Well, after playing a bit of Major League Baseball 2K9 and Fight Night Round 4 on my Xbox 360 today to unwind after a busy week, I noticed that once again the 1 vs 100 "live game show" was going on tonight and scheduled for many additional nights thereafter. After telling it to remind me when it was on (the start time for tonight was 10PM EST), I of course shut the console down (negating the reminder), had dinner with my family and watched some TV. Around 10:20ish I logged in to play some more Fight Night (it's a "make your hands tired and sore" type of game, so you need frequent breaks), when I figured what the heck, let me see if I can check out this 1 vs. 100. Never having seen the show, but being aware of it, I wasn't quite sure what I was in for, but after entering the game in progress from the lobby I quickly surmised it was a trivia game show, and for anyone who knows me, knows I love trivia, so this was right up my alley. For those who are unfamiliar with the format, essentially one person answers trivia questions against a Mob of 100 other players until the one person either decides to keep the money and quit, gets knocked out by answering a question wrong, or eliminates all of the other players and wins it all. The nifty thing about this Xbox Live version is that you're playing against tens of thousands of other players, though the one and the 100 for that round are picked from the pool, and you're also pitted against three other players locally. Tonight at its peak I believe there were some 70,000+ players in one game. So what's so special about this? Well for one, there's a live host. Two, there's all the thrill of playing against online opponents without the chance for griefing or drop outs or any of the other things that usually plague these types of games. Third, you play for real prizes, in this case Xbox Live Arcade points and Xbox Live Arcade games (tonight was Worms). Prizes are given out every game (and it's implied that in the future there will be more types of prizes). In fact, even though it's still in beta, apparently tonight was the first night that they got to give out real prizes. So really, the live host, the prizes and the shear volume of other places really gave a sense of "reality" to the game (not to mention commercial breaks!) that's often missing from even some of the best online experiences.
I remember very distinctly many years back playing online game shows like Jeopardy on the Web before they gave out under their own popularity (and a free model they couldn't sustain). Now that there's a network like Xbox Live to handle a lot of the messy details, games like 1 vs 100 as part of Xbox Live's long-in-the-works-and-finally-coming-to-fruition Primetime Channel point the way to even more possibilities and depth in our videogame experiences. Of course, that's nothing but a good thing and I'm glad to be part of it. Anyone else get to try 1 vs 100 yet? Share your experiences with us!
And a game in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0BXdgz8Ipg
Having finally had a chance to play my copy of Fight Night Round 4, one of the more interesting features to me was the "Photo Face" feature, where you use your Xbox Live Vision camera (or go through a process of accessing proper images) to capture front and side profiles of your face, then via some digimagic, it maps it to a 3D model.
As for the game itself? Still not sure if I really like it, or really, really like it. It definitely doesn't have the same "wow" factor Round 3 did (how could it? You can only surprise people once!), though it does seem improved in just about every way. So far, just a few hours in and I'm still coming to grips with the new control scheme.
Anyway, here's what my first attempt looked like (I've since changed the hair to better match how it's actually shaved):
Click here to go to the Armchair Arcade product page for Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time (2009) by Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton.
"Art" is a word frequently thrown around in the videogame world, usually in the question, "Are videogames art?". While art truly is in the eye of the beholder and it's ultimately fruitless to try and argue if videogames and art can be one in the same, from my perspective there have been precious few times when something in the videogame world struck me as beautiful and made me feel emotions normally reserved for my experiences with other forms of entertainment. It's with that idea in mind then that I come to Braid from Number None Inc., for Microsoft's Xbox 360, via Xbox Live Arcade. To me, this time manipulation puzzle platformer is art in its truest sense, from the painterly, animated graphics style to the almost transcendental instrumental music to the rather flowery and richly constructed prose. Braid is also a game of seemingly purposeful contrasts, embracing often overly tread videogame constructs like jumping on enemy heads to dispatch them (Super Mario Bros.), finding and using keys (Shamus) and puzzle pieces (Impossible Mission), and reversing time in order to meet or re-do certain goals (Blinx), all wrapped up in an achingly beautiful aesthetic that makes everything else about it quite all right thank you very much. If I weren't terrifically busy and feeling a bit guilty about best use of my own time, I'd buy the 1200 point game immediately, but I will have to make do with a taste of the free demo for the time being, a demo of a game I'll want to expose my wife to at the first opportunity so I have someone else, firsthand, to share the experience with (and an experience it is). There are already countless reviews of Braid (whose title, for those wondering, is also fitting), but here's a brief one to get you started that hints just a bit more at what the game actually offers...
I just found a fun presentation that compares the copy protection schemes used by the 360 with those of the C-64. I was really surprised at the similarities, despite the many years and "advancements" made in the interval. The presentation really gets into the guts of the C-64 and the 360; you techies and hardware hackers out there will really enjoy this. Link via maxconsole.
Joystiq is running a great post about a potentially nasty booboo at Sears--they've got a tv spot featuring some silly kid telling us how much he likes Halo and Halo 2, and how he bought them at Sears. The problem? Uh, the kid's too young to have bought those games legally, at least if we care to observe the ESRB's ratings.
Well, as part of Xbox Live Wednesday's, which will see interesting new releases on that weekday for the near future, Microsoft and Konami have released "Frogger 25th Anniversary" to Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 yesterday. I was looking forward to the enhanced visuals and the new modes, but was ultimately left a bit dissapointed.
From the official release:
Gamers ask and Xbox 360 delivers with revolutionary free upgrade for all Xbox 360 connected owners.