The new Blastacular map pack for Halo 2 launched today, and being a huge Halo fan I raced to pick them up. I'm happy to see new content coming out for a game that's over two years old, and Hang 'em High (remade as Tombstone) was easily my favorite Halo: CE map. I'm also really glad that Bungie decided not to make the maps Xbox 360 exclusive, a move that would have greatly simplified purchasing and downloading the maps at the expense of fragmenting the player base between Xbox 360 players and original Xbox players.
I chose to download the maps to my Xbox 360 (I love the 720p upsampling), but the purchase process was not particularly smooth. When I tried to buy the maps, I got this message: “Premium purchases are not enabled for this Xbox Live account”. This was a confusing error since I've bought plenty of things through Xbox Live Marketplace before without any problem, and I knew I had no parental restrictions in place. My friend Mark figured it out though, and clued me in. Like many Xbox 360 users, we'd created Xbox Live Silver accounts in non-US regions to get access to foreign game demos. This came in really handy back when the Chromehounds demo came out everywhere but in the US. However, for some reason it messed with the backwards-compatibility-mode Xbox downloader. I'm not sure if it's because the accounts were from a different region, or because they were Silver accounts and the original Xbox has no concept of Silver accounts. Anyway, the solution was to sign in with the Silver account and attempt to purchase the maps. This will fail, but then you can sign in with your regular Gold account and download the maps. Hopefully this fix will let more people enjoy these great maps.