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Archive for February, 2008

My Xbox Died From The Red Ring Of Death, Then Microsoft Decided To Give It A Good Scrub!

Friday, February 29th, 2008

We all know about the Red Ring of Death by now, a problem suffered by many Xbox 360 owners over the past two years. It’s a hardware failure which kills your beloved console stone dead, and forces you to send it off to Microsoft for a repair. So you’d hope that while being repaired, Microsoft would take the utmost care of said console, and treat it with the respect it deserves. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, as avid video gamer Nathaniel found out to his cost.

Nathaniel had owned an Xbox 360 from launch, and two years after buying it saw it succumb to the Red Ring of Death. He then had to make the difficult choice of fixing the console himself or sending it in to Microsoft for repair. He seriously contemplated the former as his Xbox was like no other, having unique artwork and signatures from members of the gaming community on it.

As can be seen from the before picture above left, this included custom artwork by Rooster Teeth Comics artist and Halo fan artist Luke McKay, as well as signatures from several members of the Rooster Teeth Productions staff, and members of the Xbox 360 team and Bungie Studios. These were all acquired while travelling around with his trusty Xbox 360 as his faithful companion.

Not wanting to void the warranty, and wreck his Xbox forever, Nathaniel sent the console off for repair after a lot of soul searching. To make sure his console would remain the same and not be tampered with, in any way apart from fixing the problem, he rang Xbox support and duly received assurances that his console would be fixed and sent back to him in exactly the state it had been previous.


GTA IV Previewed By Nearly All Gaming Sites

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The time for Grand Theft Auto is coming very very soon, with the majority of major gaming sites receiving previews of the game …except us (Don’t worry Rockstar, I am sure our copy has to be in the mail…. right). has done all the dirty work of scouring these many previews (1UP, ComputerandVideogames, IGN, +more) and pulling out any relevant information that we haven’t already received:

  • Each site got to play GTA IV for two full hours. Kikizo were the first to do so. Four missions were played.
  • The build that the sites got to play is exactly three weeks old as of today.
  • Once you die and end up in hospital, you receive a text on your phone offering you to retry the mission.
  • Kikizo have compiled a list of all the X360 controls. See them here.
  • Only one island (Broker/Dukes) is unlocked to begin with. The other areas are blocked with police blockades. The second area (Bohan) will open up “sooner than it has in previous GTAs.”
  • You can drop grenades and molotov cocktails out of the car window at high speed. Headlights can be put on full beam or dipped, but cannot be turned off.
  • You can pause and select a destination on the full-size map, which is then reflected on the radar. This marks the route out in blue.
  • You cannot store items/objects inside vehicles.
  • Cars are not customisable, but you can still save them at safe houses.
  • There are eighteen radio stations in total. One is called The Vibe, which is RNB and soul. The other genres on offer include funk, reggae, jazz, dance, modern Jamaican, pop, hardcore, hip hop and a specific Eastern European station.
  • Dropped weapons and other items have a yellow halo around them, and the mission markers are now yellow arrows floating in the air, pointing at the ground, as opposed to the cylinders we are used to in previous GTAs.
  • A hands-on multiplayer preview will (probably) arrive next month.
  • Make sure to Digg their article for getting all this info for us and check out for some brand new in game screens.

    Gears of War Updates: A Survey and Toys!

    Thursday, February 28th, 2008


    Here’s a couple of Gears of War updates if you’re needing some info on one of the best games for the Xbox 360. You’ve no doubt heard by now of the announcement that Gears of War 2 will be out this November (hopefully you found out from us). Epic Studios now wants your input as they create what equates to a big summer movie in the game world.


    Disney Announces ‘Ultimate Band’ For Nintendo Wii & DS - New Competitor For Guitar Hero & Rock Band?

    Thursday, February 28th, 2008

    It was bound to happen. As with every other industry, you get a successful game, and then a whole host of imitators. Guitar Hero was the original game to put you, the gamer, in the role of member of a band, and then Rock Band took the idea and ran with it, allowing you to choose to be a singer, guitarist or drummer. Now there is to be a new addition to the genre, in the form of Ultimate Band from Disney.

    The game will only be available on the Nintendo consoles, Wii and DS, mainly due to the fact that Disney Interactive were keen to keep costs to the gamer down by doing away with the need for any expensive add-on peripherals. So the game, when it gets a release in the fall, will use the Wiimote, and touchscreen respectively. Gamers will be able to play lead guitar, bass, and drums, using just a combination of the already existing controllers.


    Sega’s Aliens: Colonial Marines

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

    This picture reminds me of my Grandpa’s favorite Bible verse, “And lo, Aliens and hot pirate chicks will gather and share many Papst Blue Ribbons.

    Aliens fans, it’s time to get excited for some new Aliens action in your lives. Those lovable acid blooded, chest destroying Aliens are going to make another video game appearance, this time courtesy of Sega and developer Gear Box software. The game is titled Aliens: Colonial Marines and it is a squad based first person shooter. Unlike most games of it’s ilk, Colonial Marines promises to have different objectives for those playing co-operatively, which could lead to some great and unique co-op action. There will also be online multiplayer action, but Sega’s mum on that front.


    Phil Harrison Quits Sony

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

    Taking away from the complete randomness that was EA’s offer to take Take-Two for two (billion dollars), a new news story has broken in the form of a press release which outlines the split between Phil Harrison and Sony (Note: I dare you to say the full previous sentence five times fast!)

    To mourn the great loss of this proud warrior, let us remember some great quotes and ideas from this man:

    “.…rumble was last gen and no longer needed.” - On PS3 controller debuting with no rumble. May 8th, 2006

    The PlayStation 3 is a computer. We do not need the PC.” - May 31st, 2006

    What he hell, to help celebrate the life of Phil rather than his passing from SCE, I have a few more gems I have been wanting to post from other Sony greats, continue on after the break for classic stuff:


    Rock Band DLC Update: Week of 02-25-08

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2008


    This week brings in another round of music for Rock Band, this time it’s Nine Inch Nails with two awesome songs and one that most people have never heard of. The songs are available as a package or you can download them separately. This three pack was actually scheduled for download in March and there’s no word yet on what songs will replace the empty slot now.

    The songs are:

    * The Collector
    * March of the Pigs
    * The Perfect Drug

    Videos after the break!


    EA Wants Take-Two for $2 Billion

    Monday, February 25th, 2008

    In some crazy ass news to come out on a Sunday, Yahoo has posted a press release in their business section outlining EA’s proposal to buy Take-Two Interactive (Bioshock, Manhunt, All Rockstar Games like GTA/Bully/etc) for $26 per share. The stock is, as of me writing this, at $17.36, however the pre-market value has already shot up in light of this news (at $25.61, however see here for the most current price).

    EA CEO John Riccitiello had this to say on the offer, “Our all-cash proposal is a unique opportunity for Take-Two shareholders to realize immediate value at a substantial premium, while creating long-term value for EA shareholders. Take-Two’s game designers would also benefit from EA’s financial resources, stable, game-focused management team, and strong global publishing capabilities.

    Originally the offer was for $25 per share, but has moved up to $26 in a letter that you can read in full below (which I suggest checking out, you can feel how strongly EA wants Take-Two. What does this mean for us? I honestly cannot tell the future on this one. The obvious way of thinking is “NOOOO.. NOT EA!!!!!!!” …and I am trying to find reasons to put a counter argument as to why it would be for the good of mankind to have EA buy up every single great game studio, but I can’t think of one, all I have on my mind is a watering down of great titles like Bioshock, with a sequel coming out once a year. I can’t wait to see how this plays out, for now, check the full press release after the break:


    Capcom’s WonderCon 2008 Lineup

    Monday, February 25th, 2008

    This last weekend I managed to attend WonderCon in San Francisco. While WonderCon is a smaller comic book convention, there were a few gaming bits of interest. First and foremost was the Capcom Panel that showed off a few of their upcoming games.


    Cracked’s 15 Most Annoying Video Game Characters

    Monday, February 25th, 2008

    Cracked has done it again with one of their great lists, taking a group of individually bad things and collecting them for the good of our amusement. This time with a theme we can all appreciate, annoying video game characters. I can’t say that I agree with the full list… but more than 50% right isn’t too shabby:

    15 Baby Mario from Yoshi’s Island
    14 Miles “Tails” Prower from Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    13 Slippy Toad from Star Fox 64
    12 Ashley Graham from Resident Evil 4
    11 Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
    10 Natalya from Goldeneye
    09 John Madden from the Madden Football Series
    08 Navi from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    07 Tingle from Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    06 Daxter from Jak and Daxter
    05 Mr. Resetti from Animal Crossing
    04 The Cops from Road Rash
    03 Waluigi from Mario Tennis
    02 Every Racer that uses Comeback A.I., from Countless Racing Games
    01 The Dog from Duck Hunt


    The Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD Blu ray Saga

    Sunday, February 24th, 2008

    The recent demise of HD DVD as a format, after it lost its long and hard fought battle with Blu ray to become the future choice for high definition movie lovers everywhere, is set to have a massive impact on the games industry, with Sony’s decision to stick a Blu ray player in the Playstation 3 now looking like a piece of forward thinking genius.

    Meanwhile Microsoft backed the HD DVD format, which Toshiba has now officially killed off by ceasing manufacture of all hardware, and face the choice of doing nothing to combat the help this will give the PS3, or move forward and produce a Blu ray drive for the Xbox 360 instead.

    If you’re one of those unfortunate Xbox 360 owners who bought the HD DVD add on, you may now be out of luck in trying to ditch you defunct technology, as some game shops in the US are already refusing to accept them for trade in. I expect other chains around the world will also follow the same logical steps.

    Rumours are also rife that the price of the HD DVD add on for the Xbox 360 will be slashed to bargain basement levels, with $49.99 being the rate cited by an inside source. Even at that price though, it’s not worth buying, as you’ll soon find the limited number of movies available in the format getting a bit dull. It’s a dead format, just save your money.


    New Releases: Week of February 24th, 2008

    Sunday, February 24th, 2008

    This week in releases brings us a new Destroy All Humans, a not too shabby video game adaptation of the tv series Lost, and my favorite game early in the 360’s life cycle, Lost Planet. Though I have other games that grab my attention now, there is still a piece of my heart reserved for this series, I am glad now PS3 owners can share in the love. Though I will admit I am a bit jealous, as the PS3 version does include all the downloadable maps that I ended up having to pay for… AND.. it is only $40 right now (I guess there is also that free online play element to add to the jealous rage). Once you experience Lost Planet’s multiplayer maps, you will never look at any other shooting game’s maps the same again, I wish as much care went into other games as Capcom invested in this gem. Now onto the list!


    My XBox Broke

    Friday, February 22nd, 2008

    My XBox broke. Yep, I’m one of the thousands, or the 16% of Xbox 360 owners that have experienced the charming error known as the Red Ring of Death. I bought my 360 in September of 2007 and it barely lasted four months before crapping out on me. Hell, technically I’m on my second Xbox. The first one I bought didn’t work out of the box because of a bad power adapter.

    Why should you care about this? Well, the plain and simple fact is that it’s incredibly hard to believe that I’m one of the few lucky people to have a failure. The estimated (and controversial) 16% isn’t that large when almost everyone knows someone else that has had an Xbox 360 system failure. A fellow blogger friend of mine is on his fifth XBox. I’m sure that if you’re reading this you have either experienced this or know someone who has. It’s fricking annoying. While Microsoft support said that they’d repair my for free, it still sucks that I’ll be without Rock Band or Halo 3 for a few weeks. If you have an older XBox 360 and haven’t had any problems with it, I wish you all the luck.

    Game Ads From the Days of Yore: Genesis Does What Nintendon’t

    Friday, February 22nd, 2008

    Since the last Game Ads from the Days of Yore went so well (a whopping 0 comments!), I figured it was time for another outing. This time we take a look at Sega propaganda.



    ‘Gears Of War 2′ To Ship In November - Microsoft Finally Reveal A Big Exclusive Release

    Thursday, February 21st, 2008

    Big exclusives games seem to be a bit thin on the ground for the Xbox 360 of late. While the PS3 has a whole slew of them lined up for the next twelve months, Xbox owners are having to be content with retro releases through the Xbox Live service.

    But finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as Microsoft has announced Gears Of War 2 is to be released in November. So just the 8 months to wait.

    Microsoft made the official announcement at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Rumours of a sequel to the best selling Gears Of War have been doing the rounds for the last few months, but this is the first official confirmation. It’s no doubt been brought forward due to poor hardware sales over the past few months, which won’t be helped by the death of HD DVD.

    The PS3 is likely to see an upturn in sales purely for the fact it has a Blu ray player built in, making it one of the cheapest options for playing high definition movies on.

    Add in the fact that Sony have a lot of big games due out during 2008, and Microsoft definitely had to pull some sort of announcement out of its ass, and quick.


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