[Update 2] New Xbox Experience: well known Avatars!

Update 2: With more and more people eeking their way online, I just wanted to show a few more members – their avatars and images have been added below.

Update 1: Just as I was about to post a few more avatars, I noticed that many of the links pointing to the avatars below have gone dead. I don’t know if this is just general website maintenance going on, or if Microsoft doesn’t want people spreading the word, just yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’ll leave all of these “Red X’s” here in hopes the images will come back – and if they do, then you can expect us to uncover even more avatars of famous Xbox’ers!

Here are just a few examples of Avatars of well known Xbox Live members (left to right, top to bottom): Major Nelson, Trixie360, e, KP, KiKi Kat, Don Gorgon, CPaladino, Bastelyon, and Stalalem. UPDATE: just added 12 more: DeaconBlade 360, editer, DarkJediHunter (Xbox Dad), Godfree, JVB, litheon, morgon, JesseAlexander (co-executive producer of Heroes TV series), Mush xx, Shadowed Ghost, Treit and True, as well as SenseiRAM. I’ve been insanely busy with work and family stuff lately (family visiting from out of town!)… so I just wanted to give everyone a cool little preview of the levels of customization available in the new Avatar system of the New Xbox Experience. Enjoy!

Don't forget: GLaDOS is Still Alive… October 22nd!

Xbox.com released an interesting piece for the press today. I won’t waste too much time, but the point is: Portal: Still Alive launches in six days! I’ll see if I can dig up any other information, like when it’s coming to PSN. Here is the content from the press release:

You are invited to return to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center this Wednesday, October 22 at 9 a.m. GMT (2:00 a.m. PDT) via Xbox LIVE Arcade. Due to the unforeseen conclusion of your last visit, all necessary precautions have been taken to ensure that โ€œPortal: Still Aliveโ€ is a sanitary, objective, and mostly non-lethal testing environment.

In addition to the original award winning first-person puzzle experience, Aperture Science is proud to provide 14 new challenge maps exclusive to Xbox LIVE Arcade. Six advanced maps will also be provided to help guide you along the way.

Though prior test subjects proved to be unstable and may have presented false information, Aperture Science is pleased to inform you that your cake is indeed waiting for you and that the Weighted Companion Cube misses you in your absence.

Please review the following incentivizing memorandum:

Your prompt compliance is appreciated and will once again help us help you help us all.

Download the audio clip from GamerscoreBlog: http://media.libsyn.com/media/gamerscoreblog/GLaDOS-msg.mp3

Better Know a Gamer: Issue #17: Deadly Cyclone

First, let me start by saying that’s been over 3 months since our last Better Know a Gamer. Not for lack of trying, but for some reason, people are too shy to answer a few questions here! Meanwhile, I’m sure people are killing themselves to get on to Trixie’s spotlight segment on Inside Xbox! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would simply say “what can you do” – but I know exactly what you can do! If you are willing to answer a few questions, or if you want to nominate someone you know, please use this form to nominate somone to BKAG!

Alright, enough of a plug, let’s get down to business!

Nu: What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
GT: Deadly Cyclone. I am a student at Iowa State University and our mascot is the Cyclone, so my gamertag evolved from that.

Nu: Where are you from?
Born in San Diego, CA, but grew up in Iowa. I now live in Ames, IA.

Nu: Is this where I get to say I know someone from Iowa, finally!? How old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
I am 22 and a 5th year senior in Marketing at Iowa State University. My hobbies include gaming (of course), watching movies, TV, listening to music, and running my gaming blog GamePlay Unlimited.

Nu: How long have you been gaming in general?
Well casually since the original GameBoy and Sega Genesis. I started playing on a regular basis around the time the N64 released, and even more when the original Xbox launched.

Nu: How long have you been a 360 owner?
Since launch. I waited 18 hours in a Wal-Mart customer service department to get one of two Premium systems they had.

Nu: 18 hours? In Wal-Mart? That’s dedication. What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
Not really a single moment, but just gaming with friends. It is nice to get on and play with friends after a stressful day.

Nu: Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?
It may seem easy to some, but the achievement in Halo 3 where you have to splatter someone on a mongoose. That achievement was difficult for me to get, I ended up getting it randomly one day.

Nu: To be honest, I don’t still don’t think that I have that achievement? Are you currently working toward any achievements?
Not really, just mainly playing through games. In a few weeks with the new games there will be some good achievements to get.

Nu: What game(s) are you playing the most now?
Well on the Xbox side, I just started Lost Odyssey and have been playing some Duke 3D and Halo 3. On the PS3 side, the LittleBigPlanet beta took up a lot of my time recently.

Nu: Not fair! Even though there were a few hundred thousand keys floating around, I never managed to get my hands on one! What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?
I like mosty rap/hip hop, some rock, and a bit of other genres. I hate country though ๐Ÿ˜€ . Some of my favorite bands/artists are Incubus, Ludacris, Eminem, Talib Kweli, Nas, T.I., Linkin park, etc.

Nu: Diggity. Nothing wrong with a broad taste in music. And let your inhibitions go with a little taste of Cowboy Troy and tell me you don’t like country! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
I usually change it every now and then when some good pics come out.

Nu: What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?
The Xbox.com Forums for sure, behind that Unscripted 360.

Nu: What game are you looking most forward to in 2008?
Hmm, there are a few including Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, LittleBigPlanet, Gears 2, and Fable 2.

Nu: Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?
Not an overall favorite, but some of my favorites are Star Wars KOTOR, The Halo series, the Half-Life Series, Diddy Kong Racing, and Max Payne.

Nu: I was the only person I know who had to get Max Payne 2 on launch day. Still hoping this big movie deal brings back a third installment! Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
I usually play with my GPU co-founder StingJR, and sometimes his brother JRay023.

Nu: Any parting words for the droves of readers?
Visit GamePlay Unlimited for all your gaming news needs! (Shameless self-promotion ๐Ÿ˜€ ) Also thanks to NuAngel and WinBreak for featuring me!

AND THAT’S ALL WE WROTE! Another one down, and hopefully many, many more to come.

New Xbox Experience November 19: Game Channel Details

You’d better be living under a rock if you haven’t heard that November 19th is the official release date for the New Xbox Experience.

In order to help you better understand changes coming to the dashboard, I got my hands on a Document that was sent to developers in late August and early September. It explained how the new “Games Channel” and Games Marketplace would work, along with the “Game In Tray” feature of the Dashboard. Today, when you select “play Game” from the dashboard blades, you see the Game-Tile of the game, along with a few achievements. With the new Dashboard, the background of the channel will change to show the game you currently have in the tray. PS3 owners know the experience very well.

This was explained in great detail to developers by using this guide, so I encourage you to take a look for just one more glimpse of what we’re getting in to.

Today in XBLA: MLB Stickball

MLB Stickball looks like a fun take on a classic. The launch date for this title has been set for a little while now, but I’m still excited to give this demo a shot. I’ve never been a huge fan of baseball games, but with just the right twist, they can become a lot of fun. As the environments change, so do the rules, just like growing up and playing ball in the streets… so this full on experience looks like it will be a lot of fun for a reasonable 800 MSPoints.

It's announced: Scene it Box Office Smash (and NXE?) 10/28/08!

On October 28, 2008, “Scene It? Box Office Smash” will be released. The game that is supposed to involve heavy use of the “New Xbox Experience” and the Avatars has been dated. Does this mean the “NXE” will debut before then? Or will it come later, along with a title update for the game to add the enhanced feature? Only time will tell, but this has been the title people have been waiting for to confirm the arrival of the NXE!

New Marketing Vocabulary and Images from Microsoft

The holiday marketing season is almost upon us. As soon as the vampires go away, the trees and fake snow will come out. Along with a few new marketing gimmicks from Microsoft. “Jellies,” “Arcs,” “Circle Connection Swirls,” and “Less Tech, More Fun” – if you don’t know these terms, it’s something to look out for in an Xbox 360 aisle near you.

On September 23rd, Microsoft released a little bit of information to the partners about new advertising techniques and methods, trying to show the lighter and more family oriented ideas behind the Xbox 360. As seen above, these new “Jellies” logos will provide an attractive candy-like image to your “Rated E For Everyone” displays.

You can now download the entire 58 page document (31.0 MB) in all its straight-from-Microsoft PDF glory. If you’re looking for a reduced file size one (may not open with some older versions of Adobe Acrobat), you can download this 23.3 MB that I trimmed down (file compression, not content removal!).

XNA game YoHo Kablammo rated! See the Gallery!

Only small groups know much of anything about the game Yo-Ho Kablammo! The game, as you can see above, took 2nd place in last year’s Dream Build Play contest, then disappeared. Canalside Studios own website hasn’t updated since October of 2007. However, rumblings from the underground say that the game has been passed along to Microsoft and the ESRB, gaining an “E for Everyone” rating.

From their website: “Over the seven seas, 4 infamous pirates have been pillaging, looting and causing havoc to any that cross them. Now meeting face to face they must battle each other to claim the ultimate prize of fame and glory, welcome to Yo-Ho Kablammo.

Releasing the game will be an impressive accomplishment for the team of students.

Here is a small profile from their website: “Canalside Studios has a diverse mix of students from complimentary disciplines โ€“ a blend of creative and technological expertise. Students involved with Canalside Media develop both their skills and their professionalism. Graduates from Canalside Media are experienced in the design and production process and skilled in working to client specifications and commercial deadlines.

Also, check out the gallery of images from the upcoming YoHo Kablammo!

Donate to Charity: Get 3 Free Games… sort of…

Here’s an article I overlooked! Another chance to a good charitable thing, while enjoying your Xbox 360 even more. The website ElectronicHouse.com is reporting a new Xbox 360 Family Games pack for Charity. With an MSRP of a mere $29.99, not only would you get THREE full games, but you would be supporting The Children’s Miracle Network. The article claims that 100% of the proceeds will go to the charity, and you’ll walk away with a handful of mediocre games (but who cares, maybe you can just abuse the achievements in them!?). Included are Shrek the Third, Sonic The Hedgehog, and Viva Piรฑata Party Animals. If it actually goes on sale October 7th, like the article says, I’ll be sure to pick it up and do my part to feel good, and get rewarded for it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

New Feature: Galleries! Starting with Battle-Cars!

In another effort to add just a little more flavor to the website, I will be adding galleries of games whenever possible. Our first one will start here and now, with an 11-image gallery of the upcoming PSN game, Super-Sonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle-Cars. You may have heard a thing or two about the game coming out this Thursday. So why not take a look at it?

I will be figuring out the mini-gallery feature later – sorry I can’t preview it at the bottom of the post, yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰