About

theXBLIG.com aims to tackle XBLIG reviews with a refreshingly abridged style, laying out the bullet points, the merits and flaws of a game, while adding a layer of humor, a dash of movie quotes and/or social commentary, simmer for a bit, then cool and serve… er, publish, in 500 words or less. The goal isn’t to get you out of one review and on to the next, or gasp, click out of here and to another site (say it ain’t so), but to adhere to the modern adage of ‘time is money’. The faster you learn a verdict, the faster you can get back to playing. It’s win-win.

That mission statement out of the way,  welcome to theXBLIG, a mainly-reviews site dealing exclusively in Xbox Live Indie Games. My name is Tim Hurley, and I’m the entirety of the writing staff here. I have a good amount of experience with reviews writing (3+ years), first with Gear-Fish, then here for the last two years, and now at Indiepitome, where I’ve started reviewing indie games on all the major home consoles and handhelds.

As for here, why focus on a platform dominated by they-mean-well-but-are-still-rookie developers and money-grabbing, creative rip-off artists, you ask? Why wade through the literally hundreds of Avatar / Pong / Minecraft / fart-simulation / scantily-clad anime gals / zombie apocalypse yawn fests, all of which are enjoyed by a small (and some would say getting smaller) consumer base? Well… ah… you see… Okay, I see your point. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Kidding. Kidding.

The answer is rather elementary, my dear reader. Where once I was a casual browser of the channel, I’ve now grown rather fond of the XBLIG scene, meeting some really nice, talented people along the way. I simply wish to do what little I can to get the word out that there are some truly great, unique experiences to be had at a fraction of the cost for mainstream hits.

I won’t be able to cover everything, and there’s others out there doing far more (and far better) than what I can do. I also can’t promise you’ll agree with everything I say, or even find any of it relevant, but I thank you immensely for taking the time to read this and check out the goings on around the site. 

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34 thoughts on “About”

    1. Another indie success story, eh? 🙂

      Yeah, I think that one was before my time here. We might’ve covered it over at Gear-Fish (RIP) in the weekly roundup or some such thing, but I can’t remember. I know I certainly didn’t play it.

    1. Hey Saansilt! You mean with them not showing up (or saying ‘null’ where they should be)? My guess is a temporary glitch in the Matrix on WordPress’ end. It’s happened before, and usually fixes itself in a day or two or less. Unless there’s some kind of issue with my choice of template themes, or something like that. No idea.

      EDIT: Well, whatever happened, it’s fixed. Yay.

    2. We should choronicle the history of xblig in a book or something man. It’s been a wonderful, weird, and suprising era. Do we know what the very first xblig was?

      I mean, right now anecdotes on gaming history are scattered ( Kotaku actually is good place for this, suprisingly), and this was one of the first full on marketplaces for indie console games. Heck, it’s the only one really.

      Ya know what really bothers me? I won’t be able to play Astralis again at some point. Nor can anyone else. And that expiration date is much closer than something like old PC games.

      Have you tried contacting Microsoft about the online DRM restriction for XBLIGs? That stops preservation in it’s tracks.

    3. My hope is that someone is already writing the book, going off of old developer journals they kept, or notes in a folder somewhere, etc. Someone who was there from the beginning, someone who worked on both sides of the equation (Microsoft and developer) in some capacity, and knows all the inside stories. It won’t be me, sadly, because I’m not anywhere near as knowledgeable about the full story as so many others are. I believe someone will, though. The entire program has been too important to the evolution of indie games on consoles not to be told in some kind of story once everything is said and done.

      The more immediate story affecting the gamers, of course, is the fact that there’s still so much in limbo regarding the future of those games and how (and if) they’ll be able to be remembered and / or played. Unfortunately, I have NO contact with Microsoft whatsoever, and the developers themselves have been fighting for months to even get their games / updates released without breaking the marketplace. The bottom line of it is, Microsoft has no one working on XBLIG issues anymore, just one person who occasionally checks in and answers emails, before pushing it to the engineers to work on and fix.

      Even now, with developers a scant 10 DAYS from the final day they can submit new games and updates to the marketplace, the whole thing has gone dark on Microsoft’s end. Silence. No emails answered. Any games released are broken, ditto for the updates to any existing games. And they’ve been that way for almost the entire month of August. Not sure what’s going on, but if I was a developer trying to push out my final game / update within Microsoft’s own deadline, I’d be mad as hell at the way they are handling (or rather, NOT, handling) it.

      So, to circle back around to what you’re saying about the future, and being able to still play the games, I don’t know. I am always the optimist, but if this is how MS is treating things in the final month before the ‘end’, I don’t hold out much hope for them following through on their word to give these games their due place in history.

      Oh, and if you’re interesting in searching through the history of game releases and what not, here’s the full catalog:

      http://catalog.create.msdn.com/en-US/gamescatalog.aspx?s=1

      Also worth a look, the Forums will fill you in on the whole sad tale of XBLIG’s latest recurring problems and MS’ inability to fix things.

  1. Two full months without a new article (BLOG) on a new Indie game on the site. Death is imminent at this point. Life support is being used and I wonder if/when Tim you will pull the plug. Maybe you could morph this into and ID@Xbox site instead and give it some life. I know they get much more public push then XBLIG did but still lots of very cool stuff there. Just picked up Rebel Galaxy and I recommend it. Here is a good article to read about the guys that made it and if this don’t sell you on it I’m not sure what would. The pedigree on this game is AWESOME!!

    http://episodiccontentmag.com/2015/11/28/doubledamage1/

    1. Whhhaaaaa! BLOG!?! You should be banned for that! Banned! And what, you don’t like my new ‘two months between articles’ work ethic now? Banned! You are so totally banned! 😀

      And nah, I’ve pretty much made up my mind that I’m sticking to XBLIG, and seeing what happens from there. I tried the other site (the long forgotten Indiepitome) as a test run, but it’s like you said, there’s enough support out there now that the somewhat ‘bigger’ indie releases on ID@Xbox, Playstation, Steam, etc., all manage to find a home somewhere for reviews / previews. YouTubers do a really great job of spreading the word, for example. I just can’t dedicate enough time / effort to break into it, and I didn’t want to keep banging my head against the wall playing / writing about them if the audience wasn’t going to be there.

      XBLIG, on the other hand…. I enjoy a relatively exclusive corner in the market, since next to no one writes about them anymore. Of course, the two month gap between articles means I’m not writing about them, either, so I have to rectify that. Things should pick up again soon, now that we’re post-holidays, and what not.

    1. Nope, I slacked on this one. Actually, I just got my computer up and running, so I guess I can sort-of, slightly, maybe, possibly, use that as an excuse. Now I just have to get back to reviewing games, although I hear through the withering grapevine that XBLIG is currently having troubles again, with some newer releases / updates not going through. I can’t confirm the extent of it, but it looks like things are screwed up again, as per the usual. Merry Xmas, XBLIG devs, eh?

    2. I deleted all my XBLIG since I needed the storage space & am streamlining what I will access on my 360. Sad to see them go away really & the issues with updates & new releases and even this site. Didn’t take me long to move on once I got my One.

    3. @ImTheMetalLord: See, that One IS the One to end them all, once you have it. Funny how a slicker interface and slicker visuals can do that to you. We all love the new shiny. 😉

      For XBLIG, I can personally vouch that the new download issue is affecting Oft Horizon (just released, and shame, since I was looking forward to this one) and Croc’s World 3 (potentially no big loss, depending on your taste for generic platformers) for sure. I’m not sure how far it goes back, as I was able to re-download Zombie Defense Squad 2. I had Block King 2 already, so can’t vouch for that either. No definite word on if it affects new releases after a certain date, and / or updates pushed through after a certain date. It seems that developers are backing off on releasing / patching anything for the moment. It’s all a great big mess / clusterfuck, with MS (not) rushing to the aid of developers, as per the usual.

      http://xboxforums.create.msdn.com/forums/t/113378.aspx?PageIndex=5

    4. Happy new year everyone 😎

      Man, am I glad I read the comment regarding Oft Horizon: Precursor, was just about to purchase it. [sigh] So basically you pay for the game but are unable to download it?

      Just wondering how people are supposed to know when it’s been fixed, it’s not like MS will post it on the dashboard or something. Best thing would be to follow that XBLIG community forum thread. Problem is that the majority most likely never heard of those forums.

    5. Happy New Year, sir! And thank you for spelling out what I should have; unfortunately, yes, DO NOT buy any of the last few XBLIG releases, until you know for sure that they’re able to be played. Even then, I’d download the trial first, to make sure you can access the game. Such is this strange little world of Xbox indie games that we live in.

      In the meantime, I’ve been keeping an eye on the forums and an ear to the Twitterverse, so I’ll hopefully be able to let you guys know once I know, assuming anyone will know once MS decides to put someone on the case and fix it. I’m sure the Devs are thoroughly pissed off, seeing as how this keeps on happening.

      I swear, it’s like the entire thing is being held together by good vibes and duct tape. :/

    6. Duct tape? Looks more like it’s being held together by chewing gum…

      Ah well, finally bought Alien: Isolation last night. That should keep me entertained for quite a while, assuming you call it ‘Entertainment’ sneaking through dark corridors while being chased by a Xenomorph. I haven’t even encountered that thing yet and am scared already. 😐

    7. Ok, scratch that. Just encountered it for the first time. Was waiting for an elevator to proceed to a different level of the station, while hearing movement in the distance. Good thing is the elevator did arrive, bad thing is I turned around after I entered it and before I had a chance to push the button that thing jumped on me out of nowhere (the doors were still open).

      Now I’m really scared. 😦

    8. Okay, okay, chewing gum probably makes more sense. Seems about right. Either way, it feels like the service is getting by on the barest of minimums. Microsoft is probably counting down the days that they won’t ever have to worry about XBLIG again.

      Oh, and your story reminds me I need to get back to that game. I was incredibly hyped for Isolation (I preordered, preloaded, and actually counted down the last minute before I could play), and loved what I played of it. That being said, I was doing a near-flawless sneak-through of an area full of synthetics (and the alien, natch), and the game bugged out on me and refused to move one of the bad robots, ruining my run. I forget if I was doing it for a trophy or just personal satisfaction, but the whole deal left a sour taste in my mouth, and I haven’t gone back to it since. Funny how one or two bad experiences can turn you off of a game. Oh well, maybe that’s just me.

      Definitely has nothing to do with the fact that the game loves to scare the shit out of me, or that the synthetics are super-creepy on their own. Nope. Nothing at all to do with that. 😉

    9. Just to let you know, it seems like they fixed it. I was able to download and purchase Oft Horizon: Precursor. Am currently exploring the waters around the main island. It’s dark and a storm is coming up…

    10. Nice, good spot! Looks like things are back up and running for everybody again, so I’ll be checking out some of the new releases shortly. 🙂

  2. Hrm, link came through wrong, not sure why. That’s just the first video in the series about how to find the darn thing. Trying again. Don’t mean to spam you. Maybe it got cut off on the end of a line? Hrm.

    1. Hey Gabe:

      Thanks for stopping by! You’re good with the link you posted (maybe it just looked funny in moderation?). It shows the first video, as you mentioned, but continues on in the playlist after that. Good of you to spotlight some worthy XBLIGs; it’s a tiny community (and only getting tinier), so any press is good press! 🙂

  3. Hey Tim, how is it it going?
    Any new releases or coming soon in sight?
    Please don’t let a BoB game be the last review here.

    1. It’s going well, good sir, thanks for asking. Little slow… obviously 😉 …with the lack of the new releases. According to the catalog of games in review, it looks pretty dry too, just older games getting price increases / decreases. Hope somebody releases something soon.

      One promise I can absolutely make, though; a ‘boob game’ will NOT be the last review here. I don’t care if I have review the literal dirt on the floor, I refuse to go out on a boob game. 😀

    1. You can! Such is the freedom on offer here.

      And I honestly haven’t visited this page since I wrote it. I should really update this thing more often. 😦

    2. Well, dammit, start having better dreams! If I believe my horoscope from a few days ago, it said something like ‘A big project you’ve poured your soul into for years will soon come to an end’. I didn’t like that, and your dream isn’t helping! :/

      All kidding aside, there’s really only two things that could shutter the site. One, a lack of games to play… and that’s sort of coming true. Saw a new release today, which is good, but the games have definitely started to dry up. Good releases? The leadboard contenders? Absolutely. Two (and this one is slightly selfish), people stop caring about the site / XBLIG in general… which is also kinda coming true. As developers have been reporting less interest, so too has the site. These last three months have seen quite the dip in views. Were it not for ApocZ and the ‘boob games’ it’d probably be much, much worse. Time will tell, but things are certainly starting to look grim.

      But cheer up, my good man. We ain’t dead yet!

    3. We stand as the XBLIG community then. Sorry for the worries, twas just weird to have a dream pertaining to here.

    4. True that! There’s still some good times ahead, I’m sure. Somebody has to keep watch over what’s left of the XBLIG community, and it might as well be the handful of us! Cliche line, but… We’re all in this together. 😎

    5. Honestly at this point I’m surprise to see any life left in Indie Games whatsoever. At least the way they were/are presented on the 360. I mean here we are at the 1 year since the Xbox One was released but yet the sales of new 360’s is still as much as and for many months more than the Xbox One.

      One might call XBLIG and this site Zombies. I mean with minimal new games and not much support from developers left and very little presence on the web supporting what is left it’s almost like the living dead. I remember many times calling it dead however I still keep picking up the occasional game (last one being Border Dash) just because there is still an interest by some of us.

      Then there is the fact that most people that moved on to the next gen all but gave up on the last gen. Even Tim you joke about having to dust off your 360 from time to time just to play a game and/or review one. So those that bought the next gen hardly come back. This is why I’m not buying the next gen yet. I have a large backlog that I need to get to on the 360 and I’m scared all that money will be wasted if I purchase the One because I’ll just move on like most have. So I continue to play with my Zombie system until someone comes along and shoots it in the head.

    6. I can see where you’re coming from, but I seriously thought it’d last at least until early next year. It still might, but things went on a downward spiral starting in mid-July, roughly. Combine that with the new-gen systems, XBLIG’s new release outage, and the dissolution of the MS points system, and you’ve got a perfect storm of things to kill off the service once and for all. At least we’ve got a small guardianship over the community, keeping it going on fumes.

      And yeah, I find it hard to turn the system on and play certain games, too. All the goodwill in the world won’t matter if there isn’t good games to play, and the selection gets lighter and lighter with each passing month.

      I like that comparison to a ‘zombie system’, 🙂 as that’s what it feels like sometimes. The dashboard feels foreign to me almost, and outside of XBLIGs, I haven’t gone back to any of the existing library. Wish I could’ve held out longer myself before buying into the new-gen, but I have no self-control. 😀

      At any rate, I’ll keep plugging along.

    7. It ain’t dead yet! There looks to still be interesting – albeit not yet played! – games trickling out of the Indie section. I’m excited to see if the Xbox One Indie program can finally get some unique titles rolling out. So far it doesn’t seem as if any XBLIG-type developers have made that leap, only XBLA ones. As long as Tim is around to subject himself to the business of boobs, I’m sure there will be quite a collection of XBLIG groupies around to needle him. Err … stand together.

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Reviews and News for Xbox Live Indie Games

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