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Vigilante 8 Arcade tears up the XBLA this week

Releasing to the Xbox Live Arcade is the long awaited, classic, brutal and memory conjuring Vigilante 8 Arcade from developer Isopod Labs.

This V8 remake with improved graphics and new features will be available for 800 Microsoft points this Wednesday, November 5th. And if you have already experience V8 back in the glory gaming days, then we don't have to sell you Vigilante 8 Arcade. For those who are unfamiliar, just know that V8 is all about cars, guns, destruction and lots of 1970s references.

Gallery: Vigilante 8 Arcade (XBLA)

Things on Wheels: A look at the muscled Buster

(click to embiggen)
Load Inc.'s upcoming Xbox Live Arcade racer of radio controlled proportions, Things on Wheels will be releasing to the Arcade in the not too distant future and, in preparation, every week they're revealing information about each lil' racer. They're actually using a series of collectible digital cards (trade 'em with your friends!) that detail car stats and information. To start off the RC car revealing fun, Load Inc. sent us the first card announcing the muscle car Buster which we're told has the "best handling of its class." High fives to that!

Check the gallery below for a few screenshots of Buster, view the nifty card and keep an eye out for more Things on Wheels vehicle reveals in the weeks to come. Vroom!

Gallery: Things on Wheels - Buster

XBLA Portal file size exception, not the new rule

According to Microsoft, the hefty 629MB file size of Portal: Still Alive for the Xbox Live Arcade is not setting a new maximum standard for games on the service.

In response to inquires made by our sister-site Joystiq, Microsoft stated: "We have set file limits as a general guideline. An important part of Xbox LIVE Arcade is easy access and keeping file size down is a vital part of that. Equally important is offering titles with superior game play. We weigh both considerations on a case-by-case basis, and will make exceptions when it makes sense to ensure the best customer experience." In May, Microsoft increased the XBLA file size limit to 350MB.

So, the XBLA still has a hard file size limit ... except when there isn't. Wait, what?

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.

Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 2, virtual Jeff Foxworthy hit XBLA

The second episode of the extremely successful adventure game, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? hosted by a virtual Jeff Foxworthy are now available on the Xbox Live Arcade. The double-shot of Arcade fun will leave a gaping hole within virtual wallets as both titles ask 1200 Microsoft space-bucks, if you decide to buy them both or separately that is.

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is based off the popular game show that quizzes contestants on 21 different subjects used in the current curriculum in the 1st to 5th grade range. Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 2 continues the story of web comic icons Gabe and Tycho and the user's created character, searching for answers and revenge in a steam-punk inspired universe. Picking them up or not? Tell us why in the comments.

Penny Arcade Adventures Episode Two this Wednesday, 1200 points

*beep*beep*beep* This just in Microsoft has made what we already knew official: Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two will debut on the Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday. Arriving at 1200MS Points -- a few dollars cheaper than the original for those keeping score at home -- the second chapter continues the story of Gabe, Tycho and the revenge-seeking hero, You.

To recap, this Wednesday will ask Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader with Jeff Foxworthy -- of all people -- provide Marble Blast Ultra DLC and a new achievement and now the sequel to the popular adventure title from HotHead Games. That is an expensive day to be an Arcade fanatic.

Free Marble Blast Ultra DLC coming this Wednesday

In case you missed the announcement conveniently combined with next week's amazing XBLA release on Major Nelson's blog, here's a news tip that is sure to send classic Arcade fans in a frenzy. On Wednesday Marble Blast Ultra will receive free downloadable content. Weeks ago we were tipped to three new achievements that pointed at a MBU map pack and, while not confirmed as of yet, this content may be related. At least we'll be downloading something this Wednesday, amirite?

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

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.

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? releases to the XBLA this week

Jeff Foxworthy's television game show "hit" will be releasing to the Xbox Live Arcade this week in the form of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?: Make The Grade.

For 1200 Microsoft points (OUCH!), Are You Smarter will test your 5th grader intelligence using 6,000 school-aged questions spread across 21 various school subjects and plenty of Foxworthy humor (for good or bad). Are You Smarter also sports online and local multiplayer for up to four players.

Yes, it's expensive and it's extremely niche, but we're sure it'll satisfy someone in the XBLA market. Let's just hope the game is redneck joke free.

Gallery: Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? (XBLA)

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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Portal: Still Alive teleports to the XBLA, requires hard drive

Update: As a commenter pointed out, Portal: Still Alive clocks in at 630MB. Microsoft increased the XBLA limit to 350MB in May. With memory cards capped at 512MB, Portal: Still Alive becomes the first Arcade title that cannot fit on a memory card and requires a hard drive.

Original Story: Is it possible to write this post without the following references: cake, lies and catchy songs? Well, let's see how this works out.

Now available on the Xbox Live Arcade is the Valve title that landed on over 30 Game of the Year lists in 2007 with an additional 14 maps: Portal: Still Alive. Asking 1200MS points, this version of Portal is the same title released last year but includes new challenge maps -- that would be the 14 we mentioned before -- making it a solid package for new gamers to the game. For the rest of us who've played it, we could see the benefit of grabbing the pack if we've ditched our copy of The Orange Box and wanted to net 200 new achievement points. Who here is picking Portal: Still Alive up on the Xbox Live Arcade today?

Hey, look at that. We finished this post without mentioning the cake, lies or the catchy song ... uh, those don't count.

Street Fighter 2 HD to release 'very soon'

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix has been in development for quite a while and even after a beta test we still don't have a firm release date. Capcom is secretive, that's just how they roll. So, when our Joystiq pals received a teaser email from team Capcom proclaiming that SSFIITHDR would be releasing to the Xbox Live Arcade "very soon", our inner Street Fighter fanboy was tickled with excitement.

Exactly how soon is "very soon"? We dunno, but sooner or later we'll know what "very soon" means and will soon have SSFIITHDR ... soon.

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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Portal: Still Alive to bend space on the XBLA this Wednesday [update]

Update: Major Nelson confirmed with us that Portal: Still Alive will be priced at 1200 Microsoft points.

Attention -- the Aperture Science Enrichment Center cordially invites you back to experience its award-winning testing facility very soon on the Xbox Live Arcade. Play it again and for the first time with the complete original, 6 advanced maps and 14 new challenge maps. GamerScore Blog officially announced today that Portal: Still Alive will land on the marketplace on October 22. Unfortunately no price was revealed, which makes us think we're going to have to open the wallet wider than the average 800MS points. We can still dream, together.

[Thanks, HazyCloud]

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]

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