- Just went and picked up the February 2007 issue of Official Xbox Magazine at GameStop this weekend - mainly because myself and Alistair Wallis helped them out by doing a mini-feature on game engines (from Unreal through Source and beyond!), but I was also struck by the redeeming features of their cover-disc this month.

Since most Xbox 360 demos are freely downloadable from Xbox Live, it's obviously a much harder sell to get people to buy a magazine with an included disc (which reminds me - if you're going to, subscribe online instead of buying it from stores - it's $24.95 for a year's subscription but $9.95 on newsstands for each issue!), but I noted a couple of smart things about this latest issue that are worth pointing out.

Firstly, there are two Oblivion add-ons which normally cost Xbox Live Marketplace Points, freely available on the Feb disc - Wizard's Tower (150 points) and Thieves Den (150 points) - so that's $3.75 of content just there, if I've done my math right. I believe this is the first time they've done this, and honestly, they should try to do it every disc - I know there have been exclusive wallpaper and gamer icons before, though - Xbox.com has a great fan-made list of all the OXM coverdiscs and their content, alongside an insanely detailed OXM reviews/contents thread.

Also - and possibly cooler - there have been two or three Japan-only Xbox 360 demos on the OXM cover-discs. Obviously, they're actually in, uhm, Japanese, but it's definitely neat to get a look at these easily (though you do have to 'unlock' them by playing the other demos, which is either enticing or annoying, depending on who you talk to). The ones I spotted so far were Zegapain XOR, which was on the Issue 62 coverdisc, Tenchu Senran, on the Issue 65 coverdisc, and finally, Zegapain NOT, which is on this latest Issue 67 coverdisc. This latter title is a Namco Bandai and Cavia mech title with some pretty nice graphics and reasonably fun, though rather twitchy shooter gameplay - somewhat in the Z.O.E. style?

[Also, there are obviously attempts to have some demos be exclusive to Official Xbox Magazine - but I'm not sure how well that works, since there's no reason not to have them on Xbox Live too. OXM ran into this problem before Xmas, when Rainbow 6 Las Vegas was allegedly delayed from appearing on XBL in the U.S. so it would debut in the magazine first. No idea if that's true, but even the idea ends up harboring ill will in today's connected world, I'm afraid.]