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1. Quickie: Impressions June 2014
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10. Quickie: Borderlands GOTY
1. Musings 45: Penny Arcade and The Gripping Hand
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3. Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph
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Topic: Xbox/Xbox Games

The new items published under this topic are as follows.
 Aug 11, 2014 - 07:02 PM - by Michael
Notes from the Destiny beta
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Xbox/Xbox Games So there was the Destiny beta a couple weekends ago... I've been letting it sit and digest a bit.

Honestly, my initial reaction is that the game wants to be too much. It wants to be Halo, it wants to be an MMORPG, it wants to be a Co-Op story, it wants to be an epic story... it wants to be a lot. Even with a packed world, so packed they crashed servers on the Xbox360 side and even with dedicated friends joining me, it actually felt quite... alone in the world. Like all the other people playing weren't really playing with me so much as alongside me. When they helped in a fight or two, it was cool; when they ran along right past the fight, it sometimes was annoying... when I was trying to meet kill requirements for some of the procedurally generated missions, it was annoying.

The "special event" drops every now and again? Also cool, but not very meaningful.

The weaponry and special powers? Honestly, if anything, they feel a little bit uninventive. One class gets a ground slam, one a kamehameha type grenade bomb, one a set of nasty gun blasts... the rest of their abilities didn't seem to change or be any different for beans. Maybe it's different at higher levels, but for low level play, one class is as good as - and functionally interchangeable with no change in playstyle required to substitute for - another.

They've got a month left. We'll see if Bungie can make it count.

 Jun 06, 2013 - 05:56 PM - by Michael
Microsoft commits Xbox Suicide
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Xbox/Xbox Games Really no other way to explain this...

“With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies."


Microsoft added "because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection, developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you’re not playing."

Mistake #1: assuming every customer has a broadband connection. Mistake #2: pretty much everything else. I predict brand suicide for the Xbox at this point.

 Apr 02, 2013 - 04:35 PM - by Michael
Tis no small thing to see a Keeper...
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Xbox/Xbox Games Thief. This could be interesting.


 Jun 21, 2012 - 04:54 PM - by Michael
Steel Mistake
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Xbox/Xbox Games There's a vid over at Kotaku about just how bad the controls for Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor really are.

I can't add anything to it. I really just can't. Save yourself some time, watch the video and understand the issues involved.

 May 11, 2011 - 07:29 AM - by Michael
Quickie Review: Borderlands GOTY
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Xbox/Xbox Games Time for a Quickie Review.

A short while back, Gamestop tossed out a bone to gamers: Borderlands GOTY edition (with all 4 DLC packs) for $20.

So, I bit. Why not. It was one of those games that had slipped past me earlier on, mostly because it was essentially an MMORPG-style game that was 99% designed for multiplayer and there were plenty of other interesting games available.

Now, I've played it. Make no mistake: the developers did a bang-up job with this one. Humor all over the place, explosions, very interesting graphic style. The "Hi, you have a voice in your head" method of narration and keeping the player vaguely on-task is a nice touch.

Of course, it's not without its quirks. While Borderlands is "playable" as a solo experience, it's not very much fun. Running around, shooting stuff that looks like it walked out of Cthulhu's doghouse, shooting humans, grabbing what drops, selling it off... see, it really does just feel like an MMORPG.

Once you get a couple of players together, it's a much more rewarding experience. Working as teams, it's a lot easier to take things down, a lot easier to coordinate fire and match weapons up.

Are there downsides? You bet. The chief annoyance is trying to remember whose character is lowest level; if they're not hosting the game, then their missions aren't getting flagged complete in the game's bizarrely programmed system. Why they didn't program the game to automatically default to the lowest player's missions and/or offer an override, I'm not sure. Welcome to the land of "weird developer questions."

Other than that - Dying isn't the problem it would seem. Sure, you'll lose some cash being restored at the last save point, but the enemies you've killed pretty much stay dead (at least, boss-related enemies). On one of the early bosses, I was actually able to exploit the system, shooting him from outside the fight zone after being restored to avoid taking a large amount of damage. It worked, and I'm not proud of it, but hey, I lived and he didn't.

Am I going to keep playing? Every now and then, when I can get a buddy onto Xbox Live for an hour or three. It's good on that front, though I can't imagine an all-night session; after a while, sadly, the missions start to get repetitive.

So - final score? 4 of 5. It's good, but not "My god, gotta have it, gotta play it all the time" good.

 Apr 05, 2011 - 07:28 AM - by Michael
XB Live game rankings suspect
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Xbox/Xbox Games Over at GameMarx, accusations that Microsoft isn't doing enough to keep the game rankings system working correctly. Seems certain developers found ways to game the system:

The XBLIG dashboard lists, including the top downloads, top rated, and new releases, equal significant sales revenue for developers. Being on the first screen of any of these lists equate to more sales than a favorable review by a well know site like Kotaku. It is also the face of XBLIG to many gamers. If these lists are full of the quick cash grab apps released on the service, gamers will get the false impression XBLIG is nothing but $1 gimmicks and not real games. That these lists can be manipulated is quite disturbing, as is Microsoft's total silence on the issue.
By the end of the article, they admit that they don't have completely hard evidence. Still, I agree that the pattern of a previously well regarded game suddenly being blasted by 1-star ratings is consistent with something fishy.

 Mar 03, 2011 - 07:40 AM - by Michael
Call of Duty Black Ops Demo
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you haven't tried out Call of Duty: Black Ops yet, your chance is here - Activision have at last put up a free demo on the Xbox Live marketplace and PSN.

Santa Monica, CA - March 2, 2011 - The thrilling mission from Call of Duty?: Black Ops, WMD,is now available worldwide for download as a single player demo on Xbox LIVE? Marketplace for the Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and on PlayStation?Network.

Revered as one of the most gripping levels in the blockbuster title that shattered entertainment records, WMD is a heart-pounding experience that takes players deep behind enemy lines as an elite Black Ops operative engaged in covert warfare, classified operations and explosive conflict. Players defy death every step of the way as they infiltrate Soviet airspace in the SR-71, the most advanced, high-altitude, long range strategic aircraft imaginable. Deep behind enemy lines, players will engage in intense combat in the harshest of conditions, and scale a formidable, hidden enemy base perched atop a snow-filled mountain range.

 Mar 03, 2011 - 07:19 AM - by Michael
Cheap Pac-Man
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Xbox/Xbox Games Namco has a bit of news: they've got Pac-Man DX on sale for 400 points this week on Xbox Live.

Cheap games are good.

As part of Microsoft?s ?Deal of the Week? promotion, PAC-MAN? Championship Edition DX is now available for half price (400 Microsoft Points) on Xbox LIVE? Arcade for the Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Originally released in November 2010 for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation?Network for the PlayStation?3 computer entertainment system, PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX twists the beloved PAC-MAN gameplay into one of the most frantic, addicting and satisfying experiences of the year.

PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX builds upon the successful gameplay found in 2007?s PAC-MAN? Championship Edition with more mazes and modes than ever before. New to the series are the multitudes of sleeping ghosts that infest each maze. As PAC-MAN runs past these ghosts, they become angry and chase him until he finds a Power Pellet. If a ghost gets too close, a slowdown effect will begin giving the player an extra vital second to figure out the best course of action. If the ghost train becomes too much to handle, players can set off a bomb which sends all active ghosts back to the center of each maze. Score as many points as possible in Score Attack, Time Trial and Ghost Combo modes and rise to the top of the online leaderboards.

 Nov 05, 2010 - 08:11 AM - by Michael
Kinect Dissected
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Xbox/Xbox Games There's a great dissection of the Kinect bar over at IFixit:

Step 10
We've finally found the Kinect's eyes.

Two cameras and an IR projector.

Left: (IR CMOS) Microsoft / X853750001 / VCA379C7130

Center: (Color CMOS) VNA38209015

Right: (IR Projector) OG12 / 0956 / D306 / JG05A

This picture is of the device upside down, so these labels are swapped from what you would see looking at the Kinect.

These are not tiny, cell-phone cameras? they're closer to the camera you might find in a webcam, with large lenses and autofocus.

We can't independently confirm the resolution of the cameras yet, but Microsoft claims that the infrared cam is 320x240 and the RGB cam is 640x480
Go check it out if you're a hardware nerd. Seriously. They did a GREAT job taking this apart.

 Sep 28, 2010 - 12:31 PM - by Michael
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Out
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's just gotten Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock out to shelves:
Santa Monica, CA ? September 28, 2010 ? Join the quest to save rock, as Activision Publishing, Inc.?s (Nasdaq: ATVI) highly-anticipated Guitar Hero?: Warriors of Rock hits store shelves nationwide today. Featuring the largest on-disc set-list ever in a Guitar Hero? game, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock?s furious finger-fretting rock music collection is headlined by some of the largest bands in rock and includes original tracks, re-records and bands making their Guitar Hero debut. With the all-new, rock inspired guitar controller, gamers will embark on an epic journey from the halls of punk music to the lava fields of rock treachery in the first ever Guitar Hero story-driven Quest Mode narrated by KISS front man Gene Simmons. Additionally, challenge hungry achievement junkies will find the game?s all-new Quickplay+ up to par as they strive to master the 13 star challenges packed into every one of the 90+ on-disc songs as well as every song in their Guitar Hero music library. Heightening the rock experience, the first album from Soundgarden in over 10 years, Telephantasm, will be bundled with one million Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock launch units.

?Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock delivers the ultimate rock fantasy ? from the all-new guitar controller, the epic Quest Mode and the incredible soundtrack, this game gives fans what they love and expect from Guitar Hero,? said David Haddad, Chief Operating Officer, Guitar Hero. ?The innovative features and rewards combined with the biggest Guitar Hero on-disc set list ever, make Warriors of Rock the best Guitar Hero experience to date.?

With over 550 downloadable and importable songs available at launch, the Guitar Hero music library provides gamers with hundreds of hours of additional, upgraded content that utilize all of the new features from Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Additionally, Soundgarden and Guitar Hero fans alike can purchase the full Telephantasm album as downloadable content playable in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock starting today.

In Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, join with friends on an epic journey to save rock. Featuring an impressive 90+ track set list and a host of all-new gameplay features, living room legends and their friends can strum, drum and wail in the most immersive music videogame experience to date. Delivering a rock music collection that focuses on guitar shredding hits from bands such as Black Sabbath, Slipknot and Megadeth and larger-than-life band anthems from Queen, Muse and KISS, players can unleash more rewards and unlockable content than ever before in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock?s Quest Mode and Quickplay+. Virtual rock stars can also deliver the ultimate smack talk to opponents with the built-in Hero Feed, which brings bragging rights to the game by allowing players to challenge and track their friends? accomplishments, whether the friend is online or offline. Returning this year, the critically acclaimed Party Play allows gamers to jump in and out of gameplay seamlessly while challenge mode invites up to four players local and eight players online to compete in a series of gameplay competitions to prove who rules the stage.


 Sep 08, 2010 - 06:06 PM - by Michael
MS Needs To Do Research
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft apparently has a problem with word filtering and real-world towns:

Perhaps you, too, aren't familiar with Fort Gay. It's around 800 strong and nestles as comfortably as it can on West Virginia's border with Kentucky. It's been around since 1789. And it's not even the only town in West Virginia that is adorned with the word "gay". Please bid a warm welcome to Mount Gay in Logan County and Gay in Jackson County.
The company has admitted that it erred. Stephen Toulouse, who enjoys the rather stern title of director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live, told the AP: "Absolutely, a mistake was made here, and we've updated our training to account for that."

 Sep 01, 2010 - 07:51 AM - by Michael
New Xbox360 Controller
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Xbox/Xbox Games I've never complained, but apparently, enough people did that Microsoft is updating the Xbox360 controller to include a shape-changing D-pad:

"We've heard from the community that you're not big fans of the D-pad, so the engineers went back into the laboratory and came up with this ingenious solution," Larry Hryb, Xbox Live programming director, said in a video demo. "It is a revolutionary D-pad that transforms from a disc into a plus ? with the twist of a hand."

The "plus" format, therefore, can be used for cardinal directional moves, while the "disc" format is intended for sweeping moves, Microsoft said.
I just wish they'd stop being so proprietary; it'd be much better for consumers if there were more third-party controller options.

 Jul 20, 2010 - 07:57 AM - by Michael
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Xbox/Xbox Games The Xbox engineering blog has a nice article up on what exactly goes into making the "achievement" system work:

One hot topic that came up in that meeting was that profiles must be available offline. That meant that a player didn?t have to be connected to Xbox LIVE in order to access his or her achievements or profile settings. The impassioned statement was, ?I have to be able to take my Xbox to Whistler for a ski weekend, and have all the achievements I earn there show up online when I plug in at home Monday morning!? Life would have been a lot easier if hotels in Whistler offered free Internet access but, instead, offline access became a big part of the profile story. Not only could you go away for the weekend, but you didn?t have to worry if you lost your Internet connection before reaching a critical milestone. Or you could play without ever connecting to Xbox LIVE, earn a pile of achievements, and have them show up in the cloud the first time you got connected. Offline access made for some late nights for the development team, but we knew it was the right thing to do and that was enough to justify the overtime.
Read the whole thing - if you've ever wondered why certain things work a certain way, the descriptions of the discussions show they really did put a decent amount of thought into the system.

 Jun 24, 2010 - 07:22 AM - by Michael
Xbox 360 Slim, dissected
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Xbox/Xbox Games PC Perspective puts the new Xbox360 Slim through its paces, and it comes out surprisingly robust. Among other things, the unit's got a better cooling system, and runs quieter on the single-chip CPU/GPU solution provided by AMD.

On, and it's got a built-in 802.11n wireless solution... cunningly attached to a plain old internal USB port. Bizarre.

I'm not sure I will buy one anytime soon, but...

Now before we show you what is inside the NEW Xbox 360 "Slim" console I thought it pertinent to show you what it was replacing by taking our previous generation model and revealing the setup it holds.
After removing the chassis from the original Xbox we find a somewhat busy PCB along with a large heatsink assembly and a pair of smaller, noisy fans used to draw heat and air out of the system.
This is the only fan and heatsink in use on the new Xbox 360 S and because it is larger it can rotate more slowly and thus generates less noise than the previous models pair of fans. I have included a video of the Xbox 360 S versus Xbox 360 noise properties below - be sure to check it out!
Quite an enlightening article, full of pictorial goodness.

 May 17, 2010 - 07:27 AM - by Michael
30 Second Review - Castle Crashers
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Xbox/Xbox Games I picked up Castle Crashers a couple weeks ago. It's an interesting little Xbox Live Arcade title.

Essentially, you know the drill. You've played the old-style beat-em-ups before. Only this time it's through a wacky, cartoony environment with over-the-top jokes, enemies, and bosses.

In single-player mode: a nifty, small beat-em-up with a lot of running around finding and digging up things.
With two players: a bit of competition, or someone to lend a hand.
With three players: ok, now it gets a tad bloodthirsty. Stop stealing my kills.
With four players: utter, fun, insane chaos.

It also makes a great party game.

 May 12, 2010 - 07:34 AM - by Michael
Halo2 Protest Ends
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Xbox/Xbox Games There is no longer any Halo2 online from Xboxes connected to Microsoft... and this time they mean it. The last player was actively booted from the server.

I guess Microsoft had had enough.

"May 11th @ 0158hrs I was FORCEFULLY REMOVED!!" he wrote on the forums at "I thought I'd be the one turning off the lights but that was done for me. Good night everyone, My Elite needs a rest."
While it's gone, you can still set up a "wide area VPN" like Tunngle or use XBConnect to get a game going with friends...

 May 04, 2010 - 10:43 AM - by Michael
Game Room
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Xbox/Xbox Games Game Room is turning out rather interesting... word has it that Super Breakout and Pitfall are on the agenda.

 Apr 21, 2010 - 08:01 AM - by Michael
Top game controllers?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Planet Xbox360 offer up their "top 10 video game controllers": warning, they might not be entirely objective:

6. Original Xbox Controller: The monstrous beast that was the original Xbox controller was about as scary as a semi three times too big to fit in the tunnel a mile down the road, but for some people who could actually use it comfortably, there was little to complain about. For the other nine out of ten gamers who would?ve found holding onto a fully-grown grizzly bear to be more of a comfortable endeavor, there was the S controller released a bit into the consoles lifespan. Regardless of what controller you held, there were certain things about it that just felt perfect ? from the size of them to the placement of the controllers, triggers and bumpers, it all just felt right. Whether you were playing Halo, Mechassault, Crimson Skies or Phantom Crash, you used the staggered control sticks to crippling effect. In fact, many of the original tenets from the original controllers can be seen in the later design of the 360 controller, except for the single fact that they?re all significantly improved on. As well made as they were, their size is what keeps them from being fondly remembered as well as keeping them from being forgotten.
I too remember the original Xbox controller fondly, but most gamers haven't - surprising, since it was one of the first controllers that nestled firmly into the palm of the hand and didn't leave me with wrist cramps.

 Apr 21, 2010 - 07:51 AM - by Michael
How to get Banned from Xbox Live
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Xbox/Xbox Games Official Xbox Magazine offers up a story on how people get banned from the Xbox Live service:

Rude Bio/Motto

Now if we have to tell you about this one, you're probably already beyond help. No hate speech, no swearing, no censor bypass, no racism... all common sense, right? Don't use words you wouldn't use in front of your mum. Simple, really.

Swearing on Xbox Live

Some people think that rampant swearing and shouting at other players on Xbox Live goes unpunished. Not so. It might require the presence of a mod but it shows that it doesn't go unchecked so again, be on the safe side and play nice. It's not that hard, eh?
Pretty much, they list swearing and cheating, and advertising stuff. But then there are people like this too...

 Mar 22, 2010 - 10:13 PM - by Michael
Regarding Red Rings
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Xbox/Xbox Games If the title wasn't enough of a clue... yes. GU's main Xbox360 testing unit has committed Console Suicide, to the tune of the Red Ring Concerto.

We'll have to see how long it takes to get a working unit back. In the meantime, on to Final Fantasy XIII... also known as the game where the developers probably, multiple times, said something along the lines of "Dude, stop getting your damn gameplay in the middle of my cutscene!"

 Mar 15, 2010 - 03:57 PM - by Michael
Bioshock 2's "DLC" Isn't
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Xbox/Xbox Games Pain for Bioshock 2's multiplayer fans; the recent "Sinclair Solutions" multiplayer add-on is already on the disc and you're being charged your $5... for a plain old unlock code.

Yep. Nickeled and dimed. They claim it's so people who don't buy the pack will still be able to play with those who do.

I'm not buying it.

It does raise the question of what will happen with future DLC. This pack is a large boost to the multiplayer, but 2K has promised more packs coming in the future, which could include more multiplayer expansions. If this move was made to keep from splitting the player base, one has to wonder if future multiplayer DLC is already on the disc as well. The effort to keep everyone playing together is noble, but if it leads to more instances like this one months down the line, fans will probably grow increasingly annoyed.

 Mar 15, 2010 - 08:57 AM - by Michael
Oddities in gaming
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Xbox/Xbox Games First up: Bioshock 2. No, I haven't actually seen the ending.

Honestly, I'm not sure I want to. The point I'm at right now seems pretty upbeat. It'd make for a heck of a third game to have roles reversed and the gamer play Eleanor. I'm not sure I want to know what happens to Subject Delta, because I'm pretty sure it can't be good from here. Besides, my goal is done; the girl is rescued, right? We're back together, right?

I am reminded of Shadow of the Colossus, where some gamers got to the final boss and simply stopped.

Also, started up Final Fantasy XIII. So far, Vanille seems to be creepy oblivious girl. There's just something that seems entirely too cheerful for her, what with dancing around in a major war zone where people are being dropped to their deaths...

 Mar 02, 2010 - 01:07 PM - by Michael
Majin Up
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Xbox/Xbox Games Thankfully not another DBZ title, Namco's anouncing their upcoming title Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom:
Santa Clara, Calif., (March 2, 2010) ? Leading video games developer and publisher NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc., today announced Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom?, a riveting action-adventure game for the Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PlayStation?3 computer entertainment system. Featuring an engaging storyline of enduring friendship, the game takes players through a seamless world where an agile protagonist and a powerful AI- controlled monster must forge an alliance to battle enemies, solve puzzles and conquer challenges. Developed by Game Republic, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is scheduled to be released throughout North America this summer.

In Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, a once thriving society is suddenly engulfed by a dark force that nearly eradicates all of its inhabitants. Many tried to reclaim their fallen homeland but were annihilated by strange warriors who rose from the darkness. A hundred years later, a cunning young outsider is drawn to this forsaken kingdom where he encounters and befriends Majin, a mysterious monster-like being with incredible strength. Now in an effort to restore the empire, the two set out to uncover Majin?s forgotten past and the secrets that lie within the ancient land.

Wrapped in an emotional journey of courage and respect, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom takes players on a majestic adventure as a cunning individual who must rely on his agility to triumph over increasing obstacles. What he lacks in might, his AI-controlled companion makes up for with his towering size and brawn. Majin can assess the current gameplay conditions and act accordingly or follow commands with the press of a button. As players progress through the game's lush environments, Majin will continue to grow and acquire additional abilities that will provide access to previously obstructed areas.

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom redefines co-op AI gameplay by delivering an accessible experience that offers the perfect mix of stealth, action, platform navigation and combat that is designed to keep the journey gripping and immersive. Though each character has their own objective, teamwork is essential for survival as the hero and Majin must fight in tandem to persevere over any challenge that lies in their path. This complementary relationship will only continue to deepen and evolve as the story unfolds.


 Mar 02, 2010 - 09:43 AM - by Michael
Bioshock 2
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Xbox/Xbox Games So yes... Bioshock 2.

That's been the main focus for the past week or so. Is it as good as the original? Well, sort of. Different, to be sure. The linear structure, being unable to re-visit finished levels? Hurts to miss items from time to time, especially storyline diaries, but in context of the story, it makes sense.

Once it is finished, more will follow. For now, I am happy with the purchase.

 Feb 05, 2010 - 04:03 PM - by Michael
Live goes 360-Only?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft is going to kill the original Xbox Live service completely on April 15th.

Yep. On April 15th a whole slew of games will go dark, including Halo 2.

On April 15 we will discontinue the Xbox LIVE service for original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox v1 games playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals. I want to start by saying this isn?t a decision we made lightly, but after careful consideration, it is clear this will provide the greatest benefit to the Xbox LIVE community.
They don't say what the benefit is, meaning that there really probably isn't one beyond their being able to shut down or repurpose a number of servers.

No word on whether the old DLC packs will die as well (such as the Halo 2 map packs), but they likely will.

 Dec 14, 2009 - 01:50 PM - by Michael
True Crime Reboot
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's rebooting the True Crime franchise, dropping it in as an "undercover cop in Hong Kong" story:
Santa Monica, CA ? December 14, 2009 ? It?s time for gamers to take on a new undercover assignment with Activision Publishing, Inc.?s (Nasdaq: ATVI) announcement of True Crime? - an all-new open-world game inspired by classic Hollywood and Asian cinema style action thrillers. Built from the ground up by developer United Front Games to look, feel and play like a true Hong Kong action flick, True Crime follows the story of detective Wei Shen as he infiltrates one of Hong Kong?s notorious Triad crime syndicates. The title was revealed exclusively this past Saturday, December 12th during Spike TV?s 7th Annual ?Video Game Awards 2009? show.

As a newly hired thug within the Triad organization, Wei must do whatever it takes to stay undetected and survive, balancing his moral duty as a cop with the objectives of the assignment. In order to ascend the ranks of the underworld gamers will engage in visceral, fast-paced martial arts combat and explosive gunfights, along with high-octane driving sequences and acrobatic free-running chases as they go deeper and deeper undercover.

?We?ve been waiting for the right story and opportunity to bring True Crime to a new generation of gamers in 2010,? said Maria Stipp, EVP and GM of Owned Properties, Activision Publishing. ?United Front Games has the vision to bring this new undercover game experience to life, where fans will play out their own epic Hong Kong action thriller!?

?We?re excited about the opportunity to deliver a complete reboot of the True Crime experience,? said Stephen van der Mescht, Executive Producer at United Front Games. ?As our Spike TV VGA reveal trailer shows, we are dedicated to creating both an exceptional open-world gameplay experience through our combat, free-running, shooting and driving mechanics, as well as a rich story with memorable recurring characters. We want players to feel like an undercover cop experiencing the moral dilemmas and life and death situations of the HK underworld.?

Set in Hong Kong, True Crime takes gamers through diverse neighborhoods, ranging from the high class Central HK to the bustling fish markets of Aberdeen and beyond in a wide variety of story missions and sandbox activities. The game also introduces handfuls of intriguing characters for gamers to interact with as they navigate through a truly unique and dangerous city.


 Dec 14, 2009 - 01:38 PM - by Michael
Batman To Return
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Xbox/Xbox Games Batman: Arkham Asylum will be getting a sequel:
Burbank, Calif. ? December 12, 2009 ? Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced that it will be the worldwide publisher of the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum?, one of the year?s most highly reviewed and top-selling video games. The sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum is currently in development with Rocksteady Studios and is based on DC Comics? core Batman property. Fans can visit to sign up to receive updates regarding the game.

?We are thrilled to build a global game franchise from Batman: Arkham Asylum, which is receiving an incredible response from gamers and Batman fans around the world,? said Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. ?Rocksteady has taken Batman to a new level in the video game space and we are committed to delivering a sequel the fans will love.?

?Getting the opportunity to create Batman: Arkham Asylum and seeing its success has been a dream come true for the team,? said Sefton Hill, Game Director, Rocksteady Studios. ?We are honored to create the next chapter in this compelling story and promise to deliver another game worthy of the DARK KNIGHT.?


 Nov 11, 2009 - 04:06 PM - by Michael
MS boots modded Xboxes
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Xbox/Xbox Games MS has booted over a half-million Xbox Live users, claiming they used modified Xbox360's and justifying it as fighting "piracy":

But many gamers modify their consoles by installing new chips or software that allows them to run unofficial - but not always illegal - programs and games. However, some chips are specifically designed to play pirated games.

Microsoft has not said how it was able to determine which gamers to disconnect.

"We do not reveal specifics, but can say that all consoles have been verified to have violated the terms of use," the firm said in a statement.

Affected gamers were met with a message during the login process. It read: ""Your console has been banned from Xbox".
Slashdot carries a vigorous debate on whether this is good, bad, or otherwise.

 Nov 11, 2009 - 12:38 PM - by Michael
More Dragonball
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Xbox/Xbox Games Need more Dragonball? Namco's got the next DBZ fighting game coming up:
SANTA CLARA, Calif., (Nov. 10, 2009) ? Leading video games developer and publisher NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc., announced today that Dragon Ball?: Raging Blast is now available nationwide for Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation?3 computer entertainment system. Recreating the popular Dragon Ball Z series? epic combat in all its glory, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast includes a host of exciting gameplay options including powerful and customizable attacks, stunning HD graphics, and a variety of gameplay modes including online or offline versus and tournament matches.

Developed by acclaimed game studio SPIKE, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast features more than 70 characters, including transformations, facing off against each other in iconic battles throughout the Dragon Ball Z series sagas. Fans can play as their favorite heroes and villains to directly experience the thrill of epic match-ups from the series or play out never-before-seen hypothetical ?what if? scenarios.

Dragon Ball: Raging Blast offers a variety of single-player modes as well as offline and online multiplayer versus or tournament options. Single-players can practice their moves in the Dojo, experience the Dragon Ball Z series story in the Dragon Battle Collection or complete various challenges in Super Battle Trial mode. Once they?ve mastered their Ki Blasts and Kamehameha attacks, players can face-off in versus or tournament modes against others either on or offline. As players progress through the game and win more battles, they receive items and Super Attacks as rewards. Players can then utilize these with the Ultimate Customize option to configure up to three customization profiles of each character, which can then be used in versus battles. A full set of familiar series-based combat tools are also at the player?s disposal including dashes, Ki Blasts, charge attacks, Ultimate Attacks, transformations, fusions and more.

New large-scale, massively destructible environments create grandiose stages for incredible battles. Adding a new level of interactivity and strategic advantage, characters can now take immense damage from being propelled into mountains, buildings and debris. A new ?Super Rising? option allows players to rocket straight up into the sky for a quick evasive maneuver that adds another dimension to the fast-paced melee. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast is set to deliver more explosive fighting action than ever seen before!

A tad hyperbolic, but I think they get their point across.

 Nov 02, 2009 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
Call Of Duty again
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you're playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the following things apply to you:

#1 - A new map pack - the "Variety Map Pack" is out. Price is 400 MS Points for the 360, or $4.99 on the PS3, price good until 11/8.

#2 - This upcoming weekend is a Double XP weekend.

Have fun!

 Oct 28, 2009 - 07:49 AM - by Michael
X-Arcade Finally Gets Xbox360
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you've owned X-Arcade game joysticks, you know how much you'd love to use them for those delicious Xbox360 Live Arcade titles... and good news has finally come!

Despite Microsoft still not wanting to license an official peripheral, they've come up with an alternative that can map directly to a wired Xbox360 controller to do the job.

Game on!


* Works with any first or third-party Xbox 360? wired gamepad
* Requires one adapter per player
* Adapter may also be used to convert any standard Playstation 2 device to control Xbox 360? titles.

Why must you connect with Playstation 2? Adapter?

We apologize for this complicated workaround requiring a Playstation 2? adapter and wired 360? Gamepad, but Microsoft is legally prohibiting Xgaming and many third-party companies from creating a directly supported device. You can sign up to be notified when a direct adapter is available, but we currently have no estimate on availability.

 Aug 27, 2009 - 04:19 PM - by Michael
Transformers with Megan Fox
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's setting up for people to play Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen live with Megan Fox.

I have NO idea if she's any good at video games, but hey.

Santa Monica, CA ? August 27, 2009 ? The battle for earth rages on as Activision Publishing, Inc (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that the Transformers?: Revenge of the Fallen Character and Map Pack Plus is available now for download on Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PLAYSTATION?3 computer entertainment system. The massive content pack will include eleven playable characters, three all-new maps for online multiplayer game modes, and a brand new ?Expert? difficulty setting for the single player campaigns.

Megan Fox, one of Hollywood?s most sought after young actresses and star of both the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie and video game, will be on Xbox LIVE? online entertainment network on Saturday, August 29 at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time to challenge fans in multiplayer matches using the new content.

Fans of the original TRANSFORMERS television series can take a trip down memory lane, as new characters include ?Generation One? versions of OPTIMUS PRIME, MEGATRON, STARSCREAM and SUNSTORM, while fans of the blockbuster movies will be excited by the additions of SOUNDWAVE, SIDESWIPE, JAZZ and JETFIRE. In addition, new skins are available for fan-favorite characters including Stealth Colors BUMBLEBEE, ?Generation One? Colors RATCHET and ?Generation One? Colors SIDESWIPE. All characters can be used in both the single player campaign and multiplayer modes, with the exception of JETFIRE, who is only available in multiplayer.

Additionally, three new multiplayer maps extend the diverse set of battlefields on which players can battle with or against their friends. Courtyard is set on the U.S. east coast, where players battle in a metropolitan setting surrounded by open skies and tall skyscrapers. Hillside takes players to the urban backdrop of Cairo, where players will fight in the war-torn streets and alleyways of a ruined cityscape. Sandstorm transports players to yet another section of Cairo, populated with low buildings and wide-open regions perfect for instantaneous, frenetic action.

For players who have mastered the single-player campaigns, the new ?Expert? difficulty mode tests players? skills with more difficult enemies and a whole new set of time challenges, along with corresponding leaderboards. This exciting downloadable content pack also features new Xbox 360 Achievements and PLAYSTATION 3 Trophies.

 Aug 19, 2009 - 04:18 PM - by Michael
Fable 3 Coming
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Xbox/Xbox Games Word on the ground is that Fable 3 is heading for a 2010 release, which means it likely had some planning while they were still working on the second.

It's also supposed to be a bit different as compared to the previous two:

Molyneux also says that your family in the game will play a major role but more details in this regard are not available at this time. Also, you will need to balance many things, including poverty and greed, tyranny and compassion or progress and tradition, all in order to keep your subjects happy. Furthermore, you will be able to set taxes and decide how you will rule your subjects. Your spouse, be it a king or a queen, will also point you into various directions over the course of the game.

It seems that you will start as a son or daughter of the hero from Fable II and then progress until the halfway point of the game when you will be named king or queen of Albion. This means that you need to keep your save data from Fable II in order for a higher degree of customization.
Yow. Maybe I need to replay the second to make a more interesting character.

 Jul 14, 2009 - 08:44 AM - by Michael
Bioshock 2 Delayed
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Xbox/Xbox Games Bioshock 2's getting a bit of a delay (T2 press release here:
Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two, stated, "We recognize that our revised outlook for the balance of fiscal year 2009, due to both internal and external factors, is a disappointment. That said, we concluded that moving the release of BioShock 2 into fiscal year 2010 was the right decision for the product. We believe the result will be a more compelling consumer experience and a better performing product in the marketplace. At the same time, near term retail conditions have proven to be more challenging for our business than the assumptions built into our prior outlook. We remain confident in the long term potential for Take-Two's business, and our ability to capitalize on that potential through our exceptional creative talent and solid balance sheet."
Lots of release delays lately. Not sure what the goal is - seems like either they want a better economy for the release, or they're afraid of stepping on each others' toes.

 Apr 30, 2009 - 01:10 PM - by Michael
More Fable II
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Xbox/Xbox Games Fable II's getting another update over Xbox Live.

Looks nice - a couple snippets:

Murgo is back
Having first met him during the childhood sequence of Fable II Murgo returns to Bowerstone Market to bring an amazing array of new wares, including potions that can transform canine companions into new breeds.
The Ghosts of the Snowglobe Quest
Holding a disturbing secret, the small model village inside it was once a real town in Albion. The people who once inhabited it are now ghosts condemned to endless torment until the shadowy threat that cursed them is defeated.
At only 560 MS points, it's not that expensive either.

 Apr 17, 2009 - 08:50 PM - by Michael
Halo Wars Review
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Xbox/Xbox Games The review of Halo wars has gone up.

Yeah. I'm that disappointed.

 Mar 23, 2009 - 06:45 AM - by Michael
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Xbox/Xbox Games Caution warranted, but Joystiq is reporting a possible new "Xbox360 error" that could be widespread. Apparently it hits the new HDMI-enabled boxes and is caused by a component's solder wearing out.

No word from MS as of yet on prevalence of the error.

 Mar 10, 2009 - 09:56 PM - by Michael
More Wolverine
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's gone ahead and revamped the upcoming Wolverine website over at Uncaged. They also forwarded a few pictures of some "premium content" that'll only be available (at least at first) with a Gamestop preorder:
Those who pre-order the game from GameStop will be able to access four exclusive rooms, each of which offers players unique new toys. The environment is separate from the game itself, and it feels like a stark, white high-tech lab. Players begin in a hallway with a door in each wall.

Through the first door is the Dismemberment Room. Using a control panel, this room lets players select various limbs and body parts on a holographic soldier. Once the selections are locked in, the soldier appears in a tiled room viewed through a glass wall. The selected limbs are severed with spectacular results.

The second room is the Environmental Kill room. This large room features small set-ups of each of the various environments found within the main game. A jungle. A laboratory. A ruined temple. All of these environments contain sharp objects on which Wolverine can impale his enemies. By pushing a red button, players can teleport in a group of soldiers and hurl them against the sharp objects to see them creatively skewered.

The third room is the Ladder Challenge room, which features an array of teleportation disks against the far wall. Pushing a red button will cause a group of enemies to beam into the room. Each time the red button is pushed, the enemies get tougher and more numerous, laddering up the challenge for Wolverine.

The fourth room is the Custom Combat Arena. This huge space lets players select any combination of enemies from within the game, beam them into the arena, and attempt to defeat them. Face ten hulking Leviathans or a blend of towering W.E.N.D.I.G.O. Prototypes, Machete Champions, and Machine gunners. It gives players endless permutations of exciting battles.


 Feb 24, 2009 - 08:42 AM - by Michael
Monsters vs Aliens Demo
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you're on an Xbox360 you can now grab the demo for Activision's upcoming Monsters vs Aliens off of Live:

The Xbox LIVE demo features a sample of 3 levels straight from the game. Choose to play as B.O.B., the indestructible gelatinous mass capable of absorbing and sticking to anything; Missing Link, the macho half-fish, half-ape; or Ginormica, the 49-foot 11-inch tall woman. Each character features a different type of gameplay - B.O.B.?s gameplay centers on platforming and puzzling as he works his way through the inside of a giant robot, while Missing Link focuses on combat with some platforming in his attack from the outside of a giant robot and Ginormica features primarily racing with limited combat as she contributes from the ground in the fight against Gallaxhar and his army of alien robots.
Have fun!

 Dec 10, 2008 - 10:12 AM - by Michael
Wolverine Game Coming
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision does, indeed, have a Wolverine game coming down the pipe:

Santa Monica, CA ? December 9, 2008 ? Activision Publishing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) has released new details on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, whose titular hero is one of the most popular Marvel characters of all time. The video game, scheduled for release in May 2009, coincides with the global debut of Twentieth Century Fox?s release of its feature film, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, which is also based on the famous Marvel character.

From the award-winning studio Raven Software, the video game enlists players to experience the tormented origins of Wolverine, from his escape of the Weapon X facility to the jungles of Africa and beyond. The game is currently in development for the Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system, PLAYSTATION?3 computer entertainment system, Windows? PC , Wii? home video game system, Nintendo DS?, PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system and PSP? (PlayStation?Portable) system, and is not yet rated by the ESRB.

?We have an amazing team with Raven Studios at the helm, creating what will undoubtedly be the quintessential, true-to-character Wolverine video game experience that fans have been craving,? said Rob Kostich, vice president, global brand management, Activision Publishing, Inc. ?X-Men Origins: Wolverine amps up the action by bringing to life Wolverine?s wholly unique skills such as his brute strength, regenerative mutant abilities, and indestructible adamantium claws and skeleton in an immersive experience that is fitting to one of the most enduring and popular characters of all time.?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an epic action-adventure featuring a true-to-character Wolverine gameplay experience that takes gamers through and beyond the movie?s storyline. Set in a variety of vivid real-world locales, the title challenges players to hone their animal instinct as they uncover hidden dangers, hunt and destroy enemies, and take on seemingly insurmountable situations while discovering the truth about Wolverine?s tragic past. With razor-sharp adamantium claws unsheathed, the future X-Man enacts lightning-quick combat, evasive maneuvers, in-depth combo attacks, and an array of brutal finishing moves. Wolverine doesn?t just deliver massive damage, either ? he also takes it, thanks to his mutant regenerative power that heals him in real time right before the player?s eyes.

The title is in development by Raven Studios and Amaze Entertainment.


 Nov 16, 2008 - 09:16 AM - by Michael
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Xbox/Xbox Games Midway's kicked out the latest Mortal Kombat title to the US:

CHICAGO ? November 16, 2008 ? Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, today announced that Mortal Kombat? vs. DC Universe has arrived on store shelves throughout North America and is available for purchase for the Xbox?360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the PLAYSTATION?3 computer entertainment system. The standard edition is available for a U.S. suggested retail price of $59.95, and the Kollector?s Edition is available for a U.S. suggested retail price of $69.95. Cultural icons collide for gamers and comic book fans alike as the eagerly anticipated face-off between heroes, anti-heroes, villains and vigilantes is unleashed in unmistakable Mortal Kombat style.

Some of the most popular characters from the DC Universe, like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Joker, go toe-to-toe against Mortal Kombat favorites, including Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Sonya and more. Featuring a brand new fighting system and unique intertwining storyline written by top comics writing team Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe combines spectacular multi-tiered fighting environments, such as Metropolis or the Batcave, with a compelling line-up of fighters to challenge and master.

?Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe brings together iconic characters from both the DC Comics? and Mortal Kombat videogame universes to give gamers the opportunity to take part in extraordinary battles,? said Scott Johnson, vice president, business development, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. ?Working with Midway, we are allowing fans to control the destiny of famous heroes and villains with enhanced graphics and combat.?

?Midway is proud to have been able to work so closely with the artists and visionaries at DC Comics to bring you a unique fighting experience that stays true to the hallmarks of the Mortal Kombat franchise,? said Matt Booty, president and CEO, Midway. ?With the broad market potential afforded by the T-Rating, the engaging story mode, the critical acclaim we are already seeing from reviewers, and enthusiastic support of the fans from both franchises, we expect this to be one of our most successful Mortal Kombat games.?

Although this is the first Mortal Kombat title to be given a ?T? rating by the ESRB, the game embodies all the qualities that made the franchise such an integral part of gaming culture, including the ability to perform the unique Fatalities and Heroic Brutalities that are a signature of the Mortal Kombat series. The title also features a re-vamped fighting system that harkens back to the wildly successful early Mortal Kombat games.

The special, limited-run North American Kollector?s Edition is delivered in special packaging and features an exclusive removable print designed by Alex Ross, one of the world?s most pre-eminent and respected comic book artists, as well as bonus video content and a 16-page comic book by DC Comics that chronicles the shocking, universe-shattering events that lead up to the in-game story mode.
Based on early testing we've done here at GU, it's a solid title. There are some quirks, but I'll lay it all out in the review shortly. MUCH better than some of the last few MK titles, though.

 Oct 21, 2008 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
Web of Shadows
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's kicking out another Spider-Man game...

Santa Monica, CA ? October 21, 2008 ? The fate of New York City lies in gamers? hands starting today as Activision Publishing, Inc.?s (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Marvel?s (NYSE: MVL) all new Spider-Man: Web of Shadows? ships to retail outlets nationwide. The enthralling action-adventure saga introduces players to a cataclysmic Big Apple clash against an invasion of alien symbiotes that threatens mankind itself. Rated ?T? (for Teen) by the ESRB, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows? is available on Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system, PLAYSTATION?3 computer entertainment system, the Wii? home video game system and Windows? PC. ?E10+? (for everyone) ESRB-rated versions are also available on Nintendo DS?, PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system and PSP? (PlayStation?Portable) system.

?Spider-Man: Web of Shadows delivers the deepest combat system ever in the Spider-Man universe, whether it?s going vertical up the side of neck-breaking skyscrapers or web-slinging into action over them for high-altitude, high-octane aerial battles,? said Rob Kostich, vice president, global brand management, Activision Publishing, Inc. ?The team has captured a truly captivating Spider-Man experience that combines mesmerizing combat and riveting visual effects with a compelling and unfolding storyline that places gamers in control of the action.?

With a story penned by acclaimed Marvel comic book writer, Brian Reed, the title features a New York City devastated by a deadly symbiote invasion, in which players are faced with the choice to play the heroic web-slinger in his classic, agile red suit or the dark, formidable black suit. Battling with or against a huge cast of fan-favorite Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains, gamers can switch allegiances instantly as they decide which missions will ultimately save mankind.

An all-new combat system, built from the ground up, combining web-slinging and customizable superpowers provides gamers the unrivaled opportunity to fight and explore in an open free-roaming and destructible environment. In battle, Spider-Man?s speed and agility are tested within the diverse cityscape, challenging players to master fast-moving acrobatic combat, powerful new web-slinging moves and destructive combo attacks, as combat seamlessly migrates from the streets, up the sides of buildings and onto rooftops.
It'll be interesting to see what they do with this one. I wonder how persistent the destructible environment will be.

 Sep 04, 2008 - 04:13 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 price drop
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Xbox/Xbox Games MS have decided to drop the price of the Xbox360. And HARD.

No word on other consoles - expect Sony to follow suit if they want to stay (or even hope to become, depending on your market area) competitive.

 Jul 15, 2008 - 09:18 AM - by Michael
FF13 to hit Xbox360
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Xbox/Xbox Games Yes, that's right - IGN has the news that Sony is losing their lock on Squaresoft with the release of Final Fantasy 13 on both the Xbox360 and PS3.

It must really suck to be Sony today.

 May 21, 2008 - 04:27 PM - by Michael
Soul Calibur for Live
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Xbox/Xbox Games Namco's kicking out Soul Calibur (port of the old Dreamcast release) sometime before Soul Calibur 4 comes out.

NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. today released screenshots for Soulcalibur?, their latest game for Xbox LIVE Arcade for the Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Originally released in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast?, Soulcalibur remains the highest rated fighting game of all time and the screens highlight the transition to the high definition era and fan favorite characters.

Soulcalibur is back for a new generation! Sharpen your blades and relive past grudges with the start of the definitive console 3-D fighting franchise. Prove your worth against the world with dozens of leaderboards spanning every character and mode. Hone your fighting instincts in Arcade, Survival and Training modes or challenge a friend in local-play Versus mode
It'll be interesting to see if it plays well. SC was one of the games that showed off the Dreamcast's abilities, and it was unfortunate that it never saw another console in its regular lifespan.

 Feb 16, 2008 - 03:36 PM - by Michael
Free GH3 Song
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Xbox/Xbox Games Reminder if you play Guitar Hero 3 on the Xbox360: "Dream On" by Aerosmith is a free download through Monday, Feb. 18th.

Quite fun to play through, too.

 Jan 22, 2008 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
Broken yet again
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Xbox/Xbox Games The Xbox360 is down again - 2 months after the latest replacement from XB customer service, the DVD drive has once again failed.

For the record: that's 1 Red Ring of Death and 2 DVD drives. And still they insist on me shipping the damn thing back in rather than doing a proper advance replacement.

 Jan 16, 2008 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Rock Band Impressions
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Xbox/Xbox Games So... Rock Band.

The drum set is interesting. That's most of what you are paying for in the package. If you mess up and smack the edge of the drums, chances are you wind up cracking the plastic. Needs a clip for the sticks (in storage) and a cup holder (for the drummer).

The new guitar... alright. The extra buttons are cool, fret buttons well designed. The sound adjuster seems to do precisely jack. The non-clicking soft strum bar is awkward, because it's harder to tell if you missed a note or just didn't strum it quite far enough to register when you're moving quickly.

More when we've broken the set in properly.

 Nov 28, 2007 - 11:09 AM - by Michael
360 back-compat strikes again
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Xbox/Xbox Games via Joystiq - another round of Xbox360 backwards compatibility updates.

A bit of love for Soul Reaver fans there: Blood Omen 2 (which has been pretty hot on Gametap as well) finally compatible. Still no Legacy of Kain: Defiance however.

And the ratio of "Gems-to-crap" is pretty darn high - looks like tweaks to get a couple games working just resulted in a slew coming up mostly compatible. They still haven't fixed the "you can see every light source through the walls" problem in Thief 3, either.

They've also gone a step further - there's a few games you don't even have to hunt down discs for, you can just buy them over Live Marketplace instead next week.

 Nov 08, 2007 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
360 gets Kiddie Timer
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Xbox/Xbox Games Parents worried that their kid plays too much Xbox360 may have a new weapon - the next set of updates includes parental controls that can even shut off the kid's account after a certain amount of time played per day.

Microsoft says that more than 90 percent of parents placed restrictions on gaming, and over half the parents surveyed said they would use a timer if it was available. In conjunction with the new feature, the Redmond company is joining with the National PTA to encourage parents to talk with their kids about "screen time."
Number of parents who know how to successfully lock down the 360 console so their kid doesn't just set up a new account: perhaps 1 in 20.

 Nov 02, 2007 - 09:25 PM - by Michael
GH3 and Betrayal
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Xbox/Xbox Games Guitar Hero 3 arrived today.

My Xbox360 is still in for repair. One unit sent in for Red Ring of Death, then the replacement they mailed me had a defective DVD drive.

I have an awesome new game, two guitars so I can play with my friends... and no 360 with which to use them.


 Oct 15, 2007 - 08:57 AM - by Michael
Regarding Skulls
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Xbox/Xbox Games Okay - so Halo 3 is out, and one of the more entertaining things to do is hunt down the gold and silver skulls.

And by entertaining, I mean "mind-blowingly aggravating".

So far, I'm about half done. It's gone from simply making jumping-puzzle leaps that are the precise reason decent programmers gave up putting jumping puzzles in FPS titles, to finding the precise moment to shoot an enemy in order to make him drop one in a place where it can actually be picked up.

Once I get these done, I think I'm never going to look back again. Once is plenty, thanks Bungie.

 Sep 20, 2007 - 09:02 AM - by Michael
BioShock first impressions
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Xbox/Xbox Games So I'm running BioShock (the Xbox360 release, as I don't want Sony's rootkit anywhere near my PC).

I have to say - this is one of the most fun and well designed games I've seen in a long while. The mechanics of the plasmids? Excellent. Amount of ammo vs number of enemies? Excellent.

Scare factor of the enemies, especially the Big Daddies? Great. And the audio? If you have 5.1 sound, this will be amazing.

But of all the mechanics in the game, the best absolutely has to be the camera. The mere notion of running into combat, not to attack the enemy but to take their picture, is great. It makes a foolhardy, reckless maniac into a true crazed lunatic. The added bonus of learning new plasmids and gene skills from the camera is what makes it worth it, but I think many players would do it just for the sheer thrill anyways.

Plus, it reminds me of the great Nethack days running a tourist: "himrdragoncanihaveyourpicturekthxbye! *click* *run*!"

 Aug 07, 2007 - 12:09 PM - by Michael
360 gets cheaper
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Xbox/Xbox Games It's official - MS has dropped the price of all 3 models of the Xbox360.

In addition, the special Halo 3 themed Xbox 360 that was casually mentioned by Peter Moore at this year's E3 Microsoft press conference has been assigned an estimated retail price of $399.99. The Xbox 360 Halo 3 Special Edition Console will arrive in stores this September and will feature "an authentic Spartan green-and-gold finish," a matching Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Xbox 360 20GB hard drive, Xbox 360 Headset, an Xbox 360 Play and Charge Kit, and more.
Intriguing... though I don't think I'm going to go for that one.

 Aug 01, 2007 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
360 price to drop?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Via Gamespot, word that the Xbox360's price may soon drop.

Since the system's been out a couple years, this isn't unexpected. Especially since more 360's in stores (and hopefully homes) makes it more likely that the new round of games will be snapped up. Plus, they have some real doozies (Blue Dragon, Halo 3) to drive sales for this holiday season.

 Jul 09, 2007 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 warranty bumped
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Xbox/Xbox Games While we were out on vacation, Microsoft increased warranty protection regarding the "red ring of death" to 3 years.

Be happy.

 May 25, 2007 - 08:37 AM - by MissPattie
Guitar Hero II Contests/Tournaments
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Xbox/Xbox Games A user submission by MissPattie: the Play N Trade game store chain are apparently offering up a pair of Guitar Hero II contests: both an in-store tournament and a video-making contest.

Become a rock star by creating your own video to win great weekly prizes and have your video posted on the Play N Trade Web site. You can also compete in the regional and national in-store tournaments at participating Play N Trade video game stores for the chance to become the Play N Trade National Guitar Hero II Champion.

The contest page is at if anyone wants to check it out.

 May 23, 2007 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Live gets Matrix
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft's certainly pushing things along - they're now trying to sell The Matrix over Xbox Live. Specifically, if you buy the HD-DVD edition, you get the Animatrix DVD as a free Live download.

They're also offering free clips over Live, to show off how great the HD encoding looks.

Ars has the reaction:

Being able to watch some of these scenes in high-definition for free is a great bonus; I just downloaded the lobby shoot-out scene, and it looks great. This is a solid promotion, and it boosts the visibility of both HD DVD and the Video Marketplace on the 360. The PlayStation 3 has a bigger stock hard drive than the Premium 360, and Sony certainly owns plenty of content, so I'd love to see them start offering deals like this through the PlayStation Store, along with movies and music.

 May 18, 2007 - 10:47 AM - by Michael
Modded 360 Crackdown
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Xbox/Xbox Games Word is coming in that Microsoft is banning modified Xbox360's from the Live service:

The banning measures appear to have started alongside the release of the Halo 3 beta, perhaps in what is best described as a crackdown on Crackdown bootlegged copies that contained Halo 3 beta access. Just as it did during the original Xbox days, Microsoft is permanently banning modified consoles from connecting to Xbox Live, but not the user account.

Microsoft acknowledges its new initiative with an entry in its Gamerscore Blog: ?As part of our commitment to our members, we do not allow people that we have detected to have modified their console to connect to Live. This is an important part of our efforts to try and maintain a fair gaming environment for the large majority of gamers that play by the rules. This topic is more important than ever given the recent release of the Halo 3 beta.?
Before anyone starts complaining, they DO have the right to do this; they can't stop you from modding it and playing backed-up games on the local console, but they CAN ban you from their own controlled network.

 May 08, 2007 - 11:18 AM - by Michael
Bungie on Rushing
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Xbox/Xbox Games 1up's got an interesting feature with the Bungie guys talking about getting the cinematics right this time:

As has been the series' trademark, the cut scenes remain part of the in-game engine, not farmed out CG, but they've been given the proper time to flesh them out in Halo 3. That wasn't the case in Halo 2. "...we simply didn't have the time or resources to make the cinematics the way we wanted them to be. They were compromised by deadlines and resources and while the results were heroic and herculean achievements of hard work and talent, they simply weren't as polished or pretty as we wanted them to be," he says.

 May 03, 2007 - 10:48 AM - by Michael
Tron on XBL
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Xbox/Xbox Games Disney's kicking out some old classics for Xbox Live this summer - the original Tron arcade game, and the awesome stand-up box Discs of Tron.

They also kicked out a few screens; these are from Discs of Tron. It looks like the "enhanced" versions are getting the build-in backgrounds that were in the original arcade boxes to enhance the atmosphere.

BURBANK, Calif. - May 3, 2007 - Since the early era of video games, "Tron" has been synonymous as both a landmark CGI film and the engaging arcade games inspired by that film. In honor of the 25th anniversary of "Tron," Disney Interactive Studios today announced the classic arcade games Tron and Discs of Tron will be re-released this summer through Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade for the Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system. Xbox LIVE Arcade is the premier destination for digitally distributed, high-definition original and classic games. "The 'Tron' film has captured the imaginations of video game players and film fans for generations with its ground-breaking visuals and action-filled story," said Craig Relyea, vice president of marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. "The classic arcade games Tron and Discs of Tron are returning this summer through Xbox LIVE Arcade with new features and options for the film's 25th anniversary."

Each game includes the original version as well as an enhanced version with new graphics and audio features. Through Xbox LIVE Arcade, players can also compete in both games against another player in four online modes.

In Tron, which first appeared in arcades in 1982, players must complete four increasingly challenging game types to advance through levels. Players battle tank forces, engage in treacherous light cycle combat, attack the MCP cone and fight off grid bugs to enter the I/O tower.

Discs of Tron, a follow-up 1983 arcade game, enables players to fight Sark, the defender of Master Control Program, in one-on-one battles taking place in three-dimensional futuristic arenas. Players must move between platforms while throwing energy-charged discs at Sark and deflecting oncoming discs to avoid being "derezzed."

Published by Disney Interactive Studios and developed by Backbone Charlottetown, Tron and Discs of Tron are rated E for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Both games will be available individually this summer exclusively on Xbox LIVE Arcade.


 May 02, 2007 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
The Science of Halo
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Xbox/Xbox Games Gamasutra have printed an interesting bit on the scientific ideas in Halo:

Fans of science fiction media willingly allow ourselves to believe that the Enterprise can transport people by converting them to energy and subsequently reconstructing them, that Galactica has artificial gravity, and that the Millennium Falcon can, in fact, make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs. We accept a measure of unproven (faster-than-light travel), or even highly implausible (light sabers), science and technology if it?s interwoven with a ripping good yarn.

At the same time, if the science fiction work includes too many obvious technical gaffes?especially if they are easily circumvented and the story equally as entertaining if done accurately?the participant is ?taken out? of the story, suspension of disbelief itself suspended, and the dramatic impact lessened or lost.
It's a great read for those who enjoy sci-fi in general.

 Apr 19, 2007 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 Back-compat Boost
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Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox360 got a boost with 40 new backwards compatible titles added to their emulation.

Games of note: Panzer Dragoon Orta, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Oddworld, and Spider-Man 2.

 Apr 17, 2007 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
Back to the Well
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Xbox/Xbox Games Capcom kicked one other interesting thing out during "Gamers' Day"; they're re-releasing (again) Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting in a high-definition version for Xbox Live Arcade.

The more I see of Live Arcade, the cooler it is becoming.

 Apr 17, 2007 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Carcassonne on XBL
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Xbox/Xbox Games One of the newer things to hit Xbox Live is classic card and board games - being able to play across the country on what is essentially a table-top experience.

I am so going to be playing Carcassonne....

Even better, they're bringing the classic Games Workshop game Talisman to it as well. If you've never played Talisman, it was discontinued in 1995 (alas), but people have loved it so much they are making third-party expansions to this day.

 Apr 11, 2007 - 11:13 AM - by Michael
New Guitar Hero content = RIPOFF
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Xbox/Xbox Games Ars have gotten a line on the pricing, and setup, of the downloadable songs for Guitar Hero II.

This was the reason I waited for the Xbox360 version.

Can we say... RIPOFF.

Not only is it only available in 3-song packs (instead of individual purchases), but it's over $2 per track.


 Apr 10, 2007 - 04:51 PM - by Michael
Halo3 beta coming May 16
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you bought Crackdown - or got in another way - you might be able to get into the Halo 3 beta on May 16.

Just saying.

 Mar 29, 2007 - 05:47 PM - by Michael
360 Elite an insult?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Some gamers are a bit insulted - I know I am - about the pricing of the external H/D and other items in the Xbox360 Elite.

Ars also has a glimpse of what they preloaded onto the thing.

I understand putting out the Elite, but do they REALLY need to gouge their previous customers like that? If I paid $400 for my 360, I don't want to burn another 180 (putting my price at $580) just for the H/D and still not have HDMI.

 Mar 28, 2007 - 04:28 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 V2 coming
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Xbox/Xbox Games I haven't decided whether this will be worth the upgrade yet, but it might be nice.

On Wednesday, Microsoft also announced deals to bring new high-def video to the Xbox Live Marketplace, including New Line Cinema's film "Snakes on a Plane" and upcoming releases from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's direct-to-video division.

Microsoft's focus on downloadable high-def video sets the effort apart from the competition, said Moore. He said the content fills a gap between cable companies' DVR services for fresh TV episodes, Tivo Inc. and Inc.'s standard-definition content available over the Web, and Apple Inc.'s recent move to send iTunes movies and music to the TV from a Mac.
Maybe. Perhaps. But I doubt it.

 Mar 21, 2007 - 05:44 PM - by Michael
Xbox Live defrauded?
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Xbox/Xbox Games If Microsoft doesn't do something fast, this could blow up in their faces:

Security researcher Kevin Finisterre was playing Halo on a recent night with several friends when some of their opponents threatened to steal their accounts, he said.

"Literally the next day my girl's account was locked out," Finisterre wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "I received a message on my Xbox that said: 'We are sorry we must log you out of Xbox Live because someone else is using your Gamertag.'" The account was banned. A "Gamertag" is a person's account name on Xbox Live.

Finisterre said that calling Microsoft was no help and that he got the runaround from the support people who answer 1-800-4MY-XBOX, the official help line.
Ouch. The last thing you want to do is have people from the media given the runaround. That tends to get, you know, publicized.

He's got a stellar recording of what he got from Xbox Live support here (fourth link down).

 Mar 15, 2007 - 11:04 AM - by Michael
More Xbox News?
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Xbox/Xbox Games 1up's got some interesting stuff in an interview with Shane Kim:

With the success Halo 2 enjoyed at retail, would Microsoft even entertain shipping the game outside of the oft-expected November timeframe? According to Kim, it's not really up to Microsoft: "We don't tell Bungie when they have to ship Halo 3. If they can get out before GTA4, they probably feel like that's better, sort of like Xbox 360 coming out before PlayStation 3." But would Bungie and Microsoft actually ship Halo 3 outside of the November window? As Kim pointed out, they've had success shipping titles outside of November before: "What happened in September of 2004? In September of 2004 we released Fable, Fable got big sales and then in November got big sales again," Kim said. "I just believe great titles can get the double bump and I think Halo 3 is going to be that."

 Feb 19, 2007 - 12:14 PM - by Michael
Halo 3: fall 2007
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Xbox/Xbox Games Bungie's posted that Halo 3 can be expected for Fall 2007:

Even though we showed Halo 3 for the first time last May, the official marketing campaign for the game is just now starting to begin. With this kickoff comes the first phase of visual identity ? what is creatively being referred to as the ?teaser piece.? While it may not be anything new for fans who have been following Halo 3 all along, it?s still very cool, very iconic and evokes a sense of mystery and intrigue. It teases you if you will. Although, it does contain ONE very important piece of information. Cough.

 Feb 09, 2007 - 08:42 AM - by Michael
360 gets 1080P
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft kicked out the Xbox360's 1080P ability with a software update, but now there are announced titles that will actually use it.

So there you go. Now we have two games coming out for the 360 that will support 1080p as a resolution. My question would be?outside of the hardcore console fans and bleeding edge consumers?do people really care about 1080p? Does your television support it?
The answers are "No" and "No", by the way; my TV is 720p and that is plenty.

 Dec 08, 2006 - 07:26 AM - by Michael
MS Sued over Xbox360 updates
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Xbox/Xbox Games Apparently, some users had their Xbox360 crash due to fall's latest Xbox Live update, and now they're suing Microsoft.

As it turns out, the poster was telling the truth. GameSpot obtained a copy of the original complaint, which was filed in a Washington district court. The suit accuses Microsoft of breach of contract, negligence, and violation of the state of Washington's Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Stating that the affected consumers number in "at least the thousands," the suit contends that Microsoft is refusing to repair or replace the broken systems unless the users pay "up to $140" to ship it back to the company.
Microsoft's reply is that they "fixed" the update, and that anyone with a bricked Xbox will be able to get their console fixed for free just by calling the support line.

 Dec 05, 2006 - 01:17 PM - by Michael
Got 1080p?
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Xbox/Xbox Games I don't have that on my TV - thing does 720p natively - but the Xbox360's getting an update to do 1080p.

 Nov 15, 2006 - 03:40 PM - by Michael
Halo updates
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Xbox/Xbox Games Bungie have let loose that there are about to be some major Halo updates coming our way, including more Halo 2 maps and even a public Halo 3 multiplayer beta.

Well, again we can?t really get into the details quite yet (notice a theme here?) but we can confirm that our fans will have an opportunity to play Halo 3 multiplayer over Xbox Live BEFORE the final game is available. You?ll be playing a little multiplayer and simultaneously providing us with some valuable data to help our development team. We?re still working out the details on timing and scope and there will be a lot more info coming in the weeks ahead. We can confirm that you will absolutely be required to have an Xbox 360.

 Nov 03, 2006 - 08:11 AM - by Michael
Cooking on the 360
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Xbox/Xbox Games Some enterprising soul had his 360 die, and decided to cook on it for fun.

Reminder to nerds: this is nothing out of the ordinary. It's been done before with other processors.

 Sep 20, 2006 - 09:40 AM - by Michael
Xbox Live and the Indies
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Xbox/Xbox Games According to a certain blog, Xbox Live is a boon to indie game developers - provided you get a premiere slot so people know your game exists.

 Sep 20, 2006 - 09:36 AM - by Michael
1080p on 360
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Xbox/Xbox Games Looks like the Xbox360 will get a visual upgrade to 1080p shortly... though you'll need a 1080p set to take advantage of it.

Hands up if you one of those? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

 Sep 18, 2006 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
MS Sued... again
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Xbox/Xbox Games MS is being sued again - this time by an apparent patent troll who found something in Xbox Live to attack.

In its court filing, Paltalk alleges that Microsoft's Xbox Live (whether accessed on the Xbox or the 360) infringes on two of its patents. The company has suffered damages "in at least the tens of millions of dollars," which raises obvious questions about why they waited four years to file the suit (Xbox Live was launched in late 2002).

The two patents at issue are the '523 patent and the '686 patent, both of which involve server-group messaging. "We have been creating cutting edge services for the entire history of our company," said Joel Smernoff, Paltalk's president. "We are taking an important step to protect our intellectual property rights and continue the important developments that set Paltalk apart."
The patent system is broken. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

 Sep 18, 2006 - 12:12 PM - by Michael
Civil War Screens
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision - the folks who brought you the wonderful Call of Duty line - have kicked us some screens for their next war FPS, the History Channel: Civil War.

Beautiful stuff here.


 Sep 07, 2006 - 03:28 PM - by Michael
Call of Duty 3 screens
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Xbox/Xbox Games From Activision, a few Call of Duty 3 screens from the Xbox360. It's looking fantastic, guys.

 Aug 29, 2006 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
New Xbox360 backwards compatibility
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Xbox/Xbox Games Once again, the Xbox360's got a backwards compatibility update, and it's good mostly for laughs.

Aquaman? Guffaw.
Catwoman? Okay, lousy game based on even lousier movie. Got it.
Digimon? Eek.
Fatal Frame? II: Crimson Butterfly DIRECTOR'S CUT : What a mouthful!
Ford vs Chevy: the ultimate cage match... oh, wait, lame racing game.
LEGO? Star Wars? II: The Original Trilogy - gotta have my legos.

Come on guys. You can do better. Your emulation layer CAN get 90% of the old library running. Just get off your butts and DO it.

 Aug 14, 2006 - 09:36 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 gets homebrew
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Xbox/Xbox Games Gamasutra has the word - Microsoft is going to enable user-created games for the Xbox360.

The details of the new tech are as follows: XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to anyone with a Windows XP-based PC, and will provide them with what's described as "Microsoft's next-generation platform for game development." In addition, by joining a "creators club" for an annual subscription fee of $99, users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360, as well as access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress.
Interesting, though I wish they'd open it up to allow makers to even distribute their own creations free if they chose.

 Jul 10, 2006 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 HDMI?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Looks like the 360 might get an HDMI port after all.

MS is mum, so no word on how players who ponied up for the last model might get an upgrade if this comes to pass.

 May 23, 2006 - 12:19 AM - by Michael
Halo 3 shots, way too large
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Xbox/Xbox Games Here's a hint: these won't look this big on your TV, or even on your computer.

They ARE some delicious eye candy, however. Kudos to Cutting the Edge for posting them up.

 May 19, 2006 - 10:06 AM - by Michael
MS: "Hacking voids your warranty"
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft have launched a stern warning to hackers messing with the Xbox 360: it voids your warranty.

Hey, at least they're realizing that that's all they can do to someone.

 May 10, 2006 - 09:49 AM - by Michael
360 gets GTA
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft scores big - the Xbox360 will see Grand Theft Auto IV.

Plus, a whole mess of other things.

3:33 pm - Moore: "Let's take a peek into the future and see what gaming will look like on Windows Vista." Age of Conan : Hyborian Adventures; Crysis, MS Flight Simulator X. Moore: "Windows Vista is built to run games. It will be the single bigest launch int eh history og Microsoft. It will deliver more horsepower ... and for the first time ever your games will be immediately accessable form the Start menu."

 May 09, 2006 - 04:21 PM - by Michael
MS's worst kept secret
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft has put the Halo 3 trailer on Xbox Live as well as on the Xbox web site.

Check it out. It's pretty damn good.

Also up, they reveal How the Xbox 360 becomes HD-DVD compatible. Look for games to start using this too, at some point in the future.

 Apr 10, 2006 - 05:11 PM - by Michael
Oblivion get patched
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Xbox/Xbox Games The sooner the better, guys - do something about your godawful preloading routines, too.

We are working on a patch/update for both the PC and Xbox 360. It will address a number of issues that we have found and ones that have been reported to us and confirmed. It is our plan to first release it as a beta patch for the PC when it has cleared our initial testing cycles internally.

 Mar 30, 2006 - 11:46 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 compatibility update
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft's issued a patch for the Xbox360's backwards compatibility, allowing Black, Star Wars: Battlefront II, and Winning Eleven 9 to play.

They've also got some minor compatibility fixes for buggy games like Ninja Gaiden and Fable that "worked" but had some stutters or graphical anomalies.

Time to see if the lighting bugs are fixed in Thief III.

 Mar 29, 2006 - 06:00 PM - by Michael
Tomb Raider Legend goes Gold
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Xbox/Xbox Games Eidos's next chapter in the Tomb Raider storyline has just gone gold , to ship out on April 11th:

It seems as if Lara Croft has acquired the Midas touch, because her latest game Tomb Raider: Legend has officially Gone Gold and is ready for production! Tomb Raider: Legend marks Lara Croft?s return to what she does best, as she is set to travel the world raiding the most deadly tombs the series has seen yet. Equipped with new acrobatic moves and beautiful fluid movement, Lara Croft allows you to explore the vastly detailed and interactive environments with such grace that makes the experience like poetry in motion. Action, adventure and beauty... what more can you ask for from a game? The time is growing near when you can finally join Lara Croft on her latest adventure as Tomb Raider: Legend is set to ship in North America on April 11th 2006, for the Xbox360, PS2, Xbox and PC!
Good luck with that - the word so far is they're really trying to redeem the series with this one.

 Mar 27, 2006 - 03:37 PM - by Michael
Nintendo you can play on the 360
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Xbox/Xbox Games Amazingly, you don't even need a modchip - it just uses Media Center to run.

From Xbox Scene Forum:

I've attached a link to a version of NESCafe that works through Media Center on the Xbox 360. This is currently setup to run at 480p (Widescreen). You can edit the nes.htm file if it does not fit correctly on your screen. I haven't found a way to add a menu for the roms list so you will have to edit the nes.htm and change to whatever Nes rom you want to play. I've included a Public Domain rom for testing but have verified Zelda1-2, Excitebike, and TecmoBowl and all worked.

 Mar 27, 2006 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
The world of Oblivion
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Xbox/Xbox Games There's a really neat set of panoramic screenshots from Oblivion for viewers to enjoy.

I'll be picking this up on my way home tonight.

 Mar 20, 2006 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Halo graphic novel coming
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Xbox/Xbox Games Master Chief will return - in a graphic novel to be released by Marvel.

Described as "a 128 page, full color, high quality hardcover graphic novel, featuring an anthology of original stories, including one big story, and three shorter tales," the HGN is a collaboration between Bungie, Marvel comics, and an impressive roster of comic-book artists and writers.

In addition to the four main stories, there will be original gallery pieces by some two-dozen comic artists and Bungie artists.
No word yet on Halo 3.

 Feb 27, 2006 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Did the 360 launch too early?
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Xbox/Xbox Games I don't think so, but 1up presents an interesting case that the Xbox360 launched too early for the industry.

Now, I don't have many games for it, but that'll change over time (especially if MS gets off their butts and work on the backwards compatibility layer some more).

So it's fair to say that Microsoft's early launch had a negative effect on the industry as a whole. Which raises a question: Was the rush to market irresponsible, or just good business? After all, the likes of J Allard, Peter Moore, Steve Ballmer, and other Microsoft/Xbox higher-ups have frequently said that the "first-to-market advantage" is a major piece of the company's arsenal against Sony in this round. Indeed, one reason the company was constantly playing catch-up during the current generation was because Microsoft's system wasn't even announced by the time the PlayStation 2 had wowed everyone with its Japanese launch -- so getting the jump on Sony and beating it at its own game was important in the establishment of the 360.

 Feb 24, 2006 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
360's second wave
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Xbox/Xbox Games Businessweek got some juicy tidbits from Shane Kim regarding Halo 3 and the next wave of Xbox360 titles:

With the first generation of Xbox we waited a year before launching Live; this year everything went out together. It would have been better to have more time with the development hardware. But this is not a trivial undertaking. It's very challenging to create this hardware and a network like this.

But I look at the quality of the launch games that came out and that is how to analyse the platform's success. Call of Duty is a great game, and Perfect Dark, Gotham, Kameo, Need For Speed are all great games. The launch portfolio was full of good games. There wasn't anything quirky that might hurt the platform or anything that really rose to the top. It was a level playing field for everybody.

 Feb 01, 2006 - 09:09 AM - by Michael
Halo 3 confirmed?
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Xbox/Xbox Games OC Modshop thinks Halo 3 is confirmed and done.

Place your bets, place your bets... personally, I'm taking this as a possible hoax.

 Jan 30, 2006 - 05:11 PM - by Michael
360 update kills modders?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Whoops! Looks like MS hid some anti-modder code in the new mandatory patch.


And instead of more backwards-compatible games, we get this. Shame, MS, shame.

 Jan 27, 2006 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
MS revenue good, games division not?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft's profits are up - and Gamasutra's report indicates their Games division is still running unprofitable.

Then again, they did just release a new console. And the consoles are always sold at a lost, to get them into homes.

The company revealed that 1.5 million Xbox 360 console units shipped worldwide up to December 31, a figure which more than offset the approximate $300 million revenue impact of the Halo 2 launch that occurred in the second quarter of fiscal year 2005. There was an overall increase in Xbox revenue of $125 million or 12% for the quarter, and strength of new PC games software sales, especially Ensemble's Age of Empires III, was also noted as good for revenue.

However, there were a number of cautionary statements from Microsoft in looking forward. The company confirmed: "Currently, Xbox consoles have negative gross margin," and the company did not give a timeframe in which economies of scale or component discounts would help this problem.

 Jan 18, 2006 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Star Trek Armada returns
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Xbox/Xbox Games Looks like the Xbox360 and PC will soon see the next Star Trek game, an RTS by the folks who gave us Armada II.

The Star Trek: Legacy posts are also apparent confirmation of a rumor from January 2005, which hinted that a Star Trek strategy game was in development. The source of this rumor was a post on the STGU forums from Harry Lang, the director of the licensing division of Paramount Pictures, the Viacom subsidiary that owns the Star Trek license.

Late this past Friday, Lang returned to the STGU board to confirm a new Star Trek game was indeed the works--although he avoided details. He dodged the subject of the game's title but appeared to confirm the release date mentioned in the forums. "Like I said before, traditional ST single player/multi player games have returned--and before STO ships," Lang said, referring to Star Trek Online's tentative early 2007 launch window.

 Jan 11, 2006 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
Elder Scrolls IV to fit on one disc
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Xbox/Xbox Games Good news for Xbox players - Elder Scrolls IV will not require disc swapping.

1up's also got a preview of the pushed-back title - we don't get to actually play it until March.

We then visited a town, which seemed a little quiet -- not the bustling center of trade we were hoping to see, but the citizens we managed to talk to were quite animated. Each character in Oblivion has a voice and lip-syncing, the idea being to enhance the immersiveness of each encounter; but conversation trees progress, unlike in games like Knights of the Old Republic, without your answer. In each conversation you have a list of topics from which to choose, but your replies and questions aren't written out. This is a design choice held over from Morrowind.

 Jan 10, 2006 - 09:21 AM - by Michael
Gates on the 360
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Xbox/Xbox Games Engadget have a piece with Bill Gates talking about the Xbox360, including plenty of his "let's all implement DRM" bullshit:

Well, of course, in the dialogue with the rights owners, they're very interested in our rights management system, [asking if] there is something that we're doing that is both easy to use and yet makes them have some comfort. And we have that dialogue with the cable industry in terms of being able to connect up, they demanded enough that it will only be with Vista that we'll be able to meet their requirements, and with Vista Media Center that will be a new feature that comes along with that.

 Jan 09, 2006 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
IGN Looks Way Back
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Xbox/Xbox Games IGN looks back and compares the 360 launch to the original Xbox's:

When you mention the Xbox launch, one title immediately springs to mind: Halo. For the Xbox 360, the best isn't so easy to decide. Some may say Perfect Dark Zero, others Call of Duty 2, and of course Kameo: Elements of Power and Condemned: Criminal Origins could be thrown in as well. The fact that there isn't a definitive agreement on which Xbox 360 title is best versus how easy it is with the Xbox can be seen as one of the Xbox 360's strongest launch aspects. There isn't that one undeniably great title, yet there are many very good ones. We voted Call of Duty 2 best on the X360, but its online multiplayer options were severely limited, despite having an excellent single player mode.
I enjoy Call of Duty, but I'm not finding too many others - YET - that I really can say are top tier. Too many ports that don't fully use the hardware, not enough big tier games.

 Jan 09, 2006 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
360 won't make 90-day target
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Xbox/Xbox Games MS is admitting a minor defeat - the 360 isn't quite selling as fast as they'd hoped.

Blame bad reviews, overhyped hardware issues, lack of launch titles, or even shoddy "backwards compatibility" that really isn't for this one folks. Blame whatever you like.

Or maybe blame MS for not getting the hardware out quick enough.

Analysts believe sales of the console had hit around 1.3 million by the end of the Holiday sales period. But as January moves along, retailers have yet to see evidence of shortages easing.

Xbox 360 chief Peter Moore explained, "Nothing's perfect - you've got a complex piece of hardware that includes1,700 different parts. Every now and again the line will slow down because something's happened and there'll be a component that didn't make it that morning."

 Jan 02, 2006 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Going Overboard
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Xbox/Xbox Games Anyone else think they want to watercool their Xbox360?

Or better yet, can anyone think of a good reason why someone would want to?

 Jan 02, 2006 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
Gamefly comments on 360 disc scratching
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Xbox/Xbox Games Bad news for Microsoft - according to Gamefly, that Xbox360 disc scratching issue might be more prevalent than they say.

The disc scratching problem is evidently widespread enough that GameFly has prepared a 'form letter' to send to all consumers who return Xbox 360 discs with defects on them, commenting:

"We have received reports that certain XBOX 360 consoles have caused damage to GameFly videogames. Unfortunately, we have been notified that you recently returned a damaged XBOX 360 game.

As a precaution, we have removed all XBOX 360 games from your GameQ.

 Dec 21, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
DMCA again - Xbox modders charged
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Xbox/Xbox Games You can't sell modded xboxes, folks. Even if you bought them legally, and performed the mods yourself.

During the investigation, undercover agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement paid $265 to have a modification chip, a hard drive and 77 pirated games installed on an Xbox, according to the criminal complaint.

The consoles involved in this case were of the first-generation Xbox, not the recently launched Xbox 360, a representative for the prosecution said. This isn't the first crackdown on modding.

 Dec 20, 2005 - 02:58 PM - by Michael
Holiday Catch-Up
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Xbox/Xbox Games A few things to mention, before the traditional holiday break catches up with me.

Quake 4
Quake 4 uses the Doom3 engine to do things I wasn't expecting. Honestly, I'm really amazed - Raven has done with Quake 4 what they usually do, which is take id's engine and make a better game than id made. Hexen/Heretic, the two Voyager fps titles, and now Quake 4.

Upsides on the PC? Better graphics, cleaner system, patches and multiplayer levels.

Upsides on the Xbox360? Still decent graphics, and Quake II's been included so that newcomers to the series can see the old one, and oldtimers get to see what Quake II looks like in widescreen 720p.

Call of Duty 2
No doubts here - Call of Duty 2 is the pinnacle of the first generation of Xbox360 titles. Quake4 isn't that bad, but Call of Duty 2 is the first crossover PC/Console title that somehow manages to look BETTER on the console. If you're a keyboard/mouse man you'll be disappointed, but it's still very worthwhile.

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
Somewhere, the makers of the Tony Hawk series got off-kilter. THPS4 was great. Tony Hawk's Underground / THUG2 weren't bad, and I enjoyed the illusion of a storyline mode.

That being said, as the series has gone on, it's less and less about the skateboards and more and more about being hooligans. American Wasteland is more about being a vandal and breaking things than anything else. Stealing the "Get your skate park back" storyline from the old Skate or Die NES titles was good, but the rest - I'm sorry, but the illusion of skateboarding being respectable that the early games tried to cultivate seems to have vanished completely, and that's not good for a sport that already has image issues.

 Dec 15, 2005 - 11:20 AM - by Michael
What it's like being first to market
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Xbox/Xbox Games has an interview on the ups and downs of being first to market with two Xbox360 bigwigs:

The other tough thing is that you're under the microscope [when you're first]. [Sony] shows two movies and a product that you can't touch behind a piece of glass, and that's what you get to write about on them. For us, we just had 2,000 journalists from Europe, the U.S., and Japan all come to events we've hosted to play 20 games, [and we] just said, "Go play." My kickoff for the event in San Francisco was: You know what our strategy is and you've been to our press conferences-less rhetoric and more play. Go and enjoy the games for a day and a half.

 Dec 13, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
Inside the 360 chip
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Xbox/Xbox Games IBM Developerworks go inside the 360's chip for those who want to know:

The Xbox 360 system has a single chip (with 165 million transistors) for its CPU. This chip is in fact a three-way symmetric multiprocessor design. The three PowerPC cores are identical, except that they are physically reflected through the X and Y axis. Each of the CPU cores is a specialized PowerPC chip with a VMX128 extension related to (and partially compatible with) the VMX instructions in the G4 and G5 CPUs. The three CPU cores share a 1MB Level2 cache. Each processor has 32KB each of data and instruction Level1 cache. The chip's front-side bus/physical interface has a 21.6GB/second bandwidth, and runs at 5.4GHz. The high frequency clocks are generated on-chip by four phase-locked loops: two for the core clocks, two for the PHY clock.

 Dec 08, 2005 - 04:26 PM - by Michael
360 shortages due to low yields
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Xbox/Xbox Games The "truth" or an excuse?

Not sure, but Next Gen reports on Microsoft's reason for Xbox360 shortages: low chip yields.

Tucked away at the bottom of an an interview today in The Ottawa Citizen, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured) said, "In these new consumer electronics devices based on new chips, there's always the question of what yield will you get out of the manufacturing process of the new chip. We're getting a little less, but not much less than the yields we expected, and we know that the yields we expected will probably outrun supply."

 Dec 06, 2005 - 09:44 AM - by Michael
But is it next gen?
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Xbox/Xbox Games 1up are asking fans whether certain Xbox360 launch titles deserve to be called next-gen titles.

What are you waiting for? Go vote!

Sure, there are the titles that truly show off the capabilities of the 360 -- Project Gotham Racing 3 or Perfect Dark Zero, especially. But those were coded specifically for the system and take advantage of a lot of the 360's advanced processing capabilities. How about all of the other games that were merely ported over to the Xbox 360 from other platforms, though? Many of those were only slightly improved in the process and hardly scream "next-gen" to us (not to mention don't really warrant the extra $10 price tag). We decided to take a look through the games that were ported to the Xbox 360 for its launch to pose the question: Which games were just trying to cash in on the new console's launch and which ones are really up to par in the HD Era?

 Dec 05, 2005 - 03:30 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 Live tells too much?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Hexus say the Xbox360 is giving away a bit too much info when you're on Live:

We here at HEXUS became a little anxious when the boss sent me a voice message over Xbox LIVE asking what I was doing viewing pictures through Media Connect instead of playing games on my Xbox 360. I assumed he?d made a lucky guess as he knew I was still playing around with the Xbox 360?s media functions, using Media Connect to view stored family photos from my main PC. What I didn?t realise was that he could actually see what I was doing as it was being relayed over Xbox LIVE and showing up in my profile!

 Dec 05, 2005 - 10:08 AM - by Michael
Prince of Persia: Two Thrones
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Xbox/Xbox Games Just finished up (after buying) Prince of Persia: Two Thrones this weekend.

All through the trilogy, Prince of Persia has been solid. Though the combat mechanic threatened to take over, that never really happened - the platform, run-and-jump mechanics stayed in throughout the games.

The only thing I can say for this one is that it was way too short. Sands of Time took me five days. Warrior Within took me a good week, and every time I thought it was going to finish, there was another plot twist.

This one ran me two days.

Shame, Ubisoft. I know you cranked this one out in a year, trying to beat the end of the Xbox's lifespan, but I still expected a bit more.

 Nov 28, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
360 hardware woes?
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Xbox/Xbox Games The Xbox360 has some limited hardware faults, and someone thinks the problem is an overheating power supply.

Status here: the Xbox360 is running just fine, thanks.

 Nov 28, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
Linux for Xbox360 launches
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Xbox/Xbox Games No, it doesn't run yet, but enterprising geeks have launched the project to get the Xbox360 running Linux.

That was quick.

 Nov 28, 2005 - 09:42 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 - System Reaction
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Xbox/Xbox Games So my Xbox360 is in.

I got the $400 unit, because there's no point in not.

After a good weekend of testing, including some multiplayer gaming that included networking the 360 together with an original series Xbox for 8-way carnage on Halo, here's my reactions.

An Open Letter to Microsoft concerning the Xbox360's design, after due time spent analyzing the system:

Dear Sirs,
I recently purchased an Xbox360. Overall, I am pleased with it. However, there are a few problems with your designs that I feel I must bring up. Maybe you will fix them, maybe not. Some are easily fixable, some aren't.

First of all, as a gamer I know you're trying to ape Sony with the controller. However, some of us do not have the hands of a 10 year old child. Believe it or not, there are a sizable minority of gamers who actually like the original Xbox controller, and would like to see a 360 controller of a similar shape, or else a simple adapter to allow the original Xbox controller to be used on the 360.

Second of all, and in the same vein, if you could produce some such adapter it ought to then be a very simple matter to transfer my old Xbox savegames (from titles such as Halo) to the 360 for continued play.

Continuing on the controller scheme, the lack of a proper number of USB ports on the Xbox360 hurts. Yes, I know you're banking on wireless controllers. But with the Xbox, you could plug in 4 controllers no problem. With the Xbox360, to get 4-player action at least one of the controllers has to be wireless, and that includes having a controller sticking off the back USB port.

The little flippy door thing in front of the two USB ports on the front? Inexcusable. Yes, it may look cute, but it is completely nonfunctional and serves the sole purpose of preventing me from seeing the USB ports when I'm trying to plug in a controller or play'n'charge adapter.

Finally, please get your backwards compatibility up. Fast. Especially the most recently released Xbox titles. One of your biggest mistakes is not pushing your emulation layer to try to pre-certify as many of the past 6 month's titles as possible, especially when the store displays of retailers intermix Xbox and Xbox360 titles on the shelves.

It also doesn't help to have groups like Bungie promising us that Halo and Halo2 would run in 720p and widescreen, complete with screenshots, only to find out that Halo2 is widescreen but Halo is decidedly not.

A Customer.

 Nov 22, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 first thoughts
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Xbox/Xbox Games There will be a large amount of Xbox and Xbxo360 play this weekend - a new Castlevania title, and three Xbox360 titles, are in.

And so is the 360, which was purchased at 12:05 AM.

First thoughts:

#1 - Need. Bigger. Controller. Amazingly as it is, MS managed to slim down the controller even more, so it's smaller than the S controller. The downside is, I have big hands and actually preferred the original Xbox controller!

#2 - I love the ability to turn it on/off using the controller! Fabulous move, guys.

#3 - DVD playback: nice. Only 480p, but nice nonetheless. And this one has an included remote, which is doubly nice.

#4 - Halo is playing in 720p, but not showing widescreen as Bungie had promised. Calling Microsoft to find out where the hiccup is.

 Nov 17, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
What will your Xbox360 video look like?
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Xbox/Xbox Games I'm going to be on progressive scan, component video - but if you're not, here's an interesting article on what you can expect to see out of your Xbox360.

In terms of quality, consider RF to be your least desirable option. The acronym itself stands for "radio frequency." You probably used an RF modulator to connect your old Nintendo Entertainment System to the television. The modulator device takes in the original signal generated by the game console and outputs the RF-modulated signal to the television. You might be forced to use an RF connector if you have an older television with only an RF input. The Xbox 360 doesn't have support for RF out of the box, nor can you buy an Xbox 360-specific RF adapter, like you could with the original Xbox. Instead, you'll have to spend around 20 to 30 dollars on an RF modulator that converts composite or S-Video signals to RF. However, we recommend getting a newer television instead--upgrading to a used TV that provides for composite or S-Video connections might cost just as much.
I still bet it'll look just fine in 480i on, say, a 20-inch screen. But that's not the audience who are searching for ultra-clean graphics in any case.

 Nov 16, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Inside the 360
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Xbox/Xbox Games Anandtech have gone inside the Xbox360, and it's good stuff.

Honestly, with the Xbox 360, Microsoft could have put forth another PC in a black box and it probably would have done fine. But with their second gaming console, the target was growth -- and Sony. With an established name and fanbase, it was time to take the market seriously and start to exert some dominance and thus the Xbox went from being a clunky black box of a PC, to a stylish consumer electronics device.

The Xbox 360 is smaller than the original Xbox, and its wireless nature makes it a natural fit in the living room - marking a thankful change from standard gaming consoles of the past. Despite looking like the offspring of an iPod and a DVD player, the Xbox 360 is still very much a PC on the inside. As such, it's got all of the components we're used to.

 Nov 14, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 backwards compatibility list
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Xbox/Xbox Games MS has released round 1 of the Xbox360 backwards compatibility list (remember, they promised there would be updates to add compatibility with other titles as the console's life goes on).

You can see the list here.

There are a good number of "what the heck" games, which leads me to believe that it's a combination of both a generic emulation engine (for the low-grade ones) and some special-case adaptation (for big names like Halo, that are getting the 720P/FSAA treatment). Barbie? What?

Notables from my collection/past experience:
Crimson Skies?: High Road to Revenge?
Curse: The Eye of Isis
Fable?: The Lost Chapters?
Halo? 2
Hitman: Contracts?
Outlaw Golf 2
Outlaw Volleyball
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time?
Star Wars?: Knights of the Old Republic?
Star Wars? Knights of the Old Republic? II: The Sith Lords?
Thief: Deadly Shadows?
Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater? 4
Tony Hawk's Underground 2

Notably MIA:
Legacy of Kain: Defiance
MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf
Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath
Outlaw Golf
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

With only one of the two Prince of Persia titles, this definitely points to their using a generalized emulation layer somewhere.

There's also a nice Q&A about this if you've got the time.

 Nov 11, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
Halo on 360: Extra Sweet
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Xbox/Xbox Games I'm glad I'm getting an Xbox360 - time for some 720p Halo Baby!

A while back, Microsoft announced that the 360 would have some level of backward compatibility. A handy feature for folks with big Xbox collections moving into the future. We worked closely with that team to ensure that Halo and Halo 2 both performed according to plan. That meant a lot of work for our test team.

To clarify, the "new" version of Halo or Halo 2 is simply the disk you have already. Pop it into your 360 and it'll load up just like before. You will have to log into Xbox Live to enable Halo 2's online functions, but both games will work immediately.

But here's another bonus ? the hardware in the 360 can do a lot of nifty stuff, and specifically in the cases of Halo and Halo 2, it can display the graphics in wide screen, at 720p, with full scene anti-aliasing. And it doesn't look kludgy, artifacty or smeary like an upscanning DVD player. The best way to describe it is that both games look like they're running on a PC at those resolutions.

 Nov 06, 2005 - 10:52 AM - by Michael
Dreamcast/Xbox360 parallels?
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Xbox/Xbox Games 1up think the Xbox360's launch is very similar to the Dreamcast.

They also think it won't fail like the Dreamcast did, owing to some key differences.

 Nov 03, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 to get cheap quick?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Next Gen have some surprising monetary figures from Merril Lynch - the Xbox360 could be Half the price of a PS3 by late 2006.

On the cost of goods side, Merrill Lynch believes that the Cell processor will initially cost $160 to make? more than the Xenon CPU which comes in at $100.

The graphics solutions will also be pricey. Both Nvidia's RSX and ATI's GPU will cost about $100 each. Price reductions over time will eventually get the parts to about $30.

Blu-Ray is also cited as an expensive solution for PS3. The cost of the drive is estimated to cost at least $75.
Wow. That's quite an analysis.


 Oct 28, 2005 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
1st Gen Xbox360 games single threaded
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Xbox/Xbox Games The good news we all knew - Xbox360 was capable of multi-threading.

The bad news: none of the first-gen games will be able to do it. Not tremendously surprising, with the number of ports expected, but still something strange.

During a talk on multithreaded programming, Microsoft used the three core, two thread per core Xbox360 as an example.

The bombshell was that the first generation of Xbox titles, all of them, are single threaded. Not good.

 Oct 25, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 screws up Walmart?
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Xbox/Xbox Games News from Joystiq, confirmation from Next Gen: Walmart is having problems with Xbox360 kiosks causing various wireless tools to hang up or worse.

A spokesperson for Microsoft has now been able to discuss the specific issues pertaining to the retail kiosks with Next Generation. "Our Xbox 360 retail kiosk program rolled out last week and we encountered some minor wireless interference issues at a small number of retail outlets that are specific to some retail environments. Since the advent of 2.4 Ghz signals, such as those found in next generation consumer electronics like cordless phones, wireless routers and now, Xbox 360, some retailers have discovered that their network-based inventory management systems can be impacted by products using modern wireless signals.

 Oct 18, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
FUD or just the usual?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Responding to some of Sony's past bluster, Microsoft have let loose "hints" that they think PS3 migth get delayed longer than just to "Spring 2006".

"I?ll be happy to compete whenever they turn up, but I wouldn?t be surprised if that?s not until spring ?07,? he remarked. "If they hit Xmas ?06, then maybe it?ll be a very thin launch; a launch in name only." MCV also quoted an unnamed ?senior European publisher boss? who claimed he also wouldn?t be surprised if the PlayStation 3 didn?t launch in Europe until 2007 and with a price tag of up to ?499 ($876).

Slashdot calls the story FUD.

On the price point I'd have to agree, but on the release date - who knows? Especially with the Revolution, odd as it is, coming into the mix at the same time. It's going to be an interesting year for the games market.

 Oct 07, 2005 - 02:12 PM - by Michael
"Ultimate" Spider-Man: Impressions
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Xbox/Xbox Games Every now and then there's a game you hope to come out and want to love.

Ultimate Spider-Man was one of those games for me.

For the most part, it looks good, and the storyline's not bad. They've even ported over a lot of the engine from Spider-Man 2, though obviously they implemented cel shading to make it look more like the comics.

Here's where it breaks down though: they GUTTED the fighting and web-slinging engines. No longer does your web grab onto anything but buildings. No longer are there a ton of varied combat moves at your disposal. No web balls, no swinging enemies around for the fun of it.

I am so very disappointed. More when I get done writing the review.

 Oct 03, 2005 - 04:16 PM - by Michael
Bungie News Coming
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Xbox/Xbox Games No Speculation Please.

oh, fine. We all know you're going to speculate anyways.

Oh. Keep your eyes peeled next week for a surprising, cool, awesome Bungie-related announcement. No it is not Halo 3, nor is it the surprise revelation of our next project (whatever that may be) but it?s sweet. It?s something I?ve hinted at in the past. And you?ll probably like it. More than that I can?t say. Which even I know is aggravating. But it ain?t up to me. So just be patient.

 Sep 29, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox lost $4Billion?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Forbes is reporting that the Xbox has been a loss for MS to the tune of $4 billion, a hefty price tag just to get their foot in the door.

I can see it, given how their first crop of games ran. But they've gotten a lot better since in many respects.

Then again, Microsoft is so vehemently competitive that it could yet prevail in videogames, searching and servers. Microsoft is "the world's largest startup," says star programmer Ray Ozzie, who wrote Lotus Notes and joined Microsoft in April when it acquired his startup, Groove. "No one seems to feel comfortable in their own skin here. It's weird. They still need to succeed." He observes what Steve Ballmer is too proud to say: "The top executives get the potential Microsoft has. But the next tier of employees doesn't because of the stock price."
They also talk about the expectations for the Xbox360 - personally, I'm still waiting to see the final product, and for confirmation on the backwards compatibility question for a few of my favorite years-past titles.

 Sep 27, 2005 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
Origen opens
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Xbox/Xbox Games MS has opened up, and it's pretty damn weird.

If you enjoyed your beekeeping, you might give it a whirl.

 Sep 20, 2005 - 01:23 PM - by Michael
X-Men Legends II ships
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision have let us know that X-Men Legends II has shipped to stores:

Santa Monica, CA - September 20, 2005 - The epic battle to save
humankind rages on with the release of X-Men Legends II: Rise of
Apocalypse, the sequel to the best selling X-Men title ever, X-Men
Legends, inspired by Marvel's legendary Super Hero team. The all-new
action-role playing game (RPG) allows gamers to create Super Hero dream
teams featuring popular X-Men and classic Brotherhood villains as they
unite for the first time ever to overcome the ultimate evil --
Apocalypse -- and prevent one of the most devastating attacks ever
against mankind. The action filled saga unfolds through challenging
single player missions and groundbreaking new online multiplayer modes.

X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse is available for the
PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(r) video game system
from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(tm) for a suggested retail price of
$49.99 and has been rated "T" (Teen with mild language and violence) by
the ESRB. The PC/CD-ROM version of X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
is available for a suggested retail price of $39.99 and has been rated
"T" (Teen with mild language and violence) by the ESRB. Later this
fall, the PSP(tm) (PlayStation(r)Portable) system version of X-Men
Legends: Rise of Apocalypse will be available for a suggested retail
price of $49.99 and rated "T" (Teen with mild language and violence) by
the ESRB.

"X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse is sure to please X-Men fans
everywhere with an original and suspense-filled storyline that teams up
the X-Men with the Brotherhood villains for the first time ever," said
Will Kassoy, vice president of global brand management, Activision, Inc.
"The diversity gives players an unprecedented arsenal of super powers to
employ as they battle an amazing array of enemies in exotic locales in
single-player mode or online multiplayer modes with gamers around the

"Marvel couldn't be more pleased with this latest installment in the
X-Men Legends franchise," said Ames Kirshen, Vice President of
Interactiv, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. "With a truly epic X-Men story,
a ton of new playable characters, larger gameplay environments,
increased customization features and most importantly the addition of
online play, this truly is the deepest X-Men game ever."

 Sep 08, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Coffee-less GTA coming
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Xbox/Xbox Games Looks like the re-release of GTA:San Andreas without the Hot Coffee content present on disk will be coming soon:

According to EB Games and GameStop's website, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will re-release by next week. While Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas did not come out on August 29 as GameStop originally indicated, these new dates are closer to the "six to eight week" turnaround time originally stated by Take-Two. The game is currently listed on GameStop's website as "Pre-Release ETA: 8/29/05" and "Pre-Order: Ships on 09/19/2005" on EB Games. Currently, both websites only feature Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Xbox and not for PS2 and PC.
No word on how quickly there may be a "content reinsertion" patch for those who just absolutely have to have lame, pathetic simulated sex by low-polygon characters that still have their clothes on...

 Sep 08, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
Mk Shaolin Monks gone gold
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Xbox/Xbox Games Midway let us know that Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks has gone gold, as well as shipping a couple more juicy screenshots. Enjoy!
Midway Games today announced that the one of the most unique and heavily anticipated Mortal Kombat titles ever, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, has gone gold and will ship to stores for both the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox video game system on September 26th, 2005.

The development team at Midway Studios, Los Angeles, along with the core MK creative team at Midway Studios, Chicago, has joined forces to take the best-selling Mortal Kombat franchise into the action/adventure realm. Mortal Kombat fans can now experience the MK franchise from an entirely new action/adventure perspective with the first-ever Multi-Directional Kombat System and explore the MK II universe as two of the series' favorite Shaolin Monks: Liu Kang & Kung Lao in either single- or multi-player action.


 Sep 07, 2005 - 05:33 PM - by Michael
Project Gotham Postmortem
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Xbox/Xbox Games Gamasutra have a really interesting postmortem of the upcoming Project Gotham Racing 3 by the developers themselves:

Also, allow three months for balancing. Or ? as Chris coyly put it in mock quotations, ?three months,? recognizing that this will vary wildly. However, if you actually plan for this, it becomes a real deadline in the minds of the team, so motivates them to get the work done early. In standard development, they run a cycle of design, implement, play, then iterate. When they reach the endgame, it alters to experience, evaluate, polish then iterate, with a group of 10 people dragged in off the streets to give this unjaded feedback. It's something bearing in made throughout ? they advised getting the artists to play the game, as they'll notice things which the designers never would. They use the example of the roadside turn indicators, which the designers were used to spotting but none of the artists were able to make out, so all went crashing into the first bend. Problem located, and then fixed.

 Sep 07, 2005 - 02:20 PM - by Michael
Gauntlet Seven Sorrows screens
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Xbox/Xbox Games Midway hit us with another eight screens from Gauntlet Seven Sorrows, which looks to be really coming together:

 Sep 01, 2005 - 05:00 PM - by Michael
PS3 vs Xbox GPU Power?
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Xbox/Xbox Games The Inquirer reports that the PS3's GPU may be weaker than the Xbox360's:

This puts paid to the rumours that the RSX was basically an off-the-shelf 7800 chipset, though the big news is in the "RSX is slightly less powerful" part of the statement. If one was to do some quick graphics card math, this would mean that the RSX chip powering the PlayStation 3 is less powerful than two GeForce 6800's running in SLI mode ? as the 7800 is ? and according to Microsoft and ATi, the Xbox 360 GPU is more powerful than the same SLI combo.

 Sep 01, 2005 - 11:23 AM - by Michael
MK Shaolin Monks Shots
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Xbox/Xbox Games Midway have sent out a few shots of the upcoming Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks for you to enjoy...
Set in the time period between the first MK Tournament and MK II, you'll be challenged to explore the always dangerous and action-driven Mortal Kombat universe (in either single and%/or co-op mode) through the eyes of two of the franchise's most popular Shaolin Monks: Liu Kang & Kung Lao.
Looking good, guys!

 Aug 28, 2005 - 10:43 PM - by Michael
"Fixing" Halo 2
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Xbox/Xbox Games goes over some common complaints about Halo2's multiplayer, and how to fix them:

Halo 2's design includes the need for map control, but the mechanics of map control have been twisted by the game's design. Forgoing timed respawns on power weapons in favor of a control-based spawn system, Halo 2's power weapons stay in the hands of the team who grabs them, unless they empty the weapon or drop it. When the weapon is dropped, it idles and then despawns and respawns on a timer. These control-based spawns are central to the broken game design of Halo 2. Once a team has the weapons, it's only their fault if they lose them.

 Aug 24, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
Halo movie slated for 2007
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Xbox/Xbox Games We'll get our Halo movie in 2007, thanks to Fox studios taking Microsoft up on the offer.

However, negotiating a movie deal proved as challenging as taking down a Covenant dropship, as several studios surprisingly passed on producing a Halo movie. The reason: Film studios may be used to kowtowing to A-list actors' demands, but they don't typically cave in to requests from non-Hollywood players. Initial reports saw the software giant asking for $10 million against 15 percent of the gross (whichever is higher), a below-the-line budget of $75 million (budget before hiring actors and crew), near-immediate production of the movie, and a large say in the creative development of the movie.

Fox and Universal eventually bent and accepted the project, paying Microsoft $5 million against 10 percent of the gross. Universal will oversee production and domestic distribution, and Fox will handle all overseas operations.
This will be an interesting one - I can't imagine that Microsoft/Bungie will allow it to be a stinker, but keeping it from becoming one will take a hell of a lot of work.

 Aug 24, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 Price headaches, Part II
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Xbox/Xbox Games Gamespot pronounces some of EB's preorder bundles for the Xbox360 too damn expensive.

$600 is a lot, no question, and I won't be buying anything other than the $400 box (with perhaps a game or two and wireless control) to start with.

Still, it's awkward. I'm waiting to see if there's an adapter to use the old Xbox controllers on the new device.

The Xbox 360 Ultimate Bundle weighs in at just under $700. Gamers (or generous parents) willing to shell out $699.92 will get the Xbox 360 "premium" package, plus an extra wireless controller with a Play & Charge Kit, a rechargeable battery back for wireless controllers, and the four games mentioned above. Doing some quick math, the sum of the bundle's pieces would be $720.93, again assuming a $59.99 price point for games.

 Aug 22, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 "true" price
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Xbox/Xbox Games Pro-G add up the "true" (according to them) price of owning an Xbox360:

4. A game or two. Which is what it's all about really. No good opening your brand spanking new 360 on Christmas morning without a game to play on it. Check our feature on the top ten most important 360 launch titles for more info. I'm most interested in Perfect Dark Zero, Rare's return from exile. Hopefully it will turn out to be the console seller Halo was for the Xbox. Most retailers will do some kind of bundle deal including a game or two. But with next-generation titles expected to be between a ?5 and ?10 more expensive than current games, deals won't be cheap. Taking a base amount, add at least ?45 on for a game - ?90 for two. I don't have much time this Christmas, so I'll just be getting PDZ, but feel free to disagree. Cost: ?44.99
Known and always a symptom for every console ever since the days of the bundled-in launch title (Altered Beast, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog) died out... but the point is taken. The same point can be made, of course, for the PS3 and Revolution.

 Aug 19, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Gamers with Jobs on Xbox360 pricing
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Xbox/Xbox Games Here's an interesting editorial:

The key factor to remember here is that by splitting the Xbox 360 into two price points, it can appeal to a broader base of consumers. Instead of choosing sides ? hardcore gamers, price conscious casual gamers, parents ? Microsoft is offering a choice. It?s worth two weeks of hollow, barely literate vitriol from an online gaming community that is largely known for producing two-thirds of all the planet?s hollow, barely literate vitriol, particularly when enough of those who cry the loudest will be at the counter on day-one with money in hand and so much righteous indignation forgotten as easily as the name of that kid who ate Freedom Fries off the cafeteria floor in third grade.

But, these angry gamers aren?t really the market Microsoft?s worried about, anyway. If Microsoft wants to compete with Sony they must broaden their appeal, and they aren?t going to do that with technical superiority, courting hardcore gamers, or backward compatibility. They are going to do that by getting money-strapped parents to put an Xbox under the tree during the one holiday season where they have no competition, and they?re only going to accomplish that by creating a financially compelling reason to do so. Make no mistake about it; Microsoft didn?t offer a version of the 360 at the $299 price out of some na?ve or misguided desire to follow-through on the promises they made at E3. They did it because accessories are profitable.

 Aug 17, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Why Xbox360 might fail in Japan
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Xbox/Xbox Games thinks the Xbox360 has a lot going for it, but a lot that could kill it in Japan too.

Especially the Japanese disdain for using foreign products when there's a Japan-native alternative.

And it's not just Western-developed Xbox games either. Non-Japanese titles have struggled in Japan on both PlayStation and GameCube platforms. Sony found this out the hard way when marketed Prince of Persia: Sands of Time for PS2 - the company masked it as a game made by Japanese but it still bombed hard. Japanese gamers could just feel it came from a foreign place. Spoiler alert: The Japanese aren't going to wait in line for Perfect Dark Zero and Halo 3.

 Aug 17, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 pricing revealed?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Here's an interesting one for you - the Xbox360's pricing and two discrete packages at launch.

Xbox 360 Core System - $299 (299 Euros, 209 GBP)

* Xbox 360 console
* Wired controller
* Detachable faceplate
* Xbox Live Silver membership
* Standard AV cables

Xbox 360 - $399 (399 Euros, 279 GBP)

* Xbox 360 console
* 20GB detachable hard drive
* Wireless controller
* Wireless Xbox Live headset
* High-definition AV cables
* Ethernet cable
* Xbox 360 Media Remote Control (limited time)
* Detachable faceplate
* Xbox Live Silver membership

 Aug 15, 2005 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
Carmack doesn't like PS3
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Xbox/Xbox Games John Carmack has apparently told Game Informer that he much prefers programming for the Xbox360.

Revealing that their next title after Quake 4 will be for the Playstation3 and Xbox360, Hollenshead reported that Co-Founder, Technical Director and videogame legend John Carmack?s impression of both systems was ?great? for the Xbox360 and ?pain in my ass? for the more demanding Playstation3.
Well how about that.

 Aug 09, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox boot code revealed
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Xbox/Xbox Games The Xbox-Linux team have some interesting things for you to see:

But what happens if someone finds out the hidden 512 bytes? Bunnie ( did, Christmas 2001. He tapped the bus between the Southbridge (where the data is stored) and the Northbridge (the CPU's memory interface) where all secret data gets transmitted. Knowing the algorithm and the secret key, he could easily disassemble the whole code in Flash ROM, and he could have even patched and reencrypted the code - the decryption code won't notice the difference, as the Flash ROM is not hashed: Only a single 32 bit value is checked. Modchip makers, who used similar tricks to get hold of the hidden ROM, used this knowledge to create patched versions of the Flash ROM image and distributed them on boards that, soldered to the Xbox motherboard, overrode the onboard Flash ROM.

 Aug 01, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 gets HD-DVD (but not at launch)
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Xbox/Xbox Games An odd design decision: the Xbox360 will launch as planned, but get HD-DVD support later.

No word on whether early adopters will be given a free upgrade or not...

Considering that such a decision would postpone the launching date, Microsoft will equip the initial models with classic DVD drives, and only after the new HD-DVD are ready, the Xbox will incorporate them.

 Jul 28, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
EGM: Xbox360 to ship with no cables?
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Xbox/Xbox Games I'm betting it's just an oversight, but EGM is worried that the Xbox360 might ship with no output cables at all.

Then again, printer companies stopped shipping with the printer cable years ago.

At the recent Xbox Summit, Microsoft showed off preliminary designs for the box that will eventually house Xbox 360. On the side, a list rattled off what's inside: Xbox 360, hard drive, wireless controller, headset and Ethernet cable. Composite cables (the yellow, red, and white things) have been a standard inclusion in consoles for years, but are nowhere to be found.
It's possible they're trying to decide whether to include just the basics or also include an HDTV connector standard; alternatively, they might just leave buying the connector (and picking which one they want) to the consumer.

 Jul 28, 2005 - 12:00 AM - by Michael
On the Xbox360 dashboard
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Xbox/Xbox Games Design Interact has a really nifty article on the design of the Xbox360 dashboard, which seems really well done.

At very least, the shots I've seen are a lot less encumbered by trying to look flashy than the old Xbox interface was.

Like all interactive projects, this one began with design specifications. Many of the requirements were obvious, like making the navigation intuitive, but there were also some interesting twists, like the 4MB size limit needed to make the interface easy to update.

?It?s always interesting because you want to start designing with a blue sky application,? says Glaser, ?but we had a lot of technical limitations.?

 Jul 27, 2005 - 09:59 AM - by Michael
FreeBSD for your Xbox
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you run a modded Xbox, here's one more thing to do with it.

Over the last 2 weeks, I have been working on a port of FreeBSD for the XBox. During this effort, Ed Schouten has given me assistance by reviewing patches and giving advice.

The port is fully functional. The framebuffer is fully supported, same goes for sound and USB devices (such as an USB keyboard for the console). Only ethernet is missing, currently, as the binary only driver in /usr/ports/net/nvnet fails with an error 5, for some reason. Assistance there would be very welcome.

 Jul 25, 2005 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 titles list
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Xbox/Xbox Games Voodoo Extreme have picked up a list of expected Xbox360 game titles: no word on whether this is definitive for launch or more generalized.

 Jul 25, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Behind the 360 hype
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Xbox/Xbox Games The Inquirer take a solid look behind the hype, asking where is MS taking the Xbox360?.

Connectivity is Microsoft?s new aim and it will be providing a basic version of its Xbox Live! service free of charge to all users. This will allow players to interact by doing things such as chatting and listening to music together, and players on the "Gold" version of the service, which we were told will be priced roughly the same as the current Xbox service, will be able to play games and track stats.

 Jul 20, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 to miss Japan launch date?
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Xbox/Xbox Games According to GameInformer, who are usually pretty reputable, the Xbox360 could miss its launch date in Japan, which would put it toe-to-toe with the PS3:

Unfortunately, we have just learned rather rumor-worthy from an inside source that Microsoft will be dropping one bomb that no one would expect -- the Xbox 360 will not launch in Japan this year. At E3 Microsoft initially touted that they would have a worldwide launch by the end of 2005, but our sources have informed us that Japan's Xbox 360 release date could slip until Q1 2006, and most likely the system won't launch in Japan until March.

 Jul 14, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
The Look of Xbox360
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Xbox/Xbox Games Gamasutra's got a great interview on why the Xbox360 looks like it does.

Lovelady: It's interesting that [Microsoft] chose ?360? as a name, because it was well after a lot of what we'd already come up with. Part of it was that Microsoft sees it as an amazing digital portal, an access point. They wanted something that would be this gateway from the physical tangible real world to the voyeuristic world of gaming. So the idea is that we've got this box that's a containment device, that is containing some pretty amazing power. You can't just let anyone in or out of the portal, or the access point.

So the idea of containment and protection, and even a sense of there being something pretty [powerful] inside this - we've got to make sure it's safely contained. Also, the console has to stand vertically as well as horizontally, so when they chose the name 360, one of our main goals from the beginning was that we had to design it from every angle. There are a lot of products which have one side where you say: ?Oh, that's where they had to put all the nasty stuff, all the connectors and everything else.? And when this is out in the homes and kiosks of the world, there will be connectors and plugs in it, but you don't want there to be an ugly side [to the console].

 Jul 06, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
Cheaters, Cheaters, Cheaters
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Xbox/Xbox Games Bungie's weekly update focuses in cheaters this time:

It seems like almost every game I play involves someone who has hacked their Xbox to run super fast, jump super high or some other unfair exploit. What gives?

Hacking or "modding" isn't a new phenomenon in the Halo universe. With Halo 1, many fans found ways to do interesting things with the game by either using a modified Xbox or some form of "soft modded" application. We have never condoned tampering with the hardware or game code in any way but back in the day, it wasn't ever a huge issue since it only impacted individuals who elected to tweak their own experience.

Now with Halo 2 online, these same types of tricks and exploits are being used to impact innocent players. This problem has become worse recently due to the release of the downloadable multiplayer maps for Halo 2. These maps reside on the consoles hard drive and as such are more vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation. These aren't the only instances of modding or hacking but they are the most prominent.

 Jul 05, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 beta kits are out
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Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft is gearing up for Xbox360's launch, which will hopefully have a number of good launch titles (as well as a hopeful boost from existing Xbox titles): they've just shipped the beta kits to developers.

Prior to E3, developers reported that a very small number of these more advanced kits had been manufactured, but it's only in recent weeks that they have begun shipping to Microsoft's development partners on a wide scale.

Microsoft received some criticism after E3 for showcasing its titles on hardware which, it claimed, only represented 25 to 30 per cent of the power of the final Xbox 360 - while Sony had more advanced development kits for the PS3, despite being at least six months further from launch.

 Jun 30, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
Halo2 Map Pack Drops
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you were a cheapie like me and didn't buy the Halo2 expansion pack, the rest of the maps are now available for free on Live.

Kick up your Live connection and snag them.

 Jun 28, 2005 - 05:00 PM - by Michael
Conker Walkthrough on 1Up
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Xbox/Xbox Games's got a walkthrough on Conker: Live and Reloaded.

So now you can get through it... if all the walkthroughs on Gamefaqs weren't already help enough.

 Jun 28, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 gets HD-DVD?
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Xbox/Xbox Games If true, crazy: <a href=">the DVD format wars may affect gaming. Sony's putting Blu-Ray in the PS3 and it looks like the Xbox360 (or a version of it) might get HD-DVD instead.

At the press conference, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates revealed that the Xbox 360 video may incorporate in the future the next-generation DVD format developed by Toshiba.

?The initial shipments of Xbox 360 will be based on today's DVD format,? Gates confirmed. ?We are looking at whether future versions of Xbox 360 will incorporate an additional capability of an HD DVD player or something else.?
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 Jun 24, 2005 - 09:32 PM - by Michael
Conker First/Second Impressions
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Xbox/Xbox Games Okay. So it's really second impressions; I loved the original on N64.

I'm loving Conker: Live and Reloaded even more - and I haven't even gotten to the multiplayer yet.

Hands-down, this is how Conker was meant to be played. Beautifully responsive controls, no "hacks" to the control system trying to fit the duties of two analog sticks onto one analog stick. The graphics are all smooth and pretty rather than overly compressed and washed-out.

It takes the eyes to get used to a furry Conker at first. Honestly, Rare's fur algorithms work best when the camera's panned back to about 10 or so in-game meters from Conker or anything else. They work well on short-haired critters like the Panther King and the Weasels, but with Conker, the hair strands get in each other's way and the tail doesn't look 100% right when it's zoomed in on.

The humor remains. Every bit of it. Levels are slightly tweaked of course, and there are more enemies (making the game slightly more challenging) but it should all be smooth sailing.

Now if you'll excuse me... I have to see a dung beetle about a ball of poo.

 Jun 20, 2005 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
Halo3 Rumors
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Xbox/Xbox Games Eurogamer's got some interesting Halo 3 rumors, some quite entertaining - especially if they were to come true.

We're told that Bungie is "attempting to maintain an online co-operative component for the campaign supporting more than two players at once,"
I like co-op gameplay, so that's great.
"will have a multiplayer mode which pits players against bots in scenarios that are directly connected to the story of the game."

Could be connected to the earlier but - but still, taking three of your friends and blasting the Covenant to smithereens would be damn cool.
Zanzibar, Sidewinder and Hang Em High will be available in multiplayer mode, but "completely reworked. Zanzibar will be mangled and torn apart as though after the battle, the sky will be dark red. Sidewinder will have four legs instead of just two, with bases at each end. Hang Em High will have a massive tree at its center and the structure will be deteriorated."
I'll be happy to have them back. In any form.

 Jun 16, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
NVidia gets Xbox360 $$$ anyway
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Xbox/Xbox Games In order to make the Xbox360 backwards compatible, it turns out that Microsoft had to license some Nvidia technology.

Last week, ATI European Developer Relations Manager Richard Huddy provided the first hint in an interview with Bit-Tech. "Emulating the CPU [of the original Xbox] isn't really a difficult task. They have three 3GHz cores, so emulating one 733MHz chip is pretty easy," he said. "The real bottlenecks in the emulation are GPU calls - calls made specifically by games to the Nvidia hardware in a certain way."

In order to overcome the problem of games calling upon chip specific features within the Nvidia hardware, Microsoft needed to emulate the Xbox's GPU. Without an official agreement with Nvidia, however, Microsoft would have to reverse engineer the technology, which would have been a "legal nightmare" for the company, said our source.
Well, we're getting closer and closer on the backwards compatibility thing.

 Jun 13, 2005 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
ATI: Xbox360 "Easily" as fast as PS3
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Xbox/Xbox Games The war of words goes strong - Xbox365 has word on ATI defending their graphics chip, saying it's "easily" as fast as the one in the PS3.

Numbers - the public loves them. Bigger equals better. It's one of the reasons Xbox 360 is called Xbox 360 rather than Xbox 2. Stack an Xbox 2 next to a PS3 on a shop shelf, and which is you average punter going to think is better? And this is similarly the case with Xbox 360 and PS3 graphical core speeds, reckons ATi - but we shouldn't allow ourselves to be blinded by what's written down on paper.
Xbox 360's Xenos graphical core runs at 500Mhz. PS3's nVidia-developed RSX graphical core runs at 550Mhz. However, ATi's Richard Huddy, whose job is talking to developers about the company's technology, says that the Xbox 360's unique graphical architecture quite capably makes up for the apparent shortfall between the two core speeds

"That mere 10% clock speed that RSX has on Xenos is easily countered by the unified shader architecture that we've implemented," is the word from Huddy in an interview with website

Dipping further into technical details, Huddy says that "Rather than separate pixel and vertex pipelines, we've created a single unified pipeline that can do both. Providing developers throw instructions at our architecture in the right way, Xenos can run at 100% efficiency all the time, rather than having some pipeline instructions waiting for others."
Of course, the specs are pointless unless you've got a disparity like the PS2 and Xbox - and Sony looks to be closing that gap, though they're making some basic mistakes like not including a hard drive as standard equipment. It's really going to come down to the games.

 Jun 10, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
Vision Game Engine lines up for Xbox360
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Xbox/Xbox Games This will be interesting - Trinigy's Vision Game Engine will be fully compatible with Xbox360 development.

This could create some great games if it's used well.

Tracey Frankcom, Program Manager at Microsoft's Xbox Advanced Technology Group, is similarly enthusiastic about the new Vision engine. "We were truly impressed with Trinigy's powerful technology and their coherent and ambitious plans for Xbox 360. We are convinced that already the first Xbox 360 titles based on the Vision Game Engine will set new standards in terms of visual quality and realism."

 Jun 08, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
Halo, the movie?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Seems obvious enough, but Microsoft wants to give it a try.

Receptionists at most major studios reportedly got a shock with their morning coffee yesterday. According to Variety (subscription required), all the major movie studios' Hollywood offices were visited on Monday by messengers dressed as the Master Chief, the armored hero of the Halo games.

According to the film-industry trade, the costumed couriers presented each studio with a script for a movie adaptation of Halo. The script was penned by screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later, The Beach), who was reportedly paid $1 million for his services.
All of a sudden I don't care about the movie - I just want one of those costumes for next halloween.

 Jun 08, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
"Super Xbox" retailers plead guilty
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Xbox/Xbox Games Once again the DMCA trumps consumer rights - a couple of retailers have had to plead guilty of DMCA violations after selling modchip-equipped Xboxes.

The clerks would install chips into Xboxes themselves that thwarted the system's protection scheme. Once that was done, users could download and play games via the system's hard drive, which was also swapped out for a higher-capacity model than the standard 40-gigabyte drive.

The mere act of voiding the protection mechanisms was enough under the DMCA to pose a legal threat to the retailers, and the Pandora's Cube employees would furthermore pre-load the systems' hard drive with discounted copies of games, an obvious additional copyright violation.

 Jun 08, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 game box art
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Xbox/Xbox Games's got a few shots of Xbox360 game box art for Kameo and a couple other titles.

Looking good!

 Jun 07, 2005 - 05:00 PM - by Michael
Will Xbox360 sell out?
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Xbox/Xbox Games CVG has word that Microsoft is bracing for Xbox360 shortages after launch - but they say it's all about demand rather than lack of supply.

Spin if I've ever heard spin...

But Thompson feels sure that any shortages will be due to huge demand rather than lack of supply. "We feel as a company we've done the groundwork to get to a point where we can do the global release," he told MCV, "and we feel we're going to deliver and have a great Xmas."

And you might even struggle to get your name down for an Xbox 360 - MCV reports that several games retailers are not planning to carry pre-order schemes for fear of disappointing consumers. The current shortages have apparently caused retailers to become suspicious of Microsoft's supply network.

 Jun 07, 2005 - 11:30 AM - by Michael
Conker, Gone Gold
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Xbox/Xbox Games And the countdown begins.

When I pick this one up, I might not be seen for a few days - Conker: Live and Reloaded has gone gold.

Go. Enjoy the pictures. This is going to be a blast.

 Jun 06, 2005 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
The Old and the New
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Xbox/Xbox Games has a picture of an Xbox and Xbox360 side by side.

Yep. The Xbox looked nice for its time but the Xbox360 looks sweet.

 Jun 06, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 for $300
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Xbox/Xbox Games If true, this puts the screws to Sony - Microsoft could heavily subsidize the Xbox360, selling them for $300 at launch.

I wouldn't mind in the least if they did.

The company provided little financial information when it unveiled the device last month, but Patrick Parr and Martin Cecchetto, analysts at UBS Securities LLC, expect Microsoft will pay its manufacturing partners about $375 (U.S.) a unit and sell them to consumers for $299.

 Jun 03, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
Halo3 set for PS3 launch
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Xbox/Xbox Games Confirmation once again - Microsoft is planning to kick out Halo3 just in time to foul up the launch of the PS3.

Microsoft will want to release the next instalment to its biggest franchise right alongside Sony's PS3 launch - just as Halo 2 hit the shelves alongside Sony's introduction of the slimline PS2 hardware late last year.

This move significantly paid off - in America especially - where, in financial terms, the biggest day in entertainment's history was recorded as copies of the game flew off the shelves. This also put Xbox in front of PS2 in the monthly hardware sales for the first time, despite Sony's introduction of its refined hardware.
I don't really care. I just want to play it.

 Jun 03, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 gets next DOA
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Xbox/Xbox Games Confirmed - Dead Or Alive:Code Chronus will be an Xbox360 title.

Itagaki-san reportedly revealed Code Cronus' platform destination in Famitsu magazine, where he went on to let slip that development of the title has only recently kicked off. It's also inferred that Team Ninja's desire to maintain its rep for slick visuals lead to the decision to develop the game on Xbox 360.

 Jun 03, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
DOA Volleyball, Again
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Xbox/Xbox Games Looks like the Xbox360 will be no stranger to round, bouncy objects - it's getting the sequel to Dead Or Alive Volleyball.

Yeah. It's like that.

 May 26, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Peter Moore: "What we have is real"
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Xbox/Xbox Games Another E3 brag from Microsoft, but not without merit. Peter Moore defends the Xbox360, attacks Sony and Nintendo, and especially notes on how they're going into Japan a lot stronger this time around on the design side and the games side:

But there's a little bit of cynicism that the only reason the Japanese developers have signed up is because of hard cash. What would you say to that?

Yeah, the big fat cheque, right? I'm not going to put words in Sakaguchi-san's mouth, but he chose to come out of retirement for 360. I sat down with him at his home in Hawaii about a year ago. We had the 360 architecture even back then, so I talked to him about online, about our vision for bringing people together not only through the console but also the PC and how we believe it will all come together in the future. He doesn't need to work. He doesn't need to be doing what he's doing now, which is managing hundreds of developers working on Xbox 360 projects in Tokyo. But he shared the dream. He believes in our vision.

The fact of the matter is, when developers work with Sony they don't jump in for free. This is a business. So we presented the developers with the architecture, a set of tools, and broad technology support to provide all the Japanese developers with everything they needed to fulfil their dreams. Mizuguchi-san was here ten minutes ago. If he came in now it wouldn't be about the big cheque. He and I go back years. Yes we have financial arrangements, but who doesn't?
This is going to make for a really interesting fight.

 May 25, 2005 - 02:30 PM - by Michael
ArsTechnica: Xbox360, Part I
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Xbox/Xbox Games Ars Technica takes a look into the Xbox360 today as well, putting forth their thoughts on how the thing was designed, and what "procedural synthesis" really means.

Also part of a series; it'll be interesting to see what they focus on for the next part. Thankfully, Procedural Synthesis has almost nothing to do with blast processing from Sega.

Tessellation is usually done by the artist who's rendering the model for use in a game. The model is tessellated so that it can be stored on the game distribution media as a list of vertices, a list that will later be moved into system memory and then into the GPU as described in the previous section.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 can use the Xenon CPU to tessellate curves in real-time. The higher order curves can be stored in compact form in main memory, and then transferred to the Xenon where they're tessellated into vertex data. As with the procedural geometry generation described above, this dynamically generated vertex data is then passed directly to the GPU for rendering.

Real-time tessellation has a few advantages. First, storing models as collections of higher order curves is a more compact than storing them as vertex lists. This is especially true for high-polygon-count models, where the higher number of polygons approximates the original curves better but also makes for more vertex data. So real-time tessellation is another form of data compression that lets developers use a limited amount of source data, main memory, and bus bandwidth to render a highly detailed, data-intensive scene.
They also discuss real-time motion generation and skinning, two things designed to lower the cost of designing every object individually.

If you've got the time to sit and read this thing end to end, you'll learn a lot.

 May 24, 2005 - 01:30 PM - by Michael
Rumors: Killer Instinct 3?
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Xbox/Xbox Games Rumors on Gamercentric indicate that MS may push for Rare to update some more old titles; listed up are a possible new Banjo-Kazooie title, as well as Killer Instinct III.

If the recent rumors floating around the web are true, this may very well be the case as an article on Xbox Evolved claims to have confirmation that Killer Instinct III is in the works for Microsoft's next generation platform. Talking to Lead Designer George Andreas at last week's E3, the article states that the first hints of the game were originally supposed to take shape in Grabbed by the Ghoulies a few years back in the form of an arcade machine, but it never came to light because the developers didn't want to frustrate fans into thinking it could be unlocked.
I don't know if that's good or bad; KI gameplay was always frustrating for everyone but the hard-core players.

 May 24, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 will use emulation for Xbox games
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Xbox/Xbox Games Gamesradar reports that MS is hedging their bets slightly - because the Xbox360 will use an emulator for Xbox backwards compatibility.

Rumors shot down:
- That people would have to purchase new versions of the games.
- That MS is deliberately limiting what old games will play.

"At launch, Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible with the top Xbox games," wrote Xbox Live boss Larry Hryb on his blog recently.

However, Hryb doesn't go as far as to say that all Xbox games will work on Xbox 360, saying only that this is Microsoft's "goal".

"Our goal is to have every Xbox game work on Xbox 360. You will not need to purchase a new 'version' - your original games will work on Xbox 360."

 May 23, 2005 - 04:30 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 wants to get Japan right
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Xbox/Xbox Games The BBC's got word on how Microsoft intends to get the Xbox360 into Japan: they hired Hironobu Sakaguchi to make games.

Under an exclusive deal with Microsoft, he has developed two fantasy role-playing games for the 360 of the type that sell well in Japan.

In a game called Blue Dragon, the main characters have a specific shadow such as a dragon or a phoenix.

The shadow is intended to reflect their inner being, providing them with magical powers.

His other title, Lost Odyssey, is the story of a man who has lived for 1,000 years, which Mr Sakaguchi hopes will move players to tears.

The games will spearhead efforts by Microsoft to grab a bigger chunk of the console market in Japan with the 360.
It's a good move, and the titles look exciting.

 May 23, 2005 - 01:30 PM - by Michael
Robbie Needs to Talk to Bill
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Xbox/Xbox Games After weeks of Bill Gates pushing the "other" features of the Xbox360, Robbie Bach is again saying It's all about the games.

I happen to think he's right, of course, which is why I want to see them have good backwards compatibility.

He's also got his head on right with regards to the market:

Q: When we talked here last year, Sony had just unveiled the PlayStation Portable, but you said Microsoft didn't have any plans for its own handheld game player. Now that you're further along with the next-generation Xbox, would you revisit that issue, and are you thinking about making a portable player?

Bach: No, nothing's changed there. We're further along in the (console) development cycle, but we still haven't delivered a product yet, we still don't have our first Xbox 360 customer yet, so I think you're going to see us stay very focused.

Look, Sony has a really hard challenge. They have to go compete with Nintendo in the handheld space. That is going to be a very competitive space. And they have to go compete with us in the console space. And Lord knows, we think we're going to win there. They're going to have to fight a battle on two fronts, and we're going to stay very focused on making sure that Xbox 360 wins.

 May 23, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
Xbox360 to be PSP compatible?
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Xbox/Xbox Games If they pull this off, it'll be crazy. Mac Observer has word that Microsoft is trying to get the Xbox to be able to play movies from a PSP.

It's perfectly feasible, of course - the PSP's USB mode doesn't really care what it's attached to, for purposes of uploading files.

LOS ANGELES -- Microsoft has confirmed that its upcoming XBox 360 video game console will synch with and view files stored on a variety of devices, including Apple's iPod. The capability, revealed at last week's unveiling, was discussed in further detail by Shane Kim of Microsoft's Xbox 360 division.

"We're going to integrate really well with the devices and content that people already have stored on other devices," he explained. "We demonstrated that you'll be able to access your photos and your music that's stored on other devices, CD players, an iPod, even a PSP."
The question is, how good will videos shifted down to PSP resolution look when blown up to a TV size screen?

 May 23, 2005 - 11:30 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 uses Intervideo for DVD playback
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Xbox/Xbox Games A small Xbxo hardware/software announcement; Addict3D has word that Intervideo got the nod to provide DVD playback software on the Xbox360.

"Xbox 360 sets a new standard of complete home entertainment experience and makes it possible for both gamers and movie enthusiasts to enjoy the best of both worlds," said Steve Ro, InterVideo CEO and President. "InterVideo will continue its tradition of excellence in providing consumers with the latest revolutionary technology in DVD playback. InterVideo is pleased to be working with Microsoft in delivering to consumers a video game console as a home entertainment medium."

InterVideo's WinDVD playback engine is incorporated in over a 125 million installations worldwide for both personal computer and consumer electronics devices. InterVideo's DVD playback engine is available for licensing to OEMs, system integrators and platform builders in PC, CE set-top boxes, handheld mobile devices, and video game consoles.
As long as it plays DVDs in progressive scan this time, I'll be happy.

 May 18, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
Jeff Minter doing Xbox360 Music Vis
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Xbox/Xbox Games Here's a bit of welcome news - when you play music on your Xbox360, you also get a nifty music visualizer coded by Jeff Minter.

Minter?s association with Microsoft sprung up from a freak situation, leaving Microsoft executives and a certain J Allard bowled over by what the magical Minter can come up with. The music synthesizer is essentially based on Minter?s VLM experience, although everything has been written from the start with a fantastic new graphics engine that pushes shaders to the max.

 May 17, 2005 - 09:47 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 will be backwards compatible
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Xbox/Xbox Games Good news.

The Xbox360 will play older titles after all.

Microsoft Corp. said on Monday its new Xbox 360 will run video games developed for the earlier generation of its gaming machine, an enticement to get fans who have already spent hundreds of dollars on older Xbox games to purchase new hardware.

The world's largest software maker also announced a deal to feature Japanese publisher Square Enix Co. Ltd.'s "Final Fantasy" games, which up to now have been a cornerstone of rival Sony Corp.'s PS2 franchise.
Time to go make my preorder.

 May 16, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
Xbox360: what we still want to know
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Xbox/Xbox Games Yahoo carries a story on the things gamers still need to know about the Xbox360:

But many of the basic details of the Xbox 360 still look fuzzy-- Microsoft hasn't announced a price yet or a release date more specific than "holiday 2005." The company would not say whether the Xbox 360 will be able to play games designed for the Xbox, which turns four years old this year.

So far, a few familiar names among today's game franchises have been mentioned as Xbox 360 releases. Viewers of the new Xbox's MTV debut saw glimpses of a new Tiger Woods golf game, a new Tony Hawk skateboarding game and a new Tom Clancy Ghost Recon action game. Yes, there was a bit of Madden NFL 2006 for the Xbox 360, too.
I can guarantee I'll buy one. But I'm waiting to find out if it'll be backwards compatible with the old games.

If it is, I can guarantee I'll be buying one at launch. If not, I may wait a couple months. My entertainment shelf is pretty damn full as it stands.

 May 13, 2005 - 08:16 AM - by Michael
Xbox360 unveiled
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Xbox/Xbox Games So the Xbox360 was finally unveiled last night on MTV; Slashdot's got a myriad of links to sites with coverage.

Rumors finally confirmed/denied:
  • It's got 512 MB of RAM.

  • HDTV support is now standard - ALL games will get 16:9 720p and 1080i support, instead of just a precious few.

  • It's white.

  • Replaceable faceplates will be able to "skin" the Xbox dashboard.

  • A 20GB removable HD will be standard; future space upgrades are possible.

  • The DVD drive supports a laundry list of formats:DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD, and maybe a few others.

  • You'll be able to "dump" movies and music to the HD over a network from a Windows XP machine.

  • The controllers will be PC-compatible, wireless, and the black and white buttons are now on the controller's shoulders.

  • Xbox Live support is now a function of the OS, rather than having to be built into each game.


     May 12, 2005 - 02:30 PM - by Michael
    MS confirms Xbox2 controller compatibility
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    Xbox/Xbox Games MS has officially confirmed that The Xbox2's controller will be PC-compatible.

    "The universal gaming controller will provide a Windows controller standard that helps game developers bring different genres - such as racing, sports and action/adventure - to the Windows platform more easily," said Chris Donahue, group manager of Windows Graphics and Gaming Technologies at Microsoft. "Gamers will have more playing options with a familiar, versatile and well-designed gamepad-style controller."
    That is pretty sweet.

     May 08, 2005 - 05:34 PM - by Michael
    The next Xbox... it's white.
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Pics of the next Xbox snuck out of an MS party, and Engadget has them.


     May 05, 2005 - 11:30 AM - by Michael
    Gates: Xbox360 coming this year
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Bill Gates makes it official - the Xbox360 is definitely coming this year.

    "What will the year of high-definition be?" Gates asked, rhetorically. He then answered the question by saying that it would be tempting to think of it as "this year, because we're going to ship this next Xbox."

    Gamespy's got more, with Gates touting the non-gaming features (has he talked to Robert Bach recently?).

    Gates also touched on the multimedia capabilities offered by the latest Xbox, codenamed "Xenon," comparing it to Microsoft's Media Center PC software. "If you used that menu, when you use the Xenon, you'll see a menu a lot like that, that lets you get photos, TV, Music and all those different things," Gates said.

     Apr 28, 2005 - 01:02 PM - by Michael
    Robert Bach on Future of the Industry
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Some interesting Xbox360 stuff - Robert Bach (speaking on Gamespot) wants it to be all about the games.

    "The role that technology plays is, for a large part, to get out of the way," Bach said. If Bach's comments are any indication, Microsoft's next console, rumored to be called the Xbox 360, will be all about the games. Bach has no love for the all-in-one entertainment devices that were once supposed to be the future of the industry; he's only interested in adding functions that enhance the gameplay experience. For instance, this morning he touted the Xbox's ability to rip music, which gamers can listen to in-game, but which wasn't meant to replace a traditional sound system. He also pointed out that Sony's PSP portable, while a strong gaming platform, had to make compromises on its other functions, such as a DVD player that will only play specially made discs.
    I'm glad to see things like this coming out; while being able to play DVDs and music is cute, I don't buy consoles for that, I buy them to play games on.

    When you start making an all-in-one machine, it may sound cool, but it adds so much to the price for so little reward; most gamers already have stand-alone devices that do the same thing.

     Apr 26, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2's big advantage
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Businessweek thinks the Xbox's big advantage is the fact that it'll beat its competitors out the door by six months.

    Next month, Microsoft (MSFT ) may tell the world when it'll unveil the next generation of its Xbox video-game console. The machine is expected to allow for the best surround sound yet and high-definition TV that could make gaming more realistic than ever. Say you're playing a next-generation Madden NFL game. When a 300-pound defensive lineman runs into your quarterback, the impact -- facial expressions of pain, the sound of breaking bones -- will be so real it'll make you cringe, boast game makers at Electronic Arts (ERTS ).

    The next Xbox, code-named Xenon, is expected to hit stores in the fall. It will be the opening salvo in what could be a nasty fight in the coming year for dominance of the gaming market. Microsoft, a relatively late starter in the business, has scratched out a 17% share of the market for consoles since its 2001 debut, according to consultancy DFC Intelligence. And it's now a significant rival to Sony (SNE ) and Nintendo. At the moment, Sony is unquestionably the market leader with a 68% share, according to DFC. At the end of 2004, Nintendo's 15% share gave it the third position (see BW, 4/4/05, "Japanese Gamers: Tired of the Pummeling").
    I'm honestly not sure who to root for, except praying that the consoles don't cost overly much.

     Apr 25, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox360 pics at Kikizo
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Kikizo Games have an analysis of recent "leaked" Xbox360 pics, assuming they're genuine.

    That is, if you're interested. Ahh, who am I kidding - you know you are.

     Apr 19, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
    Halo2 Update Preview
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Gamespy's got a preview look at the Halo 2 overhaul coming in this summer.

    Dual wielding was inarguably the most important addition to Halo 2's gameplay. Bungie says that dual wielding weapons has proven a little too powerful online, though, which has made alternate offensive options, such as grenades and melee attacks, ineffectual by comparison. Recalling the halcyon days of Halo LAN parties, the designers are making those other methods of attack just as viable in the new version of the game. Melee attacks have received a substantial damage bonus, for instance. Grenades will do more damage, and their timers have been shortened as well, making them much deadlier than they were previously. The poor, unappreciated brute shot has gotten the biggest improvement. Its melee damage is even higher than the other weapons (it does have a big blade attached to it, after all), and since its projectile is a grenade, its overall damage is up as well.
    It's a good read if you're looking forward to it... I still wish they'd put falling damage back in, though.

     Apr 14, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 Specs: 1/2 Gig of Ram?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games CVG's got word that the Xbox2 may have a whopping (for consoles that is) 512 MB of Ram.

    It certainly wouldn't be out of the bounds of possibility we'd say, with memory being a relatively cheap component nowadays. These unconfirmed reports also state that the Xbox 2 will reserve some 32Mb or six percent of its total memory for system components like the HUD and background processing tasks.

    Although most modern high end PCs boast about 1 Gig's worth of system memory, direct comparisons aren't really valid, as being a dedicated closed system, the original Xbox was able to punch above its 64Mb weight in the memory department.
    Keep speculating, guys. I'm still waiting EXTREMELY patiently for word on whether or not it'll be backwards compatible with the original Xbox titles.

     Apr 14, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 may not be expensive?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Goldman-Sachs has speculation that the next-generation Xbox may slip in under $300.

    However, it's worth noting that most hardware launches in the past few years have come in at lower prices than those expected by many market analysts - with the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable being the most recent examples of this trend.

    Forbes reports that the Goldman Sachs analysts went on to say that Microsoft would ship three million units of the Xbox 2, which is powered by multiple IBM processors and a next-generation ATI graphics chip, by the end of the year. The console is expected to launch worldwide during the third quarter, which would generally imply a million units at launch for every major territory, but Microsoft is likely to be cautious in terms of shipments to Japan - where the Xbox failed to sell in any numbers - and favour North America and Europe with larger shipments instead.
    If they do come in under $300, it's a good thing - both for pricing compared to their competitors, and for initial sales. Earlier speculations at $400-$500 were scary.

     Apr 13, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 Unveiling: May 12 on MTV
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    Xbox/Xbox Games This has been floating around, but I still think it's silly: Microsoft's "big launch" for the Xbox2 will be live on MTV.

    The broadcast will show gameplay of future Xbox games, news on the future of the Xbox Live online gaming service, celebrity interviews, and footage on the making of the next-generation console, Microsoft says
    I can hardly wait... not. Actually, I'm in less of a rush than Microsoft seems to be to see a next-generation Xbox.

     Apr 08, 2005 - 11:54 AM - by Michael
    Next-gen Xbox developers
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Ferrago's got a list of all the developers currently confirmed working on next-gen Xbox titles. Notables include the following:

    Rockstar Games (Take-Two)
    FASA Studio

    Capcom - well, possibly Resident Evil? Or is it another project? Rockstar lends credence to recent GTA on Xbox2 rumors. FASA Studio and BioWare just mean some reliable goodness - BioWare especially, since RPG's are their genre of choice, and something the Xbox lacked up until KOTOR landed in its lap.

     Apr 05, 2005 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox 2 dev kit works fast?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games According to, Rare's been boasting about how quickly games heading to Xbox can be converted to Xbox2 with the Xbox2's development kit.

    Specifically, six weeks to convert one of their in-production titles over:

    ?Several months ago I gave a Xenon kit to a team at Rare,? said Xbox lead J Allard. ?They had an Xbox game in development, and they converted it to Xenon in six weeks. It was up and running in six weeks. With the updates we're giving developers now, that same game could easily be transferred in half that time. Xenon is absolutely easier to develop for than Xbox, no question.?
    Well, damn.

    If it's really that easy to develop for, then they may have a major step up on Sony, who are notoriously difficult to program for.

     Apr 05, 2005 - 10:04 AM - by Michael
    Xbox2 to have hard drive?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Computerandvideogames takes on some of the questions surrounding the Xbox 2 with an article on the hard drive possibilities:

    On the other hand: a portable hard drive? Well it's feasible but not necessarily so. Why? Well broadband's so quick now you can share a lot of this stuff over the ether anyway, so why make your HD portable unless you want people to actually physically lug their digital data around or want to integrate it into another portable device?
    I'm betting that instead of having a single, removable hard drive it'll be an internal HD with the ability to plug in external USB2 drives; that would make the most sense given their attempts to plug the Xbox2 as a total-media device.

     Mar 28, 2005 - 11:30 AM - by Michael
    Next Oddworld to be M-rated?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Rumors from IGN have it that the next Oddworld title, or "an" Oddworld title built more like Stranger's Wrath than an Abe/Munch title, might manage to garner an "M" rating.

    The next game stars a new protagonist named Fangus. He's a shepherd who tends to his flock until they are attacked by Oddworld invaders. The gameplay will be similar to that of Stranger with a combination of first- and third-person shooting action. It will also feature the same type of interactive townspeople and destructible environments. As Fangus does battle with the invaders he's also suffering from rabies, which will eventually drive him insane. The Stranger in the last game captured critters to use as ammo and its possible that Fangus will do something similar with the creatures in his flock.
    That's an interesting take; it'll be a good test of the Oddworld Inhabitants team to see if they can pull it off.

     Mar 23, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
    Halo3 Wish List
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Howstuffworks has a rant on what they'd like to see in Halo 3.

    You know, the usual; more melee weapons, defensive weapons, traps, extra vehicles, squad control.

    Personally, I think much of that would get in the way.

    I'd just like to see them put falling damage back in. It adds an extra element of strategy to the game that Halo2 abandoned.

     Mar 22, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    MS: Xboxes selling fast
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Despite Sony/Nintendo fanboy rants, the Xbox is selling so well Microsoft's having a hard time keeping them on shelves.

    Nice to see it going so well for the console; I've been nothing but happy with mine.

    Microsoft said that holiday sales of its Xbox console exceeded expectations during the last three months of 2004, and in January raised its sales forecast to a global installed base of 21 million to 22 million consoles by June, up from the previous projection of 20 million units.

    Earlier on Monday, Electronic Arts, the world's largest video game publisher, cut its quarterly earnings outlook on weak performance of older games and shortages of game consoles that spur new game sales.
    Interesting. Or maybe gamers are finally fed up with the "Medal of Honor: a new one every three months" setup.

     Mar 22, 2005 - 07:54 AM - by Michael
    VGL opens National Halo 2 Tourney
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    Xbox/Xbox Games The Video Gamers League have let us know that they're running a national Halo2 tournament:


    Dallas, Texas - March 21, 2005 - VGL, (Video Gamers League), the first organization to advance console gaming competitions to the level of a professional sport, announced today that they have opened registration for the first season of competition in the National VGL Video Gaming Tournament, the largest-ever console game tournament. Players can register to compete in official (qualifying) tournaments at the VGL website, Halo 2 is the official game for the first season, which will include 112 tournaments that will take place in Scion dealerships across the nation.

    The VGL will offer both team and FFA (free for all) tournaments. The FFA tournaments are free to enter. Official winners will advance to one of six regional tournaments, which will take place in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Orlando, San Francisco, and Chicago. Winners of the regional tournaments will advance to the national championship, where top finishers will receive cash and prizes and the grand champion will drive away with a 2005 Scion xB. All tournament participants will receive Scion merchandise, including beanies, CD?s, and backpacks.

     Mar 21, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
    Halo 2 to get an expansion?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Word from Gamespot is that Microsoft may be planning to roll out the next portion of Halo as an expansion pack via Xbox Live.

    However, of considerably more interest to Halo fans is the entry for one "Halo 2 X-Pack (Expansion Pack)." The one-line listing had no other description or firm date. That said, its presence on an official Microsoft site added credence to the theory that Microsoft cut Halo 2 short so it could roll out a large expansion akin to the Ninja Gaiden Hurricane Pack at a later date via Xbox Live--for a price. Such a Halo 2 expansion could be a twofold boon for Microsoft, adding another incentive for gamers to join its online service and squeezing further dollars from the nearly 7 million gamers who already have Halo 2.

    So is the Halo 2 X-Pack listing proof positive of the paid expansion-pack theory? Or could it be possible that the expansion will be free, like the Hurricane Pack was? It's hard to say definitively, since Microsoft had not commented as of press time.

     Mar 18, 2005 - 07:20 AM - by Michael
    Bungie beats down PA
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Apparently, the Bungie crew kicked the heck out of the Penny Arcade crew at Halo 2 the other day.

    Did you know that this game lasted for seven minutes and 34 seconds, the exact length of time that the Hindenburg burned for? And did you also know that 48% of all statistics are made up on the spot? No? Well know this. Bungie accepted a match on Ivory Tower (an historical weak spot) and turned it into a triumph. An ever escalating atrocity of corpse-humping carnage.

    Penny Arcade screamed as we spewed round after round of humiliating lead into them. They moaned righteously that we were rocket camping rocket whores who excelled only in the art of rocketry-whoreitude. How right they were.
    Good to know the Bungie guys have a sense of humor - the whole thing is a collossal joke, but well worth reading.

     Mar 16, 2005 - 10:42 AM - by Michael
    Metal Slug coming for Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games SNK's announced that there will be a special Metal Slug 4&5 release for the Xbox and the PS2.


     Mar 09, 2005 - 02:30 PM - by Michael
    MS signs yet more devs for Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft continues their acquisition frenzy with Yoshiki Okamoto and Tetsuya Mizuguchi signing on to make games for the Xbox.

    Maybe they're shifting their lineup into high gear, trying to get a jump on Sony?

     Mar 09, 2005 - 11:30 AM - by Michael
    The Register reveals Xbox2 details
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    Xbox/Xbox Games The Register's got some interesting Xbox2 info:

    Xenon, as it's codenamed, will feature ATI's next-generation graphics card and a 12X dual-layer DVD. The system will also have a camera, to liven up online gaming, while the hard disk is optional.
    Making the HD optional is something I don't see as a good move - one of the biggest things keeping me happy with the XBox is not having to worry if my firk ding blasting memory card has room on it!

     Mar 07, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox demand outpacing supply
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Kikizo Games have word that Microsoft is having trouble filling store shelves with enough Xboxes recently:

    It started in December when PlayStation 2 shortages helped an upsurge in Xbox sales and caused supply problems just before Christmas. Since then, Microsoft has had trouble getting back up to speed to give retailers and gamers the machines they need.
    With the number of recent high-profile, good games released for the Xbox and the PS2's aging hardware, this was to be expected eventually. Hopefully they'll keep this up with the Xbox 2.

     Mar 01, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Halo3 set for PS3 launch date?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Interesting rumors from IGN... apparently, Halo 3 may already be in production and a planned release date right when the PS3 comes out.

    Nothing new of course - the idea of launching your big release as a gut-punch to competing hardware has been done before. Sony did it to MS when the Xbox was launching, though that may have been MS's fault for trying to jump into the holiday season like that.

     Feb 28, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 Rumors/Facts on Gamespot
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Gamespot's compiled a handy list of rumors vs facts for the upcoming Xbox 2:

    Rumor: Microsoft plans to release three versions of the Xbox 2: one without a hard disk, one with a hard disk, and one that functions as an entry-level PC.

    Fact: The Inquirer originally reported this story in November 2004, and, given the lack of an official product announcement, we can safely file this piece of information under rumor and speculation. However, for what it's worth, the Xbox 2 triple-threat story has other rumors to back it up.
    Interesting stuff worth reading in there. I'm still waiting on backwards compatibility.

     Feb 22, 2005 - 04:30 PM - by Michael
    Doom 3 Screenshots
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    Xbox/Xbox Games The lovely folks at Activision have sent us a few screens of the upcoming port of Doom3 for the Xbox, including two of some very nice Co-Op gameplay.


    ? ?

     Feb 22, 2005 - 03:56 PM - by Michael
    Area 51 Website Live
    Xbox/Xbox Games Midway sends word that the website for the next Area 51 installment has gone live.

    Midway Games today announced the official AREA 51? Web site ( is now live. Exploding with fresh content, FPS fans and conspiracy theorists alike can now access an extensive amount of screenshots, video featurettes, trailers, character bios and much more. AREA 51 is scheduled to ship for the PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox? videogame system from Microsoft and PC on April 25, 2005.

    Area 51 is the only action-packed 1st person shooter set in the U.S. government?s most secret and secure military facility. The U.S. Army has received a distress signal from Area 51 where a viral outbreak has just shut down the research facility and the automated quarantine procedures have locked all scientific and military personnel inside. A small Special Forces unit led by Specialist Ethan Cole of the HAZMAT (hazardous materials) Division is sent to investigate. As Cole, players will delve into five massive levels within the confines of Area 51, discovering a deadly mutagenic side effect of the virus that controls the minds of those infected, as well as an ancient alien colony buried beneath the facility. With a multitude of human and alien weapons, players must explore chilling conspiracies such as the extraterrestrial crash at Roswell and the faked lunar landing, in order to solve the enigma of Area 51 before the viral mutagen is re! leased and irrevocably mutates all life on Earth. Area 51 will be online supporting 16 players or both the PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox? video game system from Microsoft.
    They've also provided a load of screenshots: I've picked the best 12 for the gallery.
    This is an extended story - Click Here for the Rest!

     Feb 17, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 to suck batteries?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Well... sort of.

    The story on The Inquirer is that the Xbox's original wire length - which was wonderfully long, and a godsend to people trying to fit multiple friends around a console to play games like Halo - did so well, Microsoft is making the standard controller for the Xbox2 a wireless controller.

    This does mean every controller's going to eat batteries, or else require one heck of a charging station in order to keep all the controllers topped off.

     Feb 17, 2005 - 09:48 AM - by Michael
    Xbox power cord recall
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox users, if your box was made before October 23, 2003, you may want to check your power cords.

    Microsoft's recalled the lot of them due to a possibly fire-causing defect.

    Based on reports to its customer service unit and warranty repair data, Bach said Microsoft had observed a failure rate of about 1 in 10,000 units.

    In 30 of those, users suffered either minor burns or damage to property, including scorched carpets, he said.

    Affected customers can request a new power cord free of charge via the Web site, (http:/, or by calling toll-free numbers in their respective countries.

    Microsoft said customers would get replacement cords within 2-4 weeks from the time of order, and in the interim it advised users to turn off their Xboxes when not in use.
    The good news is - no, you don't have to stop playing, no, there's no charge, and they don't want the old one back. Just fill out the form and you're good to go.

     Feb 17, 2005 - 09:28 AM - by Michael
    Conker Delayed?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Several readers (thanks guys!) have sent in notices that Conker: Live & Reloaded (the Xbox remake of Conker's Bad Fur Day, purported to be putting back in all the things Nintendo made them take out) may have been delayed to June or July of 2005.

    Gamefaqs still has it listed as being a March release.

    More to follow if the story gets confirmation.

     Feb 15, 2005 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    Ballmer Brags on Xbox 2
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Steve Ballmer's been caught bragging about the Xbox2 by Xbox365.

    Finally, and in response to a question asking 'why' the Xbox 2 would topple Sony, Ballmer replied with two fundamentals - the first being that third-parties will be enlisted to provide the best games for the system, the second being that Microsoft will create top games to show off the system: "What is 'Halo 2?' It's the greatest video game ever written. It shows off Xbox 1, and we've got some more games coming that will be the greatest video games ever written, and they'll show off Xbox 2."
    If the Xbox2 plays Xbox 1 games, expect it to kick Sony's butt.

    If it doesn't, I expect that MS will be lucky to wind up neck-and-neck with Sony.

     Feb 09, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Condemned coming to PS3, Xbox2
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    Xbox/Xbox Games One of the first next-gen games has been announced - Condemned, by Sega, for the PS3 and Xbox2.

    It's going to be a survival horror game (an admittedly overdone genre), and word is that despite Sega's recently buddy-buddy ties with Nintendo, there's no sign of a Revolution version.

     Feb 09, 2005 - 09:17 AM - by Michael
    Doom3 for April
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Doom 3 for the Xbox, and the Doom 3 expansion for PC, have been dated:

    SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Make a date with death. id Software(TM) and Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI - News) today confirmed the week of April 4 as the worldwide release of never-ending evil, with the arrivals of both DOOM 3(TM) for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil(TM), the official PC expansion pack to what critics and gamers have raved is one of the scariest games ever created: DOOM 3(TM).

     Feb 08, 2005 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
    Batman coming to Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox365 has word that the Xbox will be the home of the upcoming Batman Begins tie-in game.

    Together, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and EA are overseeing all development and production aspects of the game, while EA alone will handle distribution. The companies will lead joint marketing campaigns. The game is being developed by UK-based Eurocom for the consoles, and by Vicarious Visions for the handhelds.

    The Batman Begins film explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents' murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.
    Some really, really bad-ass screenshots on the article as well. It looks like they've done a heck of a job with this one.

     Feb 02, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    The Xbox Millenium Falcon
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Not that I'd buy one, but this is really damn cool.

     Jan 25, 2005 - 01:58 PM - by Michael
    EA Ships Oddworld
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    Xbox/Xbox Games EA's shipped the next Oddworld out the door:

    REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - January 25, 2005 - Rustle up some "live" ammo and head out to Dead Hen's Pass for some serious bounty hunting!...Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS), the world's leading interactive entertainment software company today announced that "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath(TM)," the latest chapter in the critically acclaimed Oddworld series, has begun to ship to retail outlets for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft.

    One of the most anticipated titles of 2005, "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" takes the series in a new direction, combining first and third person gameplay with signature Oddworld humor and storytelling. "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" challenges players to step into the role of the Stranger, a mysterious bounty hunter who tracks down outlaws for moolah. Using an innovative weapons system that gives a whole new meaning to "live" ammo, players will use creatures from the surrounding environments as ammunition to bag the ultimate bounty. With massive environments, devious opponents and hostile challenges along the way, "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" brings players a game experience that can only be found in the Oddworld Universe.

    Developed by Oddworld Inhabitants, "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" for the Xbox is rated "T" (Teen) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $49.99. More information can be found on the game's web site at

     Jan 24, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    School bans Halo 2 tournament
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    Xbox/Xbox Games A school in Puyallup, WA has banned using Halo 2 tournaments as a fundraising activity because of a "anti-violence" policy.

    As a precaution, the boys even got parents to sign waivers acknowledging the graphic nature of the game.

    But the Puyallup School District canceled the fundraiser, saying the game goes against its anti-violence policy.

    "They never really talked to us and told us where they've seen that violent video games encourage violent behavior so I don't really believe it," Alston said.

    But the school district says they don't think it's too sensitive.

    "When you look at what happened with Columbine, when you look at acts of violence against young people, I think anything we do that even looks like we're endorsing violence is not appropriate," said Karen Hanson with the Puyallup School District.

    The district is backing one tsunami effort at all schools. Students are packing 10,000 health kits destined for tsunami-torn countries.

    But the boys remind us that the district canceled Halloween celebrations because they were insensitive to the Wiccan religion.

    "It's just a question now of when do they stop?" Alston said.
    They stop... never. It's a case of school administrators who are on a power trip, boys.

    Gamers, this is the High School in question. Please send them emails, if you like - but be polite! Swearing at them won't help fix the issue.

     Jan 21, 2005 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
    Oddworld Q&A
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Gamezone's got an interview with Lorne Lanning up covering the soon-to-be-released next Oddworld title, where you use cute little furry creatures as ammunition.

    ?We wanted intelligent AI that was more persistent,? says Lorne, going over the unique features that Stranger?s Wrath has to offer. When exploring the world in third-person mode, Stranger (the star of the game) can move at an astonishing 55mph. This ability allows him to pummel enemies at high speeds.

    Switch to the first-person view and the game turns on its Halo charm. Lorne tells us that the controls are a lot like Halo?s, and that speed and character movement is very close (15mph as opposed to 55mph when in third-person view).

    Live Ammo serves as your arsenal when using the first-person mode, and if you switch back to third-person mode, you?ll discover another type of attack: melee. Get up close and personal with your thugs and show ?em what you?re made of.
    Ooooohhh.... nifty.

    Just as Oddworld gave us a new dimension of 2-d gaming that hadn't been done well before, I'm expecting good things from Stranger.

     Jan 19, 2005 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
    Media Center for Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox365 have taken a look at the new media center extender add-on:

    The Xbox Extender takes about twice as long as a dedicated Extender to connect to the Media Center PC and then "boot" into the Media Center environment, a period of time that can be measured in several seconds but is nonetheless annoying when you plop down on the couch and want to get started with some serious television browsing. More annoying, however, is that the actual performance of the device is worse as well: As you navigate around the Media Center UI on the Xbox, button clicks are followed by slight pauses before anything happens. The effect is like Media Center in molasses, and that's not a good thing. Dedicated Media Center Extenders just perform better.

    Microsoft product Manager Tom Laemmel told me recently that the performance of the Xbox Extender shouldn't be surprising, since it's a software product that's emulating a hardware device. And he's right. But I'm curious why Microsoft didn't take the step of copying the Extender software to the Xbox hard drive during installation. It seems like it would perform a bit better. It would certainly boot up more quickly.
    Nifty idea, but since the Xbox doesn't have the horsepower (or for that matter, the HD space) to really exploit this, I think it's a bit before its time.

     Jan 12, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Republic Commando site Live
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    Xbox/Xbox Games IGN's Xbox division reports that the website for Republic Commando has gone live.

    The site's actually right here.

    As for the gameplay... I just don't know. It feels painfully like someone took the god-awful Brute Force, and is trying to do the same thing with Star Wars...

     Jan 10, 2005 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 and the Lie?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Kikizo Games covers the "lie" about the Xbox and Xbox2: the ongoing question of whether it's a gaming device (as originally touted) or a whole entertainment unit that plays games as one of its many features.

    Bill Gates, of course, sees it as the second:

    The fact that Microsoft has told potentially one of the most significant white lies in the history of the entertainment industry seems to be scarcely acknowledged these days. Before, executives said time and time again that Xbox, as a product and a business model, would be purely about games (one example on Kikizo is from an interview with J Allard conducted back in September 2002, "my team is a hundred per cent focussed on gaming"). In fact, it is pretty obvious that it was always the plan to have a "media delivery box" and answer to the demands of this "digital entertainment lifestyle", something the company's Xbox boss Robbie Bach discussed as a focal point of his E3 2004 presentation.

    Gates confirmed in the new interview, "We didn't do Xbox just to do a video game; we did it to be part of our vision of the digital lifestyle, and with the next generation, we really get to go there... as we go into this next generation, it's much broader... for a broader set of people, more communications, more media, more connectivity. And at the same time, we move up to things like high-definition graphics and wireless that the chip breakthroughs allow us to get to."
    Ehh... if it plays games, I'm happy with it. The extra stuff is just that - extra.

    The problem comes in if the extra stuff is used to "justify" a ridiculous price tag.

     Jan 10, 2005 - 12:00 AM - by Michael
    Xbox2 to cost $400?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games CNN Money's "Game Over" column from Friday has word that Microsoft may sell the Xbox2/Xbox Next/Xenon/Whatchamacallit for as much as $400.

    Will hardware prices follow that trend? At least one analyst believes so. Tony Gikas of Piper Jaffray said in a recent note he expects the Xbox 2 to break beyond the traditional launch price for new consoles, which has stood at $299.

    "We think Microsoft will price its next generation system at or above $300 for the base model," wrote Gikas. "We also think there will be a model that includes accessories or network devices that could price as high as $350-$400/system."

    So what about the hard drive? That's a little trickier. Many, at this point, believe Microsoft will opt for flash memory rather than the traditional hard drive found in the current Xbox, but things hardly seem nailed down. It's just as likely that the company will abandon any significant installed memory and will rely on the user's home network to store games.
    My wallet is cringing...

     Jan 06, 2005 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 code name: 'Xenon'
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft has let slip that the code name for the Xbox2 is 'Xenon'.

    Still no hard data on exactly what it'll be, or how much it'll cost, yet... the breakpoint for me is whether or not it'll be backwards compatible with old Xbox games.


     Jan 04, 2005 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 at CES?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Addict3d is predicting that we won't see the Xbox2 at CES this year, that it'll wait for GDC and the big stuff will wait until E3.

    Which would make E3 like the one of a few years ago: no big actual releases, just "here's what we'll have in six months."

    Our prediction? It's not ready yet. The next-generation Xbox will probably be announced at the Game Developers Conference in March, with more formal pricing and details at the big E3 gaming expo in May. Though developers have been working on games for the next Xbox for some time now, the real hardware just hasn't been produced and shaped into true console form yet.

    We wouldn't be surprised to see a video touting "the next generation of Xbox gaming" or something vague like that, which will be entirely pre-rendered video that of what Xbox 2 games are supposed to look like, but isn't actually running in real time on real hardware. We can't completely rule out an Xbox 2 appearance, but it doesn't seem likely.
    My prediction: We'll see some form of actual hardware running, even if it's just a music demo or graphics demo like Microsoft were running Xbox inside looks on in the year 2000.

     Dec 21, 2004 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    XboxGamers Rumor Mill
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    Xbox/Xbox Games XboxGamers have their Christmas rumor mill up again - what they were right on last year, and their predictions for this year.

    The most interesting:

    2005 Gets Dark, Perfectly Dark

    Rare has yet to prove themselves to Xbox owners. With the delays of Conkers and Kameo and the dismal affair that was Grabbed by the Ghoulies, lets just say that Xbox gamers across the world havn?t been terribly impressed with their performance so far. However, in 2005, that will all change. With the release of both Kameo and Conkers, two exceedingly strong titles, and one small time bomb. Perfect Dark Zero.

    Perfect Dark Zero has been in development for over 3 years now, is a prequel to the first N64 game and, will without a doubt be an Xbox 2 title. In its life so far, it started development on the gamecube, then moved onto Xbox and now, has switched again to Xbox 2. Whats more, there are whispers that it has changed its art style from what was previously revealed (cartoon-like) to a super-realistic world to take advantage of the new hardware and it looks highly possible that Microsoft will be using this game in some of their demo?s when they reveal the new system next year.
    I have been waiting for Conker's for so long...


     Dec 10, 2004 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    Halo2 hitting ISPs hard
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Totalvideogames has word that Halo2's network traffic is hitting some ISP's pretty hard.

    Announcing the news, Marc Morin, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Sandvine Incorporated said, ?The explosion in Xbox Live traffic attributed to Halo 2 should be seen as a clarion call?Service Providers need to enhance the broadband experience for these high-end users by prioritizing or reserving bandwidth for games and other kinds of latency-sensitive and feature-rich applications.?
    It's no surprise... the more mainstream the games get, the more we're going to need that bandwidth.

    To me the shocking thing is that it's taken this long to happen.

     Dec 10, 2004 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
    Mercenaries Website goes Live
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Lucasarts has apparently launched the website for Mercenaries, the upcoming game from the developers of Full Spectrum Warrior.

    It'll be coming in January; it's a Korea simulation with the twist that you're not a soldier, but a gun for hire.

    I think it's an interesting idea, but I get the feeling some may have a problem with it in America.

     Dec 07, 2004 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Megaman coming to Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Microsoft Gamerfeed has word that Megaman Anniversary Collection is coming to the Xbox.

    Now if only they'd get some OTHER Megaman games on it...

     Dec 06, 2004 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    EA's PS3/Xbox Next Plans...
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    Xbox/Xbox Games EA have revealed their plans for PS3 and Xbox Next titles.

    The verdict? Sequel after Sequel after Sequel.

    These guys need to find some original (and possibly FUN) ideas, quick.

     Dec 03, 2004 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    Console stocks low approaching Xmas?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox365's got word that not only is the PS2 in a shortage, so's the Xbox.

    People are apparently finally getting off their duff and buying consoles again as the holiday season approaches, likely as gifts; the PS2's heightened buying power coming from the "upgraded" slim-line model, the PSTwo.

     Dec 02, 2004 - 10:00 AM - by Michael
    Xbox Definitive Titles List
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox365 has put up a quick list of every Xbox title currently available.

    Don't worry if you've never heard of some of them.

    The thread is looking for good/bad/indifferent responses to the list, so I expect a lot of "Halo yay" responses.

     Dec 01, 2004 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    Master Chief Takes Flight
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    Xbox/Xbox Games TotalVideoGames has a video today of someone finding a big glitch in Halo2, and managing to get Master Chief to fly unaided.

    Rogue not only assured us that this wasn?t the result of an Action Replay or similar cheating device, but a glitch within the game that anybody could perform; although regretfully we couldn?t squeeze the secrets of the technique from him.

    Although the video was enough to keep us entertained all morning long, Rogue assures us that it?s not a complete secret and has become quite common amongst Xbox Live! addicts ? so if you find yourself sniping on Coagulation make sure to keep check on the skies.
    Interesting... though my gaming group has gotten slightly disillusioned with Halo2, mostly on the "no falling damage" perspective.

     Nov 26, 2004 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    Mod your Xbox controller for the PC
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    Xbox/Xbox Games OCModShop have come up with a handy tutorial: how to modify your Xbox controller to work on the PC with USB.

    When it's done, you have something that looks like this. And amazingly, you don't have to destroy its ability to work on the Xbox.

    Nicely done. If I didn't still have a working Hammerhead-FX gamepad, I might try it.

     Nov 18, 2004 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    Halo: The Movie?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Word over at Ain't It Cool News is that studios are sniffing around the idea of a movie adaptation of Halo.

    It might be good, might be bad. Depends on the treatment and how well they stick to the Halo universe.


     Nov 18, 2004 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Halo2 update on Live
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Hooray!

    Xbox Live's already got an update for Halo2.

    It fixes some 480P screen support, Quickmatch support, and unlocks the "Foundation" map for anyone to use.



     Nov 17, 2004 - 11:30 AM - by Michael
    Wired News Whines about Halo Single-player
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Wired News has an editorial which once again whines about the single-player storyline in Halo2.

    Get over it, people. You've got a great online game, and the single-player on Legendary mode is just completely insanely difficult. It should keep you for a while.

    Besides, in the last one the Covenant and Flood were all just one-dimensional splat-fest villains. It's nice to see at least one of the groups get SOME sort of depth.

     Nov 15, 2004 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox Gaming Woes
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    Xbox/Xbox Games is offering a possible reason why some Xboxes, after a few years, have died with dirty-disc errors: apparently it's the result of faulty DVD-Rom drives put in in a Mexican assembly plant.

    Meanwhile, Slashdot's got a story by users who think a class-action lawsuit is going too far, and think a petition may be enough to get Microsoft to offer a fix for affected users.

    I've already killed one Xbox and wound up buying another. But that was my fault - they offered to fix it under warranty before learning I'd opened the thing up to take pictures of the inside, thus voiding the warranty. And it's not like I hadn't had good use of the device either. Indeed, while I was in the dorms (the first 9 months of the Xbox's life) it was on pretty much 24/7 running Halo.

    Say what you will, the Xbox is damn sturdy. I've had more problems with Gamecubes dying (faulty drive motor) and Playstation2's dying (DVD-Rom drives not built to withstand the constant spin of playing movies) than with the Xbox.

     Nov 11, 2004 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Mortal Kombat: Deceptions First Impressions
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Mortal Kombat: Deceptions showed up a day ago.

    So I've tried it out.

    What I've found so far: first, the controls are suited MUCH more to an arcade stick than to a control pad. Any control pad.

    Second, the game suffers from tekken-style design, the logical evolution of MK3's design. That is to say, combinations aren't combinations because they flow naturally, but because they're combinations in some big table that says "this is a combination." What it means is, functionally, it takes a LOT of time to learn a character because you have to memorize most of his/her repertoire.

    Once I've gotten a few players together to try it out in more depth, I'll let you know. Konquest mode (the RPG mode) does, however, seem very fun.

     Nov 11, 2004 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    KOTOR II Q&A on Gamespy
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Gamespy's got a Q&A on Knights of the Old Republic II up today.

    GameSpy: The original game included really cool short-bladed lightsabers as a usable weapon, are you planning on including any new twists on the lightsaber this time?

    Feargus Urquhart: One of our focuses was to put a lot of effort into the weapon and item upgrade system, so not only will people be able to upgrade the crystals in their lightsabers, they will be able to upgrade the hilt with six different types of upgrades. As well, one of the major quests in the first half of the game is to get your lightsaber. I don't want to reveal too much about the why, but we wanted to make getting your lightsaber an important achievement.

     Nov 10, 2004 - 08:00 AM - by Michael
    Grand Theft Warthog
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Now quite a ways into Halo2, some first impressions.

    The AI, that we thought couldn't be enhanced after the first Halo, has been enhanced. The Covenant are smarter, a bit quicker on the draw, better at tactics; it's beautiful. It's also nice to see them taking the whole "leader" thing seriously - wiping out the Elite, and watching a bunch of grunts break and run away for a short while, is damned satisfying.

    The graphics are beautiful. While they may not quite be up to the level of a PC title, and the resolution at 480p is slightly disappointing, it's still amazing. I won't say that Bungie's squeezed every bit of graphical performance out of the Xbox, but they've come damn close.

    The big feature that'll blow your mind, however, is the presence of vehicle theft. Not Grand Theft Auto-style, but there nonetheless - jump at a moving vehicle, hit the button in the right timing, and cling to the vehicle. Small ones like Ghosts, you'll kick them out and take over. Big ones, tanks and such, you get to pound off a hatch and toss in a grenade. It's a thing of beauty.

    The terrifying thought is that the enemy will do this to you, too. At least twice now, I've tried to run over an Elite, only to find him clinging to the front of my Ghost and kicking me out of the driver's seat.

    Bravo, Bungie. Well done.

     Nov 09, 2004 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    No RE4 for Xbox after all?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games ComputerandVideoGames is putting in word from Capcom that Resident Evil 4 is NOT, after all, being developed for the Xbox, only for Gamecube and PS2.

    It just gets wierder and wierder.

     Nov 09, 2004 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    Halo2 - Absolutely.
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Halo2. Picked mine up at a launch party last night, played about an hour of it.

    It is that ***** awesome after only an hour. Everything Bungie could have done to improve the game, they did. More weapons, new enemies... the works.

    Unsurprisingly, it appears that Halo2 will also make this a profitable quarter for the Xbox division of Microsoft.

     Nov 08, 2004 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    RE4 confirmed for Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games has confirmation: Resident Evil 4 will be released for the Xbox.

    Not that it's a big surprise; Capcom's been trying to get away from the Gamecube slowly but surely, at least in the US. Since the game's a year away from release, anything can still change.

     Nov 04, 2004 - 06:41 PM - by Michael
    Prince of Persia 2 Live! Details
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    Xbox/Xbox Games IGN's got word on what Prince of Persia: Warrior Within will have to do with Xbox Live services.

    Thankfully, though there's no actual 2-player mode, it'll be more than just "Live Aware" as they're including downloadable levels and content this time, including an online leaderboard for "Time Attack" mode.

     Nov 03, 2004 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Street Fighter for Xbox recalled
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Gamespot's got a new bit on Capcom's recall of the Xbox version of Street Fighter Anniversary Collection.

    The reason? A sound bug with Hugo's tracks. Or at least, that's the official one.

    Gamespot further speculates that it may be a chance to implement region locking:

    It seems unusual for a company to pull all copies of a game from shelves by mounting a nationwide recall attempt for what seems to be a noncritical issue. Will the "fixed" version of the title implement a regional lock? Users will no doubt find out one month from now. In the meantime, it seems as if would-be importers will not get the chance to get their hands on copies of the game for some time.


     Oct 29, 2004 - 09:00 AM - by Michael
    Microsoft sued over Xbox disk drives
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Someone's decided that the Xbox is uniformly defective, and is suing Microsoft on behalf of all Xbox owners.

    The plaintiff, Sean Burke, said his console stopped reading any and all discs after less than a year of use, whether those discs were games, CDs or DVDs.

    "The defective Xboxs stop working after minimal usage, after unreasonably, unconscionably, unusually and unexpectedly short amounts of time," the lawsuit said.
    I killed one Xbox, but it was the one I got on release, which had been played pretty much 24/7 for the first 9 months of its life (being in a dorm with roommates, that happens) and then it still took another 2 years to croak. So I'd say it was pretty well built.

    At least as opposed to the old NES, where a majority of the units were in repair shops at around the 1-year mark.

     Oct 28, 2004 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Prince of Persia 2 delayed two weeks
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Prince of Persia 2's been delayed by two weeks to avoid conflicting with releases of other big titles like Halo 2.

    I can't say it's a bad call. I'm guessing most Halo2 buyers won't be paying attention to anything else for at least a week after getting it.

     Oct 26, 2004 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    No Halo2 online Co-op
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    Xbox/Xbox Games While Halo2 players will probably enjoy the game's online modes, some gamers will miss out on one possible item of fun: online cooperative mode.

    Thanks to for the news. Now if we could only find out WHY they didn't run with that feature. My guess is that syncing properly with all the enemies onscreen being processed by two Xbox consoles would have been difficult.

     Oct 26, 2004 - 01:00 PM - by Michael - Fable Remembered
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Fable turned out to be something of a flash in the pan, except for hardcore players who are still enjoying it.

    That being said,'s got a bit of a regret sheet up from Dene Carter, who was the lead designer and programmer on the title.

    Upon its release, Microsoft's Fable cured no acne. It didn't eliminate world hunger, unite the masses under the gleaming banner of peace, or defeat the evils of static cling and ring around the collar. Then again, its developers Simon and Dene Carter and their team at Big Blue Box never intended it to.

    Swelled by hype and fueled by four years' of articles and speculation--executive producer Peter Molyneux once promised the game would be the greatest RPG ever--Fable became a monster with a shadow 10 times bigger than its body. The gaming media took notes on all of Fable's features and stocked up on extra pens in case the ink ran out while writing it all down. Players would be able to sire children. Each battle would leave them with scars. And if they planted an acorn at the game's beginning, they would see that a giant oak had grown by the time the credits rolled. And so it went, and by the time the game emerged as a flawed yet excellent adventure that had been pruned for various reasons, there was a tangible feeling of letdown from those who'd believed every word they'd read.

    "I think any sense of hype occurred because we let people into the development process early on," Dene Carter says, "into the internal workings of design that occur in every development company. The process is entirely normal, but sharing that early excitement with the public is rare.

     Oct 21, 2004 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
    X-Men Legends Sequel in the works
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Activision sends word that they've got a sequel to X-Men Legends already in the works:

    Santa Monica, CA ? October 21, 2004 ? Based on strong consumer response to its action role playing game X-Men Legends, Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that the company is developing a sequel based on the ever-popular Marvel (NYSE: MVL) franchise with Raven Software. The original game challenges players to master the attributes of their favorite X-Men by creating, customizing and controlling teams of four mutants as they embark on a quest to stop the extinction of mankind. The title is currently available worldwide for the PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system, Xbox? video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube?.

    ?For 40 years Marvel?s X-Men have captivated consumers worldwide and today the brand is stronger than ever,? said Ron Doornink, CEO of Activision Publishing. ?X-Men Legends is already on track to be the best selling game in the franchise?s history.?

    ?We are thrilled with the critical and consumer response to X-Men Legends. Marvel and Activision are committed to ensuring that the X-Men Legends series will continue to be a top notch game franchise for years to come,? said Ames Kirshen, director of video game development at Marvel.
    Sounds like fun.

     Oct 20, 2004 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 coming to CES 2005?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games ComputerandVideogames has the story: apparently the Xbox2 will be formally revealed at CES 2005.

    Aren't we great? The answer is 'yes', but now the rest of the world's caught up, industry gossip targeting CES 2005 as Microsoft's stage to reveal Xbox 2 is understandable. Gates has previously used the event to present a near-finished version of the original Xbox for the first time, showing the likes of er ...Malice running on the console.
    Hopefully they'll have a better showing this time.

    Oh, and hopefully they'll keep the console's price down. I'm not sure I'll be willing to shell out much over $300 for it.

     Oct 20, 2004 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Halo2: 1.5 Million Preorders
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    Xbox/Xbox Games The naysayers of the Xbox can eat crow, now.

    Halo2 has over 1.5 Million preorders.

    I'm one of them. :)

     Oct 18, 2004 - 01:00 PM - by Michael
    Who leaked Halo2?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Bungie's been speculating on who leaked the PAL French version of Halo2.

    Responding to news of the leaked version - which has been circulating in various illegal channels since yesterday - the developer said, "It would seem that the French PAL version of the game has surfaced on the Internet." As for its origins: "This is almost positively the work of some jerk in the manufacturing plant who pocketed the game as it is being printed in mass for world release on the 9th of November," the update concluded.

    And the developer plans to come down hard on anybody who tries to spoil the experience for others - or even references leaked material. "A link or offer to give out a link via private media on the forums will get you banned permanently," the update emphasised. "The same goes for any kind of leak-related spoiler information. Further, you risk having you Xbox Live account's ability to play Halo 2 crippled as we can and will ban gamertags from access to vital parts of Halo 2's online experience. We are NOT kidding around here. There will be no warning, no appeal, you'll just be gone."
    Go Bungie.

     Oct 14, 2004 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
    Halo2 already pirated
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Gamespot reports that Halo2 has already been released onto the 'net by game pirates.

    Late last night, 27 days before its officially scheduled retail release, an allegedly complete version of Microsoft's upcoming first-person shooter, Halo 2, was leaked onto the Internet. The pirated release, said to be a PAL version of the game with French-language dialogue, is currently making its way around various Usenet newsgroups and peer-to-peer networks.
    Interesting what they got their hands on - a PAL version in French. No use to players on NTSC boxes of course, and limited use to those with the modded Xboxes that can play it. Still, Microsoft and Bungie ought to be pretty pissed off about it.

     Oct 12, 2004 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
    KOTOR II Gameplay Movie
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    Xbox/Xbox Games LucasArts has a gameplay movie of KOTOR II on their official site.

    Looking good... the original KOTOR was golden. If they manage to improve things for the second one, it'll be unbelievable.

     Oct 12, 2004 - 02:00 PM - by Michael
    Season 3 of Red VS Blue
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Season 3 of Red VS Blue has begun.

    Downloads are on their usual place.

    Congrats, guys!

     Oct 12, 2004 - 08:00 AM - by Michael
    Halo2 has Gone Gold
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    Xbox/Xbox Games It's now official. announces that Halo2 has Gone Gold.

    This is going to be sweet...

     Oct 07, 2004 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Chat
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    Xbox/Xbox Games HomelanFed also has an interview regarding Prince of Persia: Warrior Within today. Focus seems to be on the combat system. First the controls:
    Bertrand Helias - Combat is the main focus of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. We have created the Free-Form Fighting System, a new combat system that will bring new meaning to the action-combat genre. The FFF system allows players to get creative in their battles by giving them freedom to destroy and kill enemies with their own style. The Prince will be able to perform many different combos and special attacks. For example, you can now do a grab and you will be able to combine it with throwing an enemy or slicing an enemy in two. You can also rebound or perform a strangulation. The tree of combat is full of possibilities. Also, many elements in the environments will provide players with a variety of new possibilities to execute stunning and deadly moves: swing around a pillar and kill enemies, use ropes, beams, curtains, etc. to rebound and give more strength and velocity to every move.
    Then the weapons:
    Bertrand Helias - The player will find many different weapons in the game. In fact the prince is now able to use 2 weapons at once and this will give him access to a large variety of attacks. As secondary weapons, the Prince will be able to use swords, axes, maces, daggers and some bonus weapons. Each weapon will have its own particularities giving the Prince several opportunities to kill his opponents. But that?s not all. The environment can be a weapon. In POP: WW, traps can be used against the enemies and it can be really effective in particular occasions. And on top of all of that, players will have the Powers of Time. They will be really powerful and will be a huge part of the combat system. Without them, finishing the game will be ready hard. Finally, we offer a lot of different ways to defeat enemies, it will be up to the players to decide what he wants to use.
    Thankfully, some good news on the Time powers as well - they'll be returning!
    Bertrand Helias - The Powers of Time will return in PoP: Warrior Within and will be really embedded into the fight system. Rewind will stay similar from PoP:SoT. We have also designed new powers and enhanced former powers to make them much more useful in combat. The Prince will be able to slowdown time while he continues to move at the same speed, helping him to defy speed-limited traps and to fight enemies who will be slow and helpless. The Prince will also be able to travel in time between the Past and the Present.

     Oct 06, 2004 - 11:00 AM - by Michael
    The Incredible Shrinking Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Word on Xbox Advanced is that the next Xbox will be smaller, to appeal to the Japanese audience.
    In the interview, Moore said that Microsoft understands why its console had won only a tiny sliver of market share in Japan even as the company's US market share rose to 33 percent as of June. One reason, Moore said, was that the large size of the console was unappealing to Japanese consumers. So Microsoft plans to make the so-called Xbox Next considerably smaller, with a more simplistic design. "We won't repeat the same mistake," Moore said. "The video game business doesn't end in one generation."
    They're also going to try to ramp up the Japan-centric video game lineup somewhat:
    Moore also plans to have a software lineup for the system that will be more attractive to Japanese tastes. The Xbox's current Japanese lineup is dominated by Western-developed titles, and while it has been bolstered by many ports of Japanese arcade games in recent months, the console is still sorely lacking in the one genre that sells best in Japan--role-playing games. The Xbox-exclusive MMORPG True Fantasy Live Online was expected to spike system sales in Japan, but the game's development was abruptly cancelled in June. Although Moore didn't provide any details on what kind of titles Microsoft is planning to release in Japan for the Xbox Next, if he is serious, then RPGs will be included in the lineup.
    Finally, they're planning to beat the PS3 to market, rather than face a similar situation to competing with the two-years-entrenched PS2 on the original Xbox's launch. Speaking as an American, I didn't really mind the size of the Xbox. It wasn't any bigger than my VCR, so there's very little room (pun intended) for me to complain about it.

     Oct 06, 2004 - 09:42 AM - by Michael
    Xbox running Mac OS X?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox-Scene have the article: the guys who actually did it are amazing.

    Mac OS X, successfully running (as a somewhat bizarre compilation) on an Xbox.

    [UPDATE]:The site is slashdotted now, good luck getting through.

     Oct 04, 2004 - 03:00 PM - by Michael
    Ministry of Vampiric Music
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Activision sends us a press release announcing that Ministry are the headline music group for the soundtrack of the upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.

    Santa Monica, CA ? Oct. 4, 2004 ? Legendary industrial/metal music guru Al Jorgensen of Ministry creates the headlining soundtrack to Activision?s highly anticipated PC game Vampire?: The Masquerade ? Bloodlines?. Inspired by the dark, menacing undertones of the game, Ministry?s track, ?Bloodlines,? is one of several popular songs that can be heard in the game, which takes fans into the sinister vampire underground society of modern day L.A.

    The complete lineup of songs for the game include:
    Aerial ? ?Pound?
    Chiasm ? ?Isolated?
    Daniel Ash ? ?Come Alive?
    Darling Violetta ? ?Smaller God?
    Die My Darling ? ?Needles Eye?
    Genitortures ? ?Lecher *****?
    Lacuna Coil ? ?Swamped?
    Ministry ? ?Bloodlines?
    Tiamat ? ?Cain?

    In Vampire: The Masquerade ? Bloodlines, the famous White Wolf role-playing game world extends into an all-new interactive adventure, combining the rich character development and immersive storyline expected in a true RPG with the up-close-and-personal first-person immersion and action provided by Source?, the latest engine technology developed by Valve. Currently in development by Troika Games for the PC, Vampire: The Masquerade ? Bloodlines carries an ?M? (Mature ? Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language) by the ESRB and is expected to release this fall.


     Oct 04, 2004 - 01:45 PM - by Michael
    Halo2 Ready to Ship?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games has a post claiming that Halo2 is ready to ship, right now. Well, er, not quite... but getting close.

    There are still many steps between now and the game's arrival on shelves, including the not-insignificant process of actually manufacturing MILLIONS of copies of the game.

    Yesterday was a total loss ? everyone who was here simply sat around playing Halo 2 all day. There were some epic CTF battles, lots of Assault games and a ridiculously long fight between Artists and Programmers (thanks for booting me out of the game, Noguchi. You just made yourself a terrible enemy.) that ended with a programmer victory. Now I know why Noguchi (programmer) kicked me off the ART team. Actually he has a point. The only game style I can win regularly is Swords. As a matter of fact I have a Halo 2 profile on the Xbox called "Stabby," with sensitivity jacked up to like, a squillion.
    They also advise people to start thinking of clan names, if you're going to join a Live Clan, since the servers go live and names will be getting snapped up quickly starting November 9.

    You guys should seriously start thinking about clans now, since when the game goes live on November 9th, you'll want to pick a name right away.

    But don't just pick a clan and let it languish. If you create a clan, do it because you intend to use it, and enjoy the camaraderie that Clan membership brings. We have systems in place to deal with "dead" or unused Clans. Unpleasant, pointy systems that reek of rust and blood and horror. Think Silent Hill meets Autocomplete.
    Sounds fun :)

     Sep 29, 2004 - 11:30 PM - by Michael
    Xbox2 Controls to be Standard USB?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games The word is in.

    The Xbox2's controllers will be PC compatible.

    The inclusion of Xbox Live functions in Windows isn't news - in fact, it was one of the first tangible benefits to be announced from the XNA programme, which aims to make cross-platform development across Microsoft's systems as easy as possible.

    However, the cross-compatible controllers are new, and suggest that Xbox 2 will utilise the standardised joypad design which Lester and his team have been championing as a concept for Windows Gaming for some time.

    The current generation Xbox peripherals use a "ruggedised" version of the USB standard to connect to the console, and third-party adapters have been made available which allow normal USB devices to be connected to the Xbox.

    It seems likely, based on Lester's comments, that future Xbox peripherals will have the ability to plug directly into PC USB ports as well as into the more rugged ports on videogame consoles.
    Hooray! This is a great boon for PC gaming - and for ports of games in general.

     Sep 28, 2004 - 09:00 PM - by Michael
    Song List for THUG 2
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's released the song list for Tony Hawk's Underground 2:

    Frank Sinatra - "That's Life"
    The Doors - "Break On Through (To The Other Side)"
    Johnny Cash - "Ring of Fire"
    Ramones - "Rock 'N Roll High School"
    Sugarhill Gang - "Rappers Delight"
    Metallica - "Whiplash"
    Red Hot Chili Peppers - "The Power of Equality"
    The Stooges - "1970"
    X - "Los Angeles"
    Violent Femmes - "Add It Up"
    The D.O.C. - "Whirlwind Pyramid"
    Jimmy Eat World - "Pain"
    Rancid - "Fall Back Down"
    The Explosion - "Here I Am"
    Melvins - "Sweet Willy Rollbar"
    Distillers - "Beat Your Heart Out"
    Less Than Jake - "That's Why They Call It A Union"
    Faith No More - "Mid Life Crisis"
    Ween - "It's Gonna Be A Long Night"
    Joy Division - "Warsaw"
    Dead Boys - "Sonic Reducer"
    Brand Nubian - "Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down"
    Cut Chemist - "Drums of Fire"
    The Germs - "Lexicon Devil"
    Disturbed - "Liberate"
    The Living End - "End of the World"
    Fear - "I Love Livin In The City"
    Audio Two - "Top Billin"
    Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - "Soul Brother #1"
    Das Oath - "Awesome R***"
    Libretto - "Volume"
    Handsome Boy Modeling School - "Holy Calamity"
    Zeke - "Long Train Running"
    Lamb of God - "Black Label"
    3 Inches of Blood - "Deadly Sinners"
    The Hiss - "Back On The Radio"
    25 Ta Life - "Over the Years"
    Nebula - "So It Goes"
    Aesop Rock - "No Jumper Cables"
    Living Legends - "Night Prowler"
    Atmosphere - "Trying To Find A Balance"
    Suicide Machines - "High Anxiety"
    The Casualties - "Unknown Soldier"
    Diverse - "Certified"
    Ultramagnetic MC's - "Ego Trippin"
    Camaros - "Cheesecake"
    Steele Pulse - "Born Fe Rebel"
    Ministry - "No W"
    Grand Puba - "I Like It"
    Operatic - "Interested In Madness"
    Mike V & the Rats - "Never Give Up"
    Dead End Road - "Sin City"
    Melbeatz feat. Kool Savas - "Grind On"

    Not a bad list... though if it's like usual, I'll wind up removing half the tracks from rotation or just making my own by inserting a couple custom CD-R's into the Xbox.

    I absolutely LOVE the ability of the Xbox to do that.

     Sep 28, 2004 - 06:53 PM - by Michael
    A Series of Unfortunate Screenshots
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's shipped us some screenshots of the upcoming game A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the movie based on the books.

    Looking pretty good, so far. Enjoy!


     Sep 24, 2004 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
    Fable sells really, really well
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    Xbox/Xbox Games According to GameInfoWire, Fable's sold over 375,000 units in just its first week.
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Fable, the ground-breaking Xbox roleplaying adventure game, has had an amazing start at retailers across North America in its first week of release, breaking records and selling through more than 375,000 units (grossing roughly $18.7 million U.S.). Fable sets the stage for a spectacular holiday season for Microsoft Game Studios by paving the way for titles such as Halo 2, Blinx 2 and MechAssault 2. Sales records are being broken at retailers throughout North America: the game was EB Games' biggest first-week sales for any Xbox title ever; it broke Game Rush's first-day sales record for any game; it is the No. 1-selling overall title on any platform last week at GameStop and is the fastest-selling Xbox game at EB Games Canada for the first week. Fable even grossed more money than the No. 1 box office movie last week, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
    Like they said; look for Halo 2 to top this, probably easily. Still, it's good to see a quality title do well. I'd also expect Halo 2 to sell better over the long term, because it's going to have a kick-ass online component to stop people from trading it in when they've beaten the single-player side.

     Sep 23, 2004 - 12:22 PM - by Michael
    Iron Phoenix to use Xbox Live 3.0
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Sammy Studios sends us word that their multiplayer fighting-game title, Iron Phoenix, will use the Xbox Live 3.0 technology.
    CARLSBAD, CA - SEPT 23, 2004 - Sammy Studios, Inc., a developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content, today announced that "Iron Phoenix" will support Xbox Live(TM) 3.0 when it releases in the first quarter of 2005. "Iron Phoenix," the first-ever 16-player online fighting game, will incorporate features built into the latest iteration of Xbox Live that allow players to form teams as well as organize and host tournaments. These features are ideal for "Iron Phoenix," a video game that combines squad-based play and strategies traditionally found in online first-person shooters with fighting game-style melee combat. Developed by InterServ International, Inc. exclusively for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft Corp., "Iron Phoenix" has an MRSP of $49.99 and is not yet rated.

    "Gamers should be ready for unprecedented single and multiplayer experiences with 'Iron Phoenix,' a game that combines two very popular genres to introduce an entirely new form of game play," said Tim Pivnicny, senior VP of sales and marketing, Sammy Studios, Inc.

    "Iron Phoenix" introduces team-based fighting for up to 16 players battling it out simultaneously in massive indoor and outdoor arenas. Players engage each other in melee combat using a fight system where moves and combinations are dictated by weapons rather than characters. "Iron Phoenix" offers nine weapons, each with a unique arsenal of powerful strikes, special moves, range attacks and combinations. The game brings a new element to the fighting game experience with play modes that rely on team strategy and cooperative combat, featuring such abilities as combos strung together between team members or multiple opponents engaged by a single character's combo attack. "Iron Phoenix" incorporates fight styles from Kung-Fu and other weapons-based martial arts, and takes inspiration from popular films of the genre by adding superhuman techniques and wire-fu. "Iron Phoenix" also offers a single-player adventure where players can uncover weapons, characters and environments, and experience the game's rich premise set in a mythical China and inspired by popular martial arts epics.

    "The game's online multiplayer mode is designed to be team-oriented, very much like popular online FPS games, yet 'Iron Phoenix' is a fighter at its heart," said Tim Hess, producer on "Iron Phoenix," Sammy Studios, Inc. "We know that 'Iron Phoenix' is going to foster intense competition, and therefore we have always thought it essential to make performing tasks like creating clans and populating and hosting tournaments as easy as possible. Xbox Live 3.0 features facilitate this, letting players get to what matters most - experiencing 3D fighting on a battle scale with 15 other players."

    "Iron Phoenix" will incorporate nearly all Xbox Live 3.0 features into its own online feature set. Xbox Live 3.0 offers team and messaging features that allow players to easily form clans and communicate among clan members. "Iron Phoenix" will allow players to form their clan and assign it a special gamer tag so that all members are automatically recognized. Clan members can then use Xbox Live 3.0 messaging features to send updates to existing teammates and even hold try-outs and interviews to qualify new members. "Iron Phoenix" will also support video messaging for those equipped with web cams. For competitions, "Iron Phoenix" will let clans organize and host tournaments for up to eight teams, with challengers and their statistics, as well as tournament results tracked through the Xbox Live service.

    "Iron Phoenix" follows the fate of a set of powerful weapons created from shards of a massive meteor. A legend claiming absolute power to anyone who controls all the weapons becomes the thunder portending a storm; a call to arms for the greatest warriors to gather for the final decisive battles. More information on "Iron Phoenix," including downloadable art, screenshots and videos, is available at the game's dedicated web site, and at the "Iron Phoenix" community at

    They also provided some screenshots, so here's one showing off the action side of the game (click for fullsize):
    Looking good...

     Sep 21, 2004 - 06:30 PM - by Michael
    X-Men Legends Ships
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Activision sends us word that X-Men: Legends has shipped; they also have updated the Mutant Vault section of the website with more material.
    Santa Monica, CA - September 21, 2004 - The mutant battle rages on to North American retail shelves with the release of Activision, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATVI) X-Men(tm) Legends. An epic action-RPG featuring a compelling storyline written by former X-Men(tm) comic book writers, the game allows players to pick and customize a team of legendary X-Men from the Marvel Universe to combat evil and protect the fate of mankind from certain doom. Developed by Raven Software, X-Men Legends has already received critical acclaim, earning an "Editors' Choice" award from The title is currently available for the PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system, Xbox? video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(tm) for a suggested retail price of $49.99 and carries a "T" ("Teen" - Blood, Violence) rating by the ESRB.

    "X-Men Legends is the only game that allows players to fully customize and develop their ultimate dream team of 15 of Marvel's most popular X-Men characters," states Kathy Vrabeck, president, Activision Publishing, Inc. "The game's original storyline is full of plot twists and turns that will captivate players and enlist them in the most immersive X-Men quest ever."

    X-Men Legends challenges players to master the attributes of their favorite X-Men characters by creating, customizing and controlling teams of four mutants in real time, as they embark on a quest to stop the extinction of mankind. Throughout the action-filled saga players assume the role of up to 15 popular X-Men characters, each with individual mutant powers and fighting skills, including Wolverine, Gambit, Nightcrawler and Storm. Gamers select specific X-Men characters depending on each mission and unlock new playable mutants and super powers as they battle the Brotherhood of Mutants and other Marvel villains in fully interactive and destructible 3-D environments. Along the way, players lead teams of mutants on a variety of challenging missions set in some of the most popular locations from the X-Men comics, including the X- Mansion, New York City and the infamous Weapon X facility.

    It's looking pretty good, I can barely wait.

     Sep 17, 2004 - 10:16 AM - by Michael
    Prince of Persia Q&A on Gameworld
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Gameworld's got a Q&A on Prince of Persia: Warrior Within including some interesting stuff on the game's balance between puzzle and action content.
    What is the balance between these different gameplay elements? Well, the story of Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within is the one of a man fighting for his life, to defy a fate that has already been written -so, combat will naturally be the core of the experience. The combat will be very diverse, offering a large variety of combos, enemies' behavior and tactics. But what we mostly wanted was to make sure that navigation puzzle solving and combat would be embedded together. So in PoPWW, these gameplay elements are not built in sequences, but really tied together: you will have to navigate WHILE fighting, chase enemies on beams structure, trigger a mechanism to kill enemies etc ... I believe this unique blend makes the experience absolutely enjoyable
    In some ways I'm a bit disappointed; the early PoP games weren't about major fighting. And I really did like Sands of Time's replay feature, which looks not to be returning.

     Sep 17, 2004 - 10:10 AM - by Michael
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    Xbox/Xbox Games I began my run through Fable last night.

    So far, the game's living up to expectations. I wish there'd been more missions to deal with during childhood training, but as that was the introductory section, I can let it go. I also am hoping to find a method by which I can run my character similar to a D&D 3.5 "Monk" class (read: barehanded fighting)... we'll see how it goes.

    And the storyline's not bad either.

    First reaction: seeing the game now, I'm glad it got delayed a few times. I'd much rather a game the caliber of Doom 3 or Fable be delayed, and come out GOOD, than it be shipped in a buggy or unfinished state.

     Sep 08, 2004 - 10:24 AM - by Michael
    Bum Bum.... Bum Bum....
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Majesco's got a new product page for their upcoming Jaws title, complete with a poster for the original movie. It's also got some teasers about the game's features:
  • Take control of Jaws the Great White Shark with themes and locations from the original JAWS universe
  • More than 10 meticulously detailed, destructible underwater environments, each with unique themes and intense action
  • Unleash real-time damage on intelligent enemies, vehicles and structures
  • Perform a variety of underwater, surface and air attacks with stunning swimming attacks and abilities
  • Dismemberment engine provides 25+ points of disconnection allowing for game characters and objects to be torn apart piece by piece
  • Master a variety of kill and destruction missions plus multiple arena based boss battles
  • Seamless action-based puzzles vary missions and increase the challenge
  • See your victims before they know you?re coming and target lock on enemies from afar with Shark Vision
  • Two gameplay modes: Search & Destroy and Frenzy

     Aug 26, 2004 - 06:21 PM - by Michael
    Midway casts Area 51
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Midway's announced a big-name voice cast for their upcoming Area 51 title:
    CHICAGO, August 26, 2004 ? Leading interactive entertainment developer and publisher, Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY) today announced that it has gathered a blockbuster Hollywood cast to lend their award-winning talents to its greatly anticipated new action-thriller, AREA 51. Featuring the voice talent of David Duchovny, Powers Boothe, and Marilyn Manson, Midway?s AREA 51 is scheduled to be available in the first half 2005 for the PlayStation ?2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox? video game system from Microsoft. ?Today?s top games must deliver a complete and engrossing entertainment experience,? said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer at Midway. ?By utilizing the voice talents of some of Hollywood?s most recognizable names combined with stunning graphics and sound, AREA 51 will deliver a polished experience in all phases on par with the best games available.?

    Cast in the lead role is David Duchovny, star of the ultimate conspiracy-theory television show, The X-Files, who will bring his instantly recognizable voice to AREA 51?slead character Specialist Ethan Cole, a special forces soldier specializing in hazardous materials investigations. Powers Boothe, who currently appears in the HBO mini-series Deadwood, will provide the voice of Major Bridges, while infamous recording artist Marilyn Manson will deliver an unforgettable performance as Edgar, the gray alien. It will be revealed that the conspiracy theories and alien autopsies the world has speculated about related to Area 51 are far worse than anyone could ever imagine.

    The U.S. Army has received a distress signal from Area 51 where a viral outbreak has just shut down the research facility and the automated quarantine procedures have locked all scientific and military personnel inside.

    A small Special Forces unit including Specialist Ethan Cole of the HAZMAT (hazardous materials) Division is sent to investigate. As Cole, players will delve into the massive levels within the confines of Area 51, discovering a deadly mutagenic side effect of the virus that controls the minds of those infected, as well as an ancient alien colony buried beneath the facility. Players will uncover the truth behind chilling conspiracies as they come across the remnants of the extraterrestrial crash at Roswell, alien autopsies, and the faked lunar landing. Cole must solve the enigma of Area 51 before the viral mutagen is released and irrevocably mutates all life on Earth.

    Featuring online capabilities of up to 16 players for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, AREA 51 is the only action-packed 1st person shooter set in the U.S. government?s most secret and secure military facility. Players? online AREA 51 experience will be enhanced with game modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Humans vs. Alien Mutant Team Deathmatch.

    Sounds pretty good - Duchovny it seems has a lot of voice work since his X-Files days.

     Aug 18, 2004 - 11:35 AM - by Michael
    Jaws Returns
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Majesco's apparently gotten hold of the rights to make another Jaws video game. They're doing it in honor of the 30th anniversary of the movie next year.
    In Majesco's Jaws, players assume the role of a Great White shark driven to a predacious frenzy by the sonic emanations of underwater oil drilling equipment. To defend their underwater territory, players undertake a campaign to drive the raiders away while simultaneously solving a series of action-based puzzles designed to thwart the player.
    So let me get this straight... it's like Ecco the Dolphin, but I get to Eat People? Cool!

     Aug 16, 2004 - 02:59 PM - by Michael
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Tycho over at Penny Arcade opines about I Love Bees today; not surprising. Most sites covered it when it popped up in the Halo 2 trailer, and of course Netninja have been doing a good job hanging around updating and trying out theories.

    Tycho's got theories of his own, of course, and they're as good as any other. It's nice to see a company actually doing something *fun* like this with the launch of a title, of course - with most of 'em, and even most of Microsoft's titles, it's "get it out the door and get them playing" rather than teasing and letting people have fun imaging things for a while.

    Netninja's a bit slow right now (understatement!), probably due to all the traffic from PA.

    What do I think? Well there's the obvious timer, the buried/distorted text, the normal wierd text. Truthfully, I think they're pushing some sort of pre-story for gamers to enjoy. Just a bit over a week till the next "Phase" is supposed to happen, so that should be interesting when it does. Knowing the Halo designers as being Marathon makers, I'm guessing what we're looking at is a "Covenant virus infestation that's going to phone home."

     Aug 12, 2004 - 09:25 PM - by Michael
    Fable Q&A on C&VG
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    Xbox/Xbox Games ComputerAndVideoGames has an interview with Peter Molyneaux regarding Fable, the soon to be released long-term RPG title for the Xbox.
    Here's how it started: I wanted to do a console game. I'd never done a true console game, but you can't go onto the consoles and do a game like everyone else, so I wanted to do something different. I've always had an incredible passion for role-playing games and I was thinking, "Right, how can we do something different and ambitious, something that's never been seen before and yet is familiar?"

    And that's really where Fable was born from, a passion for RPG games. It started by saying, "Right we're going to make people feel like a hero, make people feel like a hero in this amazing, simulated world where you can do anything you want, but still play through the story." And absolutely we've achieved that.

    As far as truly open-ended games go, I don't know how much it'll be - but it certainly looks interesting, and has been a long time coming. I'm glad they spent this much time to work the bugs out, rather than letting it out the door unfinished.

     Aug 09, 2004 - 10:31 AM - by Michael
    "Xbox Killings"???
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    Xbox/Xbox Games This just infuriates me.

    Not that the crime isn't heinous, not that the guilty shouldn't be punished. But what gets me about this is the tagging of the crime - "Xbox Killings" indeed. Crimes like this happen on a relatively frequent basis, and have for ages past. If someone killed another person over golf clubs, would it be the "Golf Club Killings"? How about the "Sushi Restaurant Stabbings" or the "Mini Golf Mauling"?

    Of course not.

    Yet this one gets tagged - and yet again, gamers are held up to an unfair light of people claiming we're all deranged lunatics.

     Jul 16, 2004 - 08:28 AM - by Michael
    Xbox Live hits 1 Million Users
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    Xbox/Xbox Games The Xbox Live service now has over 1 Million users.

    They're playing one or another of what Microsoft says are over 100 Live-online playable titles (And I'm going to assume they're not talking "Live Aware" titles like Prince of Persia, which have no actual multiplayer component but just the ability to be paged by friends while you're in the game).

    Though, the "Live Aware" feature is still pretty cool.

     Jul 07, 2004 - 01:58 PM - by Michael
    Spider-Man 2: over 2 Million copies shipped
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Hopefully, this means you'll have no trouble finding the game in stores: Activision's shipped over 2 million copies of Spider-Man 2
    Santa Monica, CA ? July 7, 2004 ? Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that the company?s North American Publishing unit has shipped more than two million units of its Spider-Man 2? video game timed to the theatrical release of Sony Pictures Entertainment?s Columbia Pictures Spider-Man? 2. The game, which is currently available at retail stores, lets players experience what it?s like to be the world?s most celebrated Super Hero as they web sling from buildings, dive from rooftops to the streets and scale the heights of Manhattan, a living breathing city complete with pedestrians, traffic, trains and helicopters. Gamers can re-live the film?s storyline or embark on exclusive game missions as they perform heroic deeds, protect citizens from random crimes, and face off against the nefarious Doc Ock and other Marvel super-villains.

     Jun 21, 2004 - 03:47 PM - by Michael
    Xbox 2 not backwards compatible?
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Ouch.

    Looks like the Xbox 2 won't play Xbox games after all.

    I think I just found the topic for next week's Weekly Musings column. Time to look up launch circumstances for earlier consoles (as well as examine the portables market, where backwards compatibility has apparently done really, really well).

     Jun 18, 2004 - 09:56 PM - by Michael
    EA gets the next Oddworld
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Word from Yahoo is that EA will be the publishers of the next Oddworld title. I don't know if this is a good thing. From the article:
    "Partnering with EA is a major win for us. Through EA's first-rate publishing and marketing expertise, the expanded universe of Oddworld can reach millions of game fans and extend the reach of this distinctive series," said Lorne Lanning, President of Oddworld Inhabitants.
    EA for me has always been a mixed bag - Need For Speed, Lord of the Rings on one side, and a long line of pretty pathetic sports titles on the other. Then again, Microsoft didn't exactly do a great job pushing Munch's Oddysee, so there's something to shopping around for another publisher. I suppose it doesn't matter. No matter who publishes Stranger, I'll wind up buying it.

     Jun 18, 2004 - 03:08 PM - by Michael
    Could MS be rushing too fast with Xbox 2?
    Xbox/Xbox Games has a new editorial up - apparently, Rob Fahey thinks that Microsoft could be screwing up by bringing the Xbox to market too quickly.
    More important, though, is the company's desperation to enter the next-generation race with "first mover advantage" - establishing a strong beach head before its competitors can launch their own fifth generation (counting from the NES) machines. Despite its claims to be delighted with the performance of the Xbox, the fact is that many within Microsoft have been bitterly disappointed with the console's market share. Prior to launch, there was a genuine belief that they would deliver a system which would be neck and neck with Sony in the global marketplace; managing to come neck and neck with Nintendo instead, while both companies are being trounced by Sony's PS2, is an achievement in its own right but not what Microsoft had hoped for by any means.
    He's got it partially right.
    This is an extended story - Click Here for the Rest!

     Jun 16, 2004 - 12:18 PM - by Michael
    Psychic Predictions for Xbox
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Xbox Nation has a list of Psychic Predictions of what the scores of highly-anticipated Xbox games will actually be when they come out.

    A few funny answers, but mostly vague generalities... kind of like psychic predictions in general. I, however, still predict that Doom 3 and Halo 2 will be neck and neck.

     Jun 12, 2004 - 05:52 PM - by Michael
    "Battle Analysis Suggestion:..."
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    Xbox/Xbox Games In the middle of breaking out of the cryo-prison in The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, I chanced to steal a Heavy Guard. Basically, a gigantic suit of armor.

    This is, however, one hilariously smart-alecky suit of armor.

    "Battle Analysis Suggestion: To conserve ammunition, walk over insignificant biological threats."

    "Battle Analysis Suggestion: Do not walk into things."

    "Battle Analysis Suggestion: Use of a more skilled pilot."

    I shit you not, it actually said that to me. Might have been something after "pilot" on that last one, I don't know - I was too busy rolling around on the floor laughing.

     Jun 10, 2004 - 05:00 PM - by Michael
    HomeLanFed interview on MechAssault 2
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    Xbox/Xbox Games Been waiting for this title for a while... nice to see it arriving. HomeLanFed's got an interview up about MechAssault 2, which is coming very soon.

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