Xbox 360: How to Import Downloadable Content

Note: Since posting this article, Microsoft has switched from points to local currency. As a result, some of these instructions are no longer valid. Specifically, using Bing Rewards to get credit for other regions no longer seems possible.

Whether seeking an unusual avatar pack or an add-on for an imported game, many people don’t know how to purchase Xbox 360 downloadable content from other regions. I’ll explain what to do.

Step One: Create a Gamertag for the Desired Region

1. Go to: https://login.live.com/

2. Click the link that reads “Sign Up Now”

3. Fill out the form with fictitious information for the desired region.

4. For address and phone details, look up a business in the area. A web search for “Barber Shop in London” will produce plenty of results. Please change a few digits in any street addresses and phone numbers you may use. The last thing we need is some chavver receiving spam that was intended for you.

5. Write down the bogus address; it will be needed later.

6. Create a new user on your Xbox 360 with the email address you just created.

Step Two: ???

You will need a foreign Microsoft Points code. Two ways to do this:

1. Go to a website like this or this and buy points for the desired region.

2. Sign up for Bing Rewards using the email address you created above. Bing Rewards is a free service that rewards you with credits for doing your web searches on Bing rather than Google or anything else. Those credits can be spent on various rewards including Microsoft Points. Microsoft Points earned through Bing Rewards are not tied to a specific region like most MS Points.

Step Three: Profit!

Log into your foreign gamertag, and redeem the Microsoft Points code from Step 2. Your first transaction with any account will require you to enter an address, so use the fake address from step 1. Assuming you can read English, this is pretty easy for United Kingdom accounts, but setting up a Japanese account can be tricky.

Games on Demand are usually region-locked, so be careful. Enjoy your imported content!

Breaking the Habit: April 2012

Note: Due to a New Year’s resolution, I am restricting myself to one game purchase per month. This article is part of a series describing my choices.

Perhaps I was intoxicated with hype, but only one game on the April release schedule caught my eye. Sure, Skullgirls was generating some buzz, but I had just purchased a fighting game and wanted something different. Likewise, Phantom Breaker would have been excluded from consideration if it wasn’t delayed again. Seeing no opposition, here is my choice:

tw2_e32k10_screenshot_pack_4The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings

Platform: Xbox 360, Windows, Macintosh (Steam)
Developer: CD Projekt RED
US Publisher: Warner Bros.

Description: A role-playing game featuring a real-time combat system with a great deal of technique and which boasts a mature storyline that is heavily affected by the player’s actions.

+ 40 hour game length. Long enough to feel invested, short enough that I might actually finish it.
+ Descriptions of the combat system sounded fun.
+ CD Projekt RED is a small and honest developer fighting against the oppression of DRM!
+ It’s a story like Game of Thrones combined with gameplay similar to Dark Souls!
+ Lots of boobies and sex scenes featuring some mega hot Polish model playing as the main love interest.
+ I’m a total Microsoft fanboy and wanted a game that wasn’t on PS3. Am I being sarcastic? I have no idea!
– PC to Console port. Concerns about downgrades and interface changes.
– I was still really into Dark Souls, a somewhat similar RPG.

Conclusion: I bought the hype; I bought the game. An RPG with a mature story reminiscent of A Game of Thrones in a product that, unlike the actual Game of Thrones RPG, does not look like rubbish. Add in amazing combat like Dark Souls and a branching plot, and it was too much for me to resist.

After spending a couple hours with the tutorial, I was both intrigued and frustrated. The main character Geralt could do everything. The tutorial had me sword fighting, casting spells, setting traps, throwing bombs and daggers, parrying and rolling to avoid attacks, collecting herbs, and making potions. Unfortunately, the interface for switching between all of these options was somewhat awkward on a gamepad, and the controls never began to feel comfortable in this time.

The game itself began with Geralt sharing an intimate moment with main love interest Triss who was rolling around on a bed naked in such a way that nothing was left to the imagination. This may have been pleasing to watch if not for the stiff animations, blurry textures, and obvious polygon edges. Instead, it looked awkward and I felt like a teenage boy watching something naughty.

The botched eye candy led to a bit of humor when a messenger entered the tent to deliver a plot. Geralt reported to the king who was clearly trying to fill me in on some backstory as he told his advisors a bunch of stuff they likely already knew. When the king finished showing me what kind of person he was, I went to eat lunch, and swapped the game out for Dark Souls when I returned.

Despite anticipating the game for several months, I couldn’t get into it just then. Hopefully, I will revisit The Witcher 2 someday and find it to be as fascinating as so many claim.

I am disappointed with my purchase. I was trying to avoid buying games I do not play, and I was having too much fun with Dark Souls to be bothered with something similar. Furthermore, The Witcher 2 has been significantly discounted since release; I could buy it for less now if I was just going to stick it on a shelf. Finally, an April game I initially overlooked, Anomaly: Warzone Earth, turned out to be a lot of fun when I bought it several months later. Maybe I’ll do better research in the future.

Dodonpachi Saidaioujou Arrange Mode

Famitsu recently posted new information about the Arrange Mode (Console Mode) for CAVE’s arcade to Xbox 360 port of Dodonpachi Saidaioujou. Here is a translation from a member of the NeoGAF forums:

  • arrange mode is programmed by Ikeda, Ichimura and Yagawa, it’ll be totally different from previous arrange modes and will be focused on story, with voice acting by Aya Hirano
  • it will feature a new elemental doll, Saya
  • vertical scrolling, but 16:9 aspect ratio, like Jamestown and Gigawing
  • supports coop multiplayer up to 3 players (not specificed if online or offline), there’s only one score counter shared between players
  • there will be an anime intro, sung by Aya Hirano
  • Yagawa is in charge of the port (in previous games he only did arrange modes)
  • it’ll be their last game for 360
  • they’re working together with Microsoft
  • there will be a big announcement on March 2013

Saya, the new elemental doll from Ar Tonelico character designer Nagi Ryou, isn’t the creepiest thing they could have added to the game, but it’s close.

In a previous post, I commented on many of the obstacles that must be overcome to sell an arcade game to console gamers. Some of these issues (screen orientation and content) were also in the developer’s minds and have been addressed.

Also noteworthy is that CAVE’s three main developers are working together on the Arrange Mode since they typically work on separate projects. The increased developer attention combined with Microsoft’s involvement and the expensive additions (Anime intro, famous voice actor) suggest that CAVE and Microsoft are putting everything they can into this game. It will be interesting to see the finished product and consumer response.

Possible Worldwide Release for Dodonpachi Saidaioujou

Dodonpachi Saidaioujou

I stumbled upon a surprising bit of news today. The Xbox 360 port of Dodonpachi Saidaioujou, CAVE’s latest 2D shoot-em-up arcade hit, may be getting a global release. This is significant because most of CAVE’s console ports are only released in Asia, and most are region-locked to only play on Asian consoles. This forces fans to import Japanese consoles and/or games to have greater access to CAVE’s library.

It is rare for one of CAVE’s games to get a release in the West, so I’ll always jump at the opportunity to pick one up where I can read the menus and manual and don’t have do go through the cost of importing. However, it is challenging to publish a game like this in the West.

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