The "Xbox Live Rewards" program tested over a year ago is now a real thing. The website for the US/UK-only loyalty program is now live, and you can sign up and check out the rewards.

It's kind of like Club Nintendo, except instead of fans and tote bags, you get Microsoft Points and Microsoft Points. The bonuses range from 10 MSP for renewing a one-month membership, all the way to 400 for buying or renewing a family plan. You can also get 100 points for activating Netflix, unspecified bonuses for buying certain things on Marketplace, and an occasional 20 points for taking surveys. Microsoft also promises "cool prizes" in promotions.

As Club Nintendo users know, there is basically no downside to a loyalty program like this. You do the stuff you were going to do anyway, and then someone gives you free stuff periodically.

[Source: Joystiq]

{posted by Will}

Images have surfaced online from a mystery forum-goer identifying him or herself as "Not Tom Morello" (a reference to the source of leaked Halo: Reach screens earlier this year). The source claims the new shots are from Bungie's next game, which she or he is calling a "semi-modern war game" that "plays like a cross between Halo, Call of Duty, and Rainbow Six." So are the images legit?

Not so, according to the developer. Bungie employee Luke Smith posted on a NeoGAF thread about the images. His response: "Worst fake ever."

If you're interested in seeing the full set of images despite their apparent lack of credibility, you can check out this thread on IGN's forums, where they seem to have originated.

Despite the fact that Bungie recently began looking for testers for their next project, we're probably going to have to be patient before we hear much about it. In the mean time, can't we all just play some more Reach instead of dreaming up fake info?

{Source: GameInformer

My Thoughts: Sounds like a pretty interesting gam they're making!

Reuters is reporting that Microsoft are in talks with media companies about bringing an online subscription cable-like service to Xbox 360.

Not many details are known, but the company is thought to be planning a pay monthly service for “a ‘virtual cable operator’ delivered over the Internet.”

It’s also thought Microsoft are going to bring out “content silos” for premium US channels HBO and Primetime.

Reuters’ sources say any service won’t be arriving for at least another year.

Microsoft have refused to comment.

In the UK, the only thing similar to a cable service for Xbox 360 is Sky Player, which provides live TV and catch-up services for its channels.

[Source: VG247]

{posted by Will}

Are you interested in hearing what Double Fine has to say about sequels to games like Brutal Legend, Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, and more? We've got the skinny on what games the developer would love to make sequels for, and the ones they couldn't make follow ups for if they wanted to.

The info comes from a recent post on the
FAQ section of Double Fine's website.

In response to the burning question of impending Psychonauts or Brütal Legend sequels, Double Fine said, "Not right now, but we’d love to someday. If anyone out there has a few million dollars burning a hole in their pocket, and would like to help us make an excellent sequel, please let us know"

You've probably heard of the previous two games, but you may not know about other favorites fans want sequels for. Regarding development on sequels for Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle, Double Fine said, "That would be fun, but we don’t own the rights to any of those games, so we can’t. Instead, we have to make up our own new stuff. Which is awesome."

We can deal with Tim Schafer and company focusing on making awesome new titles. Keep the good times rolling, Double Fine.

{Source: GameInformer}


It turns out those sneaky developers at Treyarch inserted a secret message into Black Ops, using two separate encryption methods to hide the code in each of the level's mission briefings. Didn't even know there was a code you should be cracking? That's alright: someone already figured it out. Check out what the message says after the jump.

YouTube user 01MaverickTen10 posted a video explanation of the code that makes him sound like a straight-up crazy person, but the message is actually pretty intriguing. You can watch his video below, but the main gist is that there are two messages in the mission briefing. The first code uses the designate word of each mission, which is always one of the terms from the NATO alphabet (Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, etc.). The second half of the message comes from each mission's transmission code, which gets converted to its corresponding letter in the alphabet. So what does the message say? Skip the next sentence if you can't handle the truth!

Spoiler Alert: "Reznov is dead. Or is he dead? There was no body. Is he who he says he is?"

I haven't even played Black Ops yet, and my mind is officially blown! Check out the video below for more information on how to find the message yourself.

LINK TO VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLZlfHGo-Ro&feature=player_embedded

{Source: GameInformer}

Okay, gang. We've seen what the other, non-video game-oriented retailers will have to offer next week during the holiday shopocalypse known as Black Friday -- now let's see what the big dog has to show. GameStop's catalog of doorbusters and all-day deals recently arrived online, detailing the post-Thanksgiving bundles, discounts and freebies being offered by the ludological retailer.

There's a lot to soak in, but here's some highlights. Check out a scan of GameStop's full list of offers in the gallery below!
  • Buy any two used games or accessories, get one used game or accessory of equal or lesser value free
  • 4GB Xbox 360 console bundle ($199) -- includes a free copy of Madden 11 or Medal of Honor
  • Wii console bundle ($199) -- includes Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and Just Dance
  • Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary Wii bundle ($199) -- includes Wii Sports and New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  • 160GB PS3 console bundle ($299) -- includes God of War Collection and God of War III
  • Pre-owned Xbox 360 classic model for $99.99
  • Pre-owned Wii for $99.99
  • PSP-3000 Holiday bundle ($129) -- includes LittleBigPlanet and The Karate Kid on UMD
  • inFamous, Killzone 2, Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time or Uncharted: Drake's Fortune for $14.99
  • Fallout: New Vegas (360), Fable 3 or Halo: Reach for $39.99
  • Buy World of Warcraft for $4.99, get a free $5 gift card (wait, what?)

    [Source: Joystiq]

{posted by Will}
Valve has just announced that Portal 2 will now be coming out the week of April 18, 2011 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For reals this time. The game was pushed back by two months and marks the "shortest delay in Valve history." The e-mail release was short, but in classic Valve fashion, is pretty hilarious. Check it out after the fold.

Still no word on the longest delay of any news on a game people are dying for, Half-Life 3. 

Valve today announced that Portal 2 -- the sequel to the ground-breaking title that won over 30 game of the year awards, despite missing its original ship date -- will now be available the week of April 18th, 2011. This two month slip not only marks the shortest delay in Valve's proud tradition of delays, it represents the approaching convergence of Valve Time and Real Time. Though this convergence spells doom for humanity, it will not affect the new Portal 2 release date.

{Source: Destructoid}

My Thoughts: Really doesn't surprise me that such an anticipated game is being delayed.  Isn't that how it works nowadays?

{posted by Will}

Barely two years after its release, Microsoft is pulling the plug on Halo Wars on Dec. 15, axing leaderboards and stat-tracking as well as the forums. Fans of the real-time strategy game are not pleased. The community was informed of this on Tuesday. They were told they'd be "transitioning ... to Halo Waypoint's forums," which is a nice way of saying goodbye to the halowars.com website and to the community, because they won't be in any officially dedicated area over on Waypoint.

More importantly, "the forums will disappear and so will online stat-tracking," the mod writes, a full 300 words into the announcement. Talk about burying the lede. "I know this will be rough on a lot of you," he says.

{Source: Kotaku}

My Thoughts: *cough* MONEY GREEDY NOOBS *cough*

   [Post by: Will]
We're pretty excited about BioShock Infinite, the latest project from Irrational Games. As if revealing a new BioShock game, screens, and a trailer weren't enough, Irrational also showed a lengthy gameplay demo, and we are going to tell you all about it.

The demo opens with protagonist Booker DeWitt in Columbia, the floating city that serves as the setting for BioShock Infinite. Unlike the previous two BioShock titles (and Irrational's System Shock 2), it doesn't seem like your player character will be a complete blank slate. As a former Pinkerton agent, it appears that Booker has his own backstory. He even speaks; as he gets moving, he says "That thing took Elizabeth. I've gotta find her..." in a voice that sounds like (but wasn't confirmed as) Garrett from Thief.

Booker begins walking through the streets of Columbia, which aren't in great shape. A robotic (!?) horse pulls a newspaper cart with an unresponsive man slumped over in the driver's seat. Another cart lies ruined in the middle of the road, and propaganda posters portraying George Washington as a godly figure standing against foreigners adorn the walls.

Throughout these first steps, a bell can be heard chiming in the background. We see the source – a giant town hall-style bell tower floating in mid-air. However, whatever is holding it up isn't reliable, and the whole tower slowly starts lilting and ultimately collapses, sending the bell itself skidding toward Booker and stopping just feet away.

As Booker proceeds, he comes across an old man on a park bench surrounded by crows. He doesn't seem to notice Booker, who walks further into the park toward a gazebo at its center. Along the way, we see signs with alarming campaign slogans, apparently aimed at instilling fear and xenophobia in the citizens of Columbia.

In the gazebo, we see the reason for the signs – a politician named Saltonstall is preaching about the evils of outsiders and the importance of preserving the purity of Columbia. It is a rousing speech, except for one problem: No one is listening. Saltonstall is campaigning to several rows of empty chairs (spoiler alert: Saltonstall might not be totally sane).

{Source: GameInformer}

My Thoughts: This game is looking sexy as a game can be! I'm really excited for this game! What's the release date? February 2nd, 2012...... >:F

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