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.