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Aquaman XboxDaryl Welsh from the Xbox development team today released a list of the updated and new games in the latest backwards compatibility update for the Xbox 360. The update should be available on Xbox Live now, and updates 39 games. According to Welsh, this is the largest update to the backwards compatibility list to date. Those gamers desperate to play Aquaman: Battle of Atlantis on their Xbox 360 can finally make that dream come true. It’s also nice to see Kabuki Warrior get an update. Other game titles that people might actually want to play that are new to the list include: Dead to Rights, Fatal Frame 2, Burnout 3: Takedown, and Links 2004.

The full list continues after the jump.

Click to continue reading Backwards Compatibility Update Hits Xbox Live

Read More | Xbox Team Blog

Gallery: Backwards Compatibility Update Hits Xbox Live


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Lego Star Wars II CoverThis past weekend we visited the absolutely crazy floor of the Penny Arcade Expo in Bellevue, WA. The floor was chock full of some great looking MMORPGs and FPS titles for the hardcore gamers, but there were some really great looking less serious games as well. Chief among them was the highly anticipated LEGO Star Wars II, the sequel that tells the stories of Episodes IV-VI in brickalicious format.

See our full thoughts after the jump…

Click to continue reading LEGO Star Wars 2 Looking Great at PAX

Gallery: LEGO Star Wars 2 Looking Great at PAX


Madden Commodore 64 1989

It’s that time of year again! Time to go out, be a good little drone, and pick up a copy or three of this year’s Madden iteration. This year you’ll be able to pick up the ubiquitous franchise on PC (Windows), Playstation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Gamecube, DS, PSP, GBA, and yes, even your mobile phone (hey, where’s my BeOS version??!?). And of course, when the Wii and PS3 launch in a few months, you can get your Madden on with them too.

The good news is the console versions at least seem to be garnering fairly respectable reviews across the board - IGN.com, Gamespot, and 1up.com all give the franchise fairly high marks (7.7 - 8.5) for its notably improved graphics, online play and added features like Create-A-Player. The bad news, of course, is that you probably won’t be able to play the game online for more than about a year and will have to fork out another $60-$70 next year to keep playing.

Still, the popularity of Madden is absolutely staggering - analysts predict that the title could become a million-seller within as little as 5 days, and could earn EA about $210 million in revenue for the year (about 7% of its total annual revenue of $3 billion). Click below for the Reuters news brief.

Read More | Reuters

Gallery: Madden ‘07 Out Now for Every Platform Imaginable


Xbox 360 Sales ChartTodd Bishop at the Seattle Post Intelligencer has pulled together some interesting data about how the Xbox 360 has impacted video game console sales. By pulling together publicly available data for a few of the largest game publishers, one can get an idea of how the Xbox 360 market is shaping up. This isn’t going to be perfect because first party sales figures aren’t going to be reported and there are many other game publishers that aren’t represented on the list. Also, because not every title released on the Xbox is available on the Xbox 360 and vice versa, there are going to be some gaps in reporting in this area as well. But this does give a really high level view of the console market, and how marketshare is shaping up.

Over the first nine months, it appears that most of the Xbox 360 marketshare is coming at the expense of owners of the original Xbox. A small percentage of Playstation 2 sales appear to have shifted to the Xbox 360, but overall, the console still remains the dominant force on the market. Gamecube sales dropped off, but this may have had more to with the fact that fewer titles are being released on the Gamecube than on the other platforms. Total sales of game titles released for either the Xbox or the Xbox 360 grew year over year, but this may be in part to the 20% premium that Xbox 360 titles claim over their counterparts.

Despite all of the limitations of the data pulled, this gives a really interesting look into which consumers are pursuing platforms. With the Playstation 3 and the Wii releases coming up, one wonders how much brand loyalty is going to play into the success of the next generation.

Read More | Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Gallery: How The Xbox 360 Is Affecting Video Game Sales


WalMart Evil SmileyEarlier we reported on a great deal on the slimline PlayStation 2 over at Wal-Mart, and the great deals just keep on coming. If you can accept the “the high cost of low prices”, then this online sale could keep you occupied for the rest of the summer.

A quick sampling of some of the better titles currently being offered at Walmart.com for $10.00 and below include:

  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Jak III
  • Black and White II
  • Castlevania Curse of Darkness
  • Max Payne 2
  • Def Jam: Vandetta
  • Time Splitters: Future Perfect
  • Hitman 2
  • Space Channel 5

Just click the link below for a handy-dandy query of the Wal-Mart database for titles priced below $20.00.

Read More | Wal-Mart.com via Joystiq.com

Gallery: More Bargains from Wal-Mart: PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube Games under $10.00


Halo Movies based on video games have typically not fared well. Even before Uwe Boll started his video game franchise serial killings, games like Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, and Wing Commander have been particularly painful releases. Halo fans, though, have some reason to hope. First, the aforementioned Boll is not going to be allowed anywhere near the Halo production, as a director has been chosen. Second, the movie is not being produced as a tax write-off involving complex German tax laws. Third, Peter Jackson has generally been very respectful of the source material of the movies created under his watch. Finally, at least according to an interview conducted by Ain’t It Cool News, director Neill Blomkamp is a fan of the game and is very committed to bringing the Halo universe to life.

There is certainly room in the Halo universe to both be faithful to and expand the backstory, but it is a bit too early to guess at what approach the movie is going to take. Blomkamp does drop some hints as to what he is thinking in the interview, and certainly there is room for hope that the upcoming movie can break the chain of bad video game releases.

Read More | Ain't It Cool News

Gallery: Halo Director Talks Movie Adaptation


Lego Star Wars 2 gamecube boxThe original LEGO Star Wars was a rare treasure—an action game that oozed style and creativity and was easy enough for kids but enough fun for any gamer. Based on the new trilogy (Episodes I-III), the game LEGO-ized scenes from the movies and even improved on them in some instances. (Thank you, Traveller’s Tales, for NOT including voice work!)

So how do you make a sequel that’s even better? Well, for starters, you base it on the original trilogy, but from the looks of it Traveller’s Tales has also improved the gameplay in several ways, including things like adding greater freedom of movement to the vehicle-based missions and a create-a-character mode. But don’t take MY word for it (insert Reading Rainbow jingle here). You can now download a demo of the game for your PC to tide yourself over until September 12th.

And may the Force be with your ‘net connection.

Read More | 3D Gamers.com via Opposable Thumbs @ Ars Technica

Gallery: The Force Is Strong With These Blocks: Lego Star Wars II Demo Out


Xbox NBA Street V3 BoxIn a move that’s sure to spark some debate, EA has announced that they will be shutting down a number of servers for their online-enabled games. Most of the games are EA Sports titles, which tend to be updated on a yearly basis anyway, but there are some surprises on the list including Need for Speed Underground 2, and NBA Street V3. At the end of the statement, EA subtly encourages its users to rush out and buy the most recent version of their games: “All of us at EA would like to thank you for your valued participation in our online gaming community and hope that your enthusiasm for these games extends to our current lineup and beyond.”

This is an understandable business decision for EA - most of these games aren’t selling many copies these days, and the amount of online play these servers see at this point is probably negligible. Still, it does call into question the current paradigm of online gaming for consoles. Is the online play carrot being dangled just long enough so that gamers continue to buy each new version? Will online play labels feature fine-print that states “for a limited time only” next time you buy from EA? Is there any hope for gamers who don’t want to purchase a new sequel every year?

With all three next-gen consoles featuring online play capabilities, it should be interesting to see which business models (if any) work for both the content producers and the gaming community.

The full list of shutdown servers can be found after the jump…

Click to continue reading EA Shuts Down Lots of Servers, Says “Buy Our Newer Games!”

Read More | EA.com

Gallery: EA Shuts Down Lots of Servers, Says “Buy Our Newer Games!”


From Russia With Love Movie PosterWith months to go until the rest of the next-gen consoles are released, and a relatively slow summer release schedule, I’ve found myself spending more time searching around on forums like Cheap Ass Gamer and going back to look at old reviews for game-buying ideas. Especially given the fact that most of this generation’s PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube games will still be playable on the PS3, 360, and Wii, respectively, there’s no reason to not go sorting through your local game store’s bargain bins for some of the great titles you may have missed. With that in mind, we’ll be hosting a new feature here on Playfeed, currently dubbed “Bargain Bin Gaming”, where we’ll look at whether any of those $19.99 and below titles are worth your hard-earned pocket change.

Here are the two main ground-rules I’m setting for the first issue, and we’ll see how this goes:

1) I will not pay more than $19.99 for any game I review. However, this does not have to be the “standard” MSRP for the game. Well-publicized sales, like Circuit City’s past 4th of July weekend inventory blowout, are perfectly acceptable ways to get gaming deals. If I find a mint copy of Final Fantasy X-2 for $1.00 at a yard sale though, that doesn’t count - I want you, our readers, to be able to pick up a game for the same price I do!
2) For the most part, I’ll try to pick more “questionable” titles that you might not notice otherwise. Chances are if you’re reading this site, you already know by now that RE4 for $19.99 on the Gamecube is a steal. But not everyone knows that Tak 3 might actually be a really good deal for $9.00. A lot of folks know about the “diamonds in the rough”. I want to help you pick out the rubies and sapphires as well.

So with those notes in mind, click below for our first review, which I hope you’ll enjoy - James Bond in From Russia With Love by EA for PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube.

Click to continue reading Bargain Bin Gaming #1: From Russia With Love for PS2, Xbox & Gamecube

Gallery: Bargain Bin Gaming #1: From Russia With Love for PS2, Xbox & Gamecube


Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Fresh from the San Diego Comic-Con, TeamXbox has a couple of high resolution trailers from the upcoming action RPG, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. The first trailer shows off more of the expanded character set in the new game. The character models look to be a mix of the more updated Marvel Ultimate look and the classic comic book conventions. Some characters are shown merely as introduction, but gamers also get a look at some of the superheroes in action as well.

In addition to the generic trailer, an introduction movie for the Human Torch is provided. The flame effects seem fairly strong, but the character modeling is somewhat uneven. Ultimate Alliance seeks to vastly expand the game world from the previous X-Men Legends games, and offer much stronger online co-operative game play. The developers have slowly been revealing the characters included in the game, so Marvel aficionados should be able to find one of their favorite heroes to play. The game should ship some time before the holidays, and has been announced for a number of platforms, from the Game Boy Advance to the Playstation 3.

 

Read More | TeamXbox

Gallery: Marvel Ultimate Alliance Trailer


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