Gamezebo


People used to playing online Hearts and Spades on their computers might be interested to know that competitive card games are making headway on the Xbox Live Arcade. Two recent releases, Uno and Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, show the promise of the system for online card games, despite some flaws in presentation and game design.

 
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Geometry Wars is a casual game, but it’s not the kind of game you play casually. It’s the kind of game you play on the edge of your seat, your gnarled hands making visible dents in the controller as the adrenaline pumping through your body makes you shake. It’s the kind of game that makes you cry out and throw the controller down when you lose, only to pick it up again and try to beat your high score in just "one more game."

In other words, it’s the kind of game they don’t make much anymore.

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The Xbox 360 might not seem like the most logical choice to bring a casual game revival to your living room’s video game consoles. After all, the 360 is the most powerful console currently available — home to sprawling, graphically rich epics. Why would anyone want to use all this power on a casual game? The answer is Xbox Live Arcade.

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In the relatively young medium of the video game, the break-the-bricks game is one of the oldest genres out there. It’s also one of the most replicated, with slightly altered versions appearing on nearly every device that can play games. You’d think that after all this time, they’d have run out of ideas to modify the simple formula of breaking bricks with a paddle and ball. BreakQuest proves that they haven’t.

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Gem Shop is an innovative, different, and fun diversion for the first couple hours of game play. To some, the game’s extreme challenge at higher levels will only spur more and more obsessive gem matching in an effort to make it onto the Internet high score list. For others, though, this wall of difficulty may lesson the game’s overall addictive properties.

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