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    November 9, 2015
    Microsoft Reveals First Backwards-Compatible Games

    One of the biggest features of the original Xbox 360 was the ability to play old Xbox games.  That’s a great marketing carrot to roll out, because there are a lot of great games and it’s not always easy to remake or port them over to the next gaming system.  Without that planned obsolescence, it’s easy to increase sales, and Microsoft has been very cooperative with game developing partners in this regard.  It gets more difficult every time, but it keeps happening time and time again.  Microsoft has announced the first batch of backwards-compatible Xbox One games.

    The first collection of 104 games is coming out soon, thanks to some huge updates coming down the pike.  A lot of them will be Xbox Live Arcade games, but there are some AAA titles involved, like Fallout 3, Assassins Creed II, and South Park: The Stick Of Truth.  It’s going to be the first of a series of updates, with other games being added to the backwards compatible list monthly from a variety of publishers.

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    July 24, 2015
    Fallout Shelter Coming To Android August 13

    Call it a belated birthday present for me.  Two months ago, the Bethesda mobile game Fallout Shelter made its debut on iPhones, about the time Bethesda announced that Fallout 4 was going to be a thing that happens on PCs and consoles throughout the world.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it wasn’t immediately available for Android users, just Apple users.  That’s changing, thankfully.  Fallout Shelter is coming to Android on August 13.

    The good thing about the game is that it’s going to continue to be free to download, though users are still able to pay for helpful items within the game and various bonus boosts.  Of course, there will also be content updates to bring the game a little closer to Fallout 4′s content.  They’ll be adding the helpful Mr. Handy robot, as well as new enemies like the dreaded Deathclaw.  That’s very exciting stuff for Fallout nerds like myself.

    I just hope that the game is as fun as I’m hoping it is.  Even if it’s only half as fun as I’m expecting, it’s going to be fun.

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    July 17, 2015
    Rovio Announces Angry Birds 2

    Flick a finger, knock down some pigs.  It’s a very simple idea, but the execution is still awesome, and Angry Birds remains one of the most addictive games I have ever played.  I have wasted hours trying to get three stars on every level, and even now sometimes I’ll pick up the 2009 original and try my hand at birding.  Rovio hopes to recapture that addictive magic once again with a brand new game featuring some familiar, angry faces.  Rovio has announced a sequel to their hit game Angry Birds.

    If you’re surprised there’s a sequel, well, so am I.  Rovio focused a lot on creating spin-0ff games, like the Star Wars Angry Birds, the Angry Birds go-kart game, and the Angry Birds RPG.  There’s also all the tee-shirts, toys, and other assorted products that have kept the game in the public’s eye, even as downloads for the game waned.  Still, in 2014, Rovio brought in $172.3 million in revenue.  That’s down from 2013, but still really impressive.  No doubt the company hopes that a return to classic Angry Birding will be a benefit to the bottom line.

    Image via Angry Birds Twitter.

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    June 24, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: MBTA After The Bomb

    Via Reddit Gaming

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    June 13, 2015
    YouTube Launching Gamers-Only Section

    These days, everyone’s always playing video games.  I know this because everyone has a smart phone, and even the dumbest old-school mobile phone has games on it, so everywhere you go, from the store to the traffic jam on the freeway, everyone around you is probably playing a game, and if they’re not, they’re thinking about games.  Game culture has become a huge business, and YouTube wants to wolidify its position as the online video provider of choice for gamers looking for a Twitch alternative.  YouTube is launching YouTube Gamers, a dedicated section of YouTube just for video game ephemera.

    “On YouTube, gaming has spawned entirely new genres of videos, from let’s plays, walkthroughs, and speedruns to cooking and music videos. Now, it’s our turn to return the favor with something built just for gamers,” writes Alan Joyce, YouTube Gaming’s project manager, in an official YouTube blog post.  ”This summer, we’ll launch YouTube Gaming, a brand new app and website to keep you connected to the games, players, and culture that matter to you, with videos, live streams, and the biggest community of gamers on the web—all in one place.”

    Minecraft videos draw millions of views.  Let’s Play videos are a huge business.  Walk-throughs and whatnot are also very popular.  Everyone loves video game videos, it seems, and it makes sense to keep your Call of Duty away from your Call Me Maybe.  YouTube Gaming will also offer live streaming and the ability to tip channel owners directly; channel owners also get a split of the profits of their advertising, so that might be a good reason to start your own retro gaming channel or something.

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    May 18, 2015
    Microsoft Vs The World In Solitaire

    I have spent hours by myself, playing a very simple card game.  The card game, of course, is Solitaire.  I learned it by watching my grandmother play it on a deck of actual cards, and when we finally got our first computer, well, it was only natural that solitaire became my game of choice on the computer, especially since this was before we had any video games on the computer and online gaming was in its infancy.  Well, now it’s still happening, and with every computer, a new version of Microsoft’s Solitaire Collection.  Microsoft is taking on the world in a Solitaire Tournament.

    The reason for the tournament is actually pretty fun.  After all, it was 25 years ago that Microsoft first added the Solitaire game suite to their computers.  It’s only natural that the company now determine the Microsoft champions of solo computer card games, then allow those champions to challenge the world.

    The Microsoft Solitare Tournament kicks off on June 5.

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    May 12, 2015
    Guitar Hero Is Coming Back

    Guitar Hero is one of the biggest gaming franchises in gaming history.  Between Guitar Hero and Rock Band, millions of games and millions of downloaded tracks were sold, but with all fads, it faded into the background and disappeared.  However, never underestimate the power of nostalgia, and never underestimate the power of a new generation of music fans looking to enjoy rhythm games in high definition.  Guitar Hero is coming back with new songs and a newly designed six-button controller.

    Of course, it’s still a Guitar Hero controller, not an actual guitar, so forget about learning anything while you game.  Still, at least there’s a new controller, and hopefully that means new drums, a new microphone, and a chance to dust off my very rusty skills.  Although I have no idea how they’re going to do a Guitar Hero game with a Skrillex song, but I love the idea of rocking out to some Judas Priest, The Rolling Stones, and Pantera.

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    March 17, 2015
    Nintendo Is Heading To Mobile Games

    Nintendo is one of the world’s leading handheld gaming companies, and they have been for most of my life.  The GameBoy revolutionized things, and even as other competition has arrived, Nintendo has kept up great work in the mobile gaming world without bending to the times.  Now, they’re looking for some outside help when it comes to turning your smartphone into a Nintenphone.  Nintendo and DeNA Mobile are combining forces to design some specialized smartphone games.

    “Nintendo has decided to utilize smart devices aggressively,” said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. “Now that smart devices have grown to become the window for so many people to personally connect with society, it would be a waste not to use these devices.  We are challenging ourselves to redefine what ‘Nintendo platforms’ mean.”

    The best thing about this news?  It won’t be simple ports of classic Nintendo titles; it’s going to be all new mobile games designed by DeNA and Nintendo to work on today’s phones.  No clunky controller schemes or awkward buttons; smartphone games designed specifically for smartphones.  Pretty amazing, and one of the most exciting things about the whole announcement.  If anyone can make touch work, it’s Nintendo.

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    March 4, 2015
    Microsoft Adds Cross-Buying For Xbox One And Windows 10

    If you buy a video game, you want to play it as much as possible, right?  Of course.  No other way to beat said game than to play it, and unfortunately you have to choose a way to do it.  Xbox One or your actual computer?  One’s a whole lot easier, the other can be a much better gaming experience.  Ease, or quality?  Well, thanks to a new program from Microsoft, you no longer have to choose.  Microsoft has announced the Windows Universal App Platform, which means if you buy a game for your Xbox One, you’ll get it on Windows 10.

    Of course, it won’t be universal.  The choice to participate in the cross-buy program will be left to the developers, not Windows.  So if your favorite game chooses not to participate in the program, then you should complain to them, not Windows.  But there’s other good news.  You can now use Xbox One controller with Windows games, as well as play cross-platform with users on PCs able to play against folks on Xbox Live.  So yeah, that’ll be fun.

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    February 4, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Channel F

    Via Fast Company

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