Minecraft Xbox Live
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Minecraft Product Details
Released on 09-May-2012
Markus "Notch" Persson, the Swedish indie developer who became an overnight star thanks to the world-conquering Minecraft, is feeling the pressure of fame. The revelation comes in a frank and candid interview with New Yorker magazine.
It's perhaps not surprising that he's feeling anxious about following up such an enormous hit. Minecraft has sold over twenty million copies across PC, Xbox 360 and mobile, earning Notch's studio, Mojang, a hefty £152m in 2012. He's currently ranked second, just behind Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, in Time magazine's poll to find the most influential people in the world.
"I'm starting to feel writer's block as a result," Notch told New Yorker. "I'm not sure if it's pressure to repeat - actually, it is the pressure to repeat. With Minecraft it was just easier, because nobody knew who I was. Now I post a new idea and millions of people scrutinize it. There's a conflict between the joy of being able to do whatever I want and the remarkable pressure of a watching world. I don't know how to switch it off."
The Minecraft success story doesn't look like it will be ending any time soon. Xbox 360 owners who are unable to download the game will soon get the chance to join in as well, when Minecraft Xbox 360 edition comes to shops in a retail disc version. That's expected to launch in June, delayed from this month in order to include as many gameplay updates as possible.
And so another year gallops to a close, thundering through the ribbon into January on a wave of good cheer and over-eating. And what a cracker of a year it's been for gaming, with all the major platforms delivering some absolutely stonking exclusives along with some truly spectacular blockbusters spread across all formats, like warm butter on the crumpet you're hopefully eating right now to ward off the December chills.
For Xbox 360 owners, it's been the year in which Master Chief finally returned to the gaming stage. Absent for five years - an eternity in games terms - his triumphant return in Halo 4 not only kickstarted the new Reclaimer Trilogy, but also introduced new developer 343 Studios to the series. 343 immediately put its stamp on Bungie's universe, crafting a game with sumptuous visuals and a distinctly personal spin on storytelling, as Chief battles not just to save the galaxy, but his AI companion Cortana, whose code is deteriorating. Add in an exhaustive suite of multiplayer modes, a full co-op campaign, and the ongoing Spartan Ops bonus missions and you've got one of the best games of the series, and of this year.
Halo wasn't the only Microsoft legend getting a makeover in 2012. Forza Horizon took the imposing racing simulation and gave it a funky mainstream twist, combining developer Turn 10's impeccable vehicle physics with an open world underground racing vibe. Everything from drift racing to hardcore rallying is covered as you roar around a virtual Colorado racing festival, looking for events and opportunities to show off your talent behind the wheel.
The wonderful land of Albion also showed off a new perspective in Fable: The Journey. This Kinect-fuelled spin-off from the superb RPG series puts you right into the action as a young boy, separated from his tribe and forced to travel across this magical land alone as dark forces gather against him. Using precision motion control, you steer your wagon, fire off spells and even look after your loyal horse. It's an unusual game, offering an experience far removed from the other Fable titles, yet it's also one of the best Kinect games. Immersive and packed with genuine challenge, it's a good sign that motion gaming doesn't have to just mean simple mini-games for little kids.
Definitely not suitable for little kids was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Previously a well-deserved smash hit on the PC, the game crossed over to consoles exclusively for Xbox 360. This was no mere half-hearted port either. Czech developer CD Projekt went out of its way to recreate the game specifically for a console audience, adding four hours of fresh questing content, as well as new cinematics. The result was one of the best role-playing games, not just of 2012, but of all time. A thorny, challenging adventure set in a bawdy, complex world torn apart by racism, political strife and class war.
On the digital frontline, the Xbox continued to thrill. World conquering epic Minecraft came to consoles just for the 360, allowing a whole new audience to experience the genius of Mojang's communal block bashing and building. No surprise that it quickly became one of the most popular online games, challenging even the heavyweight shooters. Indie hit Fez got critics hot under the collar too with its mind-bending puzzle platforming action, and knockabout motocross romp Trials Evolution offered gamers the chance to punish their ragdoll rider in the year's biggest highs and most hilarious fails.
Xbox owners weren't left out when it came to multi-format releases either. The brilliant Borderlands 2, with its lunatic mix of co-op action and loot-swapping mayhem, is what your Xbox LIVE Friends List was invented for, while the online action of hits such as FIFA 13 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted made the most of Microsoft's ever-evolving digital community. Even the biggest game of the year had something extra special for Xbox players, as Activision announced that all the DLC maps for Call of Duty: Black Ops II will be exclusive to Xbox 360 for a limited time.
And that's just this year. Where will Xbox be in another twelve months? Will there be a new console to save up for? How long will we have to wait for Halo 5? And what will developers do next with the controller-free Kinect? One thing's for sure, it's going to be an amazing ride finding out.
New York's prestigious Museum of Modern Art has ended decades of debate by embracing video games as an artform worthy of permanent inclusion. Fourteen titles will be installed in the Philip Johnson Galleries from March next year, with the goal of expanding the collection to forty titles over time.
Among the first games to be honoured are such classics as Pac-Man, Tetris and SimCity. More modern titles include SONY's bonkers roll-em-up Katamari Damacy, Valve's brilliant Portal and the wonderfully simple endless runner Canabalt. Nintendo's Animal Crossing and indie sensation Minecraft are among the games that will join the collection later.
"Are video games art? They sure are," reads the museum press release. "The games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design," the statement said. "Our criteria, therefore, emphasize not only the visual quality and aesthetic experience of each game, but also the many other aspects - from the elegance of the code to the design of the player's behaviour - that pertain to interaction design."
It's the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, which means we all get an extra day off. So with the weather being predictably unpredictable, why not spend it in the company of some great games?
Here's our handy guide for some of the best games to enjoy this bank holiday weekend, with ideas for children, for friends and family, or for getting some serious single-player gaming done!
Games for the kids:
If you have a kids and a Kinect, there's really only one choice - Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure, giving the chance for the little ones to play along with all their favourite Pixar characters, like Woody and Buzz, Remy the Rat, Lightning McQueen and the Incredibles. Kids will love using the Kinect to interact with their Pixar friends, lifting, steering, flying, swimming and smashing their way through a variety of fun games that will keep them occupied for hours, and feeling like they're part of the story.
For more quirky fun with their favourite characters, it's hard to go wrong with our wide choice of LEGO games. Kids can take a trip to Hogwarts and help Harry Potter and chums defeat Voldemort, set sail with the Pirates of the Caribbean, use the Force in Star Wars, or hero-up alongside Batman or Indiana Jones. With classic adventures recreated in LEGO's trademark building blocks, and delivered with LEGO's trademark sense of humour, there's plenty for kids of all ages to enjoy - and for parents to enjoy once the children have gone to bed!
Skylanders continue to be a big hit with the kids, and you'll be a big hit with your kids if you bring Skylanders home! The age-old battle of good versus evil is brought to life not only through the video game itself, but enhanced by the collection of character toys that interact with the game. There's a whole host of cool characters to collect and who join are brought to life in the game via the Portal of Power, so the opportunities for new games and new challenges are endless!
Games for friends and family:
When's the plenty of people round, a little friendly competition always goes a long way. Where better to find out who's best than at the Olympic games? And who better to play with than Mario and Sonic? Well, as luck would have it, Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is chock full of fun contests that test a wide variety of skills, with unique ways of interacting with the action. There's everything from sprinting to table tennis, canoeing to show-jumping, as well as some imaginative twists in the 'Dream' events, like a long-jump that takes you flying from cloud to cloud. And all for a lot less than a ticket to the real Olympics!
If you - or your party - starts to get a bit more active, then there's always Just Dance 3. The latest chapter in the hugely successful dancing game series continues to challenge all to bust their best moves. This time there's an even wider variety of dancefloor-classic songs from almost every era and a range of different game modes to keep the party fresh and four-player action for the ultimate dance-off! It's compatible with Wii, PlayStation Move and Kinect, and pushes motion controls to their funky limits!
Games on your own:
Looking for a game to put some serious single-player hours into? Well, you can always journey into space with Mass Effect 3, one of the biggest and most talked-about games of the year. This sci-fi adventure is as much an in-depth role-playing experience as it is a third-person shooter, promising a journey where you choices really define the way the game is played. Thousands of people all over the world have committed almost as many hours following Commander Shepard across the Trilogy, so why not spend this weekend finding out just why?
If you prefer your role-playing a little more traditional, then the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Pandora's Tower are two fantastic offerings. Questing in fantasy worlds, battling mythical beasts, swords, sorcery and an ending based on how you play - the whole RPG experienced wrapped up in a complete package! Skyrim offers a first-person adventure and dragons, while Pandora's Tower gives you classical music and a very personal quest. Either game will take up your entire weekend!
For time consumption of a different kind, Minecraft has finally made its way to Xbox 360 thanks to Xbox LIVE. This 8-bit phenomenon has become a global cult classic, with it's simple sandbox gameplay: mine things and then build things. What sounds so simple becomes perilously addictive as your skills and ambitions become greater and greater still, and the long weekend is ideal to get settled into a time-sucking game like this!
Minecraft creator Notch has 'writer's… (15/04/2013)
Markus "Notch" Persson, the Swedish indie developer behind the world-conquering Minecraft, is feeling the pressure of fame…
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New York's prestigious Museum of Modern Art has ended decades of debate by embracing video games as an artform worthy of permanent inclusion. Fourteen titles will be installed in the Philip Johnson Ga…
Bank Holiday Games! (30/04/2012)
Here's our handy guide for some of the best games to enjoy this bank holiday weekend, with ideas for children, for friends and family, or for getting some serious single-player gaming done!…
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