Gaming in Windows 8 Part 3: new games, Adera and Taptiles

Two new official Xbox Live-enabled games made their way to the Windows 8 Store recently. However, just like the first round of games, it seems that “more is to come” with an update to each of them. The first one, which should see many updates in the future, is a point and click adventure game (I guess nowadays it would just be a “tap adventure”), which Microsoft has already stated will be episodic in style. Adera tells the story of a female archeologist, who has been in a helicopter crash and needs to regain her bearings before heading off on an adventure… evidently to find a sorcerer’s magical crystal ball. At least, that’s what I gleaned from the cinematic intro. Somebody tell me I’m not the only one here who is having flashbacks to Museum Madness.

It seems to be only a trial version of the game, not even a complete first “episode” of Adera. But, the good news for Xbox junkies like me: the Achievements are live! Most of them, anyway. So go grab yourself a little bit of free Gamerscore from Windows 8. The game itself is quite appealing to look at, mostly still, but the little flourishes of 3D Acceleration make it eye catching.

Next up is Taptiles. This is a Mahjong style game, with the twist being that the puzzle board is a free standing 3-dimensional object which can be rotated. With multiple game types included, I started with “Dash” which is a timed game, where completing a level partially refills an ever dwindling clock. Another mode called Origins is a more traditional type of Mahjong game, and other game types indicate that they’re “coming soon.”

Stay tuned to our ongoing series of posts on Windows 8, and we’ll be sure to let you know when more Xbox Live games make their way to Windows 8.

A few places where you can pre-order the Wii U

That certainly didn’t take long. Hours after Nintendo announced the availability date and pricing for their upcoming Wii U console, Gamestop has already begun taking preorders. They were the first, several hours ahead of the others. Best Buy and Toys “R” Us have also begun their preorders.

The Wii U will come in two flavors at launch: a black, 32GB model, and a white 8GB system. The white system will be $299 and the black with additional storage capacity will run you a $50 premium. 64 days from now, you could have a glossy new console in your home. The question between now and then will be: will it be sold out everywhere this holiday season? Should you get your preorders done now and hope to get a console before you’re stuck without one? Or will you wait and try your luck, and believe that this generation of Nintendo console isn’t as big of a deal as the last? Although I’m certainly not expecting it to live up to the hype of the Wii, which was “hard to get” for three holiday seasons in a row, I would expect it to be a top ticket item this year.

As of the time of publication, we’re still waiting for Amazon’s preorder page to go live, but we’ll be sure to update with a link when it becomes available.

Solved: Why does Netflix buffer on my Xbox / PS3 / Wii but not my computer?

Today I’m going to briefly revisit an old topic, because I’ve had a few friends ask me about it recently. They said that they can watch streaming movies, like things on YouTube or Netflix, with no problem on their laptop / desktop computer – but for some reason when they try to watch the same things on their game console (Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii) they have to buffer every couple of minutes.

I have found the solution to be entering your router’s settings and enabling WMM. This gives “Wireless Multi-Media” packets priority over other packets. Some people say that WMM slows down their internet connection. I only find that to be the case if you have a lot of multi-media content moving around on your network, constantly. Several people watching movies from a media server, then you trying to watch Netflix… too much multi-media content trying to be given priority over each other, it can cause a bottle neck. But your average home user will see a huge benefit to enabling QoS (Quality of Service) and WMM in their router.

A few months ago, I wrote a general but in-depth guide on enabling WMM on multiple devices. It may be a little outdated already, but the majority of the information holds true.

Do Spin Offs strengthen or weaken a brand?

Remember Cheers? Remember Frasier? Now, remember The Tortellis? Nobody else does, either. The question of “do spin-offs strengthen or weaken the core brand?” is one that is difficult to answer. I certainly don’t plan to answer it here, but I can give you a few in-depth glances at franchises that have gone off the beaten path, and some that lived to tell the tale. Continue reading “Do Spin Offs strengthen or weaken a brand?”