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Posts Tagged ‘microsoft

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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Podcast: Ah Ah Ahhhhh

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This week Fred and Jam are discussing the misadventures of Master Chief, at least in terms of the Bungie developed ones.  What started out as a Real Time Strategy (RTS) title for the Mac ended up ironically being the launch title for the Microsoft Xbox that has withstood the test of time and is to this day one of the strongest properties in gaming.


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Written by Fred Rojas

November 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

Podcast: GHX – E3 Hype Train

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This week we are foregoing the past and focusing on the future with Pixelated Pints co-host Heffe guesting on the show.  We discuss the Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo press events and what it means for the wonderful world of gaming.  Don’t worry, we’re back to retro next week.


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Written by Fred Rojas

June 11, 2014 at 11:00 am

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Podcast: Extra Credit – MicroSoft eXtended (MSX)

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For this extra credit Fred goes solo to discuss Japan’s only semi-exclusive microcomputer, the MSX.  Created by Microsoft as a computing platform, the MSX is responsible for many cart-based titles that found mass success on the NES and even today.  It’s an impressive library on one of the most niche worldwide consoles/computers of all time.

Opening Song: Main Theme – Nightmare on the MSX
Sequence 1 break: Intro/Main Theme – Metal Gear on the MSX
Closing Song: Main Theme – Salamander on the MSX


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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buffy_boxInto every generation a review is born, one review in all the world, a chosen one…that will play Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the original Xbox. If you haven’t already guessed I’m a huge fan of the original nineties TV show, so, was already quite excited to start playing this.  TV to game conversions, similar to film to game conversions, are a rather common trend, especially if there is already a fan base behind the source material. However, again similar to film conversions, the outcomes of these games often have rather mixed results.

As you would expect you play as Buffy Summers, the chosen one, destined to take down all of the nasties that go bump in the night. One of the main highlights for me, was that the game brings in the main characters from the show. This includes main bad guy The Master who, of course, is up to no good and its up to Buffy and the Scooby gang to sort it out. Overall the story feels like a several part episode of the show and for those who are interested, the story sits within season three of the Buffy anthology. Despite being released in 2002 (season three aired in 1998) the plot of this game still ties in really well. The writers did a great job to make this appeal to fans, with characters regularly bringing up stories or incidents that happened in the TV show. If you are totally new to Buffy, on the other hand, it’s possible some of the dialogue and plot will throw you a bit as it doesn’t come across as particularly friendly for newbies. That said, the basic story is pretty straight forward and self contained: there’s a bad guy that needs taking down and you’re the good guy to save the day.

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The game scores big right off the bat as the opening theme from the TV show is also in the game. Other than that the music wasn’t particularly engaging or memorable but it fit in well enough for the cutscenes and level design. The voice acting is just fantastic, pretty much every actor from the TV show lends voice talent to the game except for Sarah Michelle Gellar (reasons unknown), which is odd. Instead Geselle Loren provides the voice work for Buffy and does a fantastic job. The only problem with the voice work – and this was an issue for a lot of games from this era – is Buffy and other enemies will spurt out with the same one-liners constantly. Though its fun to hear Buffy say “Come on, kick my ass,” after hearing it several times in the same level it gets old really quick.

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Written by jamalais

February 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm

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Podcast: Xbox 360 Retrospective

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This week Fred is joined by Steve (@r9cast) of the R9 Cast and Norma (@normii477) of Knuckleballer Radio and Zombiecast to discuss the beloved Xbox 360.  They discuss the console launch, launch titles, significant advances, hardware setbacks, and a bunch of other ups and downs in Microsoft’s second, and currently most notable, console.

The photo of my Tauntaun sleeping bag as referenced in the show can be found here.


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Written by Fred Rojas

November 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Podcast: Gaming History X – Xboned: Microsoft Market Perception

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This week we are trying something new.  Fred is flying solo (just this week) and he’s talking about Microsoft’s poor messaging of the Xbox One, the way it should have been handled, and in true GH101 fashion the myriad of consoles that have failed in the past.


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Written by Fred Rojas

June 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm

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Podcast: Call of Duty: Combat Evolved

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Halo and Call of Duty, the two powerhouse FPS titles of this holiday season duking it out at full price amidst a sea of discounted games on Black Friday (and surpassing the sales of many of them).  It wasn’t always a guaranteed hit, though, and this week we discuss the birth of both franchises including the genesis of the studios that created them.


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Written by Fred Rojas

December 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

Podcast: Obscure Survival Horror Games

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This week Fred goes solo to discuss obscure survival horror games Overblood, Enemy Zero, ObsCure, and Rule of Rose.  He discuss many aspects about the games without spoiling most of the plot and help you consider whether you’d ever want to play them.  Fred also announces October’s contest winner, announces a new contest, and sets up the game club titles for the upcoming months.


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Written by Fred Rojas

November 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm