As you already know, after completion of Motorola ATRIX For Dummies, which comes out in July, I'm now knee-deep with Christina in writing and developing My Xbox: Kinect, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE, which comes out in October. The "My" series books are extremely colorful and visually oriented, with some of the chapters we've written thus far having more than 50 images (in fact, one has 73!). I thought I would briefly share how the development process works from the author side, with some accompanying visuals.
Well, after playing a bit of Major League Baseball 2K9 and Fight Night Round 4 on my Xbox 360 today to unwind after a busy week, I noticed that once again the 1 vs 100 "live game show" was going on tonight and scheduled for many additional nights thereafter. After telling it to remind me when it was on (the start time for tonight was 10PM EST), I of course shut the console down (negating the reminder), had dinner with my family and watched some TV. Around 10:20ish I logged in to play some more Fight Night (it's a "make your hands tired and sore" type of game, so you need frequent breaks), when I figured what the heck, let me see if I can check out this 1 vs. 100. Never having seen the show, but being aware of it, I wasn't quite sure what I was in for, but after entering the game in progress from the lobby I quickly surmised it was a trivia game show, and for anyone who knows me, knows I love trivia, so this was right up my alley. For those who are unfamiliar with the format, essentially one person answers trivia questions against a Mob of 100 other players until the one person either decides to keep the money and quit, gets knocked out by answering a question wrong, or eliminates all of the other players and wins it all. The nifty thing about this Xbox Live version is that you're playing against tens of thousands of other players, though the one and the 100 for that round are picked from the pool, and you're also pitted against three other players locally. Tonight at its peak I believe there were some 70,000+ players in one game. So what's so special about this? Well for one, there's a live host. Two, there's all the thrill of playing against online opponents without the chance for griefing or drop outs or any of the other things that usually plague these types of games. Third, you play for real prizes, in this case Xbox Live Arcade points and Xbox Live Arcade games (tonight was Worms). Prizes are given out every game (and it's implied that in the future there will be more types of prizes). In fact, even though it's still in beta, apparently tonight was the first night that they got to give out real prizes. So really, the live host, the prizes and the shear volume of other places really gave a sense of "reality" to the game (not to mention commercial breaks!) that's often missing from even some of the best online experiences.
I remember very distinctly many years back playing online game shows like Jeopardy on the Web before they gave out under their own popularity (and a free model they couldn't sustain). Now that there's a network like Xbox Live to handle a lot of the messy details, games like 1 vs 100 as part of Xbox Live's long-in-the-works-and-finally-coming-to-fruition Primetime Channel point the way to even more possibilities and depth in our videogame experiences. Of course, that's nothing but a good thing and I'm glad to be part of it. Anyone else get to try 1 vs 100 yet? Share your experiences with us!
And a game in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0BXdgz8Ipg
Click here to go to the Armchair Arcade product page for Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time (2009) by Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton.
I happened to catch this little blurb on maxconsole about what Bill Gates told USA Today. Apparently, they asked him his thoughts on the HD DVD/Blu-Ray war, and he responded that it didn't really matter because soon everyone will be downloading movies (and games, I'd guess) rather than watching them on discs. His answer strikes me as dead-on. However, I'm not quite sure if he means that people will be streaming movies or downloading them and storing them, perhaps temporarily, on a hard drive or perhaps burning them to their own discs.
Well, as part of Xbox Live Wednesday's, which will see interesting new releases on that weekday for the near future, Microsoft and Konami have released "Frogger 25th Anniversary" to Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 yesterday. I was looking forward to the enhanced visuals and the new modes, but was ultimately left a bit dissapointed.