Well I finally got around to going back to Wal-Mart (Pawnee & Broadway) to check out the 360. A couple of the other local stores had the units hooked up, but both had the controllers disconnected so the machines were just running the video loops.
I figured that 8am would be a good time because all the little kiddies would be going to school, and sure enough there was no one around at all. I went through the blades or menu system first where you could choose Live, Games, Media, or System pages. Most of the items under Live, Media, and System were just advertisements for 360 accessories, with the exception of the Xbox Live Arcade title Hexic HD.
I played it for a bit and it's a pretty cool little puzzle game, it plays sort of like Zoo Tycoon/BeJeweled. The play field is already set with different colored hexagons and you choose a clump of 3 then you can rotate them from the center axis clockwise/counter clockwise with the object being to match up at least 3 hexagons of the same color. It comes pre-installed on all of the 360 hard drives so if you don't buy any games at launch at least you'll have something to play.
The games blade had all the demos/videos you've heard about, playable versions of Kameo, Call of Duty 2, and King Kong although the last one froze on the loading screen and took a reset to get out. I played Kameo for a bit, not a bad game (3D platformer) but not something I'll be getting at launch. The visuals were bright and colorful, and it's one of those games where you can morph into other characters each with their own abilities. I don't believe it's Rare's killer app though, as I got kinda bored after 10-15 minutes.
Then there were videos for Ghost Recon, PGR 3, Full Auto, and some others, which brings me to the bad. The video's I watched were all squished, I mean they looked like watching a 2.35:1 movie on a 4:3 tv with giant black bars on the top/bottom, and all of the text from the blades, or demo start up screens wasn't sharp. I'm more convinced that either the 360, or LCD didn't get set up correctly when they installed the system. I just can't believe that 720p looks that bad on the King Kong menu screen there were so many jaggies that it looked like the days back when I first started using a 3dfx card. I hope we get the demo units in soon at work so I'll know its set-up correctly, and you wont have to crane your neck at an 80 degree angle to see the screen.
So after much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that I think the only game I'm grabbing at launch will be Call of Duty 2 although I want to see Gun also. A note for you penny pinchers there is an ad in the new Official Xbox Magazine (December 05 issue) EB Games has a $10 voucher rebate on the purchase of Call of Duty, Gun, Quake 4, or Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. I've also heard a rumor that EB will be running a trade-in 2 get 1 free special on 360 software through December, but take that with a grain of salt.
On a totally unrelated note 4 color rebellion is stating that NintendoWiFi.com site is supposed to go live on November 7th. It will give us the basics on how the DS will work online, locations of wireless hotspots, and general online game information.