Posts Tagged GamesOnDemand

Game Room for Xbox & Games for Windows Live

Microsoft are throwing gamerscore at you to spend time in your Game Room

Game Room has launched today on both Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live. The idea is you fill your virtual ‘Game Room’ with oldskool arcades, reminisce the arcade era, invite your friends over to play together (online), set challenges and have fun like it was the 80’s, but from the comfort of your actual real world game room/basement/office.

So no stepping in chewing gum or wasting coin after coin of your pocket money? Wrong, apart from the not stepping in chewing gum bit. Yes you still have to pay, for each arcade, and to be honest, nearly 20 years on, these games are just not as fun as they used to be. In fact its hard to remember why these games were fun back then, I guess we are so spoilt with today’s photo realistic graphics and rag-doll physics that we forget how far things have moved on.

You can try before you buy of course, a quick demo on a few of the titles available at today’s launch and boredom struck me. These games are just too basic. So I began to wander around my arcade and started adding themes and placing decor, which I should add, nets you some free gamescore. Further boredom struck, so I decided to fire up Game Room on the PC and the Xbox simultaneously for some side by side PC vs Xbox comparisons. Check out my YouTube Video below.

The first thing I was impressed with was the fact that across both platforms, my Game Room was identical. No separate settings or achievements list for each platform like most games that appear on both PC and Xbox (Fallout 3, Dirt 2 etc). Microsoft have made Game Room appear as one across both platforms, allowing seemless jumping from console to PC, and I’m guessing this is part of their 3 screens moto, no doubt with Windows Phone 7 Series having similar compatibility, eventually.

I also noticed how much crisper and smoother Game Room was on the PC. With anti aliasing switched on, and a higher resolution over the Xbox, my Game Room looked and felt better on PC. Of course there are no such options to play with on the Xbox 360 version, the default resolution felt quite low, much lower than the 1080 my Xbox was set too. Loading times are pretty similar but the PC does have a slight advantage as expected. I also noticed some slight jerks on the Xbox when moving from arcade to arcade especially heavily active arcades. I know there have been teething problems with this launch, which might also explain why 2 achievements I gained have not been saved to my account, strange?

Overall Game Room is a bit of a let down, despite Microsoft’s efforts on pulling together a cool idea which is really well implemented, especially the cross platform part. The problem is the games are just not fun, that’s not Microsoft’s fault, but the games are what we go into our Game Rooms for and now, in 2010, we have grown to expect so much more, so much so that some basic 2d sprites just dont cut it anymore.

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Tinker Review – Free Achievements & Gamerscore

Download this game for FREE, get FREE gamerscore

Games For Windows Live is throwing a second surprise my way this week. A free puzzle game available on the front page of the GFWL client, complete with free gamerscore! Tinker, although slightly buggy and a tad puzzling at first (ed; it is a puzzle game), this game became great fun and can easily help you lose a few hours.

The idea is to navigate Tinker the robot through increasingly more difficult puzzles by turning, moving forward and pressing switches within time and power constraints. With these limited controls you can navigate the most complex of levels, melting ice blocks with lasers, detonating bombs and teleporting, all whilst taking in the view of funky surreal landscapes and a cute robot.

Everyone loves robots, and since Braid, everyone loves puzzle games. I guess Microsoft put two and two together and decided to cash in on the indie puzzle genre, without cashing in, and offering it for free? Whatever the idea, this is a great game, with cute artwork and addictive gameplay. And of course did I mention you get free gamerscore with this? 200g is up for grabs, but I challenge anyone to get all of these achievements without punching a mass effect sized hole in their monitor. This game becomes painfully difficult once you pass the first couple of sets (20 levels per set) and most sane people will give up trying to get the ‘Perfection Achieved’ or ‘Mastermind’ achievement.

Not quite as genre defining as Braid or a World of Goo replacement, but certainly worth a go if not for the fact that its free, but for the gamerscore, that’s also free!

8/10 Free Gamerscore! Worth a download just for that.

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Batman Arkham Asylum – Games For Windows Live 75% Sale

My first Games On Demand purchase, congratulations? erm thanks Microsoft?

So I finally bought a full game from Games For Windows Live. I feel like I have betrayed Steam. I’ve been a loyal customer for a long time, check my profile if you don’t believe me. But today I tried a new PC digital distribution service, and how could I not? 75% off Batman Arkham Asylum is a HUGE leap for Microsoft at grabbing custy’s from Steam.

When I first saw the news of the Batman sale I didn’t even read the small print, I went straight to my Steam client to look for the 75% off, alas it was nowhere to be seen? So I returned to the news article and to my disbelief it said Games For Windows Live. I loaded up my GFWL client and nothing, £39.99 normal price for the game. Not impressed.

So I waited, either for Steam to retaliate with a similar price drop (still no retaliation?) or for GFWL to push out the new price tag, and 8 hours later it’s been dropped to the bargain price of £8.75. The process is very simple, my GFWL client is already setup as I have previously used it for Fallout 3 DLC and of course Xbox Live. A few clicks, the money is automatically taken from your account, and the game is added to your download queue. Simples. 4% downloaded, I guess I should start BioShock 2 whilst I wait as its been sitting in my shiny new ‘opt in beta’ Steam list since release and not been touched, Rapture is waiting.

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Games On Demand vs Steam – Digital Distribution Wars

GFWL games on demand, a contender to knock steam off the podium?

GFWL games on demand, a contender to knock steam off the podium?

December the 15th 2009, the date Steam’s only possible contender is born? Games For Windows Live will extend its wing to digital distribution for PC games with its Games On Demand service, similar to the Xbox service launched not so long ago.

GFWL has been a touchy subject amongst PC gamers, personally I am all for the integration with Xbox. Increasing my Gamerscore when I play PC titles like Fallout 3 or GTAIV rather than having to slug through the Xbox slower and lower detail versions on a controller is a huge reason to play the title on mouse and keyboard. I will admit though, the GFWL software could do with a Steam makeover. Microsoft can learn masses from the Steam client, which has evolved with countless updates over the years.

Steam obviously already has the huge CS fanbase, as well as other Source engine Half Life & L4D franchise’s locked down, and now Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 it would appear to be a monopoly on digital distribution (seriously, who uses Direct2Drive?). I even made the move a few years ago to only purchase my games from Steam and thus unplugged my energy consuming DVD drive from my PC. Having all my titles in one place, stored for me in the cloud and integrated with my community of gamer friends, why else would I venture out into the cold and buy retail? I held off buying Mass Effect AND Mirrors Edge until late 2009 because they were not available on Steam, that is customer loyalty to the point of fanboy!

So Microsoft clearly have a lot of catching up to do, but what they do have is the money, power and Xbox experience to make this work. If I had the choice, if it meant extra Gamerscore I would definitely choose Games on Demand from Microsoft over Steam despite my years of loyalty. There is something about a large Gamerscore on my Xbox dashboard that keeps me coming back to games just for the achievements. And rightly so, some achievements make you explore a game in areas you might have missed, areas the developers spent forever and a day coding and crafting, rightly so these areas deserve to be explored even if it is for a mere 20G.

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