Around the Web — Monsoon Edition

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As we head out for the really, really rainy weekend, I thought I’d share some news coverage from the week.

This afternoon we received some exciting news that Shivering Isles won RPG of the Year over at Gameindustry.com. Pretty cool for a couple reasons. First, in the site’s ten years of doing annual awards, Shivering Isles is the first expansion to win this category. Even better is the fact that the voting came from Gameindustry.com readers. We’re truly honored that our fans came out in large numbers to vote, particularly since it was up against some really great games. Many thanks!

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Grab Downloads for Oblivion on Live, win a trip to Comic-Con???

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Wanted to make sure everyone was aware of a new community contest over at Xbox.com that involves Oblivion. With the “Best RPGs Play & Win” contest, 360 owners have a chance to win some great prizes, including a trip to this year’s Comic-Con event in San Diego. To enter, all you need to do is download the Best RPGs Gamer Picture from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

So how’s this deal with Oblivion? Well, it’s an RPG on the 360 for starters, but you can increase your odds of winning (up to four more entries) if you happen to download any of the following Oblivion DLC between March 7-11:

  • Shivering Isles
  • Knights of the Nine
  • Spell Tomes
  • The Thieves’ Den
  • The Wizards’ Tower
  • The Vile Lair
  • Horse Armor Pack
  • Mehrunes Razor

Already downloaded these? It appears you can also enter by downloading additional content from Blue Dragon, as well as the new upcoming content for Mass Effect. For more details on the contest, head here.

Good luck!

Top Xbox Downloads: February 2008

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Last month’s increase in people playing Oblivion (while logged onto Live) stayed with us through February. Also, Fighter’s Stronghold and Vile Lair are now available in Europe. (Similar to other smaller DLC, they are still in English but can be played with the FIGS languages).

Top Five Oblivion Xbox Live downloads for February 2008*

1. The Fighter’s Stronghold
2. The Wizard’s Tower
3. Spell Tomes
4. Vile Lair
5. Thieves Den

*ranked by number of times downloaded

February Hall of Famers at Planet Elder Scrolls

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Last week Planet Elder Scrolls honored its latest group of Hall of Fame mods. Per usual, for a mod to make their HOF, it must be available for three months, receive at least 25 votes with a score of 8 or better, and it must be downloaded at least 5000 times. This month, one Morrowind mod and three Oblivion mods met the criteria.

From Morrowind:

  • Widow Maker crossbow by Phijama: Adds a new crossbow, two crossbow pistols and a new bow to the game. According ot Phijama, the crossbows have “regenerating bolts added via scripted amulets in the shape of the bolts and the bow regenerates its own arrows.” Sounds cool.

From Oblivion:

Congrats to the new inductees. See you again for the March HOF entries.

Mod Interview: Dev_Akm

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This week we’re talking with Dev_Akm, whose modding days started with PnP projects like Dungeons and Dragons and GURPS more than 20 years ago. Now a systems developer and analyst in Austin, he spends a fair amount of his free time modding Morrowind and Oblivion (though he also is a fan of hiking, camping and listening to punk rock). Of course, that free time is in jeopardy. In addition to raising one daughter, he’s got another on the way.

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Two Years Ago…Oblivion went Gold

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Yesterday was the two year anniversary of Oblivion’s “Gone Gold” announcement. Personally, those two years feel more like a decade to me. The team is insanely busy right now, but a few developers did e-mail me some thoughts on the anniversary. I’ve worked on Oblivion longer than most people here, and I continue to be amazed at how successful it was and is and how many people still play it today.

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What we’re playing: Game Over Edition?

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So this week we’re back to talking about games, and I’m starting to wonder if guys at the office actually spend more time watching stuff, listening to music, and reading books — you’ll see the response level is about half of what I got last week. Could be that everyone’s busy, or maybe they’re just playing the same things they were last time?? I’m guessing it’s the latter, and that when I turn on my 360 or PS3 over the weekend, I’ll see guys from the office playing plenty of stuff

At any rate, here’s what some of the office is playing. We’ll kick it off with Jeff Gardiner, since he whined that he never gets to be “on the front page.” Congrats Jeff…you made it!

Jeff Gardiner, Producer: Sins of a Solar Empire

Chris Esko, System Programmer: TF2, Mass Effect, Descent the board game.

Pete Hines: Just finished Professor Layton. Playing Brain Age, Tiger Woods 08, Picross, Zelda

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And the answer is: Morrowind!

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Lots of folks got it. It was an easy one. Thanks to everyone who posted a guess for Name That Sound!

The answer is The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The sample is from Morrowind’s gorgeous soundtrack by Jeremy Soule. It is my personal favorite track from the game – mx_explore_7 – and I, too, have the soundtrack for Morrowind (and Oblivion) on my Iphone.

I promise to make the next one tougher.

Here is the entire track for your listening enjoyment: