Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Xbox 360 Platinum Hits

On March 16th, the new line of Xbox 360 Platinum Hits will be released for a suggested retail price of $29.99. This is great for saving money, if you haven't already shelled out the $60 in the past like me.

The new Platinum Hits are:
  • Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
  • Burnout Revenge
  • Call of Duty 2
  • Dead or Alive 4
  • Fight Night Round 3
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
  • Top Spin 2
  • Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis

I highly recommend Battlefield 2 and Call of Duty 2. The other games are fun too(except that I suck at Burnout Revenge... or any racing game).

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Mass Effect - Mass Size

Yep. I'm talking about Mass Effect again. I love it, and I've never even played it.

The developers have now gone on record as saying that the game "barely" fits on one disc. Does this mean multi-disc games could be on the horizon? Or is Mass Effect an exception?

Also, it has been revealed that your character in Mass Effect will be very customizable. So that's cool too.

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Free Gaming Magazine

You want some free news? Other than the free news you steal from us?

Here is a free year long subscription to Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. Supplies are limited so hurry up.

I know I will use my free subscription to try and post some PC news so you crybabies stop saying there's not enough PC news.


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Best Buy - No sale and Xbox musings

Yesterday, rumors began to surface that Best Buy was going to have a massive unadvertised game sale today. The rumor said over 200 games from the Gamecube to PS2 to Xbox to the 360 would be on sale, many around $2.

I, of course, had to check into this. So I went down to the Best Buy today. As far as I could tell, there was no sale. I know the store had none of the 360 games I knew were supposed to be on the sale. But I checked all the other sections and saw none of the sale.

However, as I was checking the various sections, I noticed something interesting. The Xbox section at Best Buy is really small. I haven't looked at Xbox games pretty much since I got a 360.

Most of the games that were there were ones I recognized from a year or so ago. There were a handful that I never heard of.

We all knew it was coming. I hereby declare the regular Xbox is dead.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

XYBA Podcast Ep 03

Here is XYBA Podcast 03, where we are joined by Jeff and Bryan. We change the format a little to give some room for some Crackdown talk. This is the longest podcast so far clocking in at one hour and 23 minutes. Here is the breakdown.

0:00 - Open and Intros (Johnny Cash)
0:01 - Games we are playing
0:07 - Video Game News
0:24 - Bryan and Jeff talk about Wii's VC content not transferable to a new Wii
0:30 - Round table discussion about achievements and entitlements and how it has changed gaming
0:45 - Crackdown review
0:57 - Games we are looking forward to
1:05 - Rants start here
1:19 - Shout outs and outro (Rick Ross)

Thanks to Jeff and Bryan to for coming out. You can be their friend on X-Box live at:

I'd post their Wii friend codes, but we've run out of room. Enjoy.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Circuit City = Used Video Games

I read a Gamespot article that talks about Circuit City's website now offering used video games. Should Gamestop be worried about the double C moving in on their turf? No, according to analyst Colin Sebastian.
"We view the barriers to establish a liquid and profitable used video game business as fairly high," Sebastian wrote, "including dedicated systems to track and manage used product inventory and pricing, the ability to refurbish products and restock stores to balance supply and demand, as well as a sales force trained to evaluate trade-ins. We also believe that a successful used business requires a significant inventory of both new and used video games."
It's funny that Sebastian should write that they "believe that a successful used business requires a significant inventory of both new and used video games" seeing as how Gamestop never has enough games on release date even reserved copies.

I tried supporting Gamestop and EB games, but after consistently having to wait till day after release to get my reserved copy of a game and then hearing Andy saying he just walked into a Target or Circuit City and grabbed his off the shelf, I have given up. I now reserve my games at Best Buy and I was able to get Crackdown on release date. Charlie reserved his at Circuit City and got it on release date, but not after having to wait in the store for 15 minutes, so an employee would grab it off the shelf for him. I hate Circuit City employees.

The discounts for the used games don't seem that significant about $5-8 off the new price, but if you are buying more than one game at once it could add up in savings.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rewards Challenge Over...

...for the top level. Not literally over, but it might as well be.

It looks like the last of the top level physical prizes (Microsoft points, T-shirt and Fusion Frenzy 2) were claimed, probably yesterday. Which was officially the ninth day of the two month long contest(and don't forget most people couldn't register for the first day or four).

The website for the Old Spice Rewards Challenge shows 0% of those prizes remaining. Strangely, it still shows 100% for all other prizes.

Now, if only the top level challengers have claimed their prizes, that would mean that Contra should be at 96%, but I can understand that not registering. However, the 100 Microsoft Points are still at 100% so either hardly any Level 2 Challengers have claimed their prize or there are a lot more of 100 Microsoft Points awards available. I'm guessing the first option.

But those of us who have finished the Level 3 Challenge in time still have to wait until after April 12th to get our prizes.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Xbox Live TV Videos

I tried the Xbox Live TV download service for the first time today.

I downloaded last week's episode of Veronica Mars. I'm a big fan of the show, but I missed last week's episode because I was busy getting my ass kicked in the MLGPro Gears of War tournament and forgot to record it.

Anyway, it seemed to work very well. I paid 160 Microsoft points(approximately $2.00 US dollars) for a Standard Definition 475 meg file, 42 minute long episode. That's $0.01 more expensive than the same episode would be on iTunes.

It took 25-35 minutes to download, and you have the option to watch the video while it is downloading. That's a pretty handy feature I didn't know existed with this service.

Watching the show without commercials is very nice. But the skip forward feature only skips ahead like 40 seconds.

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More Rewards Challenge Info

Ok. This morning when I woke up, I saw that there was only about 25-30% of the top prizes of the Old Spice Challenge prizes left. I decided to step it up and went out and rented College Hoops 2K6 for an easy 850 gamerscore increase. I have now completed the rewards challenge.

Now that I'm on the inside, I can reveal some of the mysteries.

Number one: the actual rewards will not be given out until after the challenge is over (4/12/07).

Number two: Yes, the prizes are limited. First come(or finish in this case), first serve. Here is a breakdown of the prizes:
  • Gamer Pics (all levels) - Unlimited
  • Experience Level Upgrade - Unlimited
  • Contra for XBLA - 70,000
  • 100 Microsoft Points - Unsure (probably 2,500)
  • 200 Microsoft Points - 2,500
  • Clipper T-shirt - 2,500
  • Fusion Frenzy 2 - 2,500

So there you are. If you aren't one of the first 2,500 people to complete the challenge on the higher levels, you won't get some of the prizes.

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Halo 3 in Fall of 2007

Bungie's weakly update talks about the new visual "brand identity" for the upcoming Halo 3 video game. When Halo 2 was approaching launch day, fans were treated to the image of the Master Chief dual wielding on some rubble with a golden sky in the background. For Halo 3 we are getting the scene with the Forerunner structure opening and a beam of light shooting out of it, but it creates the Halo 3 logo.

The best part is that the wallpapers show a seasonal date on them: Fall 2007. Up until now, Bungie and Microsoft have only said 2007 for a release date, now we know it is later in the year. There were some speculations that maybe the game would be available in June or July (the seventh month), but now it looks like that the November release is more realistic and is the same months that Halo 1 and Halo 2 were released.

Other things mentioned were that the Halo 3 Beta is looking more like late Spring now, so that gives everyone plenty of Crackdown time. Plus they remind us that the new Halo 2 multiplayer maps will be coming this Spring as well.

Bungie also breaks down the controller scheme, but mentions that basically all buttons are mappable. This would be awesome and should be a standard as we mentioned in our first podcast. Also there are other mystery actions besides the "x-button" function that we will see in the beta, like the directional pad is used for team chat, but it also will control proximity chat as well. I'm excited.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Retraction/Correction from Podcast 2

No, I am not retracting my prediction of the HD-DVD winner in the format wars. But we talked about an upcoming PC game called Crysis. While most of my description of the game was accurate, one main point was not.

When I said the article didn't mention anything about being able to jump into the game as an enemy or NPC, there was a good reason. Wrong game. The game which will allow players to jump into other people's games is called The Crossing. Josh takes the hit for this misinformation, and I will be punching him in the stomach later today.

The Crossing takes place in modern day France(or possibly future France). There's not a lot of info on it yet, but from the video I think you might be a cop or special forces. Anyway, in this reality, France is being overrun by crime and despair. At the same time, the Knights Templar society has survived all these years and existed in secret. Then it's also a little confusing. Possibly you fight them at first and then later join them? Like I said, not a lot of info available right now.

Pretty much the only thing they are saying is that it is a FPS and should be cross-platform(PC and Xbox 360). Their slogan for the game is "Fusing Single Player with Multiplayer." Looks interesting. But it'll probably still be a while coming out.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

I Need to Step It Up!

I was just looking at the Rewards Challenge page. I'm over a third of the way done with the Old Spice challenge, but it looks like 25% of the Level 3 rewards(the T-shirt and Fusion Frenzy 2) are already claimed. I had planned on waiting until Crackdown on Tuesday, but at this rate, I might not get a free game!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Crackdown NOW!

Some people are playing Crackdown right now. Not the demo, the real deal.

The game has already shipped to many stores around the country. The stores are supposed to keep the games off the shelves until Tuesday.

But of course, we all know that what is supposed to happen and what usually does are two seperate things. Some stores have already put the game on the shelves. Other stores have not, but if you know the right person at said store, you've probably gotten your copy early.

Sadly, I do not have any friends locally who are working in the gaming retail industry so I'll have to wait until Tuesday. But another option for those dedicated fans: Mexico!

That's right. It's been reported that a number of gamers have been streaming across the border. Not for their drugs or prostitution or cheap fireworks, but for Crackdown. Mexican stores have already put their copies on the shelves, and Americans have been buying them off of those shelves.

Border Guard: "How was your trip to Mexico? Anything to declare?"

Me: "Just that I'm going to get so many orbs I'll be jumping over buildings as soon as I get home!"

Border Guard: "Sir, you're going to have to come with me..."

And that's why I don't go to Mexico anymore... Anyway, if you've got some free time, check your local stores this weekend. Crackdown might already be there waiting for you.

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Wireless Guitar Hero?

Someone might be listening to Josh after all. Probably not, but they're listening to consumers like Josh who really, really wanted a wireless guitar controller for Guitar Hero II on the 360.

IGN says that the game's associate producer, Ted Lange, said they were planning on releasing a wireless guitar for the 360 game "rather shortly." I have no idea how long that means since the game itself is supposed to be released in April.

The real question I have is: Do I wait until the wireless version comes out or spend the $90 right away on the game?

Also, the developers claim that Guitar Hero II on the 360 will have the most downloadable content available of any game yet released. I'm assuming that it'll mostly be different songs but have yet to see any confirmation on that. Do we pay per song? I guess we'll find out...

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Gears of War on PC

This was posted on PC Gameworld:

Mark Rein of Epic Games has commented that Gears of War will likely be ported to the PC after the games Xbox 360 exclusivity ends.

Speaking to Teamxbox.com, Rein stated "I don't think that's any great secret that we would like to do it on PC, but for now it's a 360 game."

"Eventually we'll get around to a PC version. I just don't know when", he concluded.

Previously the company had stated the game would be available for "Xbox 360 and PC", but later debunked claims of a PC version following the games 360 release.

Better gear up just in case then, PC lovers.
Feb 14, 2007

I'm drooling already...

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Microsoft Kissing Japans Butt with Free Content

Japan should expect some downloadable content for Blue Dragon. Free downloadable content, which includes hard and super modes according to Joystiq. Microsoft is trying really hard to make a dent in the Japanese market. First they offer a great Blue Dragon bundle deal with the console lowered in price, free face plate, and figurines. Now they are giving them free content, which here in America is only done when there is a big sponsor to pick up the price tag.

I for one wish all Xbox owners would band together and just hold off on getting anything Xbox related so that our prices could come down or we could start getting free downloadable content. We know M$ can, they just won't as long as we are buying their stuff.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Do You Have a Wii Pole?

I'm so dirty. Nintendo Wii has added a new channel. What is the new channel? Is it about gaming? No, not really. Is it entertaining? Not so much. What the hell is it? Its the Wii Votes Channel. Now you and five other family members can vote on polls each week. Nintendo plans on allowing users to submit polls and they are hoping to put out at least three each week. Sounds exciting. If you thought the Wii was just for gaming you were wrong, now it is so Nintendo can poll their users and get more information about them. Most likely for marketing. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

So now the Wii plays games, surfs the Internet, has a weather channel (which you can get on the net), a news channel (also available on the net), and now Wii voting. Does anyone remember what NES stood for?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Follow Up to Old Spice Challenge

So I tried getting on last night when the Old Spice Challenge went live around 7:00 pm EST, but was unable. I thought it might be overwhelmed with the thousands of xbox 360 users signing in all at once. I tried throughout the night, but could never get past clicking on the "Sign In" button. So I hit the message boards and read the posts about how people must be stupid because others are able to get in. I tried it on my desktop and Ashley's laptop and couldn't get in on either, so I gave up.

This morning I figured the traffic will be low and I'll be able to jump right in and get to registering. I was wrong. It was giving me the same issues, so I hit the message boards on xbox.com again and found the following from Ashamed Pegasus.

Copy https://reg.msgamestudios.com/default.aspx?site=Halo3Teaser select English and enter the information and hit register at the bottom... When the page loads enter www.xbox.com/rewards and click register a second time... Done...
After trying all morning on different browsers and computers, this finally worked for me. So if you are having no luck give this a try. It basically takes you to the Halo 3 Beta sign up, but helps create a backdoor to the Old Spice Challenge registration form as well. If you have other methods that work, please feel free to post them in the comments section to help out your fellow gamers.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Where are my damn Rewards?

Been checking the Xbox.com Rewards page all day to try and register for the Rewards Challenge.

Now, in the forums and from an e-mail from Josh, I find out that registration won't open until 6-8 pm EST tonight. So, I could register in like 20 minutes or maybe 2 hours and 20 minutes. Knowing Microsoft, probably later.

Why couldn't they have gotten this information out better? Rather than the "check back on February 12th." I've been checking back since 12:01 am this morning! Boo!

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mass Effect - Mass Playing Time

Recent interviews indicate that the upcoming sci-fi RPG game Mass Effect could take up to 70 hours to complete. Game developers say that it should take 40 real time hours to complete the main storyline, and it could take up to 30 hours more to complete the side stories and explore the various planets.

This is a game that is consistently mentioned in our podcast as a game we are looking forward to. A nice long game play makes me want to play it even more. It's not quite Oblivion length, but it's close.

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Viva Pinata for young girls?

At least, according to Bill Gates it is.

I don't know yet, but I've heard good things about the game, including that it's addicting. I'll find out tomorrow. I borrowed the game from Josh. I'm restraining myself from playing it until tomorrow because I want the achievement points to count towards the Microsoft/Old Spice Rewards Challenge. (Editor: We talk about the Rewards Challenge in Podcast 2)

I am some kind of Pinata!

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XYBA Podcast Ep 02

Here is our 2nd episode of XYBA Podcast. This time it is the full crew with Andy, Charlie, Eric, Grant, and Josh along with guest Jeff Kazbek from Bleeding Sky Studios. Jeff helps situate the mics, so the audio is a little bit better. We definitely need more mics. We cover the news (read by Andy with rebuttals), why Jeff hates Blazing Angels on PS3, Eric's grandma destroying him at Wii Bowling, World of Warcraft and the Burning Crusades, GTA Monsters video game idea, our first Gears of War tournament, Grants claim that Unreal 3 will be a highly anticipated game, Charlie picking an opening song that isn't a song at all, and much more. Enjoy and let us know what you think and what you would like to hear about.

Download XYBA Podcast Ep02

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The 2nd Ep with Guest Jeff Kazbek

We will be in the studio on Saturday Feb 10th to record the 2nd episode of XYBA. It should be the full crew with Andy, Charlie, Eric, Grant, and Josh all contributing unless someone gets a last minute schedule change. Our guest will be Jeff Kazbek who owns a recording studio in Jacksonville called Bleeding Sky Studios, so hopefully he can resolve our mic issue. It should be a good podcast with better audio, so be sure to tune in on Sunday.

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