8 Years of XBLA

This November marked the 8th year since XBLA was launched on the Xbox 360. The wide range of exceptional titles to launch on the service is the main reason the Xbox was my lead system last generation; I have purchased over 50 titles from XBLA which is an average of around 6 games per year. What started out as a means to download Geometry Wars has come a long way since that faithful day in 2005, but here we are. Below are some of my favorite memories/games from the service:

Cloning Clyde: This quirky game was the first downloadable title I absolutely fell in love with on XBLA. I got so good at it that I eventually broke into the top 10 all-time scores on the leaderboard, a feat I have never or will never again accomplish in a video game. The premise of the game is simple: use different clones of Clyde to reach the end of the level. For example, rock clydes sink in water to block a suction drain while chicken Clydes can fly to reach a hidden switch. Yes, chickens can fly (sort of). NinjaBee is a great little developer and I was glad to see how well the Keflings games did for them

TotemBall: What a piece of trash. Looking back this was Microsoft’s first real “Kinect” title and man was it terrible. The Xbox Live Vision Camera (which I bought) attempted to read your hands as you controlled a ball without the aid of a controller. It simply didn't work and I struggled to finish the first level.

O look, it's TotemBall being awful

Schizoid: As I skimmed through my XBLA titles on the 360 this is the game that inspired me to create this blog. It never garnered the love that other indie titles on the platform would later get, but it was a blast to play. Just like the recent “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons”, each stick controlled an on screen character (aka neon lobster). Have fun trying to avoid enemies and collect the correctly collected pellets with each character. I am pretty sure my brain has yet to recover.

Galaga: The only title I stayed up waiting to download at 3am or whatever ungodly time new titles appear on the East Coast store. I have fond memories of setting the high score on the Galaga machine at my summer camp back in the day, which was the reason I stayed up to download this classic piece of nostalgia. I never did crack the top of the leaderboards in this version; younger me would be embarrassed.

Marathon 2 Durandal: Unable to control my anticipation for Halo 3 I downloaded Marathon 2 back in 2008 to hold me over. You WILL get lost in these intricate and massive levels, but the game supported online co-op and wound up being a lot of fun to play. It’s basically Halo before Halo was Halo, and fans of the Master Chief will certainly recognize the game’s logo. At the time it seemed like a no brainer that the other two titles in the series would make their way to Microsoft’s downloadable service eventually but they never did. Here’s to an Xbox One release.

WHERE ARE THE TERMINALS!

Uno: Remember when XBL games were only $5? Another gem from 2006, the game of UNO wound up being a sleeper hit after debuting on the X360 seven years ago. Apparently playing UNO in the nude is/was a big deal. Draw four!

Hexic: The post-launch game drought is a major bummer for every new console owner; owners of the Xbox One and PS4 are getting ready to enter hibernation as they wait for Titanfall and Infamous 2. Thankfully Xbox 360 owners had this pack-in title to entertain them. I vividly remember launching Hexic after rage quitting a multiplayer game of COD2 on more than one occasion. Since it took me months to create a cluster of black pearls and “win” Hexic, this pack in title was the perfect game to hold me over until Oblivion came out in March of 2006. For some odd reason MSFT never made this title available to download. If your HDD broke (which mine did), there goes Hexic.

Dust An Elysian Tail: I fell in love with Dust, Fidget and the world of Falana almost as soon as the game started. The fluid combat and easy to execute combo system makes Dust one of if not the best 2D side-scroller of recent memory. I am ashamed to admit that I never actually finished the game, but the time I spent with it was wonderful. I need to re-play this one soon.

Braid: The late great Ryan Davis gave this classic a 5 star review back in 2008 and I would have to agree. Braid challenged me in ways I never thought a 2D side-scroller could while constantly tweaking the time shifting mechanics to keep levels interesting. The Witness will be the first game I play once I pick up a PS4.

Die Goomba

Geometry Wars Retro Evolved: In the beginning, there was Geometry Wars. There’s not much to say about this one, but I remember not thinking much about the demo in PGR2 at the time. After garnering a large buzz I hooked my X360 up to the internet for the first time in order to download this and wasn't disappointed. While I never got very good at the game (videos like this still make my head spin), Geometry Wars is the quintessential dual joystick shooter. While Geometry Wars Galaxy for the Wii was a worthy sequel, Geometry Wars 2 remains the pinnacle of the franchise. With the death of Bizarre Creations the future looks bleak for this franchise.

Notable Mentions: Assault Heros, Limbo, Duke Nukem 3D, Smash TV, Spelunky, Pac-Man: Championship Edition, Trials HD, Keflings, Ikaruga

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Countdown to E3 2009

  






With the biggest convention of the year right around the corner, what do you expect to see from the big 3?
I hope all of the 360 motion control camera rumors are false; the first camera failed and so will a second. I would love to see some Alan Wake, Halo ODST, Mass Effect 2 and Forza 3 gameplay footage. Last year MS dropped the Final Fantasy bomb and I wouldn't be surprised to see another big time title get announced.

Out of the Sony camp I expect the new PSP redesign to be shown off along with a slew of new titles for the system. Maybe a God of War 3/Uncharted 2 release date?

And last but not least is Nintendo. Other than maybe a new Zelda game my expectations are low for them this year. Maybe a Wii price drop in Japan?

So, what do you guys expect/want t to happen at this years E3?
P.S.: Does anyone know what Giant Bomb is doing for the event this year?

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Madden, My Reviews & Subs, Back from Break

Well, its been 19 days since my last blog. Odd, it seems like it has been much longer then that.
GB is still looking great feature wish. Reviews and videos definitely have their own personalitly to them on this site. I don't spend to much time on the forums simply because I use another site for that stuff. When I do post I like to hang around the game specific forums rather than system specifics or off-topic. And thank god this site has a dark background; I just got glasses and my vision is decreasing by the hour or so it seems. Some of those bright websites (like google) just kill my eyes.

I wanted to get that PGR4 review out and done with but alas, it is not done (I didn't even start). My wireless adapter for my 360 just stopped working so I had to figure out how to run an ethernet cable from my 360 to my computer, which is connect to my router by its own USB adapter. I'm glad that worked.

This week was Madden week and of course I forked over $60 for the annual game of pigskin. The gameplay is great but the game is a little short on the feature side. EA deiced to no even touch the SuperStar mode which was a let down. Madden I.Q. is dumb as hell and I enjoyed the Madden Moments. On the bright side Football pre-season is in full swing which means the regular season is right around the conner (and with it the end of summer).

Right now it looks like I have to continue to edit the Anvil page along with it's characters. I really wanted to make a full blown, in-dept page for every person in the city but it looks like this task will take longer then I thought it would. I also still need to boot that game back up so I can get every detail about some of the buildings. Along with this I'm playing Madden, PGR4 and still want to get back into Rome: Total War.

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Day 2 at GB

Well I just came on the site today and to my surprise there are 9,727 members. What!? How did they all find out about this place that quick? I understand now why my subs are still pending; looks like the GB staff was not ready for the rush. Speaking of Subs I sent in the request for a PGR4 page............ and then found the PGR4 page right after that. OoOpps.

Lets see what else happened yesterday.....  I came in 4th in the daily PGR4 tourney which is not bad for my first time doing one of those. Only have 1 event left in the arcade that I can't beat, that game is really starting to piss me off. Looks like it's also going to be my first game review here on GB.

Looks like I'm going to try and stay clear of the forums for a while, those things are just lawless. Why people have to suck so much and spam/troll/ruin everything good is beyond me.

I never really got into these blog things before so I'll just keep this one short:
Finished reading Things Fall Apart this morning, decent book.
Right now I'm going to watch The Bourne Supremacy, start a new book and maybe get some PGR4 time in later tonight.
I'm not going to edit this site anymore until my old Subs get accepted.
And that's all.

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First day

Well Just signed up for GB and got to work editing some of the pages.
Madden was blank so I had to add some stuff to that and they didn't even have a PGR4 page, so I had to request one of those. Site seems amazing so far; I didn't think it would be this community focused.
Well I'll just keep my first blog short and go back to blasting Lamb of God before I head to the gym. See ya.

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