How Microsoft can save Xbox games for Windows Phone: Part 5

Xbox for Windows Phone is a key selling point for gamers, but the implementation leaves much to be desired. This editorial series has covered a lot of ground so far, including the need for streamlining the Xbox Live certification process, Microsoft’s failure to appreciate the importance of Xbox to Windows Phone, the need for multiplatform game engine support, and the need for better PR and a download code system.

This week we tackle software and online features that Xbox Windows Phone badly needs.

Pirate's Mind picks up online leaderboards at port

Indie developer M80 Games may be hard at work on their upcoming puzzler Buzzwords, but they haven’t forgotten about their first Windows Phone title, Pirate’s Mind either. The game recently saw two new updates in the span of a week. Let’s check ‘em out.

Pirate’s Mind version 1.6 release notes:

  • This was a hotfix for unsupported characters in the font set preventing the leaderboards from showing.

Pirate’s Mind version 1.5 release notes:

  • Leaderboards added!!
  • Players will need to choose a username the first time the game is launched.
  • Each game mode has its own leaderboard.

In our review of Pirate’s Mind, I wished for online leaderboards, and they’ve finally become a reality. We initially expected the leaderboards to utilize the third-party Scoreloop system, but M80 switched to the open-source Mogade system during development. The results do not disappoint. The game’s leaderboard now lists the top fifty daily, weekly, and all-time scores as well as the player’s position in each category. This adds a welcome competitive element to an already enjoyable game.

Not only is Pirate’s Mind free, it doesn’t even have  a single in-game ad to offend the eye. Puzzle game fans should give it a spin. You’ll find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. 

MonsterUp - Review

MonsterUp from Karios Games is one of several Doodle Jump clones available for Windows Phone 7. These games are all about climbing as high as possible amid a sea of never-ending platforms.

Doodle Jump and its brethren (or is that illegitimate children?) have proven themselves to be addictive thanks to easy controls and gameplay that’s fun in short spurts on the go. With so many jumping games to choose from, however, MonsterUp needs to be pretty special to stand out from the crowd. Does it succeed?

Jump past the break to find out. 


Hack Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7, get perma-banned by Microsoft

Although we're not even sure how one would begin modifying files on Windows Phone 7 to circumvent Xbox Live Leaderboards, Achievements or use pirated software, it looks like Microsoft is already thinking about it. Just in case.

In a new build of WP7 (not yet released), Conflipper (who is still very much in retirement, so don't get your hopes up) has found an interesting file that says:

This phone has been banned from Xbox LIVE for violating the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use. To protect the Xbox LIVE service and its members, Microsoft does not provide details about phone bans. There is no recourse for Terms of Use violations.

This is similar to what happened on the Xbox 360 in 2009 when nearly 1 million users were permanently banned for evidently modifying their Xbox hardware or using pirated software. Presumably, Microsoft is taking preventive action for when XDA and others start digging into the OS, looking to modify their new mobile OS. In that sense, this is no surprise. On the other hand, it is interesting to know that MS has a system nearly in place to react to such a scenario. So take warning gamers, as once you are banned, it's for evah.

Other notable finds were references in Internet Explorer for copy and paste:

|Cut|Copy|Paste|Encoding|Print Preview||

"Cuts the selection and puts it on the Clipboard."

"Inserts the Clipboard contents at the insertion point."

Of course we know copy and paste are coming soon, so this is just more evidence that the feature is already in the works. Sweet.

Thanks, Conflipper, for the info!