My Journey on Xbox Live

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This blog is represents just a bit about what my final project in this class will be about: Xbox Live. I have had Xbox Live for over 10 years already and have made many good friends through it as well, many of which I’m still gaming with to this day. This blog talks about a few of my good memories throughout the past ten years on Xbox Live.

Back in 2006, one of my good friends sold me his original Xbox to me for $50 (yes fifty). I remember begging my mom to take me to the nearest GameStop where I would purchase Halo 2 because that was the game to have. Since I was still under 17 at the time, I needed an adult with me in order to purchase a video game with a mature rating. original-xbox.pngAnyways, I got the game, went home, and immediately threw the Halo 2 disc into my new Xbox. I was so excited, perhaps too excited, that I completely forgot that in order to play online I needed to get Xbox Live, and Xbox Live costs money.

 

So, I’m in 6th grade and have to fork out $50/year for a subscription to Xbox Live. Great. What do I do? Well, like any young kid would do I asked my mom (again) if she would be so kind as to let me buy a subscription to Xbox Live as an early birthday gift. She said yes so I grabbed her credit card and typed the credit card numbers onto the screen faster than anyone could possibly imagine. I made my gamertag, got connected, and immediately went into my first ever game of Matchmaking on Halo 2. It was a Free For All on Lockout. maxresdefault.jpg25 kills to win, BR start. (yessssss). I was so unbelievably excited that I played for the entire day and started to make some friends with the people who I was getting matched up with. I added all of the players I met onto my friends list and would try and hop online whenever I’d get out of school to play with them again. I was responsible enough at the time to always get all of my homework out of the way first so I’d have the most time of being able to play Halo 2 with my new friends that I met through Xbox Live.

Long story short, this continued for years. I soon started getting really into the Halo community and began to join a few online forums where I got to meet even more awesome Halo players from all around the world. Many of the players that were part of the Halo forums I was registered on would set up custom games that lasted into the early hours of the morning. And believe me, as a kid on summer vacation with nothing to do in the summer, Halo took up a LOT of my time for the three months I was out of school.

Those were some of the best memories of my childhood and I’m very thankful to Halo and especially Xbox Live for making those memories so great and especially nostalgic whenever I play Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox Live today.

XboxLiveStarterKit.jpgLong live Xbox Live.

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Video Games: Disc vs. Digital

When looking at the way video games are available for purchase nowadays, there are usually two ways of getting a game: either buying a disc or the digital version. I have always thought about why people prefer one method to the other and was curious as to how the two ways of playing a game differ.

First off, when you go out and buy a physical disc version of a game, you are buying the game in a “ready to go” state. That is, the entire game is already downloaded onto the disc and all you have to do is put it into your PC or console of choice and begin gaming, right? Apparently this isn’t the case anymore. From my own experience, I have purchased almost every game I own on my Xbox One on a disc. I do so because I like to own a physical copy of it if I ever choose to let one of my friends borrow it and because I’m so used to buying a

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Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare is a 46GB download

physical copy of the game ever since I stared playing video games a long time ago on my PC and Nintendo GameCube. What doesn’t really make sense to me is that regardless of if you buy the game on a disc or digitally, you’re still forced to “download” it onto your console. Nowadays the disc acts merely as an installer that makes you wait to download all the necessary files onto your PC or console. It used to be that when you’d put a physical disc inside of your Xbox or PlayStation, it would play off of the disc and there would be no waiting whatsoever, but times have changed and video games today are increasing in size and take up lots of space on hard drives.

As for downloading a game digitally, there are quite a number of advantages. First off, when you opt for a digital version of a game, you never have to worry about losing it since there are no physical discs to keep track of. xbox_360_disc_scratch.jpgYou can’t really “damage” a digital version of a game like you can a disc and the convenience of visiting an online video game marketplace is a much better alternative than visiting a retail store to purchase a game and there are no lines to worry about on video game release days and games are typically always just a click away and never out of stock. Of course with every advantage comes a disadvantage and some of those include not having enough hard drive storage, ridiculously long wait times when downloading a game due to internet speed or server availability, corruption during the download process that may ruin the gaming experience, and not being able to share your game with others should that desire arrive.

Today, the choice of downloading a game digitally or getting a physical disc is just a small scratch on the surface (get it?) of the issues that revolve around the enjoyment of games. At the end of the day, it’s up to the person’s personal preference on how they choose to receive their games and each have their upsides and downsides and regardless of how a person gets their games, as long as they’re playable, everyone’s happy!

Why I Love Rocket League

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For my blog this week, I want to talk about a new game that I got for my Xbox One, and that game is Rocket League. I have heard so much about this game from my friends who have had it for PC and PS4 for a while now, and finally Psyonix—the company behind the awesome game—released it for Xbox One, and I had to get it.

First off, I was so happy when I heard the news that this game was coming to Xbox One since it’s the only console I own and it’s the one platform I do all of my gaming on. After I downloaded the game for the sweet price of only $20, I immediately jumped into multiplayer and got down to it. Let me start off by saying that Rocket League is a very addicting and one of the most fun games that I have played in a long time. I think that the fact it’s so enjoyable comes down to the simplicity of the game itself. It is basically soccer being played by rocket powered cars, it doesn’t get any easier than that. There are four gametypes which you can choose to play and they take place on a variety of different levels, which are all different soccer fields if you will. There is a 1v1 duel mode, 2v2 doubles, the standard 3v3 mode, and a “chaos” mode where it’s two teams of four facing off against each other. Each and every one of these gametypes is absolutely incredible. I spend most of my time playing 3v3 with two of my other buddies and time absolutely flies when you’re playing because of how much fun we’re all having.

What’s also great about Rocket League is that it truly holds strong to the statement that less is more. This is a very barebones type of a game and offers so much for so little, and I’m not only talking about the game’s price. What’s awesome about this game is just how easy it is to play and how basically everyone can enjoy playing it. It doesn’t take much skill to learn how to play and it’s a game that I can’t build up any anger over (trust me on this). I believe that having a game that’s easy to play and can be played for hours upon hours and still be considered fun is a winner in my book.

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I also want to say that this game has such an awesome developing community that listens to their fans input on what they think about the game, what they believe should be implemented/removed, and what they would like changed. Psyonix has many of their employees on the Rocket League subreddit on Reddit.com and they also answer and communicates with fans of their game via Twitter and Facebook as well. This makes the game so much more enjoyable from the perspective of the gamer since they’re able to instantly communicate their comments or concerns about the game they’re playing and have it be read by an actual employee from Psyonix. This is what makes game developers great, and Psyonix has surely made a hell of a game which I highly recommend buying!

Seriously people, Rocket League is amazing. Please get it!

Halo 5 Debuting at the X Games

Recently, I came across an article that mentioned that the iconic first person shooter Halo 5 made its debut at the Aspen X Games this weekend. Top players from all over the world came to Aspen to take part in the Halo World Championship Tour which offers more than $2 million in prize money (!!!).

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Many long time veteran Halo players, as well as some new faces, made their way to Colorado to compete in the tournament and compete in a series of iconic game types for gold medal (Slayer, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill). It’s crazy to think that video games are now taking part in extreme sports competitions, but it’s only going to grow from here.

Over the years, competitive video gaming has become a sport in its own and the people who are playing these games take what they do incredibly seriously. When the Halo team Evil Geniuses’ Justin “Roy” Brown was asked what his expectations coming to the X Games were, he responded by saying “I feel very confident in my team’s ability to win at X Games. We will be the most experienced roster in terms of the amount of tournaments we have all competed in, so I feel we will all be very comfortable on this stage.” For many of these players, it’s not their first time competing, but it definitely is a first time for all of them competing at an event such as the X Games.

The events will be broadcasted live on ESPN, bringing the audience that watches the X Games into the inescapable realm of Esports, and face-to-face with the reality that video games are more than just a “waste of time”.

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A Bit About Me

Hey everyone, my name is Anthony Korkhin and I am currently a Computer Information Technology major at Metropolitan State University. I have been playing video games ever since the age of 6 from the time I was introduced to a Nintendo 64 and began playing Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Although I’ve been playing all sorts of games throughout my life, there is one series that has had a huge role on my life, and that series would be Halo, specifically Halo 2. I have played Halo 2 for a long time and still continue to do so to this day thanks to the recently released Halo: The Master Chief Collection which features every Halo game all the way from 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved to 2012’s Halo 4 (you already know which one I play the most).

I am taking the Video Game Culture class this semester because I have always had a big interest in video games and would love to know more about the way they impact(ed) society throughout the years and for years to come. I’ve also never taken a class having anything to do with video games so how could I possibly say no to that?

In terms of video game communities, I have been a part of many Halo related online forums where I have met many good friends, many of which I’m still in contact with to this day and occasionally play with (when I’ve got the time). I have also been to many local LAN Halo 2 tournaments throughout the years and have many great memories of playing one of the best video game franchises to ever exist on console. Oh the nostalgia…

As far as how I see video games influencing our culture, I believe that they will only continue to grow in both numbers and popularity among all age groups. Video games today are no longer for kids and teenagers to fry their brains with, but rather an escape from reality for many people to delve into a different world where it’s only you and your own personal world of enjoyment. There are video games for everyone and they come in all types of categories, and I believe that there is no stopping the strong influence they’ve had on the world and will continue to do so.

Pretend to be Someone Else in Android’s Gmail App

Earlier this week, an independent security researcher by the name of Yan Zhu discovered that it was possible for a user to make their email look like it was sent by someone else using Google’s Gmail app on Android devices. I know what you’re thinking, that this is a perfect opportunity for unwanted and dangerous phishing emails, and you’d be 100% correct.

Yan decided to reach out to Google telling the about the bug in their Gmail app and received a reply shortly after from the company saying that it wasn’t a security vulnerability (screenshot below).

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Fast forward only four days later and an article pops up on the same website where I found this information saying that “Google is working to fix an unusual bug that allows anyone to pretend to be someone else in the Gmail app for Android, after the company initially dismissed it as ‘not a security vulnerability.'” I personally think it’s quite strange that a tech giant like Google would take lightly to this situation in the first place.

This would have most likely been addressed by Google immediately if only someone pretended to be Larry Page or Sergey Brin using this simple exploit. Now that would have been great.

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Anti-Virus Alone Isn’t Enough Anymore…

Many people use anti-virus programs on their computer, I definitely do. But nowadays it’s becoming more easier for malicious content to infect our computers even if you’re running an anti-virus. According to Malwarebytes, “the malware ecosystem has changed drastically in the past 10 years, to the point that the old precautions are just no longer enough.” Anti Piracy Key

People no longer have to click on things to get infected. There are attacks called “drive by downloads” where all a user has to do is visit an infected website and the malicious content is automatically downloaded onto their computer. Also, many anti-viruses response times are too slow to detect threats. According to Panda Research, “traditional AV only stops 30-50 percent of new zero-hour malware when it’s first seen.” This may come across as surprising news to people who think they’re “all good” since they have Norton installed on their computer. People must be aware of the websites they visit and also the things they click to stay secure.

To conclude, a layered approach is the best approach to take when it comes to security. This is when you use multiple types of defenses, each of which have their own strengths and do different things. An example of this is a lightweight product that works with an anti-virus program to block the threats that it may miss.

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