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New Fable II Achievements Added for Future DLC

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New achievements will be tagging along with the upcoming Fable II DLC, See the Future, due out in May. Some of the achievements require some interesting actions, such as making love 25 times or scoring 25 groin shots. Others require you to dress in a costume and scare citizens or make them laugh.

The total count will be 250 gamerpoints.

The Nutcracker 10
Score 25 groin shots, or see another Hero do so.

The Paramour 10
Make love 25 times, or see another Hero do so.

The Concierge 30
Open all the Demon Doors in Albion, or see another Hero do so.

The Visionary 50
Take a look into the future, or see another Hero do so.

The Con Artist 25
Find all 10 of Murgo’s statuettes, or see another Hero do so.

The Howler 10
Scare five people while dressed as a balverine, or see another Hero do so.

The Ghastly Jester 10
Make five people laugh while dressed as a hobbe, or see another Hero do so.

The Repugnant 10
Disgust five people while dressed as a hollow man, or see another Hero do so.

The Gladiator 30
Score a total high score of 20,000 points or more in the Colosseum, or see another Hero do so.

The Multiplicator 20
Achieve a multiplier of 10 or more in the Colosseum, or see another Hero do so.

The Combatant 20
Defeat the necromancer in the Colosseum, or see another Hero do so.

The Fowl Player 10
Dress as a chicken and kick five chickens during the Colosseum battles, or see another Hero do so.

The Colourist 15
Collect the dyes hidden in Murgo’s magical items, or see another Hero do so.

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April 23, 2009 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Fallout: New Vegas Announced

Like this, but post-apocalyptic

Like this, but post-apocalyptic

At an event held in London, Bethesda announced the next installment in the Fallout world. Fallout: New Vegas will be released next year (2010) on PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. Obsidian Entertainment will be developing New Vegas, while Todd Howard and his team still work on a mystery project (next Elder Scrolls, please!). Bethesda’s Pete Hines has said that New Vegas will not be a sequel to Fallout 3.

Unfortunately that’s all the information that was released from the event. As soon as more information is released, I’ll be jumping on it. In other-words, Ill be glued to Twitter for the next few weeks.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Interview: James Silva, Creator of The Dishwasher

The Dishwasher was originally an XNA game for Microsoft’s “Dream, Build, Play” competition and became one of the winners. How did it make the jump over to a full fledged Xbox Live Arcade game?

It was a neat, sometimes baffling, sometimes frustrating process.  Unlike 99% of XBLA titles, the game is powered by XNA, so to bridge the gap and add in all of the XBLA functionality, they gave me this library called Extensions for Arcade so that I could implement things like Leaderboards and Achievements.  We had to get a bit creative about implementing localization and making sure the right legal warnings pop up in the right territory.  And a lot of the tools for XBLA development were very command-line-eriffic (like for themes), so I had to nerd out a bit.  All in all, it was a lot of work and a lot of fun, which doesn’t really make it work, does it?

Now that The Dishwasher has been officially released on XBLA, how has the attention been for you so far?

The reception on The Dishwasher has been amazing!  People have been thanking me for making the game, and I want to tell them that that’s not how it should work; I’m supposed to be the one thanking them for buying it!

How was it working with Microsoft? Were they very obtrusive? Did they add or taking away anything from the game?

XBLA games have a very specific list of requirements about menu systems, behaviors, and bugs (or lack thereof).  Nothing on that list conflicted with my vision for the game, and overall Microsoft was just great to work with.  Right from the get-go, they were very clear that it was still my vision; they’d be there to make recommendations, but The Dishwasher was still my baby.

That said, they did recommend I put in the Practice Room.

What was the length of the development cycle like from concept to completion?

From concept it was about 5 years–I had the idea while working as a dishwasher and going to community college.

The whole XNA project took just over two years, from the first line of code to passing certification.

The games story is told through a scrolling comic strip, how did you decide to go with that style?

While I’ve never really been a collector, I’ve always had a thing for the concept of the graphic novel.  I used to draw comics when I was a little kid.  I’ve never been particularly good at it, but then again, I guess when you make a decent game, people can forgive less-than-brilliant comics.

The Dishwasher definitely has some dark humor to it. Where did you get the idea for the Dishwasher characters and the game in general?

There are a lot of influences and a lot of archetypes.  In terms of thematic influences, here’s a nod at The Crow, Tim Burton, Versus, The Matrix, and Edward Gorey.  It’s delicious macabre exuberance!

Was The Dishwasher the first game you’ve made or do you have a bunch of games saved on a hard drive somewhere?

I’ve got 2 games on Community Games: ZSX4 Guitarpocalypse and ZP2K9.

Do you have plans to support The Dishwasher in the future? Are you working on any other games?

I’m pipelining!  I don’t have any concrete release plans set out, but I’m still playing with XNA, and I’ve got no less than 3 projects that need finishing right now.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Feature | Leave a comment

Crystal Defenders Review (XBLA)

Crystal Defenders has been released on a number of consoles now, iPhone, PC, DS, Wii, and now it comes to the Xbox Live Arcade. This release by Square Enix has the gameplay style of a tower defense game but with a Final Fantasy theme slapped onto it. The game comes with three modes, an interesting amount of units to deploy, and a level of challenge that is oddly addicting.

If you’re unfamiliar with tower defense games, you strategically deploy units on a map to take out waves of enemies while collecting currency to upgrade your units or to deploy new ones. Crystal Defenders follows that description completely. You’ll battle on 12 different maps, though really there’s only 6 since every map has an alternative advanced version. The normal maps have only one path while the advanced maps usually have two with less space for your units. If an enemy reaches the end of the path it will take away one of your 20 crystals, and in some cases multiple crystals.

As far as the selection of units go, you’ll have ground units and then some that will attack both ground and air. The units look like they were taken straight out of a Final Fantasy game on the Super Nintendo. They range from a soldier, different types of mages, thief, archer, and many more including crystals you can deploy to increase certain stats of nearby units. If you feel like you’re about to lose, you can scroll up or down in the unit selection menu to choose a summon. The summons were taken from a plethora of Final Fantasy games and will either deal a massive amount of damage to the enemies on-screen or buff your units for that turn.

Graphically it does look a little rough. It looks like this game belongs on a hand-held. Played on a bigger screen it looks pixely and doesn’t seem like it was scaled up very well . There isn’t a whole lot of music to listen to in the game, but what is there fits right in with the game.

The pacing of the game is rather slow. Going from wave 1-30 can soak up some time since you need to decide how you’ll set up for the next wave. Enemies will walk slowly from point A to point B while your units hack away at them. There is a fast-forward button so if you’re confident about you’re current setup for that wave, you can go ahead and zoom through. As soon as I found this button, I didn’t sit through another slow wave again.

It’s weird that Crystal Defenders turned out the way it did. Games with the title of Final Fantasy or games baring a similar theme have an expected level of quality to them. This is not one of them. The challenge is oddly addicting and the theme does have some charm, but if you’ve played one level you’ve pretty much seen the whole game. The twelve levels look remarkably similar and there isn’t much enemy variety. The only thing you can do is place units on a map, upgrade them for more attack power and reach, then hope for the best. While the game can be fun, there is little to no reward for any of it.

Crystal Defenders is available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 Microsoft points ($10).

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Review | Leave a comment

Peggle Review (XBLA)

peggle_headerPeggle was originally a flash game that was released by PopCap games a while ago. Along the way they’ve released different versions such as Peggle Nights. Now it comes to the Xbox Live Arcade to wonderfully grace our televisions. This release of Peggle will have four single player modes along with three multiplayer options. Whether you’re familiar with Peggle or not, this is one game that is sure you keep you coming back for more.

The concept of Peggle is very simple. You shoot a ball from the top of the screen and hit as many pegs on the way down as possible. Lining up your shots is key as you’ll need to make some tricky shots by bouncing the ball off of walls or other pegs. The object is to eliminate all orange pegs or blocks by hitting them. If you happen to land the ball in the moving hole at the bottom you’ll receive a free ball. It’s a lot of fun just dropping a ball into a bunch of pegs and seeing how it plays out. A lot of times it will play out in a lot of cool and neat ways.

Peggle is full of character and is sure to put a smile on your face in one way or another. When you beat a level, not only will you be honored by seeing the best phrase ever, “Extreme Fever”, but you’ll also hear a choir bust into song. After the last orange peg has been hit, the ball will move in slow motion as it makes its way down to the bottom where bonus point slots lay.

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There is a number of modes for you to play, Adventure, Quick Play, Master Duel, Challenge, as well as some multiplayer modes. The single player modes have basically the same concept, while multiplayer modes will have different people taking turns to get the highest score.  When you start up a game you’ll have the option to choose from 10 unique characters, each having their own special ability. The abilities range from a super guide, to flippers and multiballs. They come in handy in the later levels where orange pegs may be difficult to reach. Abilities can be activated when a special green peg is hit, usually a couple in a level.

Ultimately I can’t really say anything bad about Peggle. It’s an undeniably addicting game that’s extremely easy to pick up and play. The only flaw I’d say it really has is it being a little too difficult on some levels, but even saying that there’s always some way to easily take care of a not-easily-accessible orange peg by using a different ability or by attacking it from a different angle. Any version of Peggle is recommended, but the release for Xbox Live Arcade is no slouch and will keep you coming back for more.

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Review | Leave a comment