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Contest: Win Ilomilo For XBLA

Ilomilo contest.png

Now here's something we haven't done for a while, we're giving away a free game! Not just any game, but the adorable puzzle game Ilomilo, which just hit XBLA this morning. Ok, well, technically the game has been available for about a month now through secret codes or through A World of Keflings and Raskulls, but this is the game's official release.

Anyway, what you really want to know is how you can win this adorable puzzle game, right? Ilomilo is a game about two friends trying to stay together, so in honor of its touching story I want to hear your best story about gaming with friends. Was there a game that brought you and a friend closer together? Or perhaps a good friend introduced you to a game you wouldn't have otherwise played? Any anecdote about you, a friend (or friends), and a game will do. Feel free to share as long or short a story as you like, and as many stories as you like, though only one entry per person will be counted for the contest.

I'll be randomly selecting and emailing a winner on Friday, so be sure to submit your comment with your valid email address (in the email box, not in the comment itself, of course). In the mean time, why not go ahead and check out our review of Ilomilo. Good luck to everyone! I can't wait to read your stories!


AladinSane said:

A few months ago a new work buddy loaned me MGS4 saying I would love it as much as Uncharted 2 (which I had loaned him previously). After playing for a few hours one evening, I gave it back to him and asked if he had been unemployed when he got it. He surprisingly admitted yes and asked how did I know. I told him that if he had been working as much as we did now he wouldn't have had time for a game you watch more than you play...

VoiceOfGosh said:

This reminds me of the time I bonded with my then mortal enemy! :D

I was a quirky kid in elementary school and I had a few regular bullies who decided to pick on me for some odd reason(s). One in particular seemed to tease me in a joking manner all the time but never hurt me physically at all. He was a really big guy so people teased him about his weight often which bugged me. One day I snuck my chunky Original Gameboy to school so I could literally hide in a tree and play Pokemon Blue during recess.

My bully, we'll call him Gary for the sake of anonymity (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), found me in the tree and tried to climb up to see what I was playing. He couldn't climb up but he saw the glint of blue and sheepishly asked if I was playing Pokemon. I fervently denied because getting caught playing Pokemon was like getting caught picking your nose at my old school. Gary then pulled out *his* Gameboy Color with Pokemon Yellow in the game slot and I jumped out of that tree faster than a flying squirrel.

We totally bonded over Pokemon and other games hardcore and traded or battled endlessly. He ended up being a really cool guy and we always backed the other up on the playground when bullies got ugly. I still have my old copy of Blue but I also have his copy of Yellow that he gifted to me before he moved away. I remember turning it on after he left and saw that the game only had 4 minutes on it. The game was saved right before a rival battle and I saw that he named the protagonist after me and the rival after himself. Gary was my first rival and thought of me as the same.

Still miss that lug!

forevereon said:

When I was a kid I watched my older cousin play Chrono Trigger. He would never let me play because I was a "brat". So I begged my mom in 1996 to buy it for me for my birthday. I thought it was the greatest game ever made. She thought at $79.99 it was the most expensive game ever made!

A year later I met a boy named Jon in my class who wouldn't be my friend because I was a brat. I followed him home from the bus one day and asked what video games he liked and he said Dragon Warrior. I asked what that was and he said RPG. I said to him that I had the best RPG and he should come over and play it with me. He told me no, because I was a brat. I tried again and again for days until finally I brought the game to school and gave it to him, heart pounding fearing I would never see it back.

He loved it to much he refused to ever leave my side. For eight years. He became my first best friend. My first Street Fighter opponent. Then my first love. My first real boy-kiss. Then my first heart break. He went a different path after college with a wife and kids, but we're still best friends. Now it has been almost 15 years.

My longest real relationship was with someone else and lasted four years, and I consider Chris to be my lost soulmate. We split because I was a brat and moved far away. That is a different tale of heart and loss, but when I met him on PlanetOut and then messaged his AIM...his buddy icon was Janus' purple cat from Chrono Trigger. Though we split five years ago and have our own new boyfriends now (who dont like Chrono Trigger) that man still always messages me links to fan hacks, burns me CD-Rs of Chrono Trigger remix musc, and even from time to time sneaks out of the house to meet me at a diner to talk about lavos!

No single player game has ever brought me closer to so many people. My friend Josh from college? I instantly like him when he admitted to listening to Robo's theme at night to sleep (so did I).

I have a million other stories just like it.

Chrono Trigger changed my life, I swear. Not bad for $79.99.

Randy said:

I met my amazing boyfriend of five and a half years while playing a game.

It was April of 2005, and I was in the last semester of my undergraduate career at the University of Maryland. On most days, I spent the breaks between my classes in the Math Lounge, playing the old SNES we had set up there. I have a lot of favorite single-player SNES games, but the Math Lounge had been taken over at the time by Tetris Attack fever.

Tetris Attack, for those who don't know, is an addictive puzzle game. The puzzle blocks rise from the bottom of the stage, and you remove blocks by matching three or more blocks in a row or column using only horizontal swaps. The more blocks you match at a time and the more combos you make, the more trash you dump on the top of your opponent's stack (in the form of bricks which need an adjacent match to become normal blocks) and the longer you have before your stack continues to rise. Of course you lose if your stack tries to move, but can't because it's at the top of the screen. When experienced players play head-to-head, the screen is almost always full, and it's just a question of who runs out of combos (and therefore out of time-stop) first. We were experienced players, and we sometimes drew a crowd since the Math Lounge had a large window facing a heavily traversed hallway in the Math building.

What did we do when there was no one around to play with? Well, that's what Tetris Attack's puzzle mode was for. In puzzle mode, you had a preset block configuration and some limited number of swaps to clear the entire stage. I loved this mode, because it was actually quite difficult. It was while I was pulling out my hair in frustration in this mode that Ted walked into the Math lounge.

Time and age may addle my mind, and I'm sure I'll never have the details exactly right, but for the things that really matter, that moment is a precious memory for me. For a moment my breath caught in my throat, a reflexive reaction to his attractiveness. He was (and is) exactly my type: dark hair that comes down to his ears, a moderately muscular physique, and a genuine smile. I would later learn that he lost many of his front teeth in a dodgeball accident, so those teeth were really caps, but I still maintain that his smile is genuine. I think he was wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt, which at the time seemed pretty cool to me.

We introduced ourselves to each other and shook hands, and I was barely able to function with him there, just thinking of how cute he was. I don't even remember what I said to him. He talked about how much he used to enjoy playing Tetris Attack, and I just tried not to look like an idiot in front of him as we solved several puzzles together. I feel like "solving puzzles together" is a very accurate description of our relationship for the past five and a half years, so I'm glad that it started the way it did.

Of course, at the time I had no idea he was even gay. As much as I wanted him to stick around in the Math Lounge, he had to leave at some point. Fortunately, this was back in the early days of Facebook, when no one had even heard of "privacy" and when it was easy to look up all of the people in the Math department at your university; in fact, you could even look up all of the gay people with a math or science focus. That's exactly what I did a few days later, and there he was, squinting back at me, wearing a dark blue not-really-a-rainbow-but-almost striped shirt. I sent him a message on Facebook, and we set up a date the following week.

I remember seeing my mom that weekend, and I kid you not: I told her that I met someone new and that I thought he could be the one. I'm a scientist and a realist; I don't believe in things like a soul, or the one, but my mom does, and honestly I was a little tempted to believe in such things in this case. Suffice it to say that our brief experience playing Tetris Attack together convinced me that this man was someone I could spend the rest of my life with. I kind of couldn't believe that I was saying something like this to my mom, but there it was.

I'm not saying it's always been easy. That first summer, after just a few months of dating, he was gone for three months, and that could have been difficult on us, but when he came back it was like he had never left. After a year of respective living situation difficulties, we moved in together, and we've been living together ever since. He had basically missed the Playstation 2 generation, so he got to benefit of my (rather large) library of PS2 games. And now, we play games with each other all the time. I remember staying up until five in the morning as we played through Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the release night. Some people called co-op mode on New Super Mario Bros. Wii "divorce mode", but I just think they weren't able to execute a decent simultaneous ground pound. Most recently, we finished Kirby's Epic Yarn together, and we had a good time even if it was a bit too easy for us. And in a few weeks, after much anticipation, we'll be travelling through LittleBigPlanet 2 together.

Ted and I are partners in every sense of the word, and no small part of that is due to the games that we've played together.

brandonandsue said:

One of the funnest video games I ever played with my friends was Subspace (now Continuum - free). The gameplay was so simple, yet so hard to master (not that I ever did).

Jayson said:

My best friend would have to be my brother. We are the only ones that can put up with each others gaming. I remember every new years we would stay up playing games until the new year would begin. It has been a tradition for us for a while now. I can remember it as it were yesterday. The game we played was Perfect Dark when it first came out. That was some great times right there. Every time I play that game,I can not help but remember the great times we had and still have together.

humBEARto said:

When I moved away for college, my best friend and I were immediately 500 miles apart. Keeping in touch with my friend - straight - was becoming more difficult, especially as I started playing games less and less (I went from a hardcore gamer to a casual one) and we had less things to chat about online. Eventually we synced back up on systems after I got an Xbox, allowing us to play online together. Soon enough we were playing games together but there was one that we could always and still return to for a quick - or long - session of strategy and banter: Catan.

Based on the original, in-life board game of strategy and wit, it was the perfect game for us. We could play over Xbox Live and it tickled our usual taste for evil and cunning used upon each other playfully. At times it would become a heated battled against each other, others an epic struggle against Alexander the Great or Queen Elizabeth.

Catan will never be deleted.

agentreed said:

Well, I don't really have any friends so my stories of gaming with them are pretty slim. I do have two cats though who love to watch me play games. By watch I mean claw at my TV whenever something moves on the screen. Are cats friends?

ultima1 said:

This story begins with the wonderful game of Perfect Dark for the N64. I played this game religiously while growing up. It was the game that my brother, our friends, and I bonded over.

As some of you remember, the game had a great customization option for battles. One night as my brother and i were up late playing and it was storming outside, we thought a horror game would be great. Through much experimentation we decided a fist sim is toughest (since they relentlessly punch you into a blurry death). We complimented him with the difficulty of 'dark' which is basically very very hard. To make him creepy we made him as Elvis(the short alien). To make him creepier, we replaced his head with an old man that resembled Regis Philbin. Now, with this dark fist sim killer regis alien monster we had the perfect killing machine. We threw him into the facility level(aka felicity). Chaos ensued. My brother and I were on the edge of our seats all night. At every corner you turned, every door you passed, every vent you passed was a moment of extreme tension. After staying up the entire night obssessed with this new game we had to share it with all our friends. Before doing so I recall the moment when we were saving the settings and needed to give it a name. There was a moment where a lightbulb sparked and I blurted "Kill Regis!"(this was a time before Kill Bill existed). My brother and i simply nodded to one another and the pivotal moment took place. We spread the game mode to our friends and through word of mouth it spread and everyone we knew was playing it everytime we were all on a N64.

For years we continued to play it with friends, and its been a source of one of our greatest inside jokes while growing up.

I think that when it came full circle was when i was speaking with newer friends i made that happened to bring up an awesome custom mode on perfect dark that was such fun. It was a phenominal feeling to realize that the one night my brother and I made this quirky minigame we started a connection that would spread.

I think what impresses me most is how well the gaming community is for handing off each great idea that comes along. From the now giants of garry's mod and minecraft to the lesser known ideas like Kill Regis, word spreads.

hodsey77 said:

When I was about 8 or 9 I had a Spectrum 128k and a marvellous game called Chaos.

This game featured upto 8 wizards, battling it out to be last one standing,using turn based combat.

It was THE BEST GAME EVER and as you could have 8 players, loads of my friend used to come over and play it with me.

I remember is all cramming into my bedroom and trying to make people look away while you chose the spell you were going to cast!

I've since chatted with a few of these friends via Facebook and one of the first things one of them said was "remember that game we used to play on the Speccy with the wizards?!" hehe!


Jonathan said:

While I don't have many friends that have influenced my gaming choices, due mostly to the fact that my friends and I have a major interest in the same games. It is the people that I have met through the gaming groups that have changed my views on board games.

Though there have been many that I probably wouldn't have played I was more than willing to give them a try so that I could socialize with more people and get out of playing single player games. Since then I have discovered many more games than just the norm from PDQ to San Juan.

It is easy to want to try many new games as there are quite a few to enjoy and now I look forward to the gaming groups and wonder just what game may be tried this time.

kutman said:

When the Megaman series is referenced it's hardly ever linked to a multiplayer experience, yet it was the battle network series for the Game Boy Advanced that has offered me some fond Jr High memories with my best friend Stephen.

Portable gaming has always been a pain for me, ever since elementary it was always hard to find someone else with a play a portable game with (outside of pokemon that is, but as soon as people reached junior high you'd become teased for playing it so not many people continued to do so), people didn't have the system or compatible game packs to play with (oddly everybody owned link cables (THIS WAS BACK IN THE DAYS BEFORE WIRELESS PEOPLE!!). Needless to say I had accepted that my Game Boys would be used mainly for single player fun, which made it all the more surprising when one of the games I had deemed to be "single only" turned out to be fun to play with others.

I don't remember what year I received my copy of Megaman Battle Network (but since it was the one and only at the time I'm guessing it was the year it came out, 2001), but I do remember it being my favorite Christmas present. I played it day and night, easily finishing it and going through the task of collecting all the chips in the game (gotta get em all folks). While doing this I showed the game to my (then and now) best friend Stephen (one of the few people with a GBA in my class), I think I showed the game to Stephen as a means to show him that there was indeed life for the GBA beyond Golden Sun. Oddly enough he purchased a copy for himself soon after!

I still smile thinking about the great netbattles we had when he had collected all of the power ups and completed his chip collection. We continued to battle in subsequent MMBN games (well the good ones, 2,3 & 6), but this one stands out the most in my memories. Mainly due to the extremely cheap (but extremely effective) Steal+Anubis combination (the stealing of enemy rows didn't wear off like in later games, you had to steal them back with your own steal chips), if either one of us placed the Anubis statue (which drained our opponents health indefinitely as long as it was active) on a square in the back row there was no way to destroy it and thus the other was toast! Truly an GYAHHHRG inspiring moment. But a timeless memory for antisocial me? Yes it is.

Max said:


Actually without a certain Sega title I would have never met my BFF and childhood friend. I was a hardcore Nintendo fan as a kid and in my mind the SNES was the be all end all console. Thanks to the arresting charm of a certain blue hedgehog though, I met my soul mate and we really bonded over Sonic and our love for videogames. It's almost like Romeo and Juliet a love that transcends the fanboy hate between Nintendo and Sega back in the days.

I'd really like to tell you more, but three years ago he was killed in a robbery and it still hurts as if it happened yesterday. I miss him so much! [;_;]

TR3Y said:

Being "the gamer" in my circle of friends definitely brought its share of experiences. While a few others dabbled with console and PC games here and there, I was definitely the hardcore player in the bunch. Needless to say, many nights were often spent in my home gathered around the television set with food, alcohol, and extra controllers while I brought my friends ever deeper into my world.

First, there was the Resident Evil 2 night. All of my friends watched quietly while I sat on the floor and guided Leon and Claire through a devastated Raccoon City, fighting zombies, dogs, and Lickers. Just like watching a horror movie, they would sit on the edge of their seats, sometimes jumping, sometimes screaming, and sometimes tickling my ear with a feather during a particularly tense scene.

Later, there was the Silent Hill night. Just like the Resident Evil night, they would gather around while I played, though many said they preferred the jumpy scares to the disturbing imagery of Konami's series. What was awesome about these nights were the long discussions they would spawn at coffeehouses and restaurants for weeks while my friends and I scratched our heads and tried to make sense of what we had seen. It brought me closer to a lot of my friends, who began to understand just why I was so passionate about my games.

Finally, to ease the tension a bit, there was Space Channel 5 night. Passing the old Dreamcast controller around, we would play for hours, laughing at each other when we'd mess up, laughing every time Ulala said something sassy, and of course, laughing once Space Michael showed up to liven up the party. Ulala's dance moves were soon taken to the streets, with me and my friends dancing around at the clubs, yelling "Chu! Chu! Chu!" while everyone around us wondered what drug we were on.

A lot of my friends don't live in the same city as I do anymore, and we don't always get together like we used to. But we still have the memories, and we all still laugh heartily when we talk about the nights we would spend together playing games. Maybe we should have that reunion with Ulala and Space Michael, after all.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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TR3Y on Contest: Win Ilomilo For XBLA: Being "the gamer" in my circle of friends definitely brought its share of experiences. While a few others dabbled with...

Max on Contest: Win Ilomilo For XBLA: Hello, Actually without a certain Sega title I would have never met my BFF and childhood friend. I was a...

kutman on Contest: Win Ilomilo For XBLA: When the Megaman series is referenced it's hardly ever linked to a multiplayer experience, yet it was the battle network...

Jonathan on Contest: Win Ilomilo For XBLA: While I don't have many friends that have influenced my gaming choices, due mostly to the fact that my friends...

hodsey77 on Contest: Win Ilomilo For XBLA: When I was about 8 or 9 I had a Spectrum 128k and a marvellous game called Chaos. This game...

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