Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Got Hacked! My Story On The Xbox Live FIFA Hackings

About a week ago, I saw a friend of mine post on facebook saying that her Xbox Live account had been compromised and temporarily frozen. Several people had commented saying that she had been seen playing the FIFA soccer game on her account when she does not own that game. She then later found out that this hack has been happening to many other Xbox Live users. All of the hackings seem to have similar signs -- the game FIFA 12 is played on the account (with the same 2 achievements unlocked) as well as a large amount of Microsoft Points purchased (and spent on DLC for FIFA).

Just the other day, the same incident began to happen to me. Here's my story:

Around 8 a.m. on Thursday, my bank called me and left a voicemail (I was still asleep at the time). I disregarded the message for the time being because I didn't think it was all too important.

6000 & 4000 MP? What?! I would never spend that much.
Later that day, I checked my email to see that Microsoft sent me 2 emails confirming that I had purchased 6000 and 4000 Microsoft Points. That is when I began to panic. I realized I had been hacked (but I did not know it was the FIFA hack just yet).

I then frantically tried to figure out what was going on. That was well over $75 worth of Microsoft Points being purchased on my card.

As the day continued, someone had looked at my twitter and asked me, "why were you playing a soccer game on xbox?"
My response? I was obviously completely confused. "....Soccer game? What soccer game?"
Suddenly, it all began to make sense. Soccer game. Xbox Live Account was hacked. I put two and two together as I blurted out --

"The FIFA Hack!"

At first, I was quite shocked. You hear about hackings all the time nowadays (we can thank Lulzsec for that). Yet, you never think the hack would happen to you. I felt so violated.

I changed my Xbox Live password and was able to log back onto my account immediately (it was not frozen like my friend's account). That is when I began to check out the damages that had been done to my account.

Most recent game? FIFA 12.
Oh, and 2 achievements.
The bright side? Well, I got two new achievements on FIFA 12! That's cool, I guess?
The bad part? I lost more than half of my friends list. Also, I had 80 Microsoft Points. They are now gone. I know 80 MP isn't really that big of a deal; I'd probably only be able to buy a shirt for my avatar with it. But it was still mine, you know? I'm not going to start calling Microsoft (and maybe even EA, because FIFA is their game) and demand I get my 80 MP back. I think I'm over it already.

This just shows that even Microsoft is vulnerable to being hacked (SONY's very small revenge, I suppose). Though, from what I read, it doesn't seem like Microsoft is all too concerned about it. It doesn't even seem like they care about their customers enough to reimburse what was lost. But whatever. We can't expect TOO much from Microsoft, anyway.

I also recieved this in an email.
"Thanks for playing FIFA Soccer 12".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Awesome Starcraft (And Other Gaming) Inspired Makeup

When I find exceptionally cool things on the internet, you can count on me blogging about it. 
A few months ago I saw this girl's Baneling-inspired makeup look. I absolutely loved it. The colors are so vibrant and detailed -- it really does look like a Baneling!

I later found out that she has a blog where she created makeup designs inspired by all of the races in Starcraft! They all look so great. Extremely creative and very well done.

She also did a Morrigan (from Dragon Age) inspired design. I'm really in love with that one, as well.

Check this girl's blog out here!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is the Sonic Franchise dead?

I have been a huge fan of Sonic the Hedgehog throughout my life. I have literally witnessed the evolution of this franchise, so it’s only natural that I feel very concerned about where it is headed. I was always crazy about Sonic (Favorite character? Espio the Chameleon). I could gloat and reminisce about Sonic forever, but that is not the point of this post. It is quite clear that Sonic has been slowly dying, if he has not already been deemed dead by some fans.

Sonic has been titled by numerous websites and blogs as a “franchise that needs to die” because it has been struggling so much. It’s a sad thing to see, but I can understand why this is being said.

I asked several friends of mine who are also big fans of Sonic, and they can all agree: the franchise has most certainly been struggling, and the attempts of revival are not working. Sometimes you cannot help but feel bad for the blue hedgehog. Classic games such as Mario and Zelda have created quality games for years as well as maintain a strong fanbase, so did Sega drop the ball with Sonic? It’s hard to say.

Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 really did not revolutionize the Sonic Franchise like Super Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of Time did. Sure, they were great games, but they did not carry on Sonic’s legacy. The concept of Sonic the Hedgehog is completely different from Mario and Zelda. Unfortunately, it is hard for these modern Sonic games to keep that concept alive, thus making these games rather lame. A friend of mine put it perfectly, “it’s one thing to evolve the adventure of Mario and Zelda games, but running, loops, and jumps don't really... evolve well.”

Perhaps not all is lost in the Sonic Franchise. Like another friend of mine explains, some of the handheld games have received quite good reception from players. The console games, however, have just plummeted. But I don’t need to tell you that, it’s quite obvious that no one really speaks of new Sonic games with a positive outlook since the early 2000s. There were some modern Sonic ideas that could have been cool, but failed completely (Silver the Hedgehog, Werewolf Sonic, etc.).

Did you know that this year is the 20th anniversary for Sonic the Hedgehog? I’ll be honest, I was completely unaware. With such a big hype about Zelda’s 25th anniversary, Sonic seemed a little overshadowed.

Nintendo is doing a great deal of awesome things to celebrate Zelda’s 25th: concerts, new CD releases, a free game on DSi Ware. And what is Sonic getting? This Kotaku article explains it quite nicely. If you are living in Belgium, you are welcome to purchase some Sonic-themed stamps in honor of Sonic’s 25th! Isn't that exciting?

Sonic is also getting a new game in honor of its 25th. Sonic Generations is the new game coming out next month that is thankfully getting fans excited. It could quite possibly be the “Best Sonic Game since Rush” (which happens to be the last Sonic game I ever purchased at this point in time). I love the idea behind Sonic Generations. They plan to set up the game by “era”: The classic era, Dreamcast era, and modern era. They also take some of the 3D games and give them a 2D version. Mixing all three of these “eras” of sonic may just be what fans need to help restore appreciation for Sonic the Hedgehog.

I hate to see one of my favorite franchises head in the direction it’s going, but perhaps this was the predestined fate for Sonic. It does hurt to see all of these other franchises being so successful and then seeing Sonic struggle so much. I will always enjoy the classics such as Sonic and Knuckles, so not all is lost. Also, I have been actively reading the Sonic comic book series for quite some time now; it’s a great read. I will not mourn the loss of a great franchise just yet – Sonic Generations is a game I am hopeful will revive this franchise for the better.