars along the way.
Graphics are very simple, and actually nothing to boast about, but this game certainly isn't about its looks. It's a challenge that takes its direction from your ability to pay attention to several things going on at once, and being able to put things in a proper order that won't always be obvious, but will surely be entertaining to achieve. The music consists of a single melody that loops over. It's very mellow with some gentle acoustic rhythm to remind you that the tone of the game isn't a fast paced race to the end. It's about taking your time to figure things out; no rush, no worry.

The game, like most flash-based, is very short, but I had an absolute blast playing it and recommend you check it out. Get the game at:
Official Capstone Site

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The conquest for the holy grail marches through the swamps of the imperial standard. Any gifted property that is broken down and forged anew must pander to the greater audience for fear of losing the bounty of a marketable name. We've seen this explored, time and time again. Every movie that has been adapted from a video game falls under this strict guideline. You must return more than you left with if you should be considered a success in this medium of shallow entertainment value. Though neither side is forgiving—for the fans that worship the name of the game are just as quick to take the head of those that do away with their beloved canon—many have come close. I for one enjoyed Mortal Kombat as a child. The first Resident Evil movie had a lot that I appreciated (namely not touching the characters from the games). Silent Hill captured many of the elements that make the games so dark and unnerving. None of these, however, managed to have me walking away from the experience feeling like I did when I originally played the games though. Like the memory of a special place once visited as a child. Growing up and feeling secure in a memory of peaceful moments, those wild adventures, or the tamed desire to call this place “home”. Returning to such a harbor rarely, if ever, sustains those emotional ties. As this place that once held your heart and soul is now just another spot in the world that changes on a daily basis. You must continue and carry the enduring burden in your heart as you know, so much as you have ever known, it just isn't the same.

Inspired by the events revolving around this story: http://bit.ly/adf4iH

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What happens when Mario realizes the world around him isn't real? Let's find out.

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Hot Ninja Moon Moon is as much fun as strangling a batch of cuddly puppies while your girlfriend watches on in horror, hoping that someone will come along soon and respond to her cries for help. Yes, it's that good. The game is a reboot of a 2008 title by the same name. It's essentially a throw back to the Ninja Gaiden style of gameplay. You jump, miss the jump, then jump again. You do this 100 times, then you scream and punch holes in the wall. If you're lucky, you'll eventually make that jump and miss the one right after it, only to start over from the jump that you enjoyed so much to begin with.
The game isn't all puppy murder and wall fisting though. There's actually some sort of collecting involved too. Odd, donut shaped coins wait for you at the far corners of the screen, just begging for you to make it across that cavern of doom to touch them and stuff them in your bag. What's the point of collecting these golden poke holes? I have no clue, but I know I want them.

Graphics: Retro
Music: More retro
Gameplay: Super retro
Funfactor: Retrotastic!

Get the game here: Newgrounds

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It appears we won't be enjoying Playdead's beautifully rendered 2D platformer Limbo anytime soon. As Joystiq reports that Playdead assures them, it will not be coming to PC or PS3. The company has an exclusive deal to bring the game to Xbox Live Arcade, and that won't be changing anytime soon. So, if like me, you've been looking forward to playing this game, keep hoping.

Source: http://www.joystiq.com/2010/05/28/playdead-limbo-not-coming-to-ps3-or-pc/

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Castaway, by Likwid games, takes you away to a tropical island, where survival is found at the tip of your sword, and from the help of a few combat critters along the way. For those that have a fondness for the old school console RPGs of the SNES and Genesis days, this game rings true to the style that you loved so much as a kid (or possibly an adult).

The setting is simple. You wake up to find that you've washed ashore of a mysterious island. Attempting to get your bearings, you stumble upon a strange creature that takes a liking to you for no reason what-so-ever. This little weirdo becomes the first, and most unique, of your new pets. Pets, in the game, act much like they do in your typical MMO. They follow you around and act as allies in battle. Pets level at the same rate you do, and receive the exact same amount of experience per kill as well. While pets are generally weaker than the main character (due to being unable to equip weapons and armor), their help is essential to survival in this strange new land. While your first pet happens to be the only kind of his species in game, you will eventually find yourself with a variety of pets, as each species of enemy creature on the island has the potential to drop eggs for you. Upon acquiring an egg, you can place them in a hatchery that will require a certain amount of time for them to mature into fully combat-ready status. The type of creature you are trying to raise will determine the amount of time required for hatching. For example, the first enemy you encounter in the game will drop and egg that requires 20-minutes to hatch, while the Scorpions from a later area will require a full hour to hatch. Plenty of eggs from each creature will drop during your travels, which leads me to one of the biggest nuisances in the game, pet death. When a pet dies (any pet), it's permanent, and extremely frustrating. You will often find yourself grinding a new pet for a good hour just to get them close enough to your level to be of any use, only to have them die after a few hits during an ambush. While you are able to hatch up to four different eggs at one time, the fact that you must still raise your pets level before it can truly help you during battle will push you away from an overall enjoyable experience.
The camera view if from an isometric angle, and as such, the standard gaming mechanics apply. You attack by clicking once to choose your target, and a second time to initiate combat. Once in combat, you and your pet will surround the enemy and dole out attacks until victory is assured. At this time you have the option of using skills based in either straight forward attacks or elemental based magic. Typical skills use up no MP or other source of energy, rather are only limited to the amount of time it takes to recharge after a single use. Magic skills, while being noticeably more powerful, require the use of elemental shards as well as the limitation of a cool down time. Pets will automatically attack the same enemy you do, but they do have limited control in which you can assign them to wait in one spot and avoid combat altogether, or you can set them to attack a specific enemy on their own. If your life gets too low, you can either use a potion to raise it, or you can remain stationary and it will replenish slowly over time. Pets, on the other hand, require wild berries to replenish life. This is a bit of a draw back, but there are plenty of wild berry drops from creatures.
Graphics are very similar to the SNES era of gaming. Simple yet colorful, they bring a nostalgic joy to your experience that was a special highlight. The isometric view adds a nice touch to the style of the game, giving it a very Diablo like feel, however, the combat is much too slow to compliment this aspect of the game. A great touch is the fact that armor, shields, and weapon upgrades change the look of your avatar throughout the game. Something that may seem small overall, but has a definite effect on your sense of growing power. Music is very mellow and perfect for the setting of the island. Unfortunately, there is only a single tune that plays for all areas. Understandable given the small size of the game, but still disappointing none the less.

Overall, the game is definitely a plus in my book. Not without its flaw, of course, but still an enjoyable throwback with modern elements.

Get the game at:

Likwid Games
Armor Games

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