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Ask X3F: Press Start edition

We hope you like this edition of Ask X3F, because you ain't getting one next week. We're going to be at E3, you see, and we imagine most of your questions will be answered by our non-stop, super awesome coverage of the event. Anyhway, to the questions! This week, we've got questions (and answers) about XBLA release dates, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith guitar compatibility, and achievement tracking. As an added bonus, depending on your point of view, we don't have one question about Halo 3 toys this week. We know, it feels weird to us too. Read on, knowledge seekers!

Got a question for Ask X3F? Maybe you have a story or some information you'd like to share? Send it all to ask [at] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

why is it that in todays day and age a game cant go straight to the main menu? you always have to press start in order to get there. seems fairly useless since there is no load time between pushing start and going to the main menu.

GT: SpiritBeggar

Why indeed! Andy, there are many cases that developers could make for including 'Press Start,' though we certainly don't presume to know the particular reasons any one developer chooses to do so. That won't stop us from listing a few, though. First, it's tradition. Games have urged gamers to press start for ages. Why stop now? Also, without 'Press Start' there is no title screen, right? Title screens can (can) really set the mood for a game, so in some ways, 'Press Start' can improve the experience. Besides, pressing start is like making a deal between oneself in the game. Pressing start is akin to saying, "Yes, I'm ready. Show me what you've got." Of course, it also serves to interrupt CG cinemas and gameplay demos.

Is it necessary? No, but it's not exactly making us lose any sleep at night. It's just a little button. It never did anything to you. It just wants to be pressed.

Hey guys

Are there any good sites (or even programs?) that can check your gamertag and ascertain what achievements you still need to get for a certain game?

Case in point, I'm going to try and get 1000/1000 for Viva Pinata and I'd like an easy reference guide detailing what I am missing instead of having to compare two lists (lazy i know). Wouldn't be too much of an issue if there weren't secret achievements...

Maybe even a site that would list missing achievements in decending order so you could check which ones would earn you the most points...


What's wrong with Once you sign into your Gamertag on, you can check the View Games section to see the achievements you've earned and the ones you haven't and how many points they are all worth. Granted, it doesn't reveal how to acquire secret achievements, but it does show you how many there are for a particular game. You can always find secret achievements online and add 'em to your list.

Other than that, we don't know of any specific sites that have all the features you're looking for. Anyone out there know the perfect website for Andy?

Hey guys,

File this in as one of those "should this go to the fancast or ask X3F". I was looking at this and was reminiscing of the time when the XBLA games were mostly 400 MS points. What happened? Why do most of the games that come out now have a price tag of 800 MS points? Who sets the prices of these titles (the developer or Microsoft)?

Thanks for your insight,
GT: bmurph83

The reason games cost more really has more to do with the XBLA pricing structure than anything else. Developers do set their own prices, so it's really up to them to decide how much gamers are willing to pay. Generally speaking, retro titles (of which there were many in the early days of XBLA) are 400 points and original titles are 800. Of course, there have been exceptions. The original IP Geometry Wars was only 400 points, while the retro Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was 800. The reason that so many games cost 800 points these days is because original titles are outnumbering retro titles (which many gamers regard as a good thing).

Could companies release games for 400 and still make money? Yeah, probably, but why would they if they don't have too? In other words, don't expect these companies to start asking for 400 points for a new title. And, honestly, ten dollars isn't much to ask for a quality original title. It's the "quality" part that's most important, of course.

What reasoning (if any) does Microsoft give for keeping the release dates of Arcade titles so secret? The games are obviously done at least a few weeks ahead of the release since they have to be certified by MS. Wouldn't it be better to build up to a big (relatively) title like Soul Caliber rather than just say on Monday: "Oh yeah, Soul Caliber comes out on Wednesday."

And, how do they keep the date so secret? I can't think of any leaks in Arcade history...

What? XBLA games get leaked all the time! Case in point, you may have heard -- but apparently haven't -- that Geometry Wars 2 achievements were recently leaked. This is pretty significant considering the game itself hasn't even been announced yet. Then again, we suppose the release dates are kept fairly secret. We'd wager it's not because Microsoft is really good at keeping secrets, but rather because the company doesn't actually know the release dates yet.

History has certainly shown that XBLA development can be a hairy process. Certification nearly destroyed Jeff Minter's llama loving demeanor and we will never forget the long, slow crawl through the mud that was the Worms certification process. Developer Third Wave Games announced War World was to release in August of 2007, and we have yet to see it hit XBLA. Hell, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was accidentally released on a Saturday with no fanfare at all. The truth, we would guess, is that XBLA's release schedule is more fluid than you might think. This seems pretty obvious given the examples above. Exactly how fluid -- are games scheduled weeks in advance? months? -- we don't know, and Microsoft ain't telling, but we'd guess that the lead time on an Arcade release is pretty short.

In Gamespot's XBox 360 Review of Guitar Hero:Aerosmith, they state "Several guitar controllers... work with the game, as does the Fender Stratocaster from Rock Band." Is this a Typo? Can anyone confirm that the Rockband Guitar Controller works with GH:Aerosmith on XBox 360?


That is the million dollar question right there. Unfortunately, not even the force of the internet seems to be able to answer it. Joystiq conducted a poll recently, having received conflicting reports regarding guitar compatibility in GH: Aerosmith. As it stands, the best answer is that some Rock Band guitars work with GH: Aerosmith and some don't. There is no magic way to know if yours will work (at least, not that we know of). You could always rent the game just to test it out, and we suggest you do before blowing your cash on a game you can't play.

That's it for this week, folks. Keep sending your questions to: ask [at] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

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