Ninjas Space Horror and Crafting

One of the perks of working at Xbox is I can get pretty much any game I want. Unfortunately I don’t have time to play every game I want, so I have pick and choose. These are the favorite games I played since I started working at Xbox.

Mark of the Ninja

I played the crap out of this game. I first saw Mark of the Ninja when I was wandering around the indie games section at PAX. There was no line so I sat down to try the game on a whim and I walked a way with a huge grin on my face. This game is awesome. The art style is unique and the animations are fluid. But where this game really shines is gameplay. They really nailed it. You start out with a fairly limited set of abilities, but as you progress you unlock more abilities which let you take advantage of every aspect of your environment like dangling on a chain from ledges and assassinating your targets from behind closed doors. You can tell lot of thought went into designing the ninja abilities and the levels to work together.

Dead Space

I refused to play Dead Space at night for the longest time because it was too scary. I’m not a huge fan of the horror genre, but this game adds a twist to the shooting genre dominated by Call of Duty and all its clones. Head shots don’t do much because it turns out corpses reanimated by an extraterrestrial infection don’t need heads to kill you. To take them down you have to systematically dismember them using a variety of space mining tools. Everything in this game adds to the sense of horror as you make your way through the ship. Strange noises following you around and great lighting effects make the absence of necromorphs more terrifying than when you are fighting them. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed this game, but Dead Space is an awesome experience.


Productivity on my team tanked the week Minecraft was released on Xbox LIVE Arcade. People say creativity benefits when you add constraints. Minecraft is a perfect example of that. All there is to do is mine blocks and build things with blocks and despite how blocky everything is, you can still create amazing things in this game.

James Lao
Staff Software Engineer