Thursday, November 22, 2007

Goin' underground, Zune facelift, and it's my birthday!

Last week I drove up to Hutch with a friend and went on the tour for the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. We had bought gift certificates about a year ago before they ever opened, and finally got around to using them up. There is about a 10 minute video presentation (mostly safety related) and then we loaded in the elevator and descended 650 feet below ground. Once we hit the bottom there was a ~20 min tram ride where they explained the details of the salt mine, as they drove through the corridors. After the ride your able to walk around at your own pace and look at the museum exhibits which was pretty interesting. The last part of the museum is actually more of a promotional brochure for the underground storage facility that is part of the area, sure there were some movie industry related items to see (costumes, and such), but it felt like I was watching a commercial.

Overall a worthwhile experience but now that I've been on the tour I don't know that I'd ever go again.

Evidently some of you may not have noticed, but the original 30GB Zune got a update about 2 weeks ago. After the new flash based models hit the scene the Zune software, and the firmware got a facelift. The 30GB system menu now mirrors the new devices with a larger font, and the addition of a podcast subsystem. There have been a bunch of changes on the PC software front end also, and a Zune Social webpage set up.

I'm really liking the podcast support as I was able to ditch another program I was using (you remember Doppler?) and its all automatic in the Zune front end so I don't have to manually transfer them to/from my Zune plus they show up in a completely separate area instead of my music menu. The social aspect was nifty when I logged in and got my Zune card my 'friends' list was already populated (from the 360 friends list) and was surprised to see that a couple people on my list also had Zunes. The software now allows you to do a wireless sync now too which albeit slow does work well. Now all I need is my car to be sync'd and I'd be set.

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday to me! It's always cool when it lands on Thanksgiving (every 5 or 6 years depending on leap years) I requested a 'turkey' shaped cake we'll see what happens with that. :) Hmmm, maybe I should submit it to Ace of Cakes sometime.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More racing, and TV. LIVE birthday freebies, and other 360 stuff.

The second leg of the Amazing Race is done, and the lesbian ministers we're eliminated. I must say that the dad/daughter Asian team is wearing thin, she's okay, but dad is annoying as hell. Hopefully they'll be gone quick enough. The grandpa/grandson team isn't much better, and I really didn't need to see grandpa disrobe down to his 'bikini' cut briefs on TV. Ewwww. :(

I'm hoping the writers strike doesn't effect my shows too much, I was shocked last night when Heroes mentioned there were only 3 episodes left. I was told that just meant this story arc, and some of the characters will continue on in a new arc this year. Speaking of which last nights episode 4 months ago really should have been the season opener. If they wanted to keep Adam/Kensai a secret we could have heard his voice and never saw his face, and then picked up where the season actually started as episode 2.

I'm shocked there hasn't been more series canned this season yet? The only one I can find is Viva Laughlin (did it even air any episodes?) that got the axe. TV execs may be worried that the writers strike would hamper mid-season replacements and decided to stick it out with what they had? Good news for me as a couple of shows have really grown on me. The Big Bang Theory (sad to say, but it's funny), Journeyman, and Bionic Woman have become more engaging as the season progresses none of which grabbed me in the first episode. Pushing Daises on the other hand I had high expectations for, but every week I care less and less.

and where is Lost?

November 15th marks Xbox LIVE's 5th birthday, and Teamxbox has an official announcement up regarding the birthday festivities, and a new dashboard (coming early December) item.

Microsoft says in the article that

As a gesture of thanks to the gaming community, all 8 million members will have the opportunity to download a free Xbox LIVE Arcade game,* available for downloading between 12:01 a.m. PST on Nov. 15 and 11:59 p.m. PST on Nov. 16.

According to Xbox360fanboy that the free came is Carcasscone. Which is good news for me because I don't have it yet. :) It also goes on to state that any 'active' members who were around in 2002 when LIVE started will get 500 MS Points (Yay! me).

They also announced a new feature of the dashboard update would be the ability to download original Xbox titles to your HD and play them from there (virtual console anyone?) though at 1,200 points ($15) they are not cheap by any means. Sounds like a nice idea, but I haven't played any Xbox titles since I got my 360, and don't have a desire to start now.

Target had the Madcatz 360 Arcade stick on clearance a couple weeks ago, but even at $27.98 I felt it was too much for what I've read is a really crappy controller. I was hoping it would hit 50% off ($14.98) and I would snag one for the three Live arcade titles packaged with it. I never found it again though so evidently someone else had the same idea. 360fanboy had a post this weekend saying that Best Buy also was had them on clearance for the low price of $9.99. Happily I was able to score one Sunday afternoon so I'm getting three new arcade titles, and a stick I eventually try out to see if it's as bad as reported.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Race, Heroes, and other ramblings.

Amazing Race season 12 started Sunday night, and the 11 teams took off for Ireland in the first episode. Nobody stands out yet as my clear favorite, although we have the normal race pairs showing up Grandfather/Grandson, Father/Daughter, and Sisters all of which usually don't finish well. My pick for the winners right now is Rachel and T.K. a dating couple from Huntington Beach, CA. We'll see if that holds up over the next couple weeks.

I finally got around to picking up Heroes season 1 HD DVD set, off of eBay. Thanks to a Best Buy deal a couple weeks ago (you got it free with any HD DVD player), eBay was flooded with them. I received the set yesterday and watched the 'unaired' pilot (or Tim Kring cut as the box describes it). The terrorist sub-plot was different, and Parkman's wife was a completely different actress, but it's been a while since I've seen the pilot it's hard to compare. I'll probably watch the actual pilot episode today to see if there were other subtile changes.

I'm still playing The Simpson's Game on the 360, but if anything I get more frustrated the longer I play. Some of the platforming stuff is just bad, you think your going to go one direction but the game sends you off a different way. I'm going to play it a little more, but think it's more suited as a rental than a full purchase.
Call of Duty 4 hit shelves this week, and I've heard a lot of positive things about it. Hopefully I can pick it up here soon as I loved the multiplayer beta, and it sounds like the game is full of unlockable stuff as you progress through. It seems as though it was a pretty big hit I know most everyone was sold out of copies on Tuesday this week.
I'm also going to pick up the 360 version of Scene-It at some point. I tried the demo out with my daughter, but not having my vast movie knowledge held her back, and then we figured out that it was the same questions each time you went through the demo. :( The full version is supposed to have 1,800 questions so I guess it will last for a while, now I just have to get a couple other 'movie geeks' over so I actually have some competition. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween! and more.

Happy Halloween!

Well it's about that time getting ready to take my daughter, and niece out trick-or-treating. Kind of weird since the time hasn't changed yet (you didn't reset your clocks yet, right?), here it is almost 7pm and not dark outside yet.

Tried out some of the Halo 3 Halloween multi-player this afternoon, Bungie added a special "Living Dead" playlist for today online, based off the Infection game type. It was pretty cool seeing a whole group of black Spartans rushing the base, although the games didn't last very long.

My "new-refurb" 360 seems to be working fine, I've ran some games through it, and a couple of HD DVDs. I don't think it's as loud as my old machine, but it may just be that I hadn't had one for 3 weeks so I forgot what it sounded like. I don't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I picked up one of the new "Arcade Compilation" disc at Gamestop. Someone bought the new Arcade pack and traded in the disc because they didn't want it, so score for me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hallelujah! and a Halloween movie marathon.

I was greeted with the above info checking on my Red Ring of Death 360 today! A beloved 360 is on it's way back to me, the serial number is different than the one I sent in, so I'm guessing its a refurbished unit. At this point I don't really care, If not for dropping back into WoW I think I would have gone mad. :(

Hopefully it will arrive before this weekend, putting repair time (transit to-repair-transit back) right at 3 weeks to the day. I've really been contemplating picking up a second 360 unit in case this happens again, a broken 360 rendered my HD DVD player also so I've had the same netflix disc now for 2 1/2 weeks. I've known about the Xbox 360 Arcade pack for a while now (even though Microsoft has still issued no official word although it is street dated for 10/23/07), and figured I would definitely pick up the disc when we got in a used one (only owning UNO makes it a pretty descent compilation). The more I thought about it though I may just buy the whole package and keep the second 360 upstairs, allowing me to watch HD DVDs there by just moving the drive.

I took part last year in DVD Talks October Halloween Movie Challenge last year, where the goal was (loosely) to watch 31 Horror movies in 31 days (although the top person last year hit 170). I thought this was easily possible, but alas moving took a big toll and pretty much negated 2 weeks of the month. I'm trying again this year, but it's going slow again, we're half way through the month and I'm at 6. I even bought the Masters of Horror season 1 box set since I've heard so much about the series, thinking that would be 13 titles right there. The problem is mainly TV, I watch a lot of shows every night and October is usually early in the new fall season so that compounds it even more. The DVR (as much as I love it) hinders this too making it to easy to record multiple things (I remember when I used to have 2 VCRs to do multiple shows at the same time).

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Born 11-22-05
Died 09-29-07

Well it was bound to happen I guess. This afternoon I was playing with the new Official Xbox Magazine disc after work, when things started getting bad. My 360 decided it wanted to freeze randomly while I was trying the demos. It would just lock up, there would still be a screen, but the controller was unresponsive. I had to shut it off by hand and restart the machine to get back. After finally making it through the stuff on the disc (5-7 reboots later) I was finished, and decided to put it some time on Call of Duty 4 beta. CoD decided it too wanted to just stop during the middle of a couple matches, and lock up once when the game was loading.

Pissed, and frustrated I gave up and decided to take a break. After supper I watched a couple of my leftover DVR shows K-Ville (it's okay, my daughter likes it), and Moonlight (I really enjoyed it, but I don't think a vampire series will stick around (get it?) and decided it was time to try some more CoD4. Unfortunately now every time my 360 turns on I get the red ring of death. :( I've been a firm supporter, dealing with all these customers telling me how they hear 360's are breaking all the time. I always say "sure I personally know people that have been through 4 units, but I've had mine since launch and never had a problem". Alas I guess it may be true, all launch units are destined to die at some point. I now get to see how the wonderful repair process works out, I've always said I've heard good things I guess I'll see.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Halo 3 suxors? 360 deluge... new demos, new bundles, and fall TV hits.

Ok, so maybe Halo 3 doesn't suxors, but man I do. I played a few multi-player matches this afternoon and got thoroughly trounced. :( I've found that during U.S. evenings 5pm (EST) till 12am all of the 'hardcore' players seem to be on, and kicking my ass. I mentioned to someone the other day that I have better luck playing mornings (10am-12pm doodah time) as that is European evening, and I'm usually able to hold my own a little better, not like I'm winning matches but usually huddled in the middle of the list. Halo 3 has this cool world map that shows on the lobby screen depicting where the players are logged in from, earlier this evening it looked like the entire east coast was playing online.

There's been some new demos released the last couple days including Crash of the Titans, and Clive Barker's Jericho which I tried out today. I had seen a trailer for Jericho which looked interesting so I was hyped, until I found out it's a squad based shooter. Use a button to 'hot-swap' between members of your team each with their own unique talents and weapons. Ummm. No thanks. Played about 10 minutes before I decided that it was definitely not for me. Crash on the other hand was kind of fun, it's been a while since I played a platforming game, but it looks good and for the most part controlled well. Not a full price buy, but when it drops in price I may pick it up (I still have Kameo that I need to open and play.)

Opposable Thumbs has a rumor up that we'll get a 360 bundle pack this Christmas. Both the premium, and elite will come packed with Forza 2, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance in the box the premium starting October 3rd, and the elite around the 23rd. They also give some new insight on the 'Arcade' bundle (the re-badged Core unit)...

New Xbox Core Sku "at the end of October" that will include a new version of the system with an HDMI port, wireless controller, 256MB memory card, and five arcade games on a physical disc. The games will be Boom-Boom Rocket, Pac-man, Uno, Feeding Frenzy, and Luxor 2. This package is expected to retail for the normal Core price of $279.99.

I've heard this rumor before, but I'm still not buying the 256MB memory card since that size doesn't exist (right now). I can't see Microsoft releasing a 3rd memory card sku, if anything I could see them trying to dump the 64MB with the system. I'm intrigued by the Arcade disc as I purchased the first Arcade Unplugged this one should be fairy cheap used (pack-ins always are) even though I have Uno already, the rest of the titles are cool, and since they're all 800 points the value of this disc is $45.00 (3600x.0125).
They updated this afternoon saying there is confirmation that Best Buy is taking pre-orders for the (premium & elite) bundle packs.

The fall TV season is in full swing and I've been watching a lot of new shows, and some returning favorites. If you remember some of the shows were leaked earlier this summer onto the net, to my surprise when I watched Bionic Woman last night they had retooled the episode. In the 'net' pilot there was subplot that Jamie's younger sister was deaf, but evidently hearing impaired rights groups complained that the actress was not deaf in real life. All the scenes with her younger sister had been reshot with a new actress.
So far I'm really liking Chuck, Bionic Woman, Life, and Reaper. In the so-so category is Journeyman, and Back to You. My guess for the first canceled show is going to be The Big Bang Theory while the pilot wasn't too bad I just don't see it being popular.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

TGS, Lets get ready to RUMBLE!, Simpson's schwag, and more.

The Tokyo Game Show kicks off today, so hopefully we will see some cool stuff before it's over. TGS is the Japanese version of (the old) E3, except the way I understand it has a couple 'press only' days, then is open to the public. A lot of the stuff we'll see is not focused to the western audience, but there may be some highlights that are of interest to us.

IGN let the cat out of the bag this morning, when at a Tokyo Game Show preshow press event they noticed Burnout Paradise (PS3) was rumbling. Yes, it seems that the loss of rumble wasn't so 'last gen' after all. The new Burnout game will be the first PS3 title to support it. I think this is a good thing, because the PS3 controller always felt to light to me.


Team Xbox posted that EA had announced the preorder campaign for The Simpson's Game. Certain retailers (GameStop, Target, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart) will each have an exclusive preorder poster depicting one of the games 'spoof' levels, and include a code on the back to unlock stuff within the game. The news piece is a little vague , but it seems as though the "Homerball" (above) will be available in limited quantities also.

Every since hearing that the game will ship with 6 different covers (1 for each console version) which I thought was a cool idea, after watching numerous videos I'm really excited for this game. I'm definitely getting the 360 version, but finding out the DS version includes a 'pet Homer' function I may buy it as well.

I'm torn now on picking up the Legendary Halo 3 edition set I have preordered. I keep asking myself if I really need a helmet stand, and 3 extra DVDs I'll probably never watch (and if I do never more than once)? Tuesday is the big day and it seems as though a lot of people are really excited, so it should be a fun filled week at work. :)

I caught War last week, the movie with Jason Stateham, and Jet Li. Pretty decent action flick, with some really cool stunts. I feel that they went out of their way to provide a twist ending, that I didn't see coming, but don't know if it was necessary either.

Looking forward to Resident Evil: Extinction this week, and Good Luck Chuck looks funny. Next week TV kicks into the new Fall season Heroes shows up next Monday along with a slew of other shows. Happy days are here again.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Your grades stink, no games for you!, and more.

In a bizarre story WFAA (Channel 8 Dallas/Ft. Worth) ran a story about Brandon Scott manager of a Gamestop store in south Dallas, refusing to sell kids video games unless they bring in their parents, to say they are doing well in school. Um.... Yeah.

Still enjoying the Call of Duty 4 beta on the 360. I really like the skill up unlockables, and challenge upgrades you can 'win' as you level up. Gamestop is evidently giving out tokens now if you pre-order the game. It seems as though you need to give them your e-mail address, and you will receive the code in your inbox. Evidently the pre-order acknowledgement is going to be a new thing, as I got a 'Thanks for your reserve' note on my daughters copy of My Sims a couple days after placing the pre-order.

There is a Spiderman Friend or Foe demo up in the marketplace, and I played through it this evening. It seems to be a big co-op game where one person controls Spidey, and the other controls a sidekick (a select group of 16 villains I believe). You can play solo and use a button to switch between characters, but that got old pretty quick. I had my daughter jump in as Venom and then it plays more like a side scrolling beat-em up. Looks pretty good, but not a must buy for me.

Still looking forward to Eternal Sonata coming up soon. I need to finish my way through BioShock, as a customer came in the other day and almost blurted out the ending. :( I managed to stop him though, I'm guessing he got the hint when I plugged my ears and started mumbling "La-La-La-La-La" :)

We went to the State Fair last Saturday. Nothing too impressive this year, going back this Saturday night for a concert (would've been there Friday night also if Alice Cooper hadn't canceled! boo!).

Monday, September 03, 2007

360 boxes, beta and a PC'un too.

Halo 3 themed 360

I found that close-up picture of the Halo 3 themed 360, and I must say that seeing the detail (like the worn look around the edges of the machine) it looks a lot better than I originally thought. You wouldn't ever want to change that faceplate though as it would look really dumb with a woodgrain, or Viva Pinata (for example) faceplate on it. I also don't understand why it's not coming with a 120GB drive maybe they figured it wouldn't sell at the higher price point?

I downloaded the Call of Duty 4 beta tonight, and after about 2 hours with it I can say Wow! There are 3 maps available in the multiplayer beta (a la Halo), and I easily prefer Overgrown a bombed out rural farm, buildings, and creek bed which is weird because it's the one that could almost be part of any of the older COD games. My second choice would be Crash which is a Black Hawk Downesqe middle east war torn town, with cobblestone streets, and a downed helicopter in the middle. The close quarters fighting is done on Vacant a delapatated warehouse and the surrounding area, which is probably my least favorite because its so frantic.

The graphics are amazing, and I like the promotion leveling system where as you raise in rank you unlock new classes, weapons, and more. I'm really looking forward to this now as it was really easy just to drop in and play (not that I'm very good at it, but by the time I was done I was getting better). Some shots taken from the Official 360 Hi Def Gaming Pics thread at TeamXbox to make you happy!

I also got around to trying out the demo for World in Conflict a PC RTS game coming out pretty quick. It looks really beautiful (of course I'm still giddy when it sets all my graphic options to the highest levels) and it runs smooth. Unlike C&C where you control your army against an opponent, the first couple levels in WiC your just commanding your squads as part of a bigger picture. You can still call in equipment drops (basically your build menu), and at times support (like air strikes, and artillary), but there is so much going on including objectives, secondary objectives that I felt a little overwhelmed. I'm definitely going to play with it some more before as I really like the premise, and presentation.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Halloween redux...

Just got back from Halloween sneak preview. Um yeah, I haven't seen any of the other Rob Zombie movies and now I may know why. This should have been titled white trash Halloween, I mean no wonder Michael started killing all these people. His mother is a pole dancer, step dad's a crippled bum, and older sister is a slut. This family seems really out of place in Haddonfield Illinois, unless it's a lot closer to Alabama than I remember. I guess it's somewhat faithful to the original (story lines) although there is a lot more deaths, and nudity in this one. We do get a lot more of Michael's back story here, where probably the first 30-45 minutes of the movie deal with him at age 10. It's okay **1/2, do I still prefer the original? Definitely.

I took my son (he's 17 and I debated a while before I let him go) although I know I started watching R rated features when I was probably around 15. What I don't get was the stupid sh*ts that took their freaking 5-6 year old kids, what's up with that? :( Do you not know what the movie is about? or you just don't care is that it?

Airborne, Labor Day sale, movies, and so much more...

Medal of Honor : Airborne (from now on MoHA) has been on my 'anticipation' radar for a while now. I've seen some video coverage, and listened to some podcast (GamerTag Radio, and Achievement Junkie) where they talked about the game. It sounded like a great experience, not having to follow a preset path through the missions. By parachuting in you basically could create your own 'spawn' location anywhere on the map, and then go through the mission however you wanted.

I was eagerly awaiting the demo on Xbox LIVE so I could give it a try, and see if it fulfilled by expectations. The demo finally hit last week (amongst an onslaught of demo goodness) after a snag at Microsoft certification, while the PC demo had hit early in the week I almost grabbed it unsure of when the 360 version would hit.

Unfortunately my expectations were too high, while I did enjoy the demo, I got frustrated by the fact that no matter where I started I ended up in the same alley (getting killed) while trying to get to one of the objectives. I'm hoping I just wasn't grasping the parachute mechanic because no matter what I did, I always ended up in one of four areas of the center of the map. I had envisioned being able to pinpoint where I wanted to go anywhere in the level and proceeding from there, but that wasn't the case.

I also didn't feel that the guns did enough damage. I started with a basic payload (machine gun, rifle, and pistol) for the mission, and could freely swap between them. It would take multiple rounds even from the machine gun, and I couldn't even pull off head shots with 1 round from the rifle (I realize some may be my lack of skill, but come on). I did however like the fact that focusing on a weapon, after using it a while you are granted 'upgrades' to that specific weapon. All in all after about an hour with the demo I was pretty jaded about the whole experience and it had sunk on my must buy list. Then imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from Godfree @ Gamertag Radio saying that I had won a copy of MoHA in their contest from episode #109. :) I'm again looking forward to playing, and hoping that maybe the tutorial will give some insight on the play mechanics or at least I'll be able to go through the manual. As an added bonus it looks like EA/Microsoft are giving away a bunch of MoHA prizes in Operation LIVE Jump the weekend after release, playing against some of the developers, and PMS Clan.

It seems Microsoft is having a little Labor Day Sale on Xbox LIVE Arcade titles. Four titles will be on sale for 1/2 price for 48 hours (7pm Saturday-6:59pm Monday doodah time) these include Zuma Deluxe, and Small Arms for 400 points ($5 regularly $10) and Gauntlet, and Dig Dug for 200 points ($2.50 regularly $5). I'm definitely down for Zuma Deluxe, and probably Gauntlet (played the heck out of it in the arcade). I'm going to have to read up on Small Arms again but I think the reviews were pretty decent when it came out.

Decided to go to a movie this afternoon so I went to see Invasion starring Daniel Craig, and Nicole Kidman. I had caught the preview for it a while back and forgot that it started a couple weeks ago. According to IMDB this was originally under the working title Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and was finished in early 2006. The studio didn't like the finished cut, so in 2007 it "underwent massive re-shooting" with the Wachowski brothers (Matrix ring a bell) to do script rewrites. What were left with isn't a bad movie, but it's not great either, I had the feeling I was watching an X-Files episode without Mulder & Scully. It's a body snatchers movie, but how many of them do we need? **1/2

I'm going to a sneak of Halloween tonight so I'm hoping the Rob Zombie remake fares a little better.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Change of venue, BioShocked!, and locked underachievements...

I changed work venues this week, still working for the same company just a different location. All in all it wasn't a bad move, more money (always nice), just a bit farther to drive, and I knew (or had at least talked to) most of the staff before. I've been used to somewhat of more organized location, so it will take a while to adjust, or hopefully achieve a happy medium.

Have you picked up BioShock yet? The game is amazing, if you haven't already heard me mention that. I assume not quite half way through yet, but with the job shuffle my days off were early this week so unfortunately I haven't had much time to play the last couple evenings. It seems to be selling really well, and a lot of people have been asking about it since Tuesday.

Wow, was my first reaction. has introduced a '360'centric pair of women's underwear. Would the unlocked version been too sluty?

Product_Images/40ea26816493.jpg @
Achievement Locked underwear design @ ©

Monday, August 13, 2007

More TV previews, and BioShock roxerz!

I got around to watching the first episode of Sarah Connor Chronicles which is a 'flashback' if you will into the Terminator franchise unfolding after the events of Terminator 2 while John is a teenager. I had watched the panel discussion from Comic Con on the LIVE marketplace so I knew what to expect, Sarah and John are always on the run trying to stay one step ahead of a government agent (sent after her escape from the looney bin), and terminators sent back to destroy John. Along the way they get help from Cameron another terminator unit sent back to protect John, but find they didn't successfully stop SkyNet (in T2). I wasn't 'hooked' as with Pushing Daisies or Reaper, maybe because it was really late, but I'll still tune in at least the first couple episodes to see if I like it more.

There was a big 'teaser' over the weekend that the premiere BioShock trailer would be aired exclusively on SPIKE during the Kill Point episode last night. Then they added that there would be a 'special announcement' immediately after the trailer, which had the forums buzzing. As most everyone suspected it was the release of a demo on the LIVE marketplace @ 8:45pm (doodah time). I fired up the console, and when I checked around 11pm I was at 25%. :( I finally gave up and went to bed hoping that it would be done by this morning. Luckily it was, and about 1 hour and half later I had played through the demo. It is amazing! If you have any interest in FPS games download it now and try it out, it has some RPG type elements to it as well. The art style, and graphics are amazing (the water effects are phenomenal) as is the storyline so far. Garnett had 'gushed' about the game on the last 1UPYours podcast, and I thought maybe he was laying it on a little thick, but no. I was already hyped for this game, but the demo sealed it I can't wait until the 21st now.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The fall TV season is like a torrent upon us, yo.

I just got done watching the series premieres of Pushing Daisies, and Reaper (man, sometimes you got to love the Internet).

I was pretty psyched for PD anyway just from the previews, and the content from Comic Con 2007 that was up on Xbox LIVE. It plays like a cross between Dead Like Me, and I even gather a bit of Tru Calling set in a Dr. Seuss colored world. Ned can touch dead people and bring them back to life, but only for a minute otherwise someone else has to take their place, and if he touches them again they die forever. It plays pretty much as I expected with it's glossy candy coating saturating Ned's world, it looks really distinct, but I could do with a little less of the voice over narration. I will be tuning in to catch it again on ABC this fall.

In the other corner was Reaper which I've only recently found out about via an article in the Eagle. Sam just turned 21, and finds his parents made a pact with the devil before he was born for his soul on his 21st birthday. Now he's officially a 'bounty hunter' for Satan charged with returning escaped souls back to hell. Billed as a horror-comedy it plays like Shaun of the Dead, and should not be surprising as it's directed by Kevin Smith it was funny as hell.

Next up will be The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and The Bionic Woman premieres, so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Listen to my Ultimatum.

Just got back from The Bourne Ultimatum movie. It was just what I expected, since I've seen the other two films, and it pretty neatly tied up his search for his identity.

While the action scenes were good I felt there was a little too much 'hand-held' action footage. I realize it was supposed to quick paced, and frantic but a little goes a long way. I like to be able to focus on the action in the scene, but when the camera is bobbing all over the place that makes it extremely difficult to follow.

I enjoyed the story (and resolution) though I would highly recommend watching The Bourne Supremacy right before going to see this. It played as more of a straight continuation of the story line, rather than a stand alone chapter. There are a lot of flashbacks to the other films, and I don't believe a person that hadn't seen either of the other two would be able to follow the story very well.

All in all, as a fan of the franchise it was very good, and watching the series back-to-back would be exceptional. On it's own merit though, I'm still giving my nod to Die Hard, Live Free as the best action flick so far this year.

I did get around to trying the demo for Stranglehold last night (despite the freaky thunderstorm) and was pretty impressed. The action sequences, and visuals were awesome, though I wonder if it would get too repetitive over the course of the game? I was particularly taken with using stuff in the enviroment to take out bad guys, weather it was blowing up a propane tank, or dropping a neon sign on their head. The amount of interactivity from the crates, fruit, or tables that liter the first level was great too. I don't know if I would be willing to pay full retail for this considering it comes out along side Blue Dragon, Stuntman Ignition, and Tiger Woods 08. If anything it really made me want to watch Hard Boiled.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Superbad, and random thoughts abound.

I just got back from a sneak for Superbad a teenage (sex) comedy where a trio of friends are trying to make their last couple weeks of high school the best ever. It was co-wrote by Seth Rogen (Ben from Knocked Up, and Cal from 40 Year Old Virgin) so you pretty much know what your in for.
I caught Ebert & Roeper's review segment last week, and was a bit shocked that they both gave it 'thumbs up'. A teen sex comedy just doesn't seem like it would be a big hit with the critics, and this movie pulls no punches. It's rated R for a variety of reasons including "pervasive crude and sexual content, strong language, drinking, some drug use and a fantasy/comic violent image - all involving teens". That's all in there but a appalling lack nudity (unless you consider numerous drawings of the male unit nudity) except for a picture on the cover of a smut mag at the local convenience store. It brought back a flood of memories of such great films as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Porky's, and most recently the American Pie franchise.
I don't know if it would make a good date movie (definitely not a first date), but the girls in the audience seemed to be laughing just as much as the guys were.

I gather that the Stranglehold demo has graced the LIVE marketplace today so I'm off to download it (maybe, it's lightning outside a lot and sounds like its pouring now) but looking forward to trying it out. I still need to give the Blue Dragon demo a spin too before it comes out.

Microsoft announced price cuts today (ha, didn't see it coming did you?) $50 on the premium, $20 on the core, and $30 on the Elite. They also announced pricing for the Halo 3 edition ($399.99) which is basically a premium with a paint job, HDMI port, and a color coordinated play & charge kit. I'm sure it will sell okay, but nothing there excites me.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Release sink hole, podcast, and the Simpson's.

Today wasn't a good day for 360 owners Achievement Junkie has a post showing that not 1, or 2, but 3 Holiday titles were slipping from their ship dates. Medal of Honor: Airborne wasn't too bad losing just over a week (August 28-September 4), Blacksite Area 51 wasn't as lucky dropping almost 2 months (September 4-November 4), and finally Grand Theft Auto IV slipped from October till sometime in "second fiscal quarter 2008" which puts it February-April 2008. :(

Speaking of which I've been trying out some new podcast thanks to this post over at DVDTalk. The HotSpot by GameSpot plays a little like 1UpYours, Gamers with Jobs another roundtable group but so far I like it a little more than HotSpot. A great side note is they both fall earlier in the week so now I have something to listen to before Friday's 1UpYours show. I also have been enjoying Achievement Junkie, and although 360 specific (primarily) it is a daily show 15-25 minutes every weekday. Now all I need is a little better way to get them to my Zune. I'm currently using Doppler but it has some problems with redirect.mp3 files (never sees a new episode since they're all named redirect.mp3). I can work around it, but it would be nice to just hit update and snag all the new stuff.

I finally caught the the Simpson's Movie yesterday afternoon. I really enjoyed it, I've always been a Simpson's fan and the movie didn't disappoint me. I will agree with some of people I've talked to that the first 30-40 were hilarious, it does wain a little towards the end, but overall it still gets a big thumbs up!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

360 bringing it home (again), a new memory trend, and more!

Microsoft is 'bringing it home' yet again, this time from Comic-Con 2007 July 26-29 in San Diego.

Xbox LIVE® has partnered with Warner Bros. to bring home Comic-Con to you on Xbox LIVE. Go to Xbox LIVE Marketplace and watch the panel discussions, see the footage, and download exclusive themes and trailers, all for a limited time.

So hopefully there will be some cool trailers, and new demos in the next couple days to see. Xbox360fanboy has already had a press release that show attendees that go to the 300 screening will be entered to win one of 10 exclusive 300 themed Elite consoles, this I'm sure to tie in with the release next Tuesday of 300 on HD DVD/Blu-ray/DVD (it sure looks sweet, but I'm still holding out hope for that yellow one).

Charlie Oscar Delta, the website for the new Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare game has a opinion poll going where you get to state which of the 5 'concept' covers you prefer for the new game. The interesting thing about this is all of the covers all include a new icon between the ESRB rating, and the developer logo.

Storage required!

There is a rumor going around that there will be a new 'Core' bundle soon that will add a 64MB memory card in the package, maybe this is helping fuel that speculation? I was thinking this was something new, but after some 'googling' (I know its a word, but my spell checker doesn't) I found that Football Manager 2006 (a European release) required the hard drive, as did Final Fantasy XI of course. I recalled reading an article where Rockstar development mentioned that putting GTA IV on the 360 was a challenge because of DVD based media, and no guarantee of a hard drive. So if a game developer can require the hard drive, why not GTA IV? Hell everyone with a core would be snatching them up.

I forgot to mention last time that I had found Sarcastic Gamer site, where they have put up some great parody songs focusing on gaming culture. I highly recommend I hate this ... (Wii Song), and No freaking games (PS3 Song). The Johnny Cash Red ring of fire knockoff was pretty funny too (only because it hasn't happened to me (knock on wood)).

I just found eBay auction for the first (in the wild) Simpson's 360, already at $1,900 and the auction doesn't end until the 30th.

The Hollywood Reporter has a story (rumor?) up, that Microsoft plans to announce a $50 price cut coming in August on the 360. They were unsure if it was across the board (Core, Premium, and Elite) or just on select models, and of course MS denied the claim. It would make some sense right before the barrage of AAA titles start hitting the middle of August.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moore's new tattoo, reved up new demos, and Rockstar bullying the 360!

Well it seems as E3 2007 was the last we'll see of Peter Moore speaking for Microsoft he stepped down Tuesday to become President of EA Sports. No clue if that Halo 2, and Grand Theft Auto IV tattoos will do him any good in his new position.

Two new demos screeched onto the marketplace today, the first Juiced 2 Hot Import Nights a honker weighing in a just over 1 GB. I don't know what to think on one hand the graphics were alright, wet neon soaked streets that had neat glow to them although all of spectators felt 2D (a problem in the first Juiced I seem to recall). On the other controlling the car felt lame, it wasn't hard to drive it just didn't feel like you were doing anything. There is no sense of speed what-so-ever even when nitro boosting it never felt like my car was moving.

On the European LIVE marketplace they got a FlatOut Ultimate Carnage demo, and since you can create a Euro account, just like a Japanese one I downloaded it to give it a spin. It has three available levels including 2 race modes, and a 'destruction derby' mode each with one available vehicle. The graphics were easily a step ahead of Juiced:HIN although I don't know if I would rate them above Burnout Revenge on the 360. I guess the game has already been available in Europe since the end of June (with really decent reviews I might add), and is kin to FlatOut 2 which explains why I remembered playing the first race level, because it was on the Xbox version of 2. The first FlatOut game, while it included racing, seemed to be more of a physics demonstration with the human darts , bowling, and distance throwing. This version really seems to melded more with the 'Burnout' type game play in the racing which by no means is a bad thing, but I'm so jazzed for Burnout Paradise it felt like a weak imitation. It seemed to be a lot tougher than 'Burnout' where I can easily finish races (not always in first, but finish at least) here I couldn't keep up with the checkpoints to even finish the race. The shining part of the demo though was the 'destruction derby' mode which was a cramped supermarket parking lot, I enjoyed it a lot and judging from the amount of people that ask for demolition derby games I think it will be a big hit. when it ships in the U.S. in September.

According to IGN Stranglehold blog they have finished a demo and sent it off to Microsoft for approval. Hopefully that means we will get to try it out real soon.

Take 2 and Rockstar announced today that they were releasing Bully: Scholarship Edition on the Xbox 360 and Wii. It will contain everything from the PS2 version of Bully and have new additional content, unfortunately no release date was given.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Buzz Krusty Squishee'os... Movie bonanza, and Clyde R.I.P?

I got my Simpson's paraphernalia from Kwik-E-Mart. If you remember 11 of the 7-Eleven stores nationwide transformed into Kwik-E-Mart for the month of July to promote the the Simpson's movie opening this month. My boss was taking a trip to Denver so I had him go by and grab me some Simpson's themed goodies. I'm now in possession of a 6-pack of Buzz cola, one box of Krusty O's, and a squishee cup. :) Too bad they couldn't find anyone to bottle some Duff beer.
Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart Schwag

I was bored yesterday so I decided to hit the theater and catch up on some flicks. First off I went to License to Wed which for some reason I was thinking was Chuck & Larry then it started and I realized it was the one with Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, and John Krasinski. This was alright since I had seen the preview, and thought it looked funny (even though I was associating a completely different movie with the title). Basic boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl story that you've seen over and over again. They fall in love decide to get married and find that they have to complete Reverend Frank's (Williams) 'marriage course' to make sure they are truly compatible. There is enough laughs sprinkled throughout to elevate it to 'romantic comedy' and a touching if not predictable ending.

I then decided to switch gears and watch 1408 which I've meant to see, and heard mostly positive word of mouth. I really enjoy John Cusack and would venture to say as he is one of my favorite actors which started with Sure Thing, and Better off Dead followed by Say Anything, Grosse Point Blank, Serendipity, and Identity as most of my favorites. 1408 is based off of a Stephen King short story and follows the 'adventures' of a writer Mike Enslin who travels to paranormal spots and writes about them. He is really hardened and has lost faith in spiritual and supernatural occurrences, when he gets an anonymous dare to stay in room 1408 at the Dolphin hotel in New York. The hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson) does his best to persuade Mike not to stay, but loses out because he needs the last chapter for his latest book. It turns into more of a supernatural ghost story later in the movie, and while the there are some decent 'jump' and shiver scenes overall at the end I felt let down. It's not that its a bad movie by any means, but it did not propel itself past okay.

I was thinking the Simpson's Play & Win contest went from July 2ND - July 19Th, but after putting in my daily entry today I realized it was through the 17Th of July. So I can now officially quit playing Clyde everyday, winners won't be announced till after July 29Th so my fingers are crossed! On a related note, those of you on my friends list will see my new homemade gamer pic. I found a great shot of the pink frosted donut from the movie and took a picture of it with my LIVE vision cam. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

E3 conferences uncorked, and giddy WoW happiness!

Well E3 2007 officially kicked off Wed. in Santa Monica, but Microsoft shot out early holding their press conference Tuesday evening at 10:30pm (doodah time), 8:30pm in Cali.

For the first time G4TV was going to televise the big 3 live, so I hurried home Tuesday evening and got ready for the show. It started off pretty good a musical act (that went on a little too long) and then the introduction of Peter Moore. He came out and started his spiel then G4 cut to a commercial break. I was like WTF? I thought well maybe they were just setting up a tape delay and would pick it back up when we came back, nope didn't happy. We instead come back to see the Mass Effect logo on the big screen with a voice over saying "Welcome back to the live Microsoft E3 conference where they just showed a new Mass Effect trailer!" Great rub it in, bitch. I proceeded to watch the hour and half presentation (of which I probably missed 10-15 minutes because I was watching G4's shitty commercials. Not to mention that evidently they didn't teach the camera op how to zoom in, because when they would start a montage on the screen the shot was from the very back of the venue with the big screen taking up a 1/4 of my screen. I didn't think they could go down any further until about the end of the show when they started showing a new Halo 3 trailer and cut out 15 seconds into it. :( I fired off an angry e-mail after the travesty, and thanked my lucky stars that I didn't have to watch the Nintendo, and SONY conferences since I had to work.

It seems that overall (after reading up on the other two yesterday) that for the first time none of the companies went to far out on a limb to show big titles that were scheduled later than the end of 2007. Microsoft announced at the very beginning that everything they showed would be out by the end the year (and later let that rule slide so they could show the Resident Evil 5 trailer). Probably the biggest shock (although it was meet with a timid audience response) they announced a Halo 3 edition 360 that looks to be 'gunmetal' green with brass highlights, and a matching controller. The specs on the site show it has a HDMI port, but only a 20GB hard drive and the normal 'premium' compliments, no word on price yet.

The SONY conference big highlight was the announcement of a 'new' redesigned PSP hitting in September/October of this year. Slimmer, lighter, faster, longer battery life and new colors, including a Star Wars bundle with a white shell and Darth Vader silhouette on the back. I've also heard that the Killzone 2, and Metal Gear Solid 4 trailers are really good, but I haven't got around to watching them yet.

After a couple days of questing, and killing I finally had enough gold to buy my World of Warcraft mount! Yes indeed I hit level 43, and passed the 90 gold threshold about the same time. I'm now broke again, but I have a horse. :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

PS3 price cut, no, yes, maybe? and it gets phat!

Well as I posted a couple days ago it looks like the PS3 price drop is indeed true, although SONY initially denied the claim. Now according to an AP story on KOTV not only is the 60GB dropping to $499.99, but

Sony Corp. announced a revised PlayStation 3 console Monday with a bigger hard drive for storing downloaded content such as video games and high-definition movies.

The new $599 PS3 increases the system's storage capacity from 60 to 80 gigabytes and also includes a retail copy of the online racing title ``MotorStorm,'' a company spokesman said.

Starting Monday, the current 60 gigabyte model will cost $499 _ a $100 price drop.

So we're getting a $100 off the 60GB, but for $100 more you get 20GB of extra storage and a $60 game? It seems like their taking Microsoft's pricing structure into effect $40 for 20GB of space, plus full price for a game? Umm, yeah no thanks.

I have been thinking over the $500 price point on the 60GB mainly as a Blu-ray player (I love my HD movies), and that would open up a bunch of other studios (Disney, Lionsgate, and Sony/Columbia that don't support HD DVD right now). Plus it would really puff up my queue on Netflix, with all the additional movies I'd like to see, and combined with the 5 free Blu-ray disc offer I would be set. Since I already own Resistance Fall of Man and both Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it's only a matter of time before I pick one up...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My 360 is safe (again), Simpsons no love & Kwik-E-Mart, plus the PS3 plumetts

Microsoft issued a press release today that upgraded the 1 year warranty (at launch was a 90 days, then last year was upped to 1 year) to 3 years on all Xbox 360 consoles. The 3 year only covers the 3 flashing red lights of death, but still makes me feel a little more comfortable knowing that my launch unit will be protected until November 2008. Since the red ring of death is the major problem with most systems I'm happy. :)

The Simpsons movie is coming, and the cross marketing is in full swing. I was ecstatic to see that Microsoft had announced a contest to giveaway 5 of those lovely yellow Xbox 360's that I posted a while back. The only catch is to get entered you have to play Cloning Clyde, and after digesting the official rules I found that you had to play a multiplayer match on Xbox Live to get entered (once per day, for 17 days).

This wouldn't be a problem since I have live, and plunked down the 800 points for Clyde (which isn't a bad little platform game) the first day of the contest. My problem came when I started playing and found that no multiplayer games existed on LIVE, evidently it turns out that Clyde (which hit the LIVE arcade 7/19/06) is somewhat of a has been. I logged on about 4 times that first night in the span of ~5 hours, and finally about 12am our time found 1 ranked game, I got stomped rather quickly but got my entry anyway. Yesterday afternoon I actually found a couple games going where both participants knew about the contest so word is spreading. I have added about 4 new friends to my list so hopefully someone will be on to play with everyday to get my entry.

20th Century fox also enlisted at least 11 of the nations 7-Eleven stores to 'transform' into real life versions of the Kwik-E-Mart. My boss sent me this link which goes to a flickr gallery of the new Kwik-E-Marts. Unfortunately the closest ones are Denver or Dallas, although since I know someone going to Denver next week I *expect* a six pack of Buzz cola, and a box of Krusty O's. :)

In other big news today Kotaku picked up on Speedy1961's DVDTalk weekly ad posting for Circuit City which eluded to a $100 price cut on the 60GB PS3 system. Then later this afternoon Gamedaily posted 'retail' confirmation of the price drop on 7/12/07, this coupled with the Blu-ray promotion where you get 5 free BR movies with player purchase (PS3 counts!) makes it an appealing deal.

The 'official' word from SONY will most likely come on July 11th when they hold their E3 press conference. Which reminds me that Microsoft is also 'Bringing it Home' again this year through Xbox LIVE we'll be able to get demos, videos, and other goodies from E3.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Summer movies more than meets the eye...

I went and saw Transformers last night and must say it was explosive. :) It definitely was a Michal Bay film, not a lot of character development just enough to move the story to the next action sequence. I'm not saying that as a bad thing.

There seem to be a lot of people that dislike Michael Bay films, they are all flash and no substance, a popcorn flick. I can say that I have liked all of his directorial efforts including Bad Boys 1&2, the Island, and especially The Rock to name a few. As long as you know what your going to get going in how could you be disappointed? I know that it's not going to be the next Oscar winning drama with a deep intertwined story with rich character development, shit is going to blow up, a lot.

First Live Free, Die Hard, and now this I thought this summer might fizzle after Spiderman 3 but luckily things have taken a 360 degree turn. I haven't seen Pirates 3 yet, but I heard it was good also so maybe just Spidey was the bad apple? I still have Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Rush Hour 3 to look forward to before the end of August. Summer '07 is shaping up pretty nicely.

Monday, July 02, 2007

KC with Dave, Furniture, Cheesecake, Books and more.

Since I had the time off, we (a couple friends, my wife and daughter were available the same day) planned a outing to KC last Thursday. We went up that morning, and stopped by JCPenny Outlet (always a favorite stop), and the Oak Park Mall (which we commented is a really nice mall noting that the leather chairs would be so torn up at Towne East/West). Lunch was at Dave & Busters, and then we went over to Nebraska Furniture Mart (I still love that place), and my friend wanted to stop by the Cheesecake Factory (since he enjoyed it so much in Denver) before we came home (this time I had the Carmel Apple Streusel). It was around 6pm so we hit the dinner rush although we didn't have to wait very long, as the KC location seems to seat a lot of people. We've never ate a meal there (just desert both times) and while the prices seemed a little high, the portions we seen other people with were huge. It was rainy and overcast all day, but we had fun.

Since I hadn't been to work last week I hadn't been up Rock Road, and when I went by Friday I was surprised to see that the Macaroni Grill building was a pile of rubble in the span of 2 days. I found out that Barnes & Noble is building a new supposedly really large building there that will replace both 29th & Rock, and Kellogg & Rock locations eventually.

I caught Nancy Drew last week (my daughter wanted to go) and it wasn't too bad. It actually had a decent mystery although it felt like a TV special rather than a full feature film, at least you wouldn't be totally bored as an adult. I'm looking forward to Transformers, and hopefully will see it tonight so I'll report back then.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Doctor, we have a pulse he's waking up...

Wow. Did not realize it had been that long since my last post, thought about posting 2-3 times but kept putting it off, or something else would come up.

I've updated my sidebar with my 'summertime' TV viewing (although Monk, and Psych are still a couple weeks away) habits. I caught a preview of Burn Notice that starts this week on USA, and looks pretty good so I'll give it a shot.

Some of those missed post I talked about above were movie updates for Surf's Up (good), Shrek the Third (so-so), and Knocked Up (really good). Today though I saw Live Free, Die Hard, and I must say fanfreakintastic! It easily elevated itself towards the top of 'my favorite' list, I'm a big Die Hard franchise fan mostly, I really liked the first two, three was okay but didn't grab me the same way as the first two (not to say I haven't seen it quite a few times though). I don't even know if WOW can cover it, this movie has some of the best stunts and action sequences I've ever seen. I laughed when I seen the trailer originally because I felt that Bruce was getting a little to old to play boyscout (particularly since he was so convincing as a washed up has been in 16 Blocks (another excellent flick)) and seeing they were trying to mix in some younger blood with Justin Long (Accepted, Jeepers Creepers, and Galaxy Quest) I thought maybe John McClane wouldn't be all of the focus, but I'm happy to say he is, and I bought every part of it. I've seen Hollywood take a fancy with Hong Kong style 'acrobatic' action pieces like the opening crane scene in Casino Royale, and Live Free has two sandwiched close to the beginning, and the end. Which in my book is a good thing as both reminded me of watching older Jackie Chan movies.

The previews on Live Free were also added to the experience, War, starring Jet Li and Jason Statham both of which are great action stars. Rush Hour 3, and Simpsons the movie both look great too although I've seen the trailers before. I also caught the trailer for Hitman, now I've played a little bit of the games, but the trailer just didn't grab me.

On the 360 front this was actually a pretty big release week (although 3 of the titles were movie adaptions) Darkness looks really good, but they pushed the demo back until after the game ships and I'd really like to try it first. I'm ashamed to admit that I actually kinda like the Harry Potter game, we got to play it early at work on the Wii and I enjoyed it. I started playing the 360 version today, and I can say that I *really* enjoy casting with the 360 controller rather than the Wiimote. Certain spells I just couldn't get the Wiimotion down on and it frustrated me pretty quickly. Speaking of which I tried out Call of Juarez the other day and either I was missing something or the level design was really unforgiving. It would tell me not to do something (say avoid these people) then 10 seconds later it would happen. It looked really good, but I got frustrated really quick I didn't get a chance to try the multiplayer so maybe it wasn't all bad. Everybody seems to hate Vampire Rain the weird Splinter Cell/Resident Evil hybrid, but I really enjoyed the couple levels I played in the demo. It's actually on my list of things to pick up, especially if I could find a good deal on it.

I had to force some days off this week otherwise I would have lost some vacation days, so I'm heading to KC for a day. Dave & Busters for lunch, and a stroll through Nebraska Furniture Mart, plus some tooling around KC. I'll report back.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

360 gettin' Dirt(y), and Halo man cannon goodness.

According to this blog entry the demo for Dirt is supposed to be up on the marketplace tomorrow morning. Although the post states it's for European users, Xbox360fanboy believes it will show up on the US marketplace as well. I'm really looking forward to this, as all of the screenshots, and videos I've seen thus far look freaking gorgeous. It will still probably land in the pile of racers I suck at, but anyway.

I've played a little more of the Halo 3 beta, and while still getting my ass kicked in matches I do enjoy it. Other FPS shooters I can usually hold my own various PC Half-Life titles, Unreal, Quake, and even some console shooters like Lost Planet, and Fear I end up being in the middle of the pack. I'm not the best, but certainly not the worst player in the match. All the Halo titles have been the opposite though I'm always hovering towards the bottom of leader board. I would think it's just PC versus console controls, but since I don't suck at every console shooter I don't know what it is.

If you haven't had enough of the beta Bungie put the Halo 3 multiplayer beta shirt (the one that shows the man cannon) up on the website, so you can be stylin' if you want.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Halo 3 ... finally, 28 Week's Later, and the end is near.

Well I got up yesterday promptly at 6:55 a.m. before my alarm went off, and started my wondrous adventure into the land of Beta software, and fairy tales. Went downstairs popped in my Crackdown gateway disc only to be greeted by the same 'greyed' out option as always.

The first update came on the homepage at 5:22 a.m. Pacific (7:22 a.m. doodah time) acknowledging the problem, and saying they had notified Live and were working on a solution. The next update on the homepage was at 3:55 p.m. Pacific, sure there had been some updates here and there in the forums section, but who wanted to trudge through 10 pages an hour of fanboy hate, and commentary? For a while it seriously looked like it would be 24 hours late, and not hit until 7 a.m. Thursday morning. When the 3:55 p.m. update was posted it said they had figured out a solution and were 'testing' it, and it would be implemented in 3-6 hours.

It finally hit Live evidently about 9:05 p.m. (doodah time), but I was busy watching C.S.I. New York. I was trying every commercial break but couldn't get Crackdown to update, after the show ended I did some more net reading and found that clearing the update cache on the 360 HD was working for people. About 10:10 p.m. (15 hours later than planned...) I finally started downloading the Halo 3 beta. Luckily my download went pretty quick, and didn't have any of the problems that some people were having. Right after 11 p.m. (watched Lost during the download) I started my beta experience. :)

It didn't take long for me to realize that it's been a long time since I played a Halo game. I pretty much suck online, although I did manage to pull off a couple kills in the 2+ hours I spent with it. I also got to play all 3 of the beta maps, and 5-6 different game variations (still like slayer (plan ol' death match) the best, and territory (sp?) not so much). I'm still undecided about the matchmaking setup, it seems to take a little bit to find a game then fill it with players, but it seems like you can 'tag' a group of players and you will move from game to game together. Because of the snafu with the download, Bungie/Microsoft have extended the beta till June 10th now, so a few extra days of Halo goodness.

I had some free time Tuesday after work (didn't work Wednesday (see big plans above)), so I went and saw 28 Weeks Later. I had seen the first one 28 Days Later before it hit theaters here. It was a European release and was already available on DVD over there before it played theatrically here. I had read so many good things about it that I went ahead and imported the DVD, and even watched it again at the theaters thinking maybe I missed something. It was supposed to be a 're-imagining' of the zombie movie (or at least that's what I gathered), but what I got wasn't ... that. It was okay, nothing real special. I thought the story moved kind of slow, and I don't remember it as being action filled.

Anywho I caught the preview for the new one about a month ago, and it showed promise plus I figured it had to be better than the first one. Overall it was much more enjoyable than the first, although it had it's problems. I didn't like the fast action soft focus cuts, that felt like a montage of still photos. I also didn't see that they tied it to the first movie at all (other than basic premise), but there is some grey area there as I know the DVD version had at least one, if not two, alternate endings, and I can't remember what the ending of the theatrical cut was. I think I'm remembering an alternate, and not the real one (damn, now I need to go back and watch it again...). Weeks is definitely a step in the right direction, and the ending poised this one for another follow up, maybe the third time will be a charm.

Seems like just yesterday the fall tv season was upon us, and now some of my favorite shows have already had their cliff hangers, while others have another week to go. Now that the cable channels seem to make their own seasons, at least I can take comfort in the fact that other favorites will be coming back in the upcoming weeks to take the vacant slots. On a side note I noticed Cox has added TNT HD to my box, so something new to watch, oooh maybe The Closer in HD this summer. :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Even more 360 goodness oozing out...

Got home from work to find there was another demo up on marketplace today, Midway released a 'demo teaser' for the upcoming FPS BlackSite Area 51. What's a 'demo teaser' you might ask? Well it seems that in encompasses about ~5 minutes of game play, just a teeny taste to get you hooked.

I enjoy first person shooters a lot, and had seen some screen shots (and a video I believe) from this a while back so I was eager to give it a shot. I wasn't too far in when judging from the controller setup, I seen words that sent shivers down my spine, squad commands. As much as I like FPS games, squad based games and me just don't jive. I'm lucky to keep myself alive without having to worry about 2-4 other dinks running around. Once I got into the game it wasn't as bad as I feared, you only have the one button for squad commands, and depending on what your cursor is targeting that decides what they'll do when you hit the button. For example if you target a door they will breach the door, if you just target a position on the ground they will move to that location, etc. It reminded me of the mechanic used in Star Wars Republic Commando on the original Xbox. I've haven't spent much time with it yet, but I'm going to mess with it some more tonight.

There's a site called which offers custom gamertags for Live, and over at Cheapassgamer LinkinPrime has a bunch of his custom creations that you can see. I really like the 'super deformed Venom' card and was going to use it in the sidebar to the left, but it's too big so I'll just post it here...

I guess Microsoft let a press release spurt out about a new live arcade title, called Aegis Wing described as a four-player "2-D side-scrolling space shooter that combines epic space combat with fantastic visuals... set to a rich symphonic soundtrack.". The other highlight of the press release was it's free, and supposed to be available next week on May 16th. As of now the press release has been pulled, and replaced with info about next week's actual (overpriced $10 bucks??) title Soltrio Solitaire. You can see the full post that someone managed to copy and paste before it was vaporized via Kotaku.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Updat-a-palooza, Simpsons box Mmmm..., and even more!

Well I've been meaning to throw some post up here, but never got around to it. I've updated my movie sidebar, as last week I played catchup on quite a few. First off I watched Hot Fuzz this is by the same guys that brought us Shaun of the Dead, and it was just as funny. It leans towards British humor (since they are British, go figure) as does all of their comedy.

Next up was The Invisible which looked pretty good from the trailer, unfortunately that was most of the good parts. I thought I was going to see a murder mystery/suspense thriller, but what I got was wasn't even a who-dun-it they showed the murder happen with all parties involved. Not to mention scenes in the trailer weren't even in the movie?! Go see Disturbia much more enjoyable.

Then I finished the week off with a sneak of Spiderman 3 last Thursday. Umm, yeah. I really like the Venom character, and was a big fan of the symbiote story line in the comics. I don't know what happened Sam Raimi did a great job on the last one, and while the action scenes here were good, they were spaced apart by a lot of touchy feely dialogue. It felt drawn out to me, it didn't help that the Venom storyline was only the last ~20 minutes either.

Gamespot posted a first look the other day at the new Simpson's game coming out this fall. I originally thought it was going to be based on the movie, but it seems as though it is "lampooning" different video game genres. Personally I enjoyed Simpson's Road Rage, and Simpson's Hit & Run a lot so I'm looking forward to a new game. Then today I find that Microsoft issued a press release about 360 tie-ins with summer movie releases. The best part of this release was they will be making 100 limited edition 360's to give away in as of yet unknown contest over the summer. Check it out below, I want it.

I think I posted about it a while back, but my new power supply was wonky and I had to RMA it back to the company. I finally got a replacement today in the mail, and happy to say the new one is whisper quiet and my new rig is up and running at full speed. I transferred World of Warcraft over promptly set all the graphic sliders to high, and pushed it up to 1600x1200. It looks nice, and runs so much smoother than it did on my old system. I snapped a picture of the guts below, which don't really do it justice because you don't get the lighting effects.

The new demo for Forza 2 is up now on the marketplace. I tried it out a little bit tonight, and yes it looks really pretty. I still, however, suck at racing games. Forza was always a little to "Sim" for me to get into I like my racers more arcade-y which means I can usually control them a little better. The new spring dashboard update is also available now, I haven't played with it too much yet. I sort of like the marketplace blade, but I wish they hadn't put it back to the left of the main blade. The only other thing I've actually come across so far was the achievement upgrade. Now while playing a game it pops up with the achievement name and how many points it's worth. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Doodah, Texas, and a order of Fry's...

Back in Doodah since my 3 day trek to Houston (Dad had a check-up) Texas. I had to help drive because they get tired, and on the way back Dad doesn't feel like driving. It's a pretty grueling 1 day jaunt at about ~12 hours including 2-3 stops, and from Sunday till yesterday was pretty much overcast the entire trip. It only rained on us yesterday going around Dallas, and then coming through OKC.

Saw the coolest billboard heading into OKC, picture of Cartoon Networks Eddy from Ed, Ed, and Eddy I think, and simply had the caption "I Pooted", it made me laugh. I also seen a McDonald's that the exterior of the playplace was shaped like a Happy Meal, and the corners of the building were french fry boxes, although I can't remember where we passed it. Houston was cool, pretty much what I recalled from the last trip down there. The view from the medical center was neat (even overcast) you could see planes coming in to the airport, and the Astrodome too. My PSP got a workout as I played a lot of Puzzle Quest on the road, and surfed the net while stuck in the medical center (I love free wi-fi).

Probably the highlight of my time in Houston was the stop by Fry's there. I've been to one before in California (E3 2005) that was really cool with the interior/exterior paying homage to 50's Sci-Fi movies. I probably mentioned it then too, but Fry's is like 5 Best Buy's, and a Radio Shack all under one roof. This place is huge. We stopped on the way out of town and I picked up a couple HD DVDs, and some PC fan power wires that I couldn't find here in town the last week or so. I really wish we could get one here, or even K.C. it would be worth driving to once a month.

Oh and if you watched Heroes Monday night, Yay! it rocked. If you didn't, why not?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Heroes is coming... 360 in high gear, and movie wrap up.

Well if you forgot (like you haven't been looking forward to it for weeks...) Heroes is back tonight on NBC, USA Today had article about the final five episodes of the season. Sounds like there is a lot of stuff happening in these season ending shows, and it sounds like they will actually wrap up the New York exploding story line.

Is it just me or does the "racing" genre always seem to be the best show off of graphical superiority? I've mentioned before that even though I'm not that great at racing games, I usually always check them out because they are gorgeous to look at. There have been screens posted for Burnout 5, and Dirt which is also featured in the new OXM issue, and part of the Colin McRae series. The screens for both look phenomenal! It's making me miss my copy of Burnout Revenge on the 360 that I traded in a long time ago, that and playing the PS2 version of Burnout Dominator. :(

I forgot to mention it, but I checked out Grind House when it started a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it. I too sided with the mass populous and liked Planet Terror (Rodriguez) better than Deathproof (Tarantino) and I hear that when it's released on DVD it will be two separate DVDs which makes since, because one DVD won't hold a 3hr+ movie.

I also checked out Disturbia last week, which even though it's a PG13 thriller (usually a mark of death) I really enjoyed it. It was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be, and highly recommend it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Introducing PeeCee!

Well what started out as a simple PC upgrade turned into a whole lot more. Originally I was going to replace the motherboard, CPU, and memory and call it good, but one thing lead to another and before I knew it I had all kinds of new parts. The only things that remain of my old PC are the case, keyboard, mouse, and monitor... the guts are all new. :)

I finally got the last pieces I needed for the major overhaul last Wednesday, a couple snags here and there and it was Thursday night before I got to fire it up. The good news is it booted up the first time, albeit making weird noises. I finally tracked the noise down to the new power supply unit, and while it works so far for the brief time I've used it, I'm getting an RMA# to send it back.

On the bright side I got Vista installed, a meager overclock going, and so far pleased overall. The Vista install had to be the smoothest (clean) OS install I've ever done, clocking in at maybe ~30 minutes. My older PC is now a part heap waiting for a spare case to be rebuilt in, so I don't currently have access to some of the stuff I need off the HD. :( I thought I had burned most of it to a CD-R but as normal I forgot some things here and there. So right now my Vista is running pretty bare bones without most of my utilities, and none of my games yet, but Internet is working so all isn't lost.

My other bright spot is Vista gives you a 'Windows Experience Score' which is supposed to help you pick software titles (once they start putting them on the package) by just looking at a number. Example Game A has a experience score of 3.5, as long as me computer scores 3.5 or above it should play perfectly. Your system is 'graded' on 5 areas (CPU, RAM, graphics, gaming graphics, and hard drive) then your overall score is the lowest area (your only as strong as your weakest link type thing). Supposedly the best score available right now is 5.9 based on the current technology, I'm happy to say that my system scores 5.3 with my weakest link being the hard drive (should have dropped the extra couple bucks for the 10,000RPM drive...) the next lowest is the CPU at 5.5 and with a little more overclock I should be able to nudge it up a bit. The final 3 RAM, and both graphics categories already hit 5.9 (Yay!)

The only drawback I've encountered thus far (other than the power supply clanking) is my Zune realized it was just visiting the new PC, and if I want to make it a permanent resident it clears the library (wiped/formatted/music go bye bye) to sync it with the library of the new machine (which of course is empty right now). I of course declined this offer, and just let it visit to grab my weekend podcast.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Uneasy Wii feelings, spring dashboard update, and more!

As I mentioned last time, I put my Wii (system you pervs) up on eBay and sold it last weekend. I sent the package via UPS at a UPS store Saturday morning. The problem is that the tracking number I got comes back with an 'unable to locate package' on the tracking site. :( I figured Saturday might have been too early (maybe it didn't even go to the UPS facility yet) but it's still not showing now (noon on Monday) so I'm off to bitch at the store clerk.

Gamespot let it slip last week with a video which was removed fairly quickly, but Microsoft confirmed all of the new features coming with the spring 360 dashboard update. Since messaging is a big part of this, they also announced a controller keyboard add-on that is supposed to go on sale this summer.

The most notable things to me are the achievement notice (it now tells you the achievement name, and value when unlocked), the marketplace getting it's own dash blade, telling you what disc is in the tray, and the updated video codecs for streaming from the PC.

I saw Shooter last week, first movie I've been to in a while. Although it reminded me a lot of Most Wanted starring Kennen Ivory Wayans (don't know why haven't seen it in years) I enjoyed it. Seemed like they used a lot of blood squibs in this movie (which I have nothing against), but coupled with The Departed there seems to be a lot more of the 'blood spurting' gunshot wounds in movies now. Right now I plan to catch Perfect Stranger, and Grindhouse this week so hopefully all goes well. Were less than a month away from the 'Summer' blockbuster tidal wave starting May 4Th with Spiderman 3!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

C&C rox! IV is coming, and rewards inbound.

I picked up Command & Conquer 3 because I knew I would play it on my new system. When I got the package I was actually shocked that the minimum requirements were so low, as I remember Generals requiring a beefy system when it was released. I decided to try the demo since it looked like it should run on my current system, and it does. :) My graphic settings are low/medium but the tutorial and 3 skirmish games I've played have ran okay. I'm really enjoying it, makes me want the new system even more, because I know it will look even better.

Rockstar has released the first trailer for IV what will be GTA IV. The website has regular, and HD versions down loadable, and they just put the trailer up on LIVE yesterday, check it out.

Next Gen Fight has put up a next gen cost calculator, even my price additions the other day were skewed because I didn't add in the cost of HD cables on the Sony PS3 side. I think its unfair to have the 20GB PS3 in the listings because you can't find one new, but it does show that it's a lot closer price point wise.

Last but not least, the Xbox Rewards challenge has posted the rewards. If you successfully completed the challenge log in and go to My Rewards you will have codes listed for your challenge level to redeem on LIVE. Picked up my Contra arcade game, and my Old Spice gamerpic last night.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Elite 360 'officially' announced!

True to thier word Microsoft announced the Elite 360 today selling April 29th for $479.99. The 120GB hd will release seperately for $179.99 (including a transfer cable to move stuff from your 20GB --> 120GB drive). Kotaku has full scoop which includes the following tidbits...

The Xbox 360 Elite will come with a 120GB hard drive, an HDMI port, a HDMI cable, both component and composite cables, an audio adapter for use with HDMI and a black finish for the console, wireless controller and Xbox Live headset.

They also announced 6 new 'media' partners that would be supplying marketplace video content including A&E, Warner Bros., NewLine Cinema, and more. It's going to be a tough sell Elite 360 $479.99 + Wireless Network $99.99 + HD DVD add on $199.99 = $779.99 vs. a 60GB PS3 for $599.99? Double the storage for $180?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Update-a-thon v1.0...

What's new? Lets see since my last posting I took a weekend break and went to Branson. My daughter was on Spring Break, but doesn't like to go with Grandma & Grandpa by herself because no one will ride with her at Silver Dollar City.

Friday (1st mistake), + Spring Break (2nd mistake) was terrible. I think we rode each ride once, and got stalled at three different ones because they were adding additional cars/trains (they didn't know they were going to be busy...). SDC has a new ride, The Giant Swing opening the first week of April. Check out the mock video in the link, looks like it will be pretty cool.

The rest of the weekend was okay, we ate at FuddRucker's one afternoon and the new Joe's Crab Shack one evening. I have ate at Joe's before in Galveston, TX and remember it being much better, maybe I should have went with crab (duh?) instead of shrimp. The food was good, but didn't seem worth what I paid for it. Since my trip to Denver, and this outing to Branson I have found that I really like free wireless access in the hotel.

My PSP got a work out this weekend from watching some TV shows on the way down, playing Luxor : Wrath of Set (a lot, I really like this game (note to self: really need to pick up Magnetica for the DS but not at $30)), to surfing my favorite sites at the hotel. It also allowed me to download the current Legendary Thread, and 1UpYours podcast which I listened to on the way back. I don't remember mentioning it last time, but the DS web browser is finally getting a US release supposedly in June. Now web browsing on the PSP (while a neat feature) is not overly practical but it works okay. The biggest advantage to the DS would be if it brings up a 'touch screen' keyboard for text input, but you will lose the ability to download music/pictures/video and play them back like on the PSP.

It seems as though the black 'Elite' 360 is indeed headed to a retailer near you, Xbox360fanboy posted some candid shots from a Chinese factory that were posted on a Chinese video game BBS. I don't know of anyone taking reserves for the systems yet, but if the early May release date holds (I read somewhere about a Microsoft announcement coming Wed, but now can't find it, where the Elite is to be announced). Unless there is some hidden goodies (other than color/hd size/HDMI) that we don't know about I won't be upgrading. I'll wait till I come across a used 120GB hd and then pick it up.

My computer components are still sitting in the corner mocking me. Command & Conquer 3 comes out today, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. hit the shelves last week. I have come to the conclusion that to raise money for my stinking ram I'm going to put my Wii (console you sickos) on eBay. I don't play it, or much else for that matter (WoW the only game you need) and you know its inevitable big N will announce new colors, or functionality in Wii 1.1. I might pick up another one then, I might not depends if the games get any better. I've got some other stuff to put up too so hopefully I'll get enough to cover the ram, and maybe some other non-priority addons.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Halo 3 box nudies with sticker shock, more noir 360 steam, and Commodore ressurection.

Xboxygen got a hold of some supposed Halo 3 box art with some nice shots of legendary box, and the collector's tin. The legendary box looks pretty neat, but the collector's tin looks like the same packaging as the Prey collector's set which wasn't well liked (the rubber 'hub' that the DVD was sitting on left something to be desired).

On top of these shots there is more info flowing about the different editions, and their contents. The biggest shocker was the price hike on the legendary to $129.99 while the regular ($60), and CE ($70) held fast at the previous price point. Another puzzling point is the CE while having 2 disc in common with the legendary comes with an art book that is not included in the legendary edition, so anyone going to spend $200 to get everything? A couple of sources supposedly also spilled the beans that Halo 3 will see release in September to beat the holiday rush, not like it will have any problem steamrolling right on through.

The newest Game Informer (April 2007) has a article about the 'rumored' new 360, you know Black, 120GB, HDMI that we've heard of before. I haven't seen the issue yet so I don't know if it has any new info, but Internet rumblings still point to $480 May 1st release. On top of that there are some new rumblings saying that the core system will be discontinued (about time) and the premium will see a price drop.

When I was in high school getting into computers I was leaning towards Apple products, but ended up getting into the Commodore line up. After working through the Vic 20, C=64, Amiga 1000, and Amiga 1200 I had spent a lot of time in the Commodore camp. When the end came in 1994 I moved back into the PC camp but was always intrigued when someone new bought the 'Commodore' name and property rights. It has come back to the forefront now, as a UK company is launching Commodore Gaming soon which will have a launch line up of 4 'gaming' PCs.