Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breaking News: XBLIG Ratings Scam?

According to articles in the XBLIG/XNA Community there have been rumors of a Ratings scandal responsible for a number of games being knocked out of their places on certain high priority lists like "Top Rated.
Upon investigation of the Top Rated section of the Xbox Indies Marketplace, I noticed a few odd things in the placement of the games themselves: Bonded Realities has over 1000 ratings and has a 4.25-Star average, Solar has nearly 3000 ratings. Apparently it's a coincidence that all the Lacrosse games are on the Top Rated list--2010, 2011 and the other title as well.
The strangest change in placement is Cthulhu Saves the World's position--being a fan favorite and highly acclaimed title, it only has 1781 Ratings with a 4 star average. The whole thing seems to be a big mess, and the developers have been busy informing the Xbox Indie/XNA Community about the apparent disruption in the lists.
I want to reiterate that the rating changes don't reflect on my personal opinion as a reviewer--newly higher rated titles aren't of lesser quality, it's just that their normal placement has had a sort of paradigm shift--some games are naturally on the lower end of the spectrum while others are on the upper side.
Any XNA developer who's published a game knows that these lists determine your overall sales and success, and getting placed (and staying) on these all-important listings. In light of this manipulation, the official XNA Community Twitter has launched an investigation that will look into the matter at hand.
A number of titles have been negatively affected by this conniving scandal, some of which are well-known games like Cthulhu Saves the World. This supposed scam also seems to be favoring certain games like College Lacrosse 2010--is there a direct correlation? 
Perhaps, but only Microsoft knows for sure.
Whatever the case, these tactics are underhanded and I believe it's not something the XNA Community is happy about one bit. Many developers and even reviewers are spreading the word and are eager to hear the actual findings from the official XNA Community representatives from Microsoft.
Xbox Indie developers work hard on their titles, and to see something like this happen in their own virtual backyard, so to speak, is unnerving--this unbalances the playing field and distorts many aspects of the ratings system itself. Rather than helping the games, the ratings system has been convoluted in such a way that hinder certain titles.
The original Tweet made by the official XNA Community account.
Updates to this post will come as news arrives, however for now be sure to read up on GameMarx's Ratings Scandal Article for more information. Also, if that article doesn't satiate your thirst for knowledge in this matter, check out Achievement Locked's article as well as The Armless Octopus' Xbox Indies Sabotage article for supplementary reading.
Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Breaking News: Cthulhu Saves the World Update!

Zeboyd Games officially announces it's update of the popular Xbox Indie RPG "Cthulhu Saves the World" with a new lengthy and zany title: Cthulhu Saves The World: The Super Hyper Enhanced Championship Edition Alpha Diamond DX Plus Alpha FES HD – Premium Enhanced Game of the Year Collector’s Edition (without Avatars!).

Yes, it's quite a mouthful, and it not only adds to the whole parody theme that is prominent in Zeboyd titles, but also gives a humorous twist to what many gamers have found is a seriously good title.

Cthulhu Saves the World appeared in the Indie Games Winter Uprising or IGWU for short, and is one of more popular Xbox Indie RPG's on the marketplace. CStW has been hailed across the gaming community as a fantastic game and has received positive reviews overall. Personally I believe that is a must-have for any RPG fan, especially die-hard gamers that are looking for a great way to convert MSP into hours of fun.

Cthulhu Saves the World 

Some of the new features that the this expanded version will include are: 
  • Director's Commentary Mode: Specific Tokens are peppered all across the game, each of which detailing certain interesting factoids about the game itself with a myriad of different subjects--basically you get a first-hand glimpse inside of the developer's influences and ideas for CStW.
  •  Re-Balanced Gameplay: Certain monsters and abilities have been modified to re-balance the game, changing it for the better. There is also a new Insanity difficulty and a ridiculously-difficult dungeon for the best of the best to test their mettle.
  •  A Hint to Zeboyd's Next Title: The new update also includes an obscure hint at Zeboyd Games' next game title--this tidbit is sure to tease fans of the tentacled demon from all over the community.
 Awesome YouTube video for "Hey There Cthulhu", a song set to video footage of CStW.

For the official press release to CSTW:SHECEADDPAFH – PEGYCE (WA!) and more information on Cthulhu Saves the World and its upcoming update, visit Zeboyd Games' website.




   The XBL Indieverse