Here's Lookin' at you, Franchises

So I’m catching up on Twitter yesterday when I notice that Total Gaming Network had linked to an article on Yahoo! Games. The article talks about five video game franchises we might be better off without. While I may agree that this is a problem for the video game industry, I often can’t believe it’s still a topic people care to read about.

The entertainment industry as a whole (as well as the fans) has never gotten past their lust for specific characters and plots. We have our favorites. Even if an actor is portraying a different character, we often see bits of the reason we love that actor shine through, bridging the gab between the characters.

The medium doesn’t matter. Movies? Six Star Wars films, a new Indiana Jones, almost a dozen Batman movies in under twenty years. And let’s not forget turning a classic like Ocean’s 11 into a freaking trilogy. Are you a reader? How about seven Harry Potter books, or four Twilight books in under four years? Music fan? Have you seen Britney spears making a 10-year comeback?

Now that you’ve grown up, have you watched children’s TV shows? Replace any set of characters, they all share the same plots. And I’m not even talking good guys vs. bad guys. I’m talking Prince and the Pauper spin offs, Jack and the Beanstalk references, etc… from Bugs Bunny, to Barbie, to Broadway – stories have been retold so many times, that even if the characters and backdrop are new, you should recognize the plot.

The abuse of a franchise, going back to a well we think would be dry is nothing new. Between 1931 and 1941 no less than 3 film adaptations of the book The Maltese Falcon were released. People think that the video game industry has gotten stale. But believe me, flooding the market with video game sequels is nothing new, and every other form of entertainment is has been going through it a lot longer than ours. The peoplpe complaining about the Halo trilogy had nothing to say back when Super Mario Brothers 3 launched. I’m really shocked that a few pretentious editors from around the internet come back year after year and complain that there isn’t enough new intellectual property. We are far from the first to experience this, and the games industry won’t be the last.

PC Gamers: Quake Live Beta is on…

id Software’s long running project, QuakeLive (once, Quake Zero) has officially entered beta stage. There have already been tournaments held using the software and they believe it has already passed the first few tests. But now it’s officially time to enter beta stage, and you can still try to enter by visiting the official website. Those selected to participate will receive a link and a key to play the game.

Quake Live was originally billed as a browser based “Quake III” style game. I have been invited to the beta but haven’t checked it out yet. I will try to post some kind of follow up later this week.

Contest: Texas Hold'em XMas!


UPDATE 1: Thanks to all of our entrants… sure, I expected more, but it’s still fun! Always good to give something away! Our winner this time around? TXPaladin!!!

We all know what time of year it is… the most wonderful time, so they say. For me, it’s being buried in ice and snow and hoping I don’t slide through every intersection that has a stop sign.

Still,it’s a season of giving, and that is what I intend to do. Up for grabs is a new-classic classic, but it sort of the best I could scrounge up with a last minute idea: Texas Hold’em for Xbox Live Arcade. I know, it’s not much, but it’s free, so just go give some change to the Salvation Army, come back here and enter the contest!

So let’s take a quick history lesson, shall we? The term “XMas” – many people believe that it was created as a marketing gimmick to remove the “Christ” from Christmas. I won’t bring religion in on this topic, but it should be noted that “X” is the Greek letter “Chi” (pronounced like ‘kai’) – the first letter in the Greek word for Christ (Χριστος). “XMas” is a term that has existed for hundreds of years.

All that having been said, I want to know what “X”Mas means to you!? Or even your version of the origin of the term “X”Mas. Be original, be unique, and come up with something heart warming, funny, or even completely absurd. Mix in “Texas Hold’em” to your answer, if you’re feeling adventurous!

To enter, register for the website and leave a comment on this post. Entries will also be accepted to the email address: Xbox_Xmas@WinBreak.com – please place “XMAS” in the subject line. I will select one winner by personal preference (judging the entries) on Christmas Eve (December 24th, 2008) at 10 AM EST. Entries will be accepted until then. Winner will be announced on the website, and the prize can be delivered via first class United States postage, e-mail, a private message via WinBreak.com or Xbox Live. The prize is one redeemable code for the Xbox Live Arcade game Texas Hold’em. I know, I know… but like I said, it’s free!

Unfortunately, due to the nature of these gift cards, they can only be activated in North America. Last time I had an Uno winner in Australia who couldn’t claim their prize, I don’t want to deliver the same disappointing results.

Useful Xbox tricks for Mobile Users

In a recent twitter-quest, I asked everyone if there was anything like an Xbox Live program for my recently purchased Windows Mobile phone. I gained exactly zero responses. Little did I know that there was a little pot of Gold waiting to be discovered.

The other day I posted about some Halo 3 and Fable 2 wallappers and ringtones. Well, what if I told you there were more? Not only more, but for other games? Games like Gears of War 2, Too Human, and even Madden 09? What if I told you there were mobile games, exclusive to your cell phones? Ways to check and respond to your Xbox Live messages, all from the palm of your hand?

Well, there is. Bookmark the following, and you will be set!

Xbox.mobi – a completely mobile designed site, streamlined for phone browsers, offering all kinds of exclusive content from wall papers to sound effects.
Xbox.com/en-US/wap/ – Xbox.com (America)’s WAP site, which offers you access to much of Xbox.com’s contents, including your friends list and more.
Xbox Live Message center (again USA only link provided, though it may work for others). This link is not truly designed for mobile phones, however it takes you straight to your Xbox Live Inbox, and as long as your browser is powerful enough, you can read and compose new messages!

While I don’t plan on changing the content of the site to a new mobile phone fansite, I just wanted to offer a few helpful links to everyone. I also intend to check out the mobile phone browser SkyFire – I will let everyone know how useful it turns out being (worth it or not!?). Don’t forget to do your part to help spread the word about Xbox.mobi – here’s hoping it keeps growing, as Microsoft keeps their promise of LIVE EVERYWHERE!