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Co-Operative Episode 3: Gears of War Ultimate Edition

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Fred and Gren get together to discuss the co-op experience of Gears of War, which quickly becomes a discussion about the changes of the 360 original and the extra content of this edition from a 2 player standpoint.


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Written by Fred Rojas

August 22, 2018 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Celebrating 15 Years of Xbox

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It’s about two weeks late, but the original Xbox is 15 years old now and we figured it was high time to celebrate.  As the first attempted console/PC hybrid, there’s a lot to say and talk about surrounding the history, development, and release of the original Xbox.  Fred and Jam go through all of it, including the launch titles and gaming enthusiast opinions, before finishing strong with a slew of notable games for Microsoft’s first console.


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Written by Fred Rojas

November 30, 2016 at 11:00 am

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E3 2016: All Games Xbox Press Conference Impressions

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Microsoft comes out swinging with big plans for the Xbox both this year and next.  The All Games crew breaks down all of the games, known and previously unknown, as well as hardware and back end announcements from the press conference.  #YearOfTheFist


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Collector’s Cache: Unboxing of 20 Mystery Xbox Games

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Fred found a pack of 20 “mystery” original Xbox games at a local used game store.  He’s expecting it to all be terrible, but who knows what may be inside.  Discover the ups and downs of random boxes as he opens it and reveals each game one by one.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Cross Talk: Dissecting Microsoft’s Vision of the Future

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This is an article that is going live simultaneously on Gaming History 101 and The B-Team Podcast as the topic is applicable to both.  This was based on a conversation started on B-Team Episode 354 and continued without me on Episode 355 with Chip and Ryan.  It regards the news from Microsoft’s Spring Event regarding Xbox One and Windows 10 gaming (this link provides a VR 360 video of the whole 30 minute announcement and was the only video I could still find of the actual Phil Spencer speech).  Once the event ended, everyone wanted to chime in on what this means for Xbox One (the “updated hardware” announcement), Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps instead of Win32 (.exe) programs, and just what the heck Microsoft is planning.  This also led to a series of articles rightfully criticizing many of Microsoft’s claims about PC gaming.  Professional acquaintance Jason Evangelho did a great piece dissecting it on Forbes,  Tim Sweeny (co-founder of Epic Games) flat out wants us to fight UWP, and Peter “Durante” Thoman (the modder responsible for the DSfix on Dark Souls PC and overall fixer of broken PC ports) explains how UWP renders many of the tweaks/mods PC gamers go to the platform for completely impossible.  With all the discussion, I figured I would break it down for you and explain why I think that the future can exist with consoles, UWP, and PC games, but they all need each other.

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What Was at the Microsoft Spring Showcase

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, took to the stage to make the content-filled half hour presentation.  For the record, I like Spencer and feel he is not only good for Microsoft but also the industry as a whole.  That doesn’t mean he can avoid the corporate overlords above him or that he can spill the beans to the public outright, but that he probably knows what the masses are going to say.  He also has legacy on his side.  In the last 2-3 years we’ve seen the public scorn digital content, attack Microsoft’s disc-less future to the point that it reversed its decision only to read countless opinion pieces asking for it back, and even recently Microsoft announced it would add cross-platform play with PC/PS4 as well as look into “loaning” digital games.  This isn’t new, kids, it’s something Microsoft led this console generation with, but the public wasn’t ready…until now?

The focal point of the presentation were the goals of Windows 10 as a PC gaming platform, the bright future for Xbox One hardware/software, and how the two may work in tandem.  I already know that last sentence is enough to get some people heated and opinionated so just let that soak for a minute.  Of the efforts we heard about plenty of games that were previous Xbox One exclusives hitting Windows 10, Windows 10 getting some proprietary ports as the process of Xbox One/Windows 10 games is streamlined, and a potential upgraded hardware future for Xbox One.  If this doesn’t fill you with more questions then this is for you because it not only dissects what this could mean (Microsoft has been its typical vague self since the Showcase) but what I think about it.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

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Podcast: Emergence Day

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What started off as a spin-off for the Unreal series evolved into a technical showpiece for the Unreal 3 Engine and eventually became the powerhouse series Gears of War.  A staple in the Microsoft family, Gears of War broke through the fears of HD console gaming and was responsible for some of the most influential multiplayer mechanics from co-op to horde mode.


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Written by Fred Rojas

August 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

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Extra Credit: Top 10 Xbox Games

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xboxMicrosoft’s big clunky box from 2001 may have been laughable at first, but whether you were aware or not it hit like a limited interest storm that holiday.  From a certain shooter to the catalog of Sega and a myriad of PC ports, there’s no denying the Xbox started to bridge the gap between console and computer.  Fred and Jam duke it out once again with 40 more of their favorite titles to see which 10 remain in this month’s Top 10 Xbox games.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast, Top 10, Xbox

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Documentary: The Evolution and Making of Halo

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Sorry Everyone: Due to Copyright Claims we didn’t think we were violating (because we don’t do ad revenue) this video was removed by our editorial team.  We want to continue to offer high quality content to you and we also do not want to violate the rights of any developer, publisher, or business.  We apologize.

Many of you may know the story behind the original Halo, and for those that don’t we have this trusty podcast from a while back.  It’s one thing to hear it and it’s quite another to see it.  This documentary series shows off the initial MacWorld reveal of Halo in 1999 when Steve Jobs himself introduced what was to become a real-time strategy (RTS) title, the progression to a PC squad-based shooter in 2000 at E3, and the final reveal as a first person shooter on the Xbox in 2001.  After seeing how it progresses we then get about half an hour of developer commentary on the various decisions made in the development process to result in the finished product you know as Halo: Combat Evolved.  This video and the gameplay footage in it are owned by Microsoft and Bungie.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Dance Central 3 Review

Dance_Central_3_coverPlatform: Xbox 360
Released: 2012
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: Harmonix
Digital Release? Yes, Xbox Live ($29.99)
Value: $11.99 (disc only), $14.00 (complete), $14.99 (sealed, retail price)

Dance Central is one of the few reasons people actually wanted to pick up a Kinect for their 360. Harmonix really brought a unique dance experience to the table that felt like it was just made for the Kinect motion sensor. Finally a game where you could literally dance like a loon in front of your game console and not have to worry about dance mats or plastic instrument peripherals. It was just you and the music.  I have only briefly played the original Dance Central game which I actually kind of enjoyed so there was this part of me that was keen to see how the series had developed in Dance Central 3.

dc3_1One of the biggest jokes I used to make about the Kinect was how you could only blame yourself for being bad in Kinect games because of the “you are the controller” slogan Microsoft used to advertise. Dance Central has you attempt to mirror the dance moves from the avatar on screen who performs the dance moves perfectly. Cue cards on the side of the screen will display how the Kinect is detecting you as well as what arm leg movements your supposed to perform to get the dance move down. If your jumping into this game you may find this quite tricky as the game moves quite fast and it can be quite hard to keep up. The kinect essentially detects the movements you make and if they match that of the cue cards you score more points and rack up chain combos (like Guitar Hero or Rock Band). I actually found it quite stressful trying to follow the cue cards and actually enjoyed the game a lot more following the cartoon styled avatar. This of course usually lead me to getting a terrible score at the end but I had more fun. This really is a game that if you want to go into it to score points you need to invest time into it, learn the dance moves and keep playing the songs over and over again to get it right. However, if you don’t care about score and you just want to jump in front of a Kinect and look stupid then you can absolutely have a ton of fun by just jumping into this game. With the Kinect not being completely accurate at detecting movement its likely this will also lead to frustration if your trying to score more points and match the moves perfectly.

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Written by jamalais

May 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Opinion: The State of Games

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Normally we focus on retro here at Gaming History 101, but I don’t think it’s ideal or responsible to ignore the present either.  Despite the handful of modern reviews and the potential plan to re-introduce the Gaming History X podcast, I still think the strength of our site is to remain retro focused.  I still get psyched waiting for E3, seeing the new hardware and software on the market, and reflecting on things to come.  Right now is a weird time for console gaming.  The PC trumps the consoles yet again but I feel this time around there was never a loss of momentum for the complicated pseudo console that has been the PC and from the time of the PS4 and XB1’s release that gap has only grown wider.  Meanwhile Nintendo is this awkward dichotomy of complete control over the handheld market and a niche presence on consoles and some disturbing trends that are exploiting retro fans are emerging.  When you suddenly see the cooperative gaming development, media, and zeitgeist all get together and remember the games of the past to provoke interest, those of us that never forgot may be tempted to get a bit elitist and a bit resentful.  I personally took issue with the concepts of Gex suddenly entering the world of big press podcasts, the fact that IGN is desperately seeking to keep hold of its massive audience while juggling the departure of major talent and the lack of regular game releases of note, and don’t get me started on the people that just plain like to generate revenue on playing emulated games completely without context and making fart jokes over them.  Then I realized I have no reason to care.  Let everyone do what they want to do, besides I’ve always conceded that retro content is something to be shared and not competed against.  Just as there will be indies who give content away for free to the enjoyment of all, there will also be businesses attempting to make a quick buck off of it.  Since we here at Gaming History 101 have no ads, no income, and are not a business, we are in the unique position to have, literally, nothing to lose.  With that in mind I would like to take our retro context and take a look at the state of gaming – consoles, PCs, handheld, mobile, and potentially VR – and give a quick oversight as we approach the 90 day mark to E3.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 26, 2015 at 2:27 pm

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