Report: Some Xbox 360s May Be Incompatible with New Disc Format

May 18, 2011 -

You may have heard of Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 disc format and an upcoming firmware update to add support for it, but you may be one of those Xbox 360 owners whose system doesn't support it. The new XGD3 disc standard adds an additional 1GB of useable data to 360 DVDs, but a small number of Xbox 360 systems are having trouble supporting it.

According to Kotaku one beta tester owned such a system, and Microsoft rectified the situation by giving him a new system and a year's worth of Xbox Live Gold. Microsoft has not commented on the story, so this generosity could just be an isolated incident.

"Checking my e-mail earlier today I found a rather interesting message from Xbox Customer Support, saying that a software update is stopping some Xbox 360s from reading game discs," said beta tester Avery Penn.

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Report: PayPal Coming to Xbox Live

May 10, 2011 -

According to a Joystiq report citing an internal Microsoft memo, a new dashboard update is on the way, and it will add a brand new and familiar payment option for Xbox Live members. Microsoft is preparing to roll out this Xbox 360 dashboard update later this month. The internal memo written by a Microsoft tech support employee says the update will be released in stages from May 19 to May 30 "to ensure a high quality deployment." The update will add PayPal online payment services as a billing option. Users will reportedly be able to use the system to buy points, content, and pay for Xbox Live subscriptions.

The update will also introduce support for the new Xbox 360 game disc format which was rumored to be in the works a few months ago. The Avatar Kinect video chat application is also rumored to be released later on May 27.

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Military Billing Options for Soldiers Hit Xbox Live

May 3, 2011 -

Microsoft’s Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) announced via his official blog that military personnel will now have an easier time when conducting commerce on Xbox Live. One of the biggest requests from soldiers serving in the military is to have the ability to use "Military States" as billing addresses. Today Microsoft is allowing just that. As of today Xbox Live now accepts AA (Armed Forces of the Americas), AE (Armed Forces Europe) and AP (Armed Forces Pacific) as options for credit card addresses. To make changes to these addresses, simply makes changes to the billing section on Xbox.com.

"We hope this makes it easier for the men and women in the United States Armed Forces to stay connected to the Xbox LIVE community," said Hryb in the post announcing the new changes.

"Thank you for everything you do," he added.

Indeed, anything that makes it easier for Americans serving our country is a good thing.

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Hulu Plus for Xbox 360 Confirmed for Tomorrow

April 28, 2011 -

Hulu Plus is coming to Xbox Live tomorrow, and Xbox Live Gold and Silver members will get it for free until May 6, Microsoft confirmed today. Hulu Plus will be free until May 6 thanks to a sponsorship deal with Jack Link's Beef Jerky.  As a fan of both beef jerky and free stuff, I approve of this partnership.

After the free week is over, users that want to continue to use Hulu Plus can sign up for a membership- which will cost you $7.99 a month.

Xbox 360 joins other devices that support the popular service including iOS devices (iPad, iPhones, iPod Touch), Android devices, various internet-enabled TV's and Blu-Ray devices (Samsung, Vizio, etc.), PlayStation 3, and Roku boxes (which are awesome).

Source: Joystiq


Microsoft Warns of Modern Warfare 2 Phishing Scheme

April 27, 2011 -

An Xbox Live status update found here warns Modern Warfare 2 users to be on the lookout for scammers who have a brand new scheme ready to trick you into revealing your personal information. The "scheme" will occur while users are playing the game online, according to Microsoft. While hacking and phishing schemes related to Modern Warfare 2 are nothing new to players on every platform the game is on, users who love the game must be ever vigilant in avoiding getting caught in some sort of trap.

"Users may receive potential phishing attempts via title specific messaging while playing Modern Warfare 2," Microsoft warns via the status message.

Microsoft adds that it is "working to resolve the issue."

We hope they figure it out sooner rather than later. However, if you are an MW2 player, be vigilant.

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XBIG Developer Disappointed by Microsoft Actions

April 20, 2011 -

Robert Boyd, developer of the Xbox Live Indie Games Cthulhu Saves The World and Breath Of Death VII: The Beginning, says that he is delighted by Microsoft's decision to fix the ratings system for XBIG, but is disappointed that it won't turn back the clock a little. Boyd says that Microsoft's failure to remove suspicious votes from the system is “highly disappointing” and that affected games will never recover from being "completely buried" by illegal voting.

"Microsoft doing nothing to fix the fake ratings that have already been given is highly disappointing," Boyd tells Edge. He points to research done by XNA community developer Michael C. Neel, which shows that ratings abuse was far more widespread than anyone had thought.

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Xbox Live Indie Games Get Ratings Revamp

April 19, 2011 -

Microsoft has made major changes to the ratings system for its Xbox Live Indie Games channel, after reports that users were manipulating individual game ratings last month. As of today only Xbox Live Gold subscribers can rate indie games on the service.

Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games (Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World) alleged manipulation on the Facebook page for XBLIG game College Lacrosse: The Video Game. The developer of the game had urged fans to provide 5-star ratings to boost the game up the XBLIG charts. Boyd also claimed that those fans went further by providing minimum 1-star rating to competing XBLIG titles to help improve the Lacrosse games' positions. That would explain why Boyd would be talking about it.

A post on the XNA Game Studio Team blog this week detailed the changes:

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Rumor: Microsoft Considering Free To Play on Xbox Live

April 12, 2011 -

Maybe Microsoft is taking its cues from Sony Online Entertainment's and Playstation Network's launch of Free Realms, or maybe the whole story is the stuff of rumors.. According to "trusted source" speaking to IGN, publishers and developers will be able to release games for free on Xbox Live. Developers and publishers will then be able to allow users to purchase content such as weapons, experience points, in-game currency, perks, and novelty items. The first of these titles is expected to arrive next year, according to the source.

While that is fine, next year seems like a very long time to wait to bring free-to-play to Xbox Live. Microsoft is notorious for controlling micro-transactions on Xbox Live, so it is doubtful that it has suddenly changed its policy. More likely, if it does allow for free-to-play products they will be of the first-party nature.

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Toulouse Comments on Xbox Live Account Hacker

April 4, 2011 -

Over the weekend a hacker named "Predator" took over Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse's Xbox Live account. Today Toulouse discussed it with Joystiq, pointing out that "Predator" wasn't trying to be helpful and that he didn't hack Xbox Live - he simply got information from Toulouse's web provider.

"He got an old cell phone [number] of mine, and yeah, he called it occasionally," Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse told Joystiq. "I can play you a voice message if you want, to show you the nature of his contact with us."

He did just that and Joystiq described them as full of expletives not suitable for print. Toulouse went on to mention one six-minute call where "Predator" and some friends talked about having sex with his wife.

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Saline, Michigan Man Wanted for Accosting Young Girls on Xbox Live

March 29, 2011 -

Saline Police say that they have issued an arrest warrant for a 20-year-old Saline, Michigan man for allegedly soliciting young girls via Xbox Live. The 20-year-old man, Robert Lynch, is expected to surrender to police for an arraignment on three counts of attempting to accost children for immoral purposes. The charges have the potential to put Lynch behind bars for up to 4 years. The exact time and date of the arraignment was not clear at the time of this writing.

According to police, Lynch allegedly used the chat or messaging functions of Xbox Live to communicate with Saline Middle School girls he met online between Jan. 8 and Feb. 8. Besides making sexual suggestions to the young girls, Lynch also allegedly mailed some of them condoms. Police also allege that in one instance Lynch took several girls to a local strip club. While they didn't go inside, Lunch went in to purchase sex toys for the girls.

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Runic Games Sees Highest Sale Day Ever with Torchlight XBLA Launch

March 15, 2011 -

Runic Games announced today that the launch of Torchlight for Xbox LIVE Arcade resulted in the game's best sale day in the company's admittedly short history, but did not disclose sales numbers. Torchlight for Xbox LIVE premiered as part of Microsoft’s House Party lineup on Wednesday, March 9th. The game is an action-RPG based on the PC game of the same name. The XBLA version has been streamlined for Microsoft's platform, though much of the content remains mostly the same. New features include a revamped user interface, streamlined inventory management, new items, Achievements and Avatar awards.

"We're very excited to bring Torchlight to the 360, and have been really gratified by the positive reaction. It's affirming to know that console players love this genre as much as we do. We think the experience translates pretty well to the couch," said President Travis Baldree.

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Microsoft: MS Points Scam Loss Figure is Wrong

March 10, 2011 -

Microsoft issued a statement to Gamasutra today saying that it is looking into MS Points codes being illegally generated for Xbox Live, but denied that it had lost $1.2 million in revenue from the scam. Hackers found a way to use old MS Points codes to generate new ones. The method for doing this was then posted on a gaming forum where users picked it up and ran with it. Despite all the alleged activity Microsoft says that the amount of codes generated and the amount of money lost by the activity has been overblown by several media outlets.

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Microsoft Loses $1.2 Million From MS Points Scammers

March 10, 2011 -

Save and Quit reports that a group of clever hackers managed to bilk Microsoft for $1.2 million by creating counterfeit Microsoft Points codes for Xbox Live. The hackers created an algorithm that let them use old MS Points codes to generate new codes. They then shared these codes with the Internet, much to the chagrin of Microsoft.

Each refresh of the site would generate a new 160 point code. Hackers also released a stand-alone code generator that created codes for a Halo: Reach Banshee avatar prop or a 48-hour Xbox Live trial. Those late to the party found that the site was inaccessible as traffic got out of control.

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How it Feels to Be Harassed on Xbox Live

February 25, 2011 -

A hilarious video from College Humor called "Girls Can Be Jerks On Xbox Live Too, You Know" turns the tables on a male player as a gaggle of girl players treat him like a piece of meat. It's hilarious and most definitely not safe for work, but worth watching.

9 comments

Castle Crashers Pink Knight Fights for Breast Cancer Research

February 3, 2011 -

The Behemoth is giving PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade owners an opportunity to go pink in Castle Crashers. The developers behind the popular action RPG announced a new character called the Pink Knight and that all the proceeds from the purchase of this character (and four new weapons) will be donated to charities devoted to Breast Cancer Research. The Pink Knight comes armed with a Lollipop and 4 other brand new additional weapons.

PSN players will get the Pink Knight first, with a release date for XBLA players to be announced at a later date. The PSN version sells for $1.99 and goes live February 8.

Find out more about the Pink Knight here.

Commentary: How can anyone not love the people at The Behemoth?

4 comments

Follow-Up on Autistic Boy's Xbox Live 'Cheater' Punishment

January 31, 2011 -

As a follow-up to Thursday's story that an 11-year-old autistic boy (Julius Jackson) being banned from Xbox Live for cheating, Game Informer unravels exactly what might have happened and why Microsoft is not backing down from the action. Game Informer posits that the ban probably has something to do with the way the youngster acquired the Recon Armor in Halo 3. Game Informer came to this conclusion based on tweets from both the mother (Jennifer Zdene) and Xbox Live Policy Director (Stephen Toulouse).

Getting Recon Armor is not an easy task. You can either have it given to you by Bungie directly (which did not happen in this case for sure) or you can unlock a specific set of 7 achievements spread across Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST called Vidmaster Challenges. Some of those challenges are easy, while others are quite difficult.

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Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

January 27, 2011 -

An 11-year-old autistic boy named Julius Jackson has been labeled a "cheater" by Microsoft on Xbox Live and has had all of his Achievements points wiped as a result.

As a rule, when Microsoft finds that an Xbox Live user has boosted its GamerScore by using exploits or cheats it marks that user as a "cheater" and wipes their score away. This is exactly what happened to Julius, though what exactly Microsoft says that he did to earn such a dishonor is not being talked about by either party.

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Forza 3 Wins Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year Award

January 24, 2011 -

Turn 10 and Microsoft's Forza Motorsports 3 is the winner of this year's Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year award from the AbleGamers Foundation. Every year the AbleGamers Foundation selects one mainstream video game title that offers the best accessibility to players. According to AbleGamers, "recipients must demonstrate excellence in accessibility by including options that allow for gamers with a wide range of disabilities to fully enjoy the game."

"Microsoft is honored and delighted to accept the Accessible Game of the Year Award from AbleGamers for Forza Motorsport 3," said Aaron Kornblum, Director Security Policy, Interactive Entertainment Business, which includes Xbox and Xbox Live. "We believe that making technology as accessible as possible will enable people throughout the world to realize their full potential, regardless of their abilities."

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Report: Xbox 360 Update Halts Call of Duty Pirates

January 20, 2011 -

While the new Xbox 360 mandatory update may have added a few small things, there was one secret thing that it accomplished: halted scores for pirates and hackers playing Call of Duty: Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 on the console on Xbox Live. The update was billed under the guise of re-enabling automatic boot a to disc, and some changes to some graphics.

console. Members of the Xbox-Scene forums became suspicious when the update took a "suspiciously long time" to download. They discovered that their "backup copies of Call of Duty games ceased to work. They believe the update enables "an anti-piracy feature that specifically targets burned copies."

Naturally Microsoft isn't saying anything about it.

Source: Engadget

5 comments

Cthulhu Saves the World Developer Wants Your Support for Port

January 19, 2011 -

Indie developer Zeboyd wants your help in bringing its groovy Xbox Live Indie game, Cthulhu Saves the World, to the PC. Zeboyd has set up this Kickstart.com page asking for donations to port the game to the PC. Zeboyd also wants to enhance the original XBIG release with a special mode that did not make it into the final game. From the Kickstarter page:

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CA. Woman Seduces 13-Year-Old over Xbox Live, Gets Caught

January 10, 2011 -

Orange County. California sheriffs say that a 36-year-old-woman pretending to be a 23-year-old woman, seduced a 13-year old boy over Xbox Live. The woman subsequently took a trip from California to Maryland, where police allege that she had sex with the teenager. The online relationship began on Xbox Live in September and quickly escalated over the Thanksgiving holiday. The woman apparently met the boy in Maryland and had sex with him while his parents were sleeping.

The boy's parents became suspicious after finding romantic text messages on his phone. The woman also allegedly sent the boy x-rated pictures and movies of herself online.

The woman, Rachel Ann Hicks, is held without bail on charges of rape and child molestation. Hicks may face additional charges related to another young man she had inappropriate contact with, though police did not disclose details on that case. Hicks, the mother of three children, resides in Lake Forest.

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Microsoft Rolls out the Big Numbers in CES Keynote

January 6, 2011 -

Microsoft announced during its Consumer Electronics Expo keynote that it managed to sell 8 million Kinect units in the last 60 days. This was well below what the company projected back in November - 5 million units. Microsoft did not details how these units were sold - bundles, single SKU's or packed in with systems.

Most analyst were conservative in their estimates of Kinect sales by the end of January: most predicted 4.5 million sold by the end of January. It turns out they were way off the mark on that one.

Microsoft also announced that 30 million people have accounts on Xbox Live, though how many are gold and silver level subscriptions were not disclosed. This number is up five million from November 2010.

Finally, Microsoft said that 50 million Xbox 360 units have been sold worldwide to date. Again, no details on how many of those units sold in the last 60 days were bundled with Kinect.

3 comments

GameStop Enjoys Record Holiday Season

January 6, 2011 -

Video game retailer GameStop reported record sales of $3.02 billion for the nine-week holiday season that ended on January 1. This marked a 5.4 percent increase over the same period last year, driven by Kinect sales, and "strong sell through" of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The company also reported 32 percent growth in gift card sales during the month of December.

New hardware sales improved 7.4 percent based mostly on the successful debut of Microsoft's Kinect. New video game software sales increased 3.3 percent.

Microsoft Launches Xbox Live Rewards Program

December 2, 2010 -

This week Microsoft revealed details on its Xbox Live Rewards Program, which gives players some incentives to buy games, DLC and get involved in certain activities on its service. The Rewards Program launches today. Most rewards seem to be for Gold Live account holders, though there are some rewards geared towards Silver users as well.

Some examples include 100 points for making a "first-time" purchase on Xbox Live Marketplace, 20 for buying a marketplace item, 200 for renewing a 12-month Gold Membership, and 100 for using a Gold Membership online.

The program is free to join, and Microsoft promises "cool prizes" besides points at some point later on down the road.

To join, visit rewards.xbox.com/program.

1 comment

Microsoft Defends Xbox Live Swastika Bans

November 23, 2010 -

The Director of Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement at Microsoft defended his decision to ban any Xbox Live account that uses a swastika as a Call of Duty Black Ops logo. While the symbol is interpreted to represent the sun in some Native American circles, its association with Nazi Germany during World War II makes it a visually offensive piece of imagery in the eyes of most.

Speaking via his blog, Stephen Toulouse defended his company's decision to ban the symbol. There seemed to be a minor backlash from some in the community, who saw the bannings as heavy handed. Commenters in this Gamasutra story echoed those sentiments, comparing it to Microsoft's actions in banning names with the word "gay" in them - even names that were real.

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Ed Fries: Apple's Steve Jobs Was 'Furious' About Bungie Purchase

October 27, 2010 -

An upcoming interview with Ed Fries (who you may know better as the former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft) reveals that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was livid when Bungie Software was purchased by Microsoft. In a preview of the interview to appear soon in Develop Magazine, Fries said that the Apple CEO was furious when Microsoft bought Bungie and gained exclusive rights to the then-unknown shooter Halo.

"As soon as we announced we bought Bungie, Steve Jobs called,” Fries said. "He was mad at [Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer and phoned him up and was angry because we’d just bought the premier Mac game developer and made them an Xbox developer."

Fries went on to say that he was the one charged with placating Jobs:

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XBL Spreading to New Markets

October 14, 2010 -

Microsoft has announced that, as of November 10, its Xbox Live service will be available in nine new markets—Russia, Poland, South Africa, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.

Xbox Live users in those regions most likely have an account already, just set in a different region. MS will allow migrating users to keep their profile, gamerscore, achievements, points balance and subscription time, but warns that previously purchased or downloaded content “will not be downloadable again after migration at this point in time, so remember to save your purchased content to your hard drive or a USB flash drive.”

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A September to Remember for Three Indie Games

October 1, 2010 -

September proved to be a good month for three independent game developers: Zeboyd Games, Carpefulgur, and Mojang. Let us start with the elephant in the room that is Minecraft. It has been widely reported that the developer of Minecraft, Markus 'Notch' Persson, has made $3,787,748 off his game to date - and it is only in alpha! The game is DRM-free, and Persson does not care all that much about piracy. Obviously, that position has not hurt sales.

Persson has reportedly had job offers from Bungie and Valve (he declined) and is now focusing on opening up his own development studio. Here's what Persson told GI.biz:

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Netflix, NBC Expand Agreement

September 25, 2010 -

Netflix and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution announced an expanded license agreement that will give the on-demand and by-mail movie and TV distribution service to offer more NBC TV shows. The multi-year deal kicks off next week and continues the relationship between Netflix and NBC Universal. The agreement adds more movies and TV episodes that can be streamed instantly from Netflix with a membership.

Netflix will soon offer episodes from every season of NBC's Saturday Night Live, including day-after broadcast of the upcoming 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons plus hundreds of episodes from the first 35 years of SNL.

Netflix will also offer every episode from the last season of 30 Rock, The Office, Law & Order: SVU, as well as earlier seasons of those shows. Other stuff coming includes Friday Night Lights, Psych, In Plain Sight, Monk, Battlestar Galactica, Destination Truth, Eureka, and more. More details here. No doubt, all of these shows will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii.


Sex Ed Game Gets Thumbs Down for XBLA

September 17, 2010 -

The explicit nature of a sex education game is apparently enough to keep it off Xbox Live Arcade.

Zombie Cow Studios, developer of the game Privates, has been told that the game probably would not be approved in a peer review of the game, according to company co-founder Dan Marshall.

“The guys at Xbox have been amazing. They’ve been really supportive and helpful throughout, but ultimately have advised that the game wouldn’t pass the Indie Games Peer Review process, purely due to its inherently sexual nature. As a result, if you want to play as a tiny little man blasting away inside someone’s innards, the only place to do it is privatesgame.com

According to the game description:

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Mattsworknamei I hope there is, I love that series.04/25/2015 - 5:59pm
Matthew Wilson@matt I am sure there will never be a armored core game04/25/2015 - 5:24pm
Mattsworknameof From softwares recent games, bloodborne is the best work they have done yet, though they really need to get to work on armored core 604/25/2015 - 5:10pm
Matthew WilsonLost Kingdoms came out in 2002 this day. I played that game. I did not relize it was made by From Software. Lost Kingdoms was a good unique hard game.04/25/2015 - 4:56pm
MattsworknameOff topic, but, who heres playing Bloodborne, and if so, is it mercillesly murdering you every chance it gets?04/25/2015 - 7:35am
Matthew WilsonI think its a good article, and devs can take some lessons from life is strange.04/24/2015 - 10:24pm
Andrew EisenI tinyURL'd it. The world is safe!04/24/2015 - 10:23pm
Matthew Wilson@AE my bad there is nothing I can do about that.04/24/2015 - 10:21pm
Andrew EisenLooks like the spoiler is right there in the URL.04/24/2015 - 10:20pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://tinyurl.com/ok9pf6b a interesting opinion piece on the life is strange episode 2, and a dark event that happens in it. full warning major spoilers.04/24/2015 - 10:11pm
Matthew Wilson@mech no just she, nor her co workers have not. she never said it is not real.04/24/2015 - 8:58pm
MechaCrashWas she saying "I haven't experienced it," or "I haven't experienced it therefore it does not exist"?04/24/2015 - 8:31pm
ZippyDSMleeoy the skyrim paid mod thing is going over well. My 2 lints, I would not mind if Skyrim had a full SDK and not a crappy lil editor....04/24/2015 - 6:46pm
Andrew EisenWell, that is indeed crappy and nonsensical.04/24/2015 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonshe got attacked for saying that she personaly has not experienced the harassment some other female devs have, and she got acused of defending GG and ignoring harassment. she ended up getting dog piled because of it.04/24/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew EisenFine but do you recall ANY details at all?04/24/2015 - 3:38pm
Matthew Wilsonit was several weeks ago now, and I will admit to not saving it.04/24/2015 - 3:36pm
Andrew EisenAttacked HOW and by WHOM for not writing off WHO as evil? Do you have a link or anything?04/24/2015 - 3:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthat is the whole point she was not attacked for saying anything. she was attacked for being willing to debate in the first place, and not just write them off as evil.04/24/2015 - 3:28pm
Andrew EisenI know there's not a lot of room in the Shout box but goodness you're being vague.04/24/2015 - 3:26pm
 

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