Games

Top 10 Reasons to Buy an Xbox 360

Published by IGN:

10. First-Party Exclusive Games
Say what you will about Kameo: Elements of Power, but you can neither deny its beauty or its next-generation gameplay. The platformer-adventure game has honest to goodness platformer feel — just like a brand new Nintendo game. Guess some of that time working with Nintendo rubbed off after all. Then there’s the sleek, powerful racer Project Gotham Racing 3, a stellar looking game with a huge set of features, svelte-looking licensed cars, and some of the best potential online games available. What can top that? Perfect Dark Zero, Rare’s first-person shooter, may very well lead the online charge with as many as 32-players online in a sequel to top all sequels. All of these titles are gorgeous, they’re all unique, and they’re all exclusive. Remember Sony’s 2000 launch on PS2? It had zero first-party presence then. What will it bring when the piper comes calling next year? It sure won’t be NFL GameDay.
This controller - the wire = cool.
9. Wireless Controllers
Nintendo started the revolution, and Microsoft has just grabbed the torch and lit up the wireless heavens. Microsoft is launching its system with built-in wireless capabilities with both controllers and Internet connectivity. If you get the Premium Pack, your controller will be wireless and ready to go right out of the box. The freedom of motion is excellent, the range is superb — more than 30 feet — and the ergonomic construction is well thought out. Skip wires, tangles and…boomerangs! It’s all about the Xbox 360 wireless controllers.
Call of Duty 2 might be a PC port, but it's an incredible game in its own right.
8. The Xbox 360 Launch Lineup
Yes, it’s been said the launch lineup isn’t the greatest in the world, and any dumb-ass can repeat what he’s heard on a message board without really knowing what he’s saying. The facts are these: Never in the history of consoles has there been a better all-around lineup. No, there aren’t any knock-out single games that will bowl you over, but several are right there on the cusp. The 19 titles appearing before the end of this year on Xbox 360 represent a healthy, well-rounded set of games led by Microsoft’s very own trio of spanking hot titles. With exclusive titles like Condemned: Criminal Origins, Dead Or Alive 4, Amped 3, and a handful of sequels such as Call of Duty 2, Need For Speed Most Wanted, and Madden NFL 06 available, the roster has variety, exclusives, and refined, well-established sequels to lead the way. My five must-have titles are Call of Duty 2, Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo, King Kong, and Condemned.

7. Backward Compatibility
In a surprise that caught everyone off-guard, Microsoft announced last week more than 200 Xbox games would be backward compatible with Xbox 360. The list was indeed strange, including losers such as SeaWorld: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures, Toxic Grind, and Circus Maximus, but it offered dozens more to make the feature worth your while. We’re still scratching our heads over some of these best sellers (Drake, Dinotopia, Goblin Commander, and Kids Next Door: Operation VIDEOGAME? Come one!), games such as Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance II, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Deathrow, and Half-Life 2 are on the list. Expect more to come each week to appear on your backward compatible list.

6. Xbox Live Arcade
The most over-looked feature of the system, the arcade marketplace will be the second most visited location on your Xbox 360, after the launch screen. Free games, cheap games, addictive, non-stop $10 exclusive arcade games…the list goes on. It’s only a matter of time before the Japanese biggies bring their arcade classics — Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, etc. This is a fresh slate upon which a new arcade revolution is about to be launched. Watch this space closely and you’ll see a system grow in leaps and bounds.

5. Impressive Graphic Power at Good Prices
Microsoft continues to give consumers choices. The two-tiered launch price scheme is a perfect example of this flexibility — $299 or $399 for a system. With the PS3, Sony has essentially stated it will be expensive, so keep this in mind when the PS3 hits shores in…November. With the Xbox 360’s three 3.2 GHz processors running alongside a 500 MHz ATI graphics processor, this console is loaded with power. Some of the current-gen titles like PDZ, PDR3, Call of Duty 2 and Condemned wrangle with the power, and they all look gorgeous having not even scratched the system’s surface.

4. Multimedia Hub
Along with playable games, rippable CDs and playback movies ready at launch, the Xbox 360 enables players to customize their MPEG music sticks with perfectly designed playlists in addition to connecting to Microsoft’s Media Center for a more complete media sensation. Stream music from your iPod and synch it with images from your last holiday vacation. Play music to the Jeff Mintner visual synchronizer and customize the desktop with themes and gamer tiles and have fun doing it. Expect Sony to copy much of Microsoft’s innovations.
The Marketplace looks strange at first glance, but it's usable and fun.
3. Xbox Live Marketplace
While it doesn’t fit into most folks’ traditional notion of a console, the Xbox 360 offers a dynamic online commerce center. When you’re not downloading free stuff like demos, trailers and extra bonus packs from game developers, you’ll be spending cash on low-cost items such as bonus levels, expanded levels, episodic content, specialized gamer tiles and GamerCard tag images. Some of it is free, some costs cash, all are dependent on the developers and publishers. Expect this to grow and flourish as the committed users and companies quickly build it into a dedicated gaming center.

2. GamerCards
Microsoft’s GamerCard seems like a simple enough idea. So your name and an image appear as you log onto your account, right? Yes, but there’s more. It quickly becomes more for even a semi-committed Xbox Live user. It’s your passport, representing your image, your scores, your games of choice, your motto, bio and more. The GamerCard becomes you ID card into the community of Xbox Live and it’s how you’ll learn and understand the people you play with and against and those you befriend. It’s not only fun to create, it’s fun to explore other people’s GamerCards, which offer their game favorites, game achievements, and their most recent progress on their most recently played games.
Bethesda's Elder Scrolls is a great reason to invest in an Xbox 360 before the PS3 hits American shores (whenever that is).
1. The Next Generation Now
The Xbox 360, in my opinion, is a must-have system right now because it’s the most powerful, sophisticated, and dedicated game system on the planet. It’s built for gamers, tailored to their needs, and it’s rich with tools to let them go a little nuts on customizing and choose their community. There is easily a rich top-five list (like mine), and getting online and screwing around with arcade games and online games is just the beginning.

The best thing about the Xbox 360’s early launch is that it’s a good investment now that will pay off later with greater profits. If you buy it now, you’ll earn a reputation online and build your achievements list out, gaining traction ahead of your slow-ass PS3 friends. You’ll be able to take part of the next generation as it emerges. Right now, there are 19 games ready to play, but that’s only for this year. Come next spring, a gaggle of new games will hit your local retail store with a satisfying thud. Fight Night 360, Burnout, Full Auto, Top Spin 2, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, and more are in the pipeline just getting ready for their glimmering launch days on Xbox 360. All of these will be out before PS3 launches in…spring in Japan and fall in North America? Hmm… That’s one year from now. Have we mentioned the Japanese games Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Ninety-Nine Nights, and the others? Then in late 2006 and in 2007, Mass Effect, Gears of War, Too Human, Fight Night 360, Crackdown, and Halo 3 are lining up.

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Photos

Well I took some pictures after cleaning and decided to post them. Why did I take pictures? Just to use the digital camera.

First up, my console gaming setup:

10007349hw.th.jpg 10007353nl.jpg

I have my HD TV (30 inch widescreen, up to 1080i resolution). My xbox, gamecube, and dreamcast. Notice the empty space in the middle there. Thats reserved for the Xbox 360. I cant wait to get my hands on that and play games like Gears of War. Im going to get some nice surround sound speakers and a reciever eventually. The PC is connected to my TV and I use it mostly to play emulated N64 games at the moment. Running them at like 720p resolution with AA and AF, they look so much better then they ever did on the N64. I currently have a crappy gamepad that I am using though. I need to get some wired xbox 360 controllers (since those work on a pc). Playing smash bros on my current game pad sucks.

Next up, my pc:

10007382cw.jpg

My new pc is at my old desk now. I wish I had a much nicer desk though. This one is extremely old. I think we got it with our first pc (I think it was like 80mhz and ran on windows 3.1) so the desk is in pretty bad shape. Anyway, I plan on getting a new keyboard and mouse first. Then I want to get a nice LCD monitor (maybe widescreen, I am un-decided). Then I need to get a soundcard and maybe eventually a physics card. Oh, and of course I am going to SLI the nvidia 7800GT OC once it comes down a bit in price.

Games

Easy Mode

Hard games don’t sell anymore. Look at tribes vengeance, its a perfect example. The core game play is lots of fun. Many reviews rated it higher then unreal tournament. Its a fast, action packed game that also has great graphics. But why didn’t it sell well? I would like to blame the noobification of gaming. Now all you see is “pick-up-and-play” types of games instead of the “get-your-ass-owned-until-you-learn-how-to-play-you-stupid-newbie” type games and it makes me sad.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Name some of the top shooters out there. Counter-Strike, Quake, Unreal, Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield. All of these games are pretty easy to pick up and play. Sure there is huge amounts of skill involved in these games. Those high skill level quake players are amazing. Whats different is that you can grab a controller and know everything there is to know in a few minutes. Even the Tribes: Vengeance developers knew this and tried to scale back the game a bit to make it more “intuitive” and easier to learn (The phrase “easy to learn, difficult to master” was said a lot in developer interviews). Unfortunately tribes has that stigma of being extremely difficult to get into. Which is actually true because of the hardened fan base. But what the Tribes games have that other games don’t have is that huge amount of gratification as you get better and better at the game. No other FPS I have played gives me that sense of accomplishment.

Its too bad the Tribes series is not more popular. Many of the popular games out there borrow core elements that Tribes pioneered back in 99. Now, because of the noobification of gaming, I doubt I will ever see another Tribes game.

Games Tech

Tech Un-Support

I have been having connection problems with World of Warcraft so I went to their webpage and checked out the tech support section. I found a page with some steps to try if you have connection issues. After following those steps and having no success, I e-mailed their tech support using their web form as it suggests.

Here is the contents of my e-mail. I was trying to be as descriptive of my problem as possible so I could get help. I let them know what I had tried to do, so that I dont get those same steps repeated back to me that I already tried.
——————————-
When playing WoW I sometimes experience connection issues. I have only started experiencing these problems when I got my new pc. I never had connection issues before.

Sometimes when I play I wont be able to talk or interact with NPC characters but it appears that the other players around me are still connected as they move around. If I walk around some more, no other players will load and I eventually get a message that I have been disconnected.

The first time I logged on with my new pc it would happen all the time, though a few nights ago I was able to stay connected the entire time I was on (a few hours). Though today I was disconnected a few minutes into the game twice.

What I have tried:
1. Turning my software firewall off.

2. These steps here:
http://www.blizzard.com/support/wow/?id=aww01686p3
(though I have set them back to their origional settings after those steps didnt work)

3. Forwarding TCP port 3724 to my pc on my linksys router (though I never had to do this with my other pc, I decided to give it a try) (this is still on)

4. Testing your Connection and Performing a Trace Route. It gets to:
14 80 ms 82 ms 81 ms mdf1-bi8k-1-eth-2-4.lax1.attens.net [12.129.192.62]
before a timeout.

Specific PC SPECS:
MSI K8N Neo4/SLI Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 AMD Mobo
AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Processor
BFG Tech Geforce 7800GT OC 256MB 256-bitPCI Express x16
CORSAIR XMS 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3160812AS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s

Any suggestions on what to try next? Thanks for your help.

——————————-

And what do I get as a respons a few days latter? Some bullshit copy & paste generic response from their tech “support”. Thanks for not helping me at all. I almost wondered what they were doing with all that money they make from subscription fees, but obviously they use it to pay some great tech support people.

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Hello Ryan,

If you are having trouble with high latency or simply staying connected to the World of Warcraft game servers, the steps below are good for troubleshooting this. You may have already tried some of these steps, but please confirm you have tried them all since they will usually address common connection-related issues.

Step 1. Configure your Firewall and/or Router

Firewalls and routers are designed specifically to control your computer’s incoming and outgoing connections. You may need to set up these security features to allow access to the game servers. If these are not set up correctly, the firewall or router may prevent you from connecting to World of Warcraft.

Please see this page for port information and advice on setting up your firewall/router for World of Warcraft:
(“http://www.blizzard.com/support/wow/?id=aww0790p”)

Step 2. Third party program conflicts.

Some third party programs can interfere with your connection. Programs such as Xfire, Teamspeak, and Port Magic have been reported as causing some issues. Please try closing all background applications as explained on our support site: (“http://www.blizzard.com/support/wow/?id=agi0558p”)

Step 3. Network card issues.

There are several drivers that, if out-of-date, could cause issues for broadband users. If you need more help in locating drivers for your hardware or finding the settings listed, please contact the hardware manufacturer or a qualified technician.

* If you access the internet through an external broadband modem, be sure you have the latest firmware and drivers available for your modem.
* If your computer connects to the modem via USB, be sure you have the latest drivers for your motherboard or your USB PCI card.
* If your computer connects to the modem via Ethernet, be sure that your network card has the latest drivers installed.
* Some network cards also have settings that when changed have corrected these types of issues. First, you need to navigate to your network card properties.

1. Click on Start.
2. Click on Control Panel.
3. Double click on the System icon (in Windows XP, you may need to click ‘Switch to Classic View’ on the left hand side of the screen).
4. Select the Hardware tab.
5. Click on Device Manager.
6. Expand the section labeled Network Adapters.
7. Right click on your network card and select properties.

* If you have a Power Management tab in your network card properties, click it and unselect the “allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” if selected.
* On the Advanced tab, You can also try changing the Speed/Duplex to Force 100 Full Duplex. This has shown to fix these types of issues as well. To do this, go into your computer properties, and then into your device manager. Locate your network card, and go into the properties for it. click on the advanced tab, and you should see a list of items. One of them should be Speed/duplex settings. Change this to Force base 100 Full duplex. If you have an older router or hub you may need to use base 10 full duplex.
* You may also have a Checksum Offload property on the Advanced tab, if so you can try choosing to disable that option.

Step 4. Testing your Connection and Performing a Trace Route

Running a Trace Route will track each step of your internet connection to World of Warcraft, and can help identify if and where connection problems may be occurring. Please see this page for instructions on doing a Trace Route test:
(“http://www.blizzard.com/support/wow/?id=aww0827p5”)

If none of these steps helped, please let us know exactly what error message you are seeing, and where in the connection process it occurs.

If you email our support team, please attach the tracert.txt file from step 4, or have it handy if you call in. In addition, please attach the “connection.log” file, which you will find in the “Logs” folder within your World of Warcraft install directory. These files can often allow us to identify the source of the problem.

Regards,

James K.
Blizzard Entertainment
http://www.blizzard.com/support

If you reply, please include all previous text and files related to this e-mail.

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If that doesnt help I am supposed to e-mail you? I am pretty sure thats what I just did. Way to fail at actually reading the e-mail. Thanks for making it easier to cancel my subscription.

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Un-leet speak

I hate leet speak. It needs to be banned from all games (and the internet in general). It was funny back in the day but now its just old. Stop using it, its not cool. Get a new keyboard please. I hate when someone types in it and then expects me to be able to read it when every other letter is a number. Not to mention most of these people just make up words with numbers in it. There are specific words that you are allowed to type in leet speak, gr4ndm4 is not one of them. I dont carry around a noob decoder ring so I am not going to notice right away what that is. But for designated words like “h4x”, I know right away what you said. I dont even see the 4 in that anymore. I know it means you’re a noob and you think I hack.