Windows Live

I’ve experienced several of Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live titles. Indeed it was the first, Halo 2, that initially gave me a taste of the Gamerscore system. For a year or so my original Xbox Live Gamertag had been sitting there quite happy on zero Gamerscore, safe in the knowledge that I was too absorbed with PC MMOs. Then I decided to pick up Halo 2 and see how it had translated to the PC.

I’d played the game, when it first came out on the original Xbox. Although I’d absolutely loved the original Halo I never really got into the sequel, for some reason I didn’t take to the campaign mode (I never got past the first level) and only played multiplayer. I quite enjoyed playing through the PC version, completed the campaign, played a few multiplayer matches. It was fun. But that left me with a problem. I had now experienced “achievements” and the Gamerscore system.

The dormant “hunter/gatherer” instinct kicked in. If I bought an Xbox 360 then I could collect more of these shiny achievements. So buy one I did. Taking an entire shelf’s worth of Xbox, Gamecube and other old formats of games down to the local Gamestation, I dumped them on the counter and exchanged them for a brand new console. They covered the cost completely. Needless to say, I didn’t form a lasting friendship with the poor soul that had to process each individual disk.

Everything continued nicely for the next few weeks as I experienced the delights of “next generation” console ownerships. Games were played, achievements were earnt and the once zero Gamerscore was raised to, well, above zero anyway. But then, disaster struck. One day the console refused to boot up. It was completely dead.

This was just at the time when Microsoft was innundated with repairs and were about to launch their extended warranty. The news wasn’t good, I would be without my new Xbox 360 for about six weeks! Stupidly I had decided to send it back to Microsoft rather than simply take it back to the shop for an instant replacement. What an idiot.

I had plenty of time to reflect on my stupidity during the next month. I had been hooked on the console and on the Gamerscore system and now my new “drug” (albeit a sort of pathetic watered-down painkiller of a drug) had been taken away from me. There was only one thing to do, track down another Games for Windows Live title that I could earn points from on my PC.

And that’s how I ended up playing Shadowrun for so long. It was quite simply the only other game in the GfWL range at the time. Although it had some interesting elements I can’t really say I enjoyed it at first, or even when I eventually got my 360 back and stopped playing it. I think the only thing all my time playing the game really achieved was presenting all the Xbox players with an easy way of earning the “kill guys on the other platform” award.

I can’t say that Microsoft have really got the GfWL system sorted yet but I do like be able to earn achievements on my PC. I’ve played a few other titles so far. I’ve written quite a bit about my time playing Viva Piñata in this blog already. I think it’s a very faithful conversion. Too faithful in some respects when it comes to the control system. Also, the fact that you couldn’t transfer saved gardens between machines (even under the same Gamertag) was a real pain when I needed (for technical reasons) to shift from playing it on my laptop to my desktop PC.

Gears of War is just one game I do not understand. At first, I didn’t understand how to play it. Now I just don’t understand why anyone would want to play it. I know it’s a hugely popular title but it’s just not for me. I’m not adverse to first person shooters. I just prefer ones where the world isn’t entirely composed of dismal greys and browns and where I can actually make out at least some of the things that I’m meant to be shooting at. Don’t even get me started on the so called “hero characters” in the game, either. It’s just as well that I can’t tell the difference between them and the enemy or I’d be constantly team killing. Yes, I won’t be pre-ordering the sequel. Sorry, Cliffy B.

My latest foray into GfWL is with the PC version of Universe at War which I think I must’ve bought just to prove to myself that I lack any of the necessary skills in co-ordination or management to play real time strategy games. I’ve only booted it up a few times and I really can’t see myself spending much more time on it, the learning curve is too steep for me. Back to the turn-based stuff, I think.

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One Response to “Windows Live”

  1. Good points Strident. I’ve got addicted to points as well, even though my measly score doesn’t really show the obsession I’ve got with it. They really need to bring more games out on GFD Live for the PC, stuff like Assassins Creed & Mass Effect and especially all the cross-platform ones.

    Agree about Gears as well – I simply can’t ‘get’ it. Maybe I’ll try the 360 version and see if that’s any different.

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