1000 Free Achievement Points (Excluding Rental Fees)

xbox 360 achievements

Unlocking achievements and earning Gamerscore is the one multiplayer game all 360 owners are playing. Achievement Whore or not, there’s no denying that having a higher Gamerscore than the guy next to you is a satisfying ego boost. After the Xbox 360 first launched, Gamespot put together a feature detailing how to quickly and easily get 6,000 more Achievement Points than your closest competition. While the achievements featured are absurdly easy and put you just a few rentals away from some all natural, e-peen enhancement, none of the games feature achievements as ridiculously simple to unlock as those found in Avatar: The Burning Earth.

Don’t be embarrassed about having a licensed Nickelodeon game in your played history. After all, your score is higher than the poor sap that doesn’t, and if you don’t have a higher score – Gamer or otherwise – than everybody else, why are you even playing video games in the first place?

Thanks to NeoGAF for bringing this video and the equally hilarious image above to our attention.

Lottery halts free coupons after abuse Malone predicts a loss of $20m

The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) February 14, 1997 | David M. Halbfinger and Daniel Golden, Globe Staff The state lottery yesterday abruptly canceled its distribution of nearly $100 million worth of free coupons a year, following reports of widespread abuse and theft of what had become a cash equivalent at the agency.

Treasurer Joseph D. Malone said he dropped the longstanding practice of printing coupons as promotional items even though it would cost the state an estimated $20 million in net revenue. A Globe series this week documented the lottery’s misuse and lax oversight of coupons, as well as its reliance on them to evade a legislated spending cap on advertising.

“The Boston Globe raised questions regarding the distribution of free coupons to Massachusetts citizens and certain businesses for use in lottery promotional activities,” Malone said in letters to Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham and House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran. “Although this practice has been in effect at the lottery for 20 years and is extremely popular with consumers,” Malone continued, “we have decided to terminate the use of all coupons, including our Val-Pak promotions, effective immediately. . . . The lottery does not want a controversy over a longstanding coupon program to detract from its record of achievement.” Since the Legislature capped its advertising budget in 1994, Massachusetts has relied far more on coupons than any other lottery. In fact, lottery director Samuel M. DePhillippo is scheduled to give a talk next month at a national symposium on the use of coupons as a marketing tool. Its title: “Making the Ad Dollar Go Farther.” Birmingham, who cut lottery ad spending from $11.6 million to $400,000 over the last four years, said in a telephone interview that the coupon ban was overdue. “It’s about time,” he said. “The lottery, under Malone’s guidance, has used every device their imagination can conceive of to circumvent that ban.” He added that Malone “wouldn’t be facing this headache now” if he had followed the “unmistakable spirit and letter of our prohibition.” Birmingham said Malone’s decision will not head off legislative hearings and investigations into the lottery. “The revelations in the Globe series were not limited to this issue,” he said. “And we might want to find out more details about past abuses.” Malone’s move yesterday came as reform-minded legislators called into question whether the treasurer should even remain in charge of the lottery. Senate Majority Leader Thomas C. Norton from Fall River, a longtime Malone critic, asked colleagues preparing to investigate the Massachusetts lottery to study a list of potential reforms, including limiting the number of instant games that can be introduced in a year or sold at one time; removing instant-ticket vending machines from supermarkets and other stores open to minors; prohibiting wagering by lottery retailers; and setting up a sliding scale of commissions for sales agents to reduce the incentive for stores to rely too heavily on lottery business. Norton’s most drastic suggestion, described as his “neutron bomb” by an aide: transferring control of the lottery from the Treasury to the state Department of Revenue. Malone’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, retorted, “The notion that Tom Norton is concerned about the impact of the lottery is laughable. This is the same person leading the charge to bring casinos to Massachusetts and put slot machines at the racetracks.” Fehrnstrom estimated the state will lose $20 million in net lottery revenue from the coupon ban, because residents who have received “Val-Pak” mailings had to buy tickets in order to take advantage of the free coupons. “We’ll do the best we can with the limited advertising resources that we’re given,” said Fehrnstrom. “The Legislature has directed us not to advertise on TV, not to advertise on radio, not to advertise in print, and now the message we are getting is that we should cease the couponing, and we’ll do so.” Senator Michael Morrissey, a Quincy Democrat who is cochairman of the Joint Committee on Government Regulations, which will hold a special hearing on lottery abuses later this month, said he thought Malone overestimated the potential revenue loss from banning coupons. “If we’re not giving away money, we’re not going to take a hit,” he said. In fact, the lottery has printed coupons much like they were its own private currency. It has used two types of coupons: “Val-Paks,” inserted alongside ads from neighborhood dry cleaners, dentists and pizzerias in envelopes mailed to 2.1 million households across Massachusetts; and “free-plays,” printed in $750,000 batches, ostensibly to be given away in sweepstakes and other promotions, but loosely monitored and easily abused. The Globe reported Monday that employees at four stores in Massachusetts are facing criminal charges for buying stolen Val- Paks, often by the thousands. Sources close to ongoing state and federal investigations say Val-Paks have been stolen en masse by postal workers and employees at bulk mail recycling centers. The article also reported that some lottery employees used the unregulated free-play coupons as walking-around money to pay for parties, tip police officers, contribute to charities and help lottery retailers balance their books. Moreover, since the advertising cap was enacted, the lottery made a practice of using the free-play coupons to reimburse its corporate partners, including newspapers and radio stations, for promotional ventures and advertising. US Internal Revenue Service officials are conducting a preliminary review of the lottery’s coupon deals, including whether these business partners paid taxes on the coupons. Fehrnstrom denied a claim by a spokesperson for Community Newspapers Co., which received $33,264 worth of coupons in the second half of 1996 alone, that the lottery had advised it not to pay taxes on them. Fehrnstrom said company officials had called him to apologize for making the statement, reported in the Globe yesterday. “We’re not in the business of providing tax advice to our marketing partners,” he said. site free coupons by mail web site free coupons by mail

David M. Halbfinger and Daniel Golden, Globe Staff