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No automatic XBLA downloads for the NXE

During our extensive video tour of the New Xbox Experience, we managed to miss that an old feature has actually been removed. Specifically, we're talking about the ability to download all Xbox Live Arcade games automatically. We're not sure how many people actually use the feature, but for those that like to at least try every XBLA game (or those that started a weekly video series about XBLA), it was pretty handy. When MTV's Stephen Totilo asked Microsoft's John Schappert about the removal of the feature, Schappert replied, "You actually use that?"

While the reason why the feature has gone missing remains a mystery, Totilo was told "it may come back in a future release." We'll just have to wait an see. Get your own hands on the otherwise feature-packed NXE when it debuts next month.

The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai coming soon


Let's face it, the food service industry does something to people. The pure inanity of it all will drive ordinary people to lash out at the innocent and do obscene things to their food. And, in rare cases, it can send someone on a blood-fueled spree of undead vengeance. At least, that's the general understanding we have of The Dishwashwer: Dead Samurai. Gamescore Blog has announced that the XBLA game is "coming soon" (that's the news in this post, lest the first few sentences threw you off). Also announced was a new mode called "Phantom Guitar," which allows a second player to plug in either a Rock Band or Guitar Hero guitar and play as, ahem, a phantom guitar which can aid the Dishwasher by damaging and killing enemies.

There is no specific date announced for the game, though the article does use the phrase "in the months to come," so we're hopeful that the game will release before the year is out.

XBLA in Brief: Portal: Still Alive

This week on XBLA in Brief, we take a look at Portal: Still Alive. Sure, it seems like an easy choice for those wanting to try Portal without paying for The Orange Box. 15 bucks for the original Portal and 14 new challenge maps? Sounds pretty good to us. The only real question is whether or not the 14 additional maps are worth it to Portal fanatics. At a buck a map, we're inclined to say yes. Check out the latest installment of XBLA in Brief to see what's new in Still Alive.

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XBLA in Brief: Crazy Mouse, Age of Booty

Let's just put this out there: Age of Booty is really, really fun. We know this because the trial version (the trial version) allows you to try online multiplayer for two days. Why it's taken nearly three years for an Xbox Live Arcade game to offer online play in the trial version, we have no idea. We just hope it's the beginning of a beautiful trend. Oh, Crazy Mouse came out this week too. That's all you really need to know about that one. Check out the latest episode of XBLA in Brief above.

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Big Xbox 360 deals from Dell


Not so uncharacteristically, Dell.com is offering up holiday Xbox 360 console savings across the 360's entire console lineup. They're selling the newly released Xbox 360 holiday bundles at a discounted price where you can save $30 on a new Xbox 360 Arcade, $50 on a Pro and $70 on an Elite. Click the links below, enter the coupon code supplied and make your purchase before October 23rd. Saving money is a good thing.
  • Xbox 360 Arcade - Coupon code: 6VKNSMJK0PD7L8
  • Xbox 360 Pro - Coupon code: M69N0GW8WF$71V
  • Xbox 360 Elite - Coupon code: 7H7JHWM8?HQTBR
[Via Engadget, Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Free N+ level pack leaps onto XBLM


Tiny ninja fans rejoice! A new level pack for the high jumpin', wall slidin' platformer N+ is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace. Oh, but that's not all. It's also 100% completely, totally free! So, that's pretty cool right? The folks at Metanet have also annoucned a new "contesque" in which you could win a copy of N+ on your platform of choice. All you have to do is send a picture of an N+ related costume or craft, or a piece of digital art. Head over to Metanet for full details, and go get that level pack!

[Thanks, Brian. Via Joystiq]

Age of Booty plunders and CrazyMouse nibbles XBLA


We've got two new games landing on Xbox Live Arcade today. First up, we have Crazy Mouse, which is about a mouse that is just ka-razy for food. It's kind of like Pac-Man, but with mice, weapons, and food. On the other end of the spectrum we have Age of Booty, a real time strategy game of sorts, which has players scrambling to upgrade their pirate ships and capture hapless towns. Without a doubt though, the best feature of Age of Booty is that the trial version actually lets you try out Xbox Live multiplayer for a full two days. Why haven't we seen this feature before?

We're not sure, but we can tell that Age of Booty is (rum) barrels of fun. CrazyMouse will run you 400 points while Age of Booty requires 800 points of your hard-earned plunder.

NXE storage solution: Free 512MB memory card or cheap 20GB HDD

Last week, Microsoft informed us that they'd be offering a "storage solution" to Xbox 360 Arcade and Core owners who didn't have 128MBs of storage to install the New Xbox Experience. We now have those storage solution specifics.

Microsoft just launched a new Xbox Storage Upgrade website where Arcade and Core owners can request their storage solution. All you have to do is enter your console's serial number and ID, then the system will check to make sure your console isn't an Elite or Pro. Some are reporting that the system knows if you have a HDD connected and will deny your storage upgrade, so be careful. Once your console is verified to be lacking 128MBs of storage, you'll be given a special offer based on which console you own. The storage solution offers are:
  • Xbox 360 Acade owners: Refurbished 20GB HDD + 3 months of Xbox Live for $30.
  • Xbox 360 Core owners: 512MB memory card for free OR refurbished 20GB HDD for $20
[Thanks, to everyone who sent this in]

X3F TV -- XBLA in Brief: Beat'n Groovy, MLB Stickball, Shadow Assault / Tenchu

This week, after announcing the arrival of MLB Stickball, Microsoft surprised us with two additional titles, Beat'n Groovy and Shadow Assault / Tenchu. Of the three games, let us tell you that Beat'n Groovy is definitely the standout title this week. Let us tell you also that it's the standout title for all the wrong reasons. That should really be the takeaway from this week's XBLA In Brief, even if the other two are decent (particularly Shadow Assault) games. Hear our take on all three in the video above.

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MS announces holiday bundles, free Netflix trial


News coming out of the Tokyo Game Show is Microsoft's announcement of the once rumored Xbox 360 holiday bundles that'll be releasing to retail this month. And note that all 360 console SKUs come with at least one free game.

The $199 Xbox 360 Arcade holiday bundle comes with SEGA Superstars Tennis and both the $299 Xbox 360 Pro and $399 Xbox 360 Elite consoles come bundled with LEGO Indiana Jones and Kung Fu Panda this holiday season. Also, after sniffing through press materials, we spotted holiday box stickers and they mention a free Netflix trial. You know, because Netflix is doing that whole 360 streaming thing.

Gallery: Xbox 360 Holiday '08 Bundles

Mega Man 9 "DLC" arrives this week


Capcom has announced that the first wave of downloadable content for Mega Man 9 will land on XBLA this Tuesday, not even a week since the game debuted on the service. The content available will include a playable Proto Man and a new gameplay mode called Endless Attack (you can probably guess how that one works). Official prices haven't been announced, though Proto Man and Endless Attack cost $2.00 and $3.00, respectively, on Nintendo's WiiWare service. Of course, we can't properly gauge what it costs to convince yourself that Capcom isn't screwing you by charging for modes that should have been included with the game in the first place.

The remaining bits of DLC are expected to arrive the week of October 20.

MLB Stickball hits XBLA this week


Well this one came right out of left field. After two weeks of big name games hitting Xbox Live Arcade, we are greeted this Wednesday with MLB Stickball from 2K Sports. We know next to nothing about the title, though a pair of screenshots reveal what looks like stickball featuring super-deformed versions of familiar players from Major League Baseball. Gamescore Blog also notes that players can unlock baseball cards and earn extra points for hitting certain objects. So, breaking a window will earn points then? Count us in.

MLB Stickball will be available this Wednesday for 800 Microsoft Points.

Gallery: MLB Stickball (XBLA)

X3F TV -- XBLA in Brief: Mega Man 9, War World

This is a pretty interesting week for Xbox Live Arcade. One one side of things, we have Mega Man 9, a brand new game in the series done in a retro style. On the other, we have War World, which the developers originally announced was scheduled to arrive last August. And yet, even a year from its missed debut, it's still one of the best looking XBLA games out there. So which is worth the dough, tough-as-nails platforming or online twitch multiplayer? Check out the latest installment of XBLA in Brief to find out.

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Summer of Arcade was a sales success!


Holy Summer Xbox Live Arcade sales Major Nelson! Microsoft's five week long Summer of Arcade promotion - where games like Castle Crasher, Geometry Wars 2, Braid and Bionic Commando released - was a success. A hugely huge success!

According to the Microsoft PR folks, during that five week period, the Arcade saw a 58% increase in unique member purchases and during August, the monthly Arcade revenue record was shattered by 67%. We guess there's a correlation between an XBLA sales spike and the XBLA seeing the release of fun, interesting, original and unique games. We say, keep the Arcade goodies coming!

X3F-TV -- XBLA in Brief: Duke Nukem 3D

For the sake of full disclosure, we loved Duke Nukem 3D when it was first released over 10 years ago. So, we might be a teeny bit biased, but that doesn't keep Duke from being one of the best FPS games on XBLA. In fact, we'd say it is the best, with no disrespect to Marathon or Doom. For 800 Microsoft Points, you get a substantial campaign and 8 player online multiplayer and co-op. Not too shabby. Check out the latest XBLA in Brief to see all the reasons why Duke Nukem 3D is worth it. (Warning: the video is mildly NSFW.)

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