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Monday
Feb042013

How to buy games on Steam and use them to unlock achievements on Xbox LIVE

 

Last week I sent a tweet out letting people know of an awesome deal on Amazon (pictured above) that included the PC version of five great XBLA games for only $10. Of those five games, three of them (Iron Brigade, Toy Soldiers & Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet) were Games For Windows LIVE compatible. This meant that you could earn achievements for those three games on your Steam and Xbox LIVE profiles. Well sending a tweet with that info in it blew my mention stream up and it suddenly dawned on me that a ton of gamers had no idea that this was an option or how to even take of advantage of the feature if they so desired. So I went ahead and redeemed a Toy Soldiers code myself on my Steam account in order to write the guide below. Here ya go, I hope this helps:

The first thing I did was go in to my Amazon game library and copy the redeemable code in order to enter it in to my Steam account. To redeem a code on Steam, click on Games> Activate a Product on Steam. Not all games have to be redeemed through a code though. Simply purchasing a qualifying game through Steam is an option as well. If you bought your game through the Steam marketplace, then go ahead and skip past the next two screen shots.

From there, you will want to accept the User Agreements and then enter your redeemable code on this screen:

Click on 'Next' a few times until you are asked to install the game and then go ahead and start the installation process. Once the installation completes, locate the game title in your Library and right-click on the game title. Then select the 'View CD Key' option:

You will then see the screen pictured below. Go ahead and select the 'Copy to Clipboard' option and then 'Close' out of that screen.

Next you will need to launch the Games for Windows LIVE client and sign in to your Xbox LIVE profile. Then go back to Steam and click the 'Play' option under the game title in your Library. Then you will select the 'Games for Windows LIVE' option pictured below and click on 'Play' one more time:

You will then be asked to sign in the Games for Windows LIVE client one more time. Your profile should be saved as a one-click option from earlier as pictured below:

After that, enter the CD Key that you copied to your clipboard from before on to the screen shown below. If the copy/paste feature is not working though, the CD Key will also be displayed in the bottom-right corner of the screen as pictured below. So if that happens, just go ahead and enter the CD Key manually. Be sure to also check the 'I Agree' box before pressing the 'Submit' button:

The game should then launch to the main menu and you are now playing a Steam game but getting Xbox LIVE achievements for it. As you can see below, the Toy Soldiers (GFWL version) is now being displayed as the last played game on my Xbox LIVE account. From there, just earn some achievements and have fun!

If you are interested in taking of advantage of this feature with some great PC games, then be sure to download the Games for Windows LIVE client over here. And for a full list of Steam games that are compatible with Games for Windows LIVE, True Achievements has a full up-to-date list over here. Hope this clears things up. Enjoy!

Sunday
Sep092012

Stories of an XBLA addict: Wing Commander Arena, the original Party Chat

On July 25th, 2007 Wing Commander Arena released on XBLA. It was never the greatest game in the world, but it’s far from a terrible game. It’s heavy reliance on online multiplayer carrying the torch for any sense of value in the title was ultimately the reason behind its swift downfall for most gamers. Single player was extremely lacking and four players were required for any online games to actually start. Unfortunately, even on release day it was a fairly tall order to find four players in any game modes. But a very niche community of gamers managed to make Wing Commander Arena possess one of the best communities that any XBLA game had seen at that point and make the four player requirement a non-issue.

Where this title lacked was also where the game managed to make its most cherished contribution to XBLA. Wing Commander Arena was the first XBLA title to allow up to 16-player online matches. And with that also came one of the first achievements that brought a wide range of competitive XBLA players together. The achievement was called TCS Tiger’s Claw and all it required was to compete in a 16-player Capital Ship game. Back then achievements like that were fairly unheard of and it took some serious scheduling on the Xbox.com forums to set up these boosting sessions in order to unlock this achievement.

In those 16-player Capital Ship games shined quite possibly the greatest feature to date in any XBLA game. 16-player simultaneous chat sessions were born and the value in that feature alone made Wing Commander Arena boosting sessions one of my favorite memories during my time in XBLA competition. Keep in mind that when this game released, Xbox LIVE was still operating on the Blades dashboard where private chat was the best way to communicate with other gamers. Due to this, most competitive XBLA gamers had split off in to teams of two. There was Lucas & Zerium, Smally & Johnny, Karnage & myself and many more duos present at each boosting session. We all had our partners, but Wing Commander Arena brought those teams together and helped foster a better sense of community among competitive XBLA gamers. Friendships were born.

Mix the 16-player boosting sessions along with the grind of a few other achievements in Wing Commander Arena and you now have late night chat sessions for months after the game released. There was a point where I would get excited to jump in to a open game of Wing Commander Arena just to chat with other gamers as opposed to getting back to my daily grind of pumping out another 200/200. I spent so much time waiting in Bearpit lobbies that I could still probably do the Hot Dog achievement in my sleep. Sometimes we were productive and other times we were not. But none of that mattered. We still managed to have fun just getting together and talking about XBLA.

For this memory alone, I salute you Wing Commander Arena as one of finer games in early XBLA history. You might not have provided a great experience from a gameplay perspective but you did foster a community that needed a place to meet each night. You helped introduce me to gamers that have made up the majority of my friends list for the past five years. People who I had only known before by their gamertag listed in the forums for various gaming sites. People who I now consider close friends. You were party chat in its beta stage and for that I salute you. Well done Wing Commander Arena, well done.

Monday
Aug132012

UFC 150: Nobody really won

A lot of controversy came out of UFC 150’s Main Event. MMA fans everywhere are crying foul over the judge’s decision to let Ben Henderson keep the Lightweight Championship belt until his next bout against Nate Diaz. The score was a split decision with two judges scoring the win for Henderson both at 48-47 while one judge scored it in Edgar’s favor at 49-46. After not knowing what to think as I watched it all happen live, I decided to go back to the tape and see how I (not a judge or claim to be one) would have scored it. Here’s my breakdown of each round:

Rd1: Henderson clearly wins with leg kicks and a Submission attempt.

Rd2: Edgar clearly wins with a knock down, Submission attempt and nice body control on Henderson.

Rd3: Henderson slightly wins with a few more significant strikes. Close round but Henderson gets the nod.

Rd4: Edgar slightly takes the round with a Submission attempt and a knee to the body as the most significant strike. Close round but Edgar gets the nod.

Rd5: If I have to pick one fighter, I pick Edgar. But it was close enough that I heavily considered calling the final round a draw.

- Overall assessment: If I have to chose a winner I give the win to Edgar at 48-47.

Other notes:

- Neither fighter really ever displayed octagon control. It was back and fourth the entire time making it nearly impossible to state either fighter really set the pace.

- Most of Edgar’s significantly strikes were landed when he was countering Henderson’s attacks. It’s worth noting this because some judges might score on the side of Henderson if they are forced to pick aggression. Henderson landed strikes by closing distance and Edgar landed strikes by countering those advances.

- Rounds 1 and 2 were very easy to score. If you didn’t have the fight at 19-19 after two rounds, then you have problems. But the next three rounds were as close as they come. To say either fighter clearly won any of those rounds would be a bit biased or uneducated in my opinion. I very slightly gave Edgar the nod but even if he was my own brother, I couldn’t sit here today and tell you he had won with any real confidence.

And therein lies the problem with this fight and both fighters. They left it up to the judges and that is the biggest no-no in all of MMA, even bigger than punching a fighter after the fight is over (Paul Daley). I can’t really sit here and tell you today that either Frankie Edgar or Ben Henderson deserves to be the champion because in my honest opinion, champions need to finish fights.

Let's look at some of the recent champions in the UFC like Brock Lesnar, Junior Dos Santos, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz. With the exception of GSP, Cruz and Aldo, all those champions finish all their championship fights. And I can’t remember a time where a GSP, Aldo or Cruz decision was controversial. Those three fighters might not always finish the fight, but when they do go to a decision, there’s never really any doubt in their performances. That is what makes you a champion, the ability to get the job done. Edgar and Henderson simply don’t do that.

Of 13 fights Edgar has had in the UFC, 10 of them have gone to a decision. On the flip side, Ben Henderson has not finished a fight since he has arrived in the UFC. When Henderson was in the WEC, he finished every single fight except the one where Anthony Pettis took his Lightweight championship from him. Ben Henderson needs to get back that killer instinct where he knows how to finish fights if he wants to remain the UFC Lightweight Champion. Nate Diaz is no pushover and if Henderson lets that go to a decision, there’s a good chance he will not come out on top.

Call it what you want, but the fact is that Ben Henderson is the current UFC Lightweight champion. I've seen much more lopsided fights go in favor of the fighter that clearly seemed to be losing a fight before. So a decision in favor of either Henderson or Edgar would not have surprised me at all last night. To act like this is the be-all and end-all of bad decisions in MMA would just be plain stupid. It was an extremely close fight and both fighters decided to let it go to a decision. When that happens, somebody is going to be pissed off. The only way to get over that and avoid it ever happening again is to start finishing fights and I hope both Henderson and Edgar realize that and look to be more aggressive in the future.