Xbox Originals Manuals and more

Does anyone else find it annoying when reliable resources go missing? In late 2007, when Microsoft launched the “Xbox Originals” project, allowing original Xbox games to be downloaded in their entirety and played on the Xbox 360, they also uploaded instruction manuals for those games for viewing on Xbox.com. Continue reading “Xbox Originals Manuals and more”

Download several Xbox and Xbox 360 instruction manual PDFs here!

These manuals were released on Xbox.com, free to the public. They were a batch of manuals made available as part of Xbox Originals and other programs when full sized games were being made available digitally over Xbox Live. The push to include manuals for all digital games didn’t seem to go much beyond this list, and some Originals, like Psychonauts, Crimson Skies, Fuzion Frenzy, and a few others, have seemingly been removed from the website.


Continue reading “Download several Xbox and Xbox 360 instruction manual PDFs here!”

Xbox Support Sets the Standard

I had a relatively simple question about my Xbox Live account, earlier today, but the answer just wasn’t clear to me. So I hopped on the online and asked the support rep. I had an answer within minutes and was on to the next thing. Mark was a big help. But it got me thinking… I’ve contact Microsoft’s support team a few times in the last few years, and every time they’ve been a huge help. All too often when I call one company or another for support, they find a scape goat. “It must be your internet connection,” they’ll say, or “have you replaced the batteries?” I’ve been asked. Whether it’s for a few hundred dollars in a game console, or thousands of dollars on an enterprise server, I have to work with tech support all the time, and the Xbox Support team continues to deliver the best experience. Continue reading “Xbox Support Sets the Standard”

Downloadable Xbox 360 deals for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, all week!

Major Nelson has posted a list of big deal discounts on Xbox 360 games over the next week or so! Are there any XBLA games on sale you have been looking to pick up this 2013? We have provided the whole list here. Continue reading “Downloadable Xbox 360 deals for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, all week!”

Xbox Live's "Ultimate Game Sale" starts this week

This week’s Xbox Tip of the Week isn’t your average tip – it’s a limited time deal. Xbox Live’s Major Nelson announced that several Games on Demand (full versions of retail Xbox 360 games, available for download via Xbox Live) will be on sale. The down side? We don’t yet know what the prices are going to be like. Everyone is hoping for something jaw dropping, but some people are already expecting to be able to find better deals in the Sunday paper. So right now it’s a wait and see, but the list of games is so long, we’re bound to get a few good deals!

From Major Nelson’s blog (linked above), here are some of the titles you can expect to see on sale:

Assassins Creed
Assassins Creed 2
Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman Arkham city
Bioshock
Borderlands
Borderlands 2
Brotherhood (Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood)
Call of Juarez
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Code Veronica
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic: Elements
Dead Island
Dirt 2
Dishonored
El Shaddai Ascension of the Metatron
Fable III
Fallout 3
Fallout 3 New Vegas
GRID
Halo 3
Halo 4
Halo Reach
Halo Wars
Kane & Lynch Dead Men
Left for Dead 2
Max Payne 3
Metal Gear Solid HD
Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker
Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat vs. DCU
Orange Box
Portal 2
Raccoon City
Rainbow Six Vegas
Rayman Raving Rabbids
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 6
Red Dead Redemption
Revelations (Assassin’s Creed Revelations)
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Street Fighter IV
Street Fighter X Tekken
Super Streetfighter IV Arcade Edition
TC’s H.A.W.X.
Tekken 6
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
The Darkness
The King of Fighters XIII
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
Tomb Raider Legend
Virtua Fighter 5
World at War (Call of Duty: World at War)

*Content availability and pricing may vary by region

Although I haven’t seen it confirmed, yet, I do believe the deals will be limited to current Xbox Live members with active Gold subscriptions. Hence the picture above, from 2008.

Bungie after Halo? Pre-Order DESTINY now

Bungie has posted a ViDoc for their upcoming game Destiny. The ViDoc is titled Pathways Out of Darkness, and can be seen below:

Amazon has already posted the preorder page so you can get preorder Destiny for Xbox 360. At the same time, since Bungie will be teaming with Activision this time around, and not directly with Microsoft, you’ll be able to preorder Destiny for PS3 as well.

A Parents' Guide to Gaming


Today, according to the American Library Association, is National Gaming Day at your Library. As a person who has grown up gaming, I see the confusion in some parents’ eyes as they try to determine what games are right for their children.

Your kid already knows what they want – but just because it’s a game doesn’t necessarily mean you should cave in, especially if you’re the type of parent that pays close attention to the movies your child watches or music they listen to. Why should video games be any different?

So today, I’ll be at my local library presenting, for parents who wish to attend, A Parent’s Guide to Gaming. I will be discussing ESRB ratings, as well as how the individual consoles handle their parental controls. For those unable to attend (the extreme majority of the people who view this website), I’ve prepared a few links that might help you.

Below are videos from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada – now these videos are a little old, but the majority of the information is still the same. I wish I had the ability to record today’s demonstrations, which will all show case the latest revisions of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. Since you can’t attend, below the videos are also step-by-step guides from the manufacturer’s themselves, describing in detail how to manage the Parental Controls of each console, with their latest updates.

Video Demonstrations
Configuring Parental Controls video for Microsoft Xbox 360
Configuring Parental Controls video for Sony PlayStation 3
Configuring Parental Controls video for Nintendo Wii

Written Guides
Setup Parental Controls step-by-step guides for Xbox 360
Setup Parental Controls step-by-step guides for PlayStation 3 (PS3)
Setup Parental Controls step-by-step guides for Wii

Review: XBLIG: Nomis: Legacy Islands

This review originally appeared on XBLARatings.com.
After recently winning a free copy of this game in a Twitter giveaway, I thought it would be nice to give it a quick review!

Nomis: Legacy Islands itself is a ton of fun, having a lot of that platforming fun that has disappeared from console games in recent years. As one reviewer already stated, the main character is very much a “Nathan Drake” wanna be, which is apt: I found the game to feel quite a bit like the poor man’s shadow complex – another game featuring another “Nathan Drake” like character (and, in that case, voiced by the same actor that plays Drake!).

The side scroller and platformer mechanics are fast and fluid. The game has an excellent pace to it, which helps when the levels seem to sprawl in a ‘not-quite-linear’ fashion. While all roads may lead to Rome, you feel like you have a choice in how to get there! The ability to angle your shots with the right analog stick makes the game automatically stand out from other shooters… it suddenly feels more like Contra III on the Super Nintendo, rather than a classic Contra rip-off.

I hadn’t played the game before it’s first ‘overhaul’ – but graphically it’s very well done. Treated with a lot of care so that nothng disappears into the background or is not seen before it attacks you. Some of the ‘backdrop’ girders make me think I have to go around, from time to time, but that’s a matter of learning the level design on my end.

The sound is well done, and the little extras like robots crying out when they kill you, or your character making comments at the end of a level add a great deal to the game.

My biggest complaints come directly from the combat system. If you do not hold down the right trigger when you fire, your shots disappear from the screen. You can’t fire repeatedly as you approach a target, because you must wait for the first shot to hit them! The first boss battle also got very frustrating – if you ran out of ammunition, he was practically impossible to get to. I went to the in-game store to buy some ‘extra lives’ during this battle, but even after they ran out, I just kept respawning. Is there a mechanic where you’re supposed to have unlimited lives during a boss battle that wasn’t mentioned? Was this a bug? I may never know. The tutorial mentions how the Stealth does not work against bosses, however it certainly aided me in getting by certain parts. Tiny other things, like typos (“then” instead of “than”) were evident, but as someone with a degree in English, proof-reading is a curse, sometimes!

From reading other reviews, it seems that the game has seen some enhancements since it first launched, and with a few more, this game will be undeniably fun. For $3, there’s absolutely no reason not to pick this game up, it will bring back a lot of the fun that you haven’t had since your last run through Contra! At the very least, give this Xbox Live Indie Game’s free demo a shot!

Review: XBLIG: Zombie Sniper HD

This review originally appeared on XBLARatings.com.
For a buck, Zombie Sniper HD is one of your better options of the Zombie games on Xbox Live Indie Games.

80 Microsoft points gets you three game types: an Arcade Mode, where you simply just shoot as many zombies in the head as you can within a certain time limit. A Challenge Mode, which is similar to Arcade Mode except that it has a classic shooting gallery feel – enemies walk by in pre-determined rows and paterns – still, you have a target number of kills and a time limit. Then there is “Story Mode” – in which you protecting unwitting civilians (see: zombie bait) from becoming zombie lunch.

To accomplish any of these tasks, you take your sniper rifle in hand, and looking down the scope, just start doing what you do with zombies: turning their heads into piñata party favors and watch all of the fun leak out! You have a targeting reticle on the screen, which you scroll left, right, up, and down with. To zoom in, pull the left trigger, to fire pull the right trigger. And that’s where the problem lies… that’s the entire game.

While the game rewards you for multi-kills, “Nitro kills,” and Killing Sprees, there just isn’t enough going on. If you’ve watched the trailer on the top of this page, you’ve seen the entire game. Zombie Sniper HD itself, in the Arcade Mode instructional screen, the voice over seems to think this game type is a fool proof formula for addictive gaming, claiming you’ll never get tired of shooting zombies in the head. Unfortunately, there’s not much truth to that.

The game seems bug free, the sounds are good, and the HD sprites are cartoon-like by design, but very good looking. All animations are fluid, whether it’s the shambling of the zombies or panning of your crosshair. My biggest visual complaint is that, in some cases, that black aiming reticle disappears into the background; having the option to choose your color from a palette of more visible colors (yellow, white, cyan, green, etc…) would be a nice touch. However, the game really loses it’s luster quickly, and in the end is a great time waster while you wit for your pizza rolls to come out of the microwave.

For a dollar, like I said, it’s not going to break the bank, and it does give some variety. I believe a mode that is timed, but has no target number of zombies to kill (3 minutes to beat your own high score, for example) would have been an invaluable addition to the game. But as far as the overall “fun” the game provides as it stands? It’s a good thing it’s only 80 MS Points.

Review: XBLIG: Avatar Paintball

This review originally appeared on XBLARatings.com.
After some “sit down time” with Avatar Paintball, I’ve got to say that it’s a great starting place. The game has obviously been treated with more care than many other Indie Games out there. A lot of work went in to making what is a genuinely good game, though a little more public feedback and play testing I’m sure would have lead to the resolution of my biggest complaints.

In Avatar Paintball, we are treated to an Xbox Live Indie Game with multiplayer online supper through Xbox Live, and a Leaderboard. This is among the most advanced XBLIG’s I’ve played. And while it may not have quite the graphcis of other games out there, even other indie games, but it’s not always about looks. The game itself is fast paced enough to keep you entertained – you don’t have to wait 30 seconds to respawn everytime you’re “painted.” The many powerups in the game, including super speed, invisibility, teleportation and more, all make the game quite interesting. You could be chasing after someone who is leading you right in to a trap.

Some graphical glitches bother me from time to time – fences in the game are only a pixel thick: meaning that, at the right angles, fences don’t even appear on your screen. While most of the game has a cartoony feel, it is a perfect environment for your avatars to play, with many buildings sporting familiar names of other Xbox Live Indie Games from the same developer. This is kind of funnym but the self promotion gets shameless when you press buttons that to find out what they do, and the demo of the game prompts you to buy it every five seconds. Some things, like some of the shrubbery near the buildings, looks out of place and poorly texture mapped, but that may be a graphical complaint not many others will notice.

It’s funny that after spending a few hours in the game, I have no recollection of there being music in the game – if there was, it was neither memorable nor annoying, so let’s just consider that a plus! If you’ve ever played the Xbox Live Arcade Game “Texas Hold’em” for more than 5 minutes, you’ll understand “annoying.”

The game is not without its faults, however. The over the shoulder, 3rd person view is abhorrent for aiming. You’ll go through half of your ammo hopper each time you encounter an enemy, because there is no targeting reticle. It’s a good thing ammo is readily available throughout the map, but perhaps stocking more ammo would be easier.

Avatar Paintball offers upgrades, but they are only unlockable by getting many points built up over a long “career” (so to speak). The more multiplayer games, or single player training sessions you go through, the more points you get to unlock better guns – but the point values for those guns are so high that most players will never get to them. If some players do, the players that haven’t, aren’t likely to stand much of a chance against the more advanced players, either. I’m guessing skill-based match making wasn’t a concern when this game started using Xbox Live’s multiplayer feature.

Finally, the lack of a jump does make me feel a little bit stagnant. While the map is big, there’s only one of them, and at least a little bit of “verticle” may have made the game more interesting. Auto-Aim could solve the problem of looking up or down, it could be relatively straight forward levels of “verticle” – but an ability to jump would come in handy – not just when you back yourself into a corner, but when you see an enemy you want to get to.

A future revision may cure some of these problems, and frankly at the $3 price point, I want just a little more from my indie games. But it’s an excellent start and I hope to see more solid work from DigitalDNA, especially when the demo is shamelessly begging for your Microsoft Points.

The game, itself, I would give a 4.5/10 – but the fun level still gets at least a 6, because you may just want to have a little fun wasting time some nights, and Avatar Paintball may just be a good way to do that.