Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!


360 overhaul and excitement, Saint's pimped, and Saw that.

Well if you haven't turned on your 360 today (shame on you...) when you do you'll be greeted with the Fall dashboard update. It started going live about 2 AM this morning, and adds oodles of new features with the biggest being support for the new accessories (wireless headset, HD-DVD drive, wireless wheel, etc.) and some tweaks here & there for the dashboard. We're almost to November and there are lots of new releases headed out in the next couple months. I'm really looking forward to F.E.A.R. next week, Gears of War the week after that, and other games like Call of Duty 3, Rainbow Six Vegas, and Viva Pinata that I'm interested to see but, I know there's not enough time to play them all. There was a Halo 3 theme posted on the marketplace (150 MSPoints), but I gather it's a free download if you purchase the Halo faceplate that should be in stores tomorrow. I wonder if the other faceplates (Viva Pinata, Forza 2) will have similar offers?

Saint's Row is finally getting a patch (that was mentioned 2 months ago right after the game came out.) which I think mainly fixes multiplayer, and minor problems in single player game play. Just like the Fall dashboard update, when you stick SR in the 360 it will prompt you for the update download.

I finally got around to watching Saw II last week on DVD (the uncut edition was released) for the first time. Luckily it coincided with the theatrical release of Saw III so I went to see it Thursday night when the projectionist was screening it. Part three picks up immediately where part two leaves off so watching them in succession was pretty cool, although overall part three was good it did annoy me a little. It tries to tie all of the movies together by reshowing parts of the first one, and the second (sometimes from different perspectives to it's benefit). Maybe it was because I had just watched the second one an hour earlier (if it had been a year like between the theatrical releases it may have not bothered me so much.) I felt like I was having to re-watch stuff I didn't want to see again. I think this all stems from Back to the Future II while I love the series, part II was the weakest link. I was so annoyed watching 30 minutes of the original over again that it placed part II firmly below either the original or part III in my mind. Saw III overall wasn't as good as either the first or the second, but it's a necessary viewing to get the overall story and continuity of the series. I'll give it ** 1/2 stars.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More on Gears, Cheap points redux, eBay enforcement, and no biggie sized drive.

Gears of War hype is building steady, there was a 'match made in Hell' event last night at the Hollywood Forever cemetery and Siliconera has a report up about the party, as does Gamerscore Blog with lots of pictures. There is also some new free content up on the marketplace, a TV/Movie theater Ad for GoW completely made up of in-game footage that runs about 60 secs. Did I mention it looks freakin' sweet!

I mentioned about this weeks Best Buy ad where you could get a 1600 points card for $4.99 with the purchase of any Xbox 360 game. Well those CheapAssGamers have found that the Gears of War pre-order box will trigger the sale price. Just take your points card, and GoW pre-order box to the front and walk out with a T-Shirt, and 1600 points for $10.72 (depending on your tax rate).

eBay has posted firm guide lines for PS3, and Wii pre-sell auctions. Which basically state 1 auction per eBay account, you must be in good standing (feedback of 60, with a 98% or higher rating, and accepting only PayPal payment), and you must have a picture of your pre-sell receipt in the listing. I'm assuming once the game systems are released, these criteria will be nullified.

It seems the Korean 100GB hard drive announcement a while back was a hoax by some really mean individual. Microsoft has announced that they have no plans at this time to release a larger hard drive unit.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Free Gears schwag, really cheap points, and other ramblings...

If you attended the Gears of War 'After Dark' event at your local GameStop/EBGames (last Saturday) the theme/gamer picture hand out you got is working now. Actually in my opinion they are both kinda lame, the theme has only 2 different pictures that repeat behind the third and fourth blades (plus they are dark and have the GameStop logo at the top) while the 5 gamer pictures include Marcus, 2 Locust, 1 other good guy, and a chainsaw logo. I'm glad they were free because I would be a little upset had I spent the real world $1.87/$1.00 (150 points/80 points) equivalent on them since that's what themes/gamer pics usually sell for. I've never bought any of the themes/gamer pics from the marketplace (those should be pre-order bonuses, or a lot of games unlock gamer pics when you play them) mainly because I've never seen any that were worth money to me. All of that being said I'm liking the Call of Duty 3 themes that were released yesterday primarily the 'pin-up' one (You can see them here (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page)).

I guess that goes right into the points sale I mentioned a last time going on at Best Buy this week. Enterprising gamers have found that if you buy the GoW pre-order box and the points card in the same transaction the register prompts for the package price which knocks the points card down to $4.99 so for $9.99 + tax you can pick up 1600 points, and a cool GoW t-shirt. :)

I got a new cable modem yesterday that I purchased on eBay. The cable guy had informed me that mine was out of date last week and I wasn't getting all the bandwidth that I should be getting. I tried hooking it up last night after work, but was unable to get a signal so I went back to the old modem. I'll try again tonight since it didn't seem like the tech last night knew too much, or didn't really care one of the two. :(

Thursday, October 19, 2006

360 biggie sized, discount points, and movie time.

Gameinside has some pictures up from a Korean press conference today that shows all of the upcoming holiday peripherals for the XBox 360 (ie. 256MB memory card, Wireless Headset, PC wireless adaptor, etc...). The one item on the list that we haven't heard about was the 100 GB hard drive unit, from what I've read on forums there was no price announced. There was a Microsoft show in Canada (Toronto X06) yesterday from what I can gather, and speculation was that the drive would be announced there also, but I can't seem to find any mention of it. Seems weird that it would be a localized Korean thing because I could really use a 100GB drive.

Some deals on marketplace points: Fill in your address at Xbox360Achiever.com and then sign up for a 7 day free trial at True.com (dating service) once they acknowledge you signed up 360Achiever will mail out a 1600 point card to you, just call in and cancel your trial at True.com before the seven days are up and your not out any $$$. True.com will require a credit card to sign up, but won't charge you until day the free offer expires. There are a lot of success stories over at CheapAssGamer.com, I got about half way through the True.com survey but felt dirty so I decided not to do it, but it sounds like a great deal for you single people. :)

The easier deal (although not as cheap) BestBuy will be doing a promotion in next weeks ad where you purchase any Xbox 360 game, and you can buy a 1600 point card for $4.99 (normally $19.99). This makes some of those live arcade games pretty cheap, like Lumines Live (Basic pack) for $3.75 or Galaga, Frogger, Geometry Wars Retro Evolved, and Pac-Man for $5.00?? The website has the offer posted here, but it doesn't seem to be active yet maybe they jumped the gun?

I got around to seeing a movie yesterday (it's been a while... geez) afternoon wasn't to hyped for The Departed, but a friend wanted to see it so I went along. First let me state I'm not much for the 'mob' genre of film, and that's where I had pigeon holed this one based on the preview alone. I actually liked this pretty well, I don't know if its because I didn't expect much or what, but it thoroughly exceeded my expectations! It was violent, bloody, and especially vulgar all good things rolled into a fat juicy ball. The story had a lot of twist and turns trying to keep you off guard I assume, and Leonardo DiCaprio/Matt Damon look to similar to me (my only gripe with the movie).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Home sweet home, cable blues, and maybe more.

Well we got move-in livable at the new house, finally. I'm amazed at the amount of junk still left at the old house though, it evidently isn't even important junk because I haven't needed any of it yet. :) Kids start their new schools tomorrow morning so I have to get up early so we can get there before classes start to get schedules, id's, lockers, etc.

Unfortunately there was some drawbacks I worked really hard to get my computer equipment tore down, moved, and reassembled all in one night only to find that the cable jack in my new computer room was defunct. :( After messing with it the better part of the night I gave up and went to bed. I called Cox the next afternoon after work hoping it was some snafu on their end and everything would be easily fixed, no such luck. I found out my cable modem is out dated (damn) and not compliant with the latest DOCSIS enhancements (so that free speedbump they sent out a week or two ago I didn't gain the extra speed increase). Finally had to set up a service call for someone to come out and check the jacks, as no one was available over the weekend (on my end) I had to wait and schedule it for this morning. Sure enough my jack is DOA, but I did get split off the jack in the bedroom to at least get back up and running until they can come back and run a new cable line. I was starting to have withdrawal symptoms I think, but everything is okay again now.

I guess over the weekend I missed the Phantasy Star Online 360 beta download, and just found out about the Splinter Cell Double Agent demo yesterday. It looks as though Xbox Live is going to be down all day October 17th, although they gave a creative list of 10 things to do without access to Live. They promised some 'new cool stuff', but haven't stated much more than that so I guess we'll have to wait until the 18th to see what it is.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Best Halloween costume ever, and do the math.

I love it! This guy decided to craft his Halloween costume from cardboard, and duct tape (probably a lot of duct tape).

PS3Fanboy has a post where they 'run the numbers' from yesterday's PS3 pre-order madness at EB Games/Gamestop. They come up with some interesting numbers approximately 43,200 units were pre-ordered, 7,200 could have went to employees, and $4,320,000 was deposited into Gamestop's bank account (although that number wouldn't be correct because it doesn't take into account trade-in or store credit that was used).

Moving, moving, mo-ving. PS3 line up, 360 HD, and more.

Okay, I'm getting tired of moving. :( This long, dragged out process is getting to me, I wish it was over, my best advice if you are planning on moving take a week off and do it all at once. This little bit here, little bit there crap sucks especially after 15~16 years, you accumulate a lot of stuff, ummm crap. I'm happy to say we are getting close to at least living in the new house, while everything may not be moved it will be stuff we don't need for everyday living. The kids last day at their current schools is Thursday since it is the end of the nine weeks, so it has 'intensified' the process.

Well unless you were living in a cave the last two days you know that Gamestop/EB Games opened the PS3 pre-orders on Tuesday morning $100 down snagged you a place in line (?) for a system Joystiq has a couple of post about the lines in the west coast, and the east coast editions. In related news shortly after the pre-orders started (and ended 2 mins later...) auctions started popping up on eBay for pre-order systems, it seems most all are being pulled (presumably because eBay says you can only sell items which will be available within 30 days of purchase) and some of the auction posters have been banned, WTF?? Still unknown is any information about Wii pre-orders, although I've read (rumors/gossip/guesstimate) that they will start Friday morning, since there was only about 12-15 hours of lead time on the PS3 announcement I guess it still could happen.

Someone captured the first advertisement for the 360 HD-DVD add-on here. It's okay, but I know a lot of 360 owners through work, and I don't think the approach needs to be that 'urban'. I realize the core (360) market is probably 18-28 year old males, but is that the same market for an HD-DVD drive?

I've been playing a bit more Saint's Row lately, I was hung up on one of the missions (I don't do well driving/shooting at the same time) and was taking a break, but played again the other night went straight through the first try. I can say I now own the Westside Rollerz territory got me a new crib, and some dope wheels. :) I'm currently concentrating on trying to finish a hitman activity, and a couple of these losers are driving me nut trying to find them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

BK on the 360, have it your way! and must see TV.

Gamerscoreblog have posted an article about the Burger King games coming to your Xbox/Xbox 360 November 19th, 2006. I remember hearing/reading a rumor about this early this year, and it looks like its coming true.

BURGER KING® restaurants invite guests to give and get the gift of games this holiday season with three ground-breaking Xbox/Xbox 360 video games available exclusively at BURGER KING restaurants nationwide. For a limited time only, starting Sunday, Nov. 19, the BK® Xbox Game Series a collection of three authentic Xbox video games will be available at participating restaurants for a recommended price of $3.99 per game with the purchase of a Value Meal.

Compatible on both Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms, Pocketbike Racer, Big Bumpin'’ and Sneak King” are based on some of the most popular video game genres racing, action and adventure and rated “E for everyone. All three exclusive titles blend the popularity of BK® brand icons, such as the King and Subservient Chicken, into visually rich, three-dimensional environments that give players of all ages an entertaining, interactive experience on one of the most popular video game platforms in the world.

Looks like a pretty decent deal lunch & a game for under $10, I wonder if they will have achievements? Check out the link above for details on each game, and check out this flickr link where Major Nelson has posted some screenshots from the games.

I've watched the second episodes of both Heroes, and Jericho and find that I'm really liking both shows. Jericho is about a son who returns to his hometown of Jericho, Kansas (not a real town, but the wikipedia entry has some interesting comparisons taken from the series, and applied to the 'real' world.) trying to start his life over. After a failed meeting with his father he sets out to leave again only to get outside of town and witness a mushroom cloud just before he's involved in a wreck. The story then focuses on the town and how they are coping cut off from the outside world as information and clues trickle in.