Better Know a Gamer: Issue #22: Mr B4

I like to hit the ground running, and continue with yet another issue of Better Know a Gamer! So here’s todays guest, a recent nominee you may have heard of “before” (my only lame joke, I promise), it’s Mr B4!

Nu: What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
My gamertag is Mr B4, the idea for the name came to me well before I had a 360. I was a part of a Halo 2 clan called the Dragon Demons with a friend of mine. Since i was single at the time, i went with the name “The Bachelor”, which I then changed to “Mr Bachelor” for no apparent reason other than I thought it was cool. Then i combined that name along with my brithdate for my hotmail email address, and after i bought my 360, i had to pick a name for a gamertag, and since mrbachelor1984 didnt work, i shortened it to MrB4, and the rest is history.

Nu: Where are you from?
I am from Cleveland, Ohio, but i live in a suburb of it called Brook Park.

Nu: Ohio and Pennsylvania! We’re neighbors! I might have some interesting news for you this summer… stay tuned! How old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
I am 24 years old, the middle child of out the 3 in my family (older brother, younger sister), and i currently work as an Independent Waiver Provider for the state of Ohio. What the title means is that i provide care and services, such as clothing, feeding, etc., for mentally handicapped children. I have been doing that for about three years now. I also am one of the hosts of a podcast called XBL Radio, and have been a part of the site for almost 2 years now.
I like to play video games, watch movies, play sports, and just hang out with my friends from time to time. A typical response for someone my age i know, but its my life, take it or leave it, lol.

Nu: Amen to that, man. And very cool doing what you can to help out in society – there will never be enough people like you out there! How long have you been gaming in general?
Oh man, since i was in kindergarten i think, when i got my first system( the NES), and beat my first game (Super Mario Bros.) Good times, Good Times.

Nu: How long have you been a 360 owner?
I have been a 360 owner since January of 2006.

Nu: What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
When i played my first madden game on current gen hardware (Xbox at the time), it was Madden 2003. I was so surprised as to the amount of content that could be in a game like that, which is the reason why i have been a fan of the series ever since then.

Nu: Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?
Let’s see, that one is tough. The time i got the 100 revives achievement for Gears of War 1.

Nu: Are you currently working toward any achievements?
As of right now, nothing comes to mind.

Nu: What game(s) are you playing the most now?
I am playing alot of Left 4 Dead and Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which are both great multiplayer games by the way.

Nu: Absolutely true! Among the most fun games to play with friends! What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?
I’m a fan of old school rock and roll, maybe some Lenny Kravitz “Are you gonna go my way”, then a little bit of Billy Squires “Everybody wants you”.

Nu: Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
I’ve only changed my gamerpic three times, so i tend to stick with one for awhile, then maybe a few months or so later i might change it.

Nu: What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?
www.xbox.com, its the only related Xbox website i go to, and thats mostly just to check my messages from friends.

Nu: What game are you looking most forward to in 2009?
I would have to say Madworld for the Wii. It’s the type of bloody, gory game that console needs to make the hardcore crowd believe in it once again.

Nu: Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?
Thats tough. I’m going to go with Final Fantasy VII for the Sony Playstation, just pure awesomeness, enough said.

Nu: Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
My fellow co-hosts of XBL Radio, Kemanswar, X3RO 9, and Silverthorne. They are already famous (wink, wink, lol) but I wanted to make them even more famous now. And also TXPaladin, i play games with him from time to time, just wanted to say hi, and say thanks for the nomination buddy!

Nu: Any parting words for the droves of readers?
Have fun, and dont take life so seriously all the time. Play some games and have some fun once in awhile.

Nu: 22 BKAG’s… check! Thanks to Mr B4 for taking part and I whole heartedly recommend XBL Radio – even if you don’t enjoy listening to podcasts, the site has some hysterical blogging!

Better Know a Gamer: Issue #21: SprayerBob

Nu: What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
“SprayerBob” – I’m not so hot at single shot weapons. I would MUCH rather hold down the trigger and spray an automatic. My friends wanted me to change my name to “Bob the Sprayer”, I thought “SprayerBob” sounded better.

Nu: I like it! Where are you from?
Allentown, PA.

Nu: I used to live so close to there! How old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
42 years old. I am an Independent Computer Consultant.

Nu: How long have you been gaming in general?
30 years?

Nu: How long have you been a 360 owner?
I purchased my 360 in May 2008.

Nu: What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
Meeting the “TheQ” clan!

Nu: Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?
Getting every Challenge completed on COD4.

Nu: Mister, you’re a better man than I! Are you currently working toward any achievements?
Nothing in particular.

Nu: What game(s) are you playing the most now?
Call of Duty 4, Left 4 Dead.

Nu: I just had my first Left 4 Dead session last night. I’m addicted. What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?
Anything, mostly classic rock, or The Grateful Dead.

Nu: Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
I change it every month or so.

Nu: What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?
www.fourzerotwo.com. Waiting for more news about playlist updates.

Nu: Gotta love how active @fourzerotwo is in the community. What game are you looking most forward to in 2009?
Call of Duty 6.

Nu: Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?
Call of Duty 4 for 360. Civilization III for PC.

Nu: Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
The members of the “TheQ” clan: Paladin5150, GerbilJammer0, Lightnin2, and of course Sil3nt Nitemare.

Nu: Any parting words for the droves of readers?
See you online!

Nu: That’s that! The 21st issue of Better Know a Gamer has been a yet another treat in meeting just one more member of our great online community. Remember to go ahead andnominate anyone you know to be featured in the next issue of BKAG. Even self nominations are accepted, don’t be shy!

Editorial: Video Game Warnings?


So I’m reading a few articles today which just seem to rub me the wrong way. The United States Congress wants to put warning labels on video games. An ESRB warning system is already in place, to warn parents and children alike of the games content, but it’s just not good enough, they say. They want health warnings now. Still, the biggest complaint comes back to the mental well being of children after playing violent games.

I am all for a game rating system, and I believe that the ESRB does a fine job. I would hope that they would be willing to stand up before congress and ask how they can make their labels better, before allowing congress to go create yet another obnoxious label to put on our games, as though they were a pack of cigarettes. What worries me most about them calling this the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 is the simple fact that they could begin warning against the “addictive nature” of video games. And you can place your bets now as to when they would tell you that you’ll get fat, like some Nutrition Facts.

I’m all for making a rating system where the warning has to take up 50% of the packaging, go nuts. But please don’t start putting wild inaccuracies and over generalized assumptions all over our games. I’m sincerely starting to wonder whether the movie industry ever actually had to go through all of the crap the video games industry is still dealing with.

Microsoft's NXE creates Sales Boom

It’s been talked about and rumored, but I think a recent article on gamesindustry.biz really did the best to talk about the recent explosion of sales Microsoft has experienced.

I often wondered how many people simply thought of the Xbox 360 as a gaming console and nothing more. Xbox Live was a multiplayer platform, and that was all. But for those of us who tinkered with the Dashboard in the past, we fell in love with movie rentals, TV show downloads, and every single part of the Xbox Live Arcade. Players would put in their game disc, and go right into what they came here to do.

I, myself, fell in love with the social platform that is Xbox Live – the entire Marketplace and the other features the Xbox 360 packs in. Since the NXE, users are being forced to stop at the dashboard and take a peek at the other offerings. And the consensus seems to be that they like what they see.

Help us make 2009 YOUR year!

It’s a new year, and we’re still doing a lot of planning around here at WinBreak central command. And while I may not have an unlimited budget or resources, I am quite interesting in learning the kinds of things people love to win! Not only that, but we want to help build the site around you. Everyone should want to be featured on Better Know a Gamer, but even if you’re a little too shy, why not have a say in the future of our fair little web property?

So why not answer a question or two over the next few days? We’ll start with these…

[poll id=”2″]

[poll id=”3″]

Thanks! We’ll keep up a few questions, and you’ll help us answer them and develop the kind of site YOU want to be a part of! The poll is open until January 18th, 2009, 6:00 PM EST.

Better Know a Gamer: Issue #20: Lil Rhymescheme


Today’s guest on Better Know a Gamer helps make this 20th edition even more special! Our 10th guest ever was The Rhymescheme. Double that number and what do you get? Why, his son, Lil Rhymescheme, of course!

Nu: What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
Lil RhymeScheme off my dads lil stands for me being ten

Nu: Where are you from?
Alabama

Nu: How old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
10 i go to school. Shooting my bb gun and playing pokemon and watching untamed and uncut.

Nu: How long have you been gaming in general?
since i was 2

Nu: Start’em while they’re young, folks. 🙂 How long have you been a 360 owner?
since it came out

Nu: What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
getting my first five friends

Nu: Are you currently “working on” any gaming goals?
yes, beating horde on gears 2

Nu: What game(s) are you playing the most now?
gears 2, sonic unleashed, mk vs dcu

Nu: I have still yet to play any of those, I can’t wait to try’em all! What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from you Xbox or when on your 360?
three days grace and linkin park

Nu: Excellent bands, sir! Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
I change up quite a bit

Nu: What game are you looking most forward to in 2009?
halo 3 recon

Nu: Ah, yes, the newly renamed ODST. Do you have an “all time” favorite game, for any console or the PC?
halo 3 for xbox 360 gears of war 2 sonic unleashed super mario 64 ds and pokemon pearl

Nu: That’s quite a few “all time favorites” – but I get the idea! Do you have any “gaming buddies” you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
The Rhymescheme & elfkillerrip.

Nu: Any parting words for the droves of readers?
Shout out to sk8er and all my friends

Nu: Thanks for joining in on the fun! I certainly hope you’re enjoying that Wii of yours… oh, wait, that’s right! Camera Vixen told us that you traded that in! Thanks for being a part of the very special 20th edition of “Better Know a Gamer.”

Remember folks, BKAG wants you and all of your friends. All we need is an email address.

Download Xbox 360 related Sounds!

Just because I have been wanting these in an easy to access place, I thought I would post this on my own site! Thanks to Major Nelson’s various blog posts and the Mobile compatible joy that is Xbox.mobi, there are a few ring tones and sound effects you can completely customize your cell phone with. Or maybe just your Windows sound scheme. Why not have the Achievement Unlock sound play every time you boot up?

Because of the difficulty that can be had tracking some of these files down as the internet changes, I thought I would bring these glorious sounds all to one place. Customize your devices to your hearts content with several well known Xbox 360 related sounds (in as many already-available formats as I could find).

Sounds from the Xbox 360:
Achievement-mp3-sound.mp3
Achievement-mp3-sound.wma

Sounds from Crackdown:
AgilityOrb.mp3
AgilityOrb.wma
HiddenOrb.mp3
HiddenOrb.wav
HiddenOrb.wma

Sounds from Fable 2:
en_US-Fable2-FanfairWood.mp3
en_US-Fable2-Harp.mp3
en_US-Fable2-PubGame3.mp3
en_US-Fable2-XPGain.mp3

NuAngel: a 2009 Xbox MVP

If you looked at the January 3rd post, it’s easy to see that WinBreak.com is still growing. But over the last year, it seems as though we have turned a few heads. I was recently notified that I was nominated, and now have officially been accepted into that sacred inner sanctum: the 2009 Microsoft® MVP Award. To have this honor is almost unbelievable. As they describe on their website: “A panel that includes MVP team members and product group teams evaluate each nominee’s technical expertise and voluntary community contributions for the past year. The panel considers the quality, quantity, and level of impact of the MVP nominee’s contributions.” My little blog, just now celebrating it’s one year existence? It’s such an honor, I am genuinely still shell shocked!

I’m still waiting on some paperwork, before I can post the official logo of my MVP status on the site, but that is a flag I will proudly fly high. I’ve wondered what it would take to be an MVP since the days of my first website and my freelance 3rd party driver design. Never did I think I would be a recognized as MVP material – I simply wanted to provide a good website, the hard to find information, and help out wherever I could. But this is truly an overwhelming honor.

Being awarded the 2009 Microsoft® MVP Award is recognition for something (or things) I did in 2008. But we’re not going to rest on our laurels, now! It’s only just beginning. A whirlwind is going to hit, this year!

It’s all thanks to you, my small but dedicated and ever growing community. In our sophomore year, here at WinBreak, we intend to make a few more contacts, build up a small swag stash, and give you even more reasons to swing by the site! 🙂

Games for Windows Live gets a standalone client


People have been asking for a stand alone Xbox Live client for as long as Xbox Live has been around. Games for Windows Live took the lead on that project, and as we saw many Xbox Live like features showing up in PC games. Still, no stand alone client. Still, Games for Windows has not really felt the success Microsoft has wanted for the platform, but shortly after the release of the New Xbox Experience came the relaunch of Games for Windows Live. When I heard this was coming, I was very excited… then I had a difficult time finding it. Now I realize why.

This client is little more than an advertising plugin for windows. You do not have any sort of friends list management. There is no method of messaging your friends. The only real power this program has is to download video game trailers and demos. It’s a nice thought, but it’s a long way from what the masses have wanted.

If you do want to check it out, it is a free to download the application for Windows Vista. User running Windows XP will need an additional hotfix. To get it working, simply install the 30MB Games For Windows Live 2.0 application, then install the 800K hotfix. If you simply want a quick visual tour of the simple program, check out our gallery of Games for Windows Live.

1 Year of WinBreak: Our stats!

In the New Year, everyone likes to give the obligatory stats article. Well, for us, it’s a little different. January 3rd 2008 was the day I launched the Repurposed WinBreak.com. Therefore, sharing my stats with you is sort of a testament to our rookie year as a new community on the web.

From the picture above, it’s clear to see we’re still one of the best kept secrets on the web. Something else also jumps out: the week of July 27th, 2008 was our biggest in the last year. So what was it that drew 14,564hits and 3,610 page views? It was one of my favorite moments in the last year. I didn’t do it for the hits, but it was the kind of article that gives everyone the warm and fuzzy feeling!

Back in 2007, the site was about computer security and didn’t have any kind of dedicated following – I was just able to generate some unique content from time to time and people would pass by the site. The site was running on a completely customized framework, using massive CSS and HTML files. It was taxing on my server, not that it mattered, that the hits were so few and far between. Still, switching to Word Press was fantastic for the server, and this was proved when we nearly quadrupled traffic between 2007 and 2008.

2007 showed 243,417 server requests with an actual 24,732 page views. 2008 garnered 260,586 hits and a satisfactory 86,725 page views. A good number of those hits came from images which were hotlinked from my site. I might have to do something about that in the future, but I don’t mind for now. This is very evident in search queries relating to articles that didn’t bring me much actual traffic.

We can see very clearly one of the articles I must have gotten an early jump on! The top 9 search queries of 2009 were:

1. soul calibur 4 limited edition, 742
2. soul calibur 4 special edition, 331
3. winbreak, 217
4. soul calibur 4 limited, 137
5. soul calibur 4, 106
6. soul caliber 4 limited edition, 88
7. soul caliber 4 special edition, 57
8. limited edition soul calibur 4, 44
9. keep it clean halo, 38

This year has been a completely insane experience, leaving for a new job right when I launched the new website – moving back and getting a different job right around the holiday season in 2008 – and overall just learning about all of the great things that bring the Xbox Live community closer together. Yeah, I tried to go multi console, but I realized today I have sold off almost all of my PS3 games and the Wii hasn’t been hooked up for over a month. I feel at home on the Xbox 360, and have even more news to come in the future to reaffirm that. Stay tuned, and let’s hope we can quadruple the traffic again this year!