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Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Xbox Fail.

I feel a little weird jumpstarting this blog again with a rant, but at least something’s going on, right? Right.

Last night, I emailed Xbox Support with a question about my account – namely, how to downgrade from Xbox LIVE Gold to Silver because I’m poor, but is that labeled clearly anywhere? No, of course not. Why give people the option to stop giving you money? I see what you did there, Xbox.

When I checked my email today, I got an obvious form letter personalized by someone called Joyce. (The name is important, because it makes the following even worse.) The form letter didn’t bug me. Their roundabout answer with a simple link to billing online didn’t bother me (even though I wanted my credit card completely out of their system). Oh, no. This is what bothered me:

Hello Chantaal,

Thank you for using XBOX Customer Support online! I am Joyce and I will be helping you today with this issue.

As I understand, when your son tries to sign in to Xbox LIVE, [redacted]

I know how disappointing it is when your son cannot enjoy the Xbox Live service due to this matter.

Really, Xbox? REALLY?

For the record, I said nothing about having a son (because I don’t) or about this being a boyfriend’s account (cause he has his own). I simply put in a request about my account, and I get a form letter assuming I’m doing this for my son. When I mentioned this on twitter, I got a friend saying she’d gotten the exact same assumption in her responses. I know why Xbox would make the assumption, but I can’t imagine why they’d go ahead and say it so blatantly in their response when no indicators were given. It’s horrible PR.

I would love to cancel my account outright, but I kind of like not losing all my achievement points. No more money for you, Xbox LIVE.

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It is very rare that a game can so engross you in the plot line it’s nearly impossible to put down. Dragon Age: Origins was that game for me, and I was pleased to see it offered just about everything I could have looked for in a video game experience. It is one of the very few games I have played in recent memories that literally took me on a sort of rollercoaster ride.

Now, I am going to try to go light on the spoilers, but I will warn you there will be some (especially about the beginning of the main plot) spoken of in this article. You’ve been told!

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It’s been a little bit since Blizzcon has come and gone. As an avid gamer of World of Warcraft, the news of what will happen in the new expansion pack is a lot to swallow. Granted, I can’t claim to be one of the rabid fans who have played since its release, though I have been enjoying it for a couple of years, at least – more than enough time to see a lot of what the game has to offer.

The expansion Cataclysm is about as destructive as it sounds: Blizzard has promised an entire revamping of the oldest areas of the game, Azeroth and the Eastern Kingdoms. Like expansions before, there is a great evil causing this: in the Burning Crusade expansion pack, Illidan, self-proclaimed Lord of Outland, was the one causing chaos. In Wrath of the Lich King, the armies of the Horde and the Alliance began to do battle against The Lich King himself, who himself was once a hero in Warcraft lore before evil twisted him into the shell he is in the current game. In Cataclysm, the return of the Dragon Aspect Deathwing is so explosive, the world is torn asunder, completely changing the face of the two continents. It’s this massive change that will be the focal point of the new expansion, as the fallout will be great and the battles will be greater.

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In 1991, Square-Enix, then called Square, released the fourth part of their Final Fantasy series. It followed the story of Cecil, who, at the beginning of the game, is the leader of the greatest air fleet in the world – the Red Barons. All is not well in his kingdom, however, and his King’s sudden and unexpected turn to take over the crystals in the world. Realizing he can’t do such horrible acts, Cecil begins his journey of redemption, which ultimately leads him on the path to saving his world. State-side, we got this game as Final Fantasy II, and it ended up being a major overhaul of the game systems of Final Fantasy before it. I’ll spare you all the details of the confusing timeline of the series in general beyond that.

Final Fantasy IV eventually was remade multiple times on multiple systems. Its current incarnation was released on the Nintendo DS in 2008, and it was its most revamped version yet. The addition of CGI scenes dot the game and add to the story, and, most notably, the sprites of the first game were given a 3D treatment. For the most part, it was a great adaptation, and was well received by fans and critics alike. It’s not surprising that with such a successful venture, the company would continue to look for ways to milk the success.

Thus the creation of the game’s sequel, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, was made and put out on the Wii’s WiiWare. Set eighteen years after the first game, the series follows the son of the original main protagonists of the story, Cecil and Rosa, Ceodore. While the world finally found peace after defeating the threat of Final Fantasy IV, it seemed that it was not meant to last, as monsters invade the lands again and a new evil threatens to destroy everything. It’s up to the returning characters from the first game as well as a few new faces to stop the new evil facing their lands and bring peace back to their world.

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AC1

Our usual video game writer couldn’t make it to Comic Con this year, so guest blogger Danielle is stepping in to review two games coming soon to a console near you.

While the growing presence of the video game market at Comic Con has attracted criticism for luring fannish attentions away from comic books, fantasy films and scifi literature, two of this year’s highly anticipated game titles have a lot to offer beyond the promise of stellar graphics and a blue pill sensory overload.

That’s not to say that the makers of Assassin’s Creed II and Batman: Arkham Asylum don’t know their audience well. Anyone looking to get their greedy little button-blistered thumbs on a copy of ACII can rest easy in the knowledge that if the assassinations in the first game were sweet, then the kills in its sequel will be downright cavity-inducing. Likewise, loyal fans of the Batman mythos won’t be disappointed by a lack of coolheaded reliance on everyone’s favorite utility belt. But with the continued development of Desmond Miles’ intriguing pedigree and the careful attention paid to getting the goddamn Batman’s game characterization just right, we have ourselves further proof that the gaming industry may yet become just as capable of producing good stories as it is insomnia and carpal tunnel syndrome.
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When thinking about what I wanted to first write about, I realized I had a wide range of selection as to what I could talk about. Sure, there’s plenty of the obvious ones – XBOX 360, for example, has a slew of stuff to talk about. What I ended up deciding – and one of my fellow PCR bloggers joked I ought to do – is a review about a game from my childhood.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: this is a pop culture blog, Trace, and those things ought to be reviewing new things! Well, fear not, dear readers, because I assure you this thing is new.

Kind of.

One of the most recent releases to the XBOX Live is a revamping of The Secret of Monkey Island. Now, to those of you who either weren’t fans of computer games back in the early nineties or are too young to have even know its existence, the name will likely not ring a bell to you. However, to properly explain the newly remastered version, I think I’ll start by giving the back story of the original.

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