Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Halo 3 Has Gone Golden

Halo 3 Goes Gold
With only 27 days until the official release, Halo 3 officially went gold today. You hear that sound? That's millions of fans crying with relief and joy. announced the news today.

"This is the game we've always wanted to make and certainly the best game our studio has developed. We can't wait for gamers to get their hands on it on September 25." said Harold Ryan, Studio Head at Bungie Studios.

I've been watching a ton of leaked footage and it's been very impressive. Everything from the flamethrower to forge to the new vehicles, like Hornet and Elephant. Thanks to the leaks there are less speculations flying around and this should reduce the over hype that happened with Halo 2 (where's my boat fights?)

One cool theory that's been going around is that there will be two campaigns. One you play as the Master Chief and the other that you play through as the Arbiter. This came about due to the secret achievements list for Halo 3. We shall see in 27 days.

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Home Beta Info Leakage

A Home beta user has leaked some information about the current state of the Home network. Home is supposed to be released in October, according to Sony, but the insider says beta users haven't gotten to test all the features.

Here are some of the features and issues with Home:
• There is only one apartment available now, and it is 15ft by 40ft.
• There are four areas — all of which were shown at GDC.
• The movie theater is showing the SPIDER-MAN 3 trailer. There are ten theater rooms showing game and movie trailers.
• The game room is the "most popular room" in the lobby. There are 6 pool tables, 4 bowling lanes and 10 arcade machines.
• The friend invite feature has not been implemented yet.
• Currently, there is no support for in-home parties.
• The face creation system for the avatars is very detailed. The clothing and hair selection is not. Body shape was just added in a recent update and only has an adjustment slider.
• The ability to playback HDD content has not been included.
• Picture frames are restricted to pre-set photos.
• It's not yet possible to play back pack video or audio and TVs or stereos do not appear as available furniture.
• You can walk into your own apartment; however, you must be invited to your friends. You can then warp into your friend's pad.
• Friends must invite you while they are in their apartment.
• Moving furniture in your apartment is easy and "relatively painless." There is a "good assortment" of furniture to select form. Physics work well.
• Currently, there is no trophy room.
• Home supported Bluetooth headsets and keyboards from the beta's first day. You must hold R2 to speak. The audio volume is based on people's proximity to you. That means it's possible to have one-on-one conversation while others chit-chat in the background.

So come October we will see if Sony can fulfill their Home promise.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

COD4 Beta Signup Crashes Official Site

Infinity Ward's web company assured them that the website was ready for the beta applications today at noon. Unfortunately, it reportedly crashed soon after noon justlike it did when the beta was originally announced at E3.

Those lucky enough to see the website are saying that all the tokens to participate in the beta were gone within eight minutes. But because of the massive rush to the website and the crash, Infinity Ward has reopened the beta registration.

They have thrown out the "first come, first serve" approach they were trying. Members now have until August 28th at 7 pm to register for the beta. After that, they will randomly pick people to participate in the beta and let them know within 72 hours.

The official website Charlie Oscar Delta is currently back up but moving a little sluggishly. It's probably being pegged a lot so be patient.

The beta clocks in at about a gig.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

skate Demo and Bioshock so Far...

There is demo out for skate - or as I like to call it, the reason I dropped $400 on a 360 and I just picked up Bioshock. Here are my initial impressions for both...

skate - I don't know why it's supposed to be lowercase, but this game rocks. It is the closest thing I've seen in a video game to actual skateboarding. This is great for those of us that are sick of trying to mimic real life tricks on rooftops or other ridiculous high platforms in the damn Tony Hawk games. Manuals take a bit of getting used to as does getting into grinds, but it's really fun. I have a bit of an issue trying to do some tricks - 360 flip for example - where my character just keeps doing shuv-its. I really want to see a non-park level to get an idea of how good this is going to be.

Bioshock - Pretty Damn Impressive. That's the best way to describe what I've played so far. This, (and skate) are games that actually look good graphics-wise on a standard definition television. The controls seem good (although if I tap right on the right stick, it has a tendency to keep floating off that direction.) I was worried about switching back and forth between plasmids and guns, but it is actually very easy. The enemies are my only real complaint so far, as they all look pretty much the same. But I guess I don't need a wide variety of people to hit with a wrench.

Both of these titles are shaping up to be pretty enjoyable (although since I've got them much of my time is still being spent playing Super Metroid) and hopefully I can find more 360 games that I like this much.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Possible Xbox 360 Fall Update

There are rumors on the Xbox forum about some updates coming to the Xbox 360. If it's all true, then this will be a great update minus the fact that multi chat isn't in there. See the list after the jump.

* Compatibility with 3rd party wireless controllers
* Compatibility with messenger pad
* Xbox Live Vision firmware upgrade, sharper image filtering
* Many more Vision Cam settings
* New screensaver settings - when away from Xbox 360, screensaver will play for optional time, before screen goes dark
* New Xbox Live Arcade blade - where you can download, play and learn about Xbox Live Arcade
* Brand new "web based adver-games" flash games which aren’t downloaded, but are playable bite sized games, accessed via new Xbox Live Arcade Blade
* New Screensaver option in Themes and Gamer Pics option in Marketplace blade
* New functionality with Messenger, works with chatpad
* New XNA Game Launcher for those that have the program, new options
* New language, time and date settings
* New "advertising opportunities" in gameplay
* Xvid support
* New "favorites" option via Xbox Live Arcade, can rate according to preference
* IPTV Functionality - support for TiVo like PVR options. Will be able to record TV direct. Options include source by channel, director, actor and distributor
* Filter friends list, will be able to filter friends via games
* New clan support - will be able to launch clan games direct from dashboard, can "fold" friends into new clan category in friends list
* Better translations in settings and other options for Japanese, German and Spanish languages
* New quick option to delete via X Button in memory viewer
* Option for having downloadable In-game content not inform when completed download
* Option for having video content not inform when completed download
* Faster settings for viewing unfinished video content downloads
* New option in Games tab - beta and others, will be launcher for MMO and multiplayer betas
* New option in Marketplace Games tab, search by letter, can be inputted via text pad or console
* Smarter game settings - you can be messaged via publishers about new in-game content for your games
* Picture in picture functionality for DVD Drive and some other updated settings
* Improved USB Keyboard settings
* Improved voice chat settings in game and from dashboard
* Faster response times to Redeem Code settings
* Option to play a Redeemed Code game straight after redeeming code
* Console will now recognize low Hard Drive space, will inform you immediately if can’t download current item, will automatically download next available that is able
* Increased space size for gamerpics and dashboard themes
* Themes can now be animated
* Themes may now have sound effects
* Better slideshow capabilities new options added. New sound effects and integration with Hard Drive/ PC music capable
* New estimated timer for downloads, informing how long download will expect to take

Again there is no confirmation on this, but a lot of the features sound cool, like animated themes and clan support. The clan support works out perfectly since Bungie announced that Halo 3 will not have clan support.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Doritos Announces the Finalists in Their Unlock Xbox Contest

Remember that contest Doritos was sponsoring where you could submit game ideas(that were "Dorito inspired")? Well, they have announced the five finalists!

Doritos Dinosaur Dash

In this game, a dinosaur is trying to eat a delivery truck full of Doritos. You can play as either the truck driver or the dinosaur.

Ultimate Dodgeball Champions

It's a dodgeball game. That's about it.

Monkeys from Mt. Dorito

Um... Monkeys fight Tiki monsters using doritos as hit points or weapons. The picture kinda looks like a small version of Pac-Man. There's some more complex rules for the game, click the link above to see them.

PB's Quest for Flavor

PB is a pill bug in search of the perfect flavor of Doritos. He searches a house for this perfect Dorito. Along the way, he eats other Doritos which give him powers to fight other bugs. The powers vary depending on the flavor of the Dorito.

Rythum Racing

Racing on a racetrack that changes with the beat and tempo of whatever music you are listening to.

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Paramount Breaks Up With Blu-Ray

Celebrity couples always seem to have it all. You see them smiling and having a good time together out at the awards ceremony and then BAM! Splitsville. That's how it is with Paramount/Dreamworks and Blu-Ray. One minute, Blu-Ray thinks its in a committed relationship, the next day they see Paramount/Dreamworks out with HD-DVD in the tabloids!

Don't feel too bad for Blu-Ray though. She's been seen with a lot of other production studios.

The only exception to the HD-DVD switch will be any movies directed by Steven Spielberg. Those movies will be released on both formats.

But all other movies released by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films will be HD-DVD only. That includes recent blockbusters like "Shrek the Third" and "Transformers."

Paramount says the switch is due mainly to the fact that HD-DVD players average about $200 cheaper than Blu-Ray players. And while technically, there are more Blu-Ray players in use in the United States, almost all of those are PS3s, and recent research indicates that gamers buy less movies than people who buy a stand alone DVD player.

Other reasons could include the fact that it actually costs distributors a lot less to convert their normal DVD factories into HD-DVD factories. They just upgrade certain equipment, but with Blu-Ray, they basically need to replace all their equipment.

With this announcement, Time Warner is now the only major studio to release movies on both formats.

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XYBA Podcast Ep 11

We are back after several busy weekends that prevented us from getting together. The latest XYBA has lots of news and opinions about gaming for you to soak your gaming brains in.

0:00 - Intro Jam
0:20 - Introductions: Josh, Andy, and Charlie
0:50 - Games We Be Playin: Overlord, Shadowrun, Bioshock Demo, Orphan Feast and Psi Ops
10:41 - Talk about Josh's Xbox 360 death experience
13:14 - Gaming News: Halo 3 has 4 player co-op, George Lucas is a sellout, GTA IV delayed to 2008, Andy and Charlie not buying Rockband, Bioshock news how shocking, Microsoft lays down the laws for machinimas, King of Kong movie released, Metroid getting good reviews from Nintendo Power, Bungie Pro, Games for Windows Live will support XP, COD4 beta coming to 360, and Nintendo bringing original games to Wii
1:01:50 - Roundtable Discussion: Games built with only Multiplayer vs games built with only singleplayer. Shadowrun vs Bioshock
1:17:00 - Indian Summer video
1:17:50 - Games we are looking forward to: Bioshock, Mass Effect, Stranglehold, Super Dodgeball DS, Two Worlds, Halo 3
1:25:20 - Rants: Andy wants to know why Josh hates Eric and Grant.
1:27:21 - Shoutouts, Jigsaws Gamefly Hookup, Happy Birthday Andy, and End Music

Download XYBA Podcast Ep 11

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Shadowrun Patched

A Shadowrun patch is now live for both the Xbox 360 and the PC. This update addresses some problem issues like server disconnects and Vista cheats as well as some gaming issues. More details after the jump.

Game Balance
* Dwarves can no longer be bled out with the katana or Artifact. (This is a dwarven racial advantage that doesn't always works. It sucks being bled out by the katana when it's never supposed to happen to you!)
* The elf regeneration ability has been mildly nerfed by delaying its start by 1/4 second and costing the elf more essence. (I'm glad for this as well. Personally, I suck with elves, but when I fight them, they just run off and regenerate before I can track them down again and kill them.)

* Enemy footsteps will be louder.

* Bot intelligence should now scale with players’ average Trueskill in Public Match games. (The bots were sometimes great and sometimes very bad. Hopefully this will help even them out.)

* Added “Advanced Settings” screen when setting up a Private Game, which contains the allows the host to cap the number of players, more control over preferences and the ability to turn karma on or off. (I've never played a private game so it doesn't affect me.)
* Fixed “stop” functionality when a game-start countdown has begun.
* Improved messaging for when your party is split or rejoined due to team balance.
* Improved messaging about Artifact clearing bodies in Attrition. (Yeah, I was a total newb when the first time I played Attrition. I put like five clips into a body, not realizing you can only destroy bodies with the Artifact when playing Attrition.)

* Improved server reliability. (Thank God!)

Dedicated Server
* Improved voting reliability.
* Improved network reliability.
* Improved error messaging.

* Local Match games can now be played without a profile. (By local, you mean System Link? Who has enough consoles system linked to play locally? Maybe it's more for PC players...)
* Fixed numerous crashes.
* Fixed numerous exploits and glitches. (Does this mean no more Vista glitching Katana Elves?)
* Improved Vista multi-monitor functionality. (For the 10 people playing on Vista.)

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Edit: Mass Effect Not Delayed

8 pm - Earlier I told you about reports saying Mass Effect has been delayed until December 7, 2007. Chris Priestly, Community Coordinator, for Bioware over at Mass Effect's website has since gone on the record to say that Mass Effect is not delayed and will still launch in November. The earlier post is after the jump.

Old, inaccurate post: Luckily, this time it's not so long, but reports are surfacing that stores are e-mailing customers who preordered Mass Effect, letting them know that the game's release has been delayed until December 7, 2007.

I surfed over to to see if they had changed the date there yet. They haven't, but they did take Mass Effect off of the Upcoming Games list again.

Wasn't Mass Effect voted best game of 2005 or 2006 or something? It feels like this game will never come out! But, with both GTA IV and Mass Effect leaving the November release pool that does free up some of my gaming dollars for that month...

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


We all know what machinima is, especially with the large success of Red vs Blue, by Rooster Teeth. Well Microsoft, in all it's greatness, decided it was time to lay down the law on what fans can do with their IPs.

Microsoft released a set of rules that fans will need to follow in order to use any of their games in machinimas. They present these rules/laws on in a hip cool way that feels warm and inviting.

"If you do any of these things, you can expect to hear from Microsoft’s lawyers who will tell you that you have to stop distributing your Items right away."

That was friendly. How about these for some rules:

• You can’t use the soundtracks or audio effects from the original game.
• You can’t use Game Content to create pornographic or obscene Items, or anything that contains vulgar, racist, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content.

Wow, sounds like making machinimas will be tons of fun now. Leave it to Microsoft to take a fun activity that was, in a sense, illegal to begin with and apply rules to make it seem like they are working with the creators. No shit this stuff was illegal to make, but since no one made a profit from it (except Rooster Teeth) no one seemed to care.

Does this mean the end of Rooster Teeth and their famous Halo machinima series? I'm betting no. They've already had talks with Microsoft lawyers when they first started the series. That's why they are allowed to sell the movies on DVD.

Why does Microsoft care? Who knows. Why do they give a crap that me and my friends are making a crappy little movie to have laughs at? Their lawyers are going to be so overwhelmed with the amount of machinimas that hopefully they'll see it was a waste of time and did nothing but piss off the fans instead of winning them over.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Call of Duty 4 Perks

Over at Charlie Oscar Delta, there's a new mission that lets members tell infinity ward which perks they are most excited about. But with these questions, it looks like they have revealed all of the perks, even ones they haven't done little special videos and reports on yet.

First off, the question talks about three different numbered categories. This leads me to believe that players will be able to pick three perks, but it can only be one from each category.

Category 1 seems to deal with your character's explosives. There's Bomb Squad which allows you to find enemy explosives. With the name Bomb Squad, I'd hope you can also disarm the explosives after you find them.

There's also C4 x2 which will give your character two C4 packs you can remote detonate. There's also Claymore x2 which will give you two trip mines. RPG-7 x2 gives you a rocket launcher with 3 rockets. And finally, Special Grenades x3 will give you three special grenades but no smoke grenades.

Category 2 will affect your character in battle. Juggernaut gives you increased health. Sleight of Hand gives you faster reloading. Sonic Boom makes your explosions do more damage while Stopping Power increases your bullet damage. And finally, the UAV Jammer makes you undetectable on enemy radar.

Most of Category 3 affects your character physically, sometimes allowing special moves. Deep Impact makes your bullets penetrate barriers further. If you want to sprint for longer distances, Extreme Conditioning is for you. Last Stand allows you to pull out your pistol and fire it from the ground before you bleed out(you can always kill yourself to respawn faster if there's nobody to shoot near you when on the ground). Martyrdom is like Last Stand but without the work. If you have Martyrdom, you will drop a live grenade when you get killed. Steady Aim will increase your hip-fire accuracy. And finally, making less noise while moving is possible with Dead Silence.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Bioshock Demo Live

The demo for Bioshock went live last night. I was holding off on posting about it because I wanted a chance to play it before I posted about it. Sadly, I've been downloading the 1.35 GB demo for over 7 hours now and it's only 79% complete. (Charlie has taunted me with an Xbox Live message saying how awesome it is.)

But in the meantime, I've done some web surfing(and napping and TV watching). In all that time, I did stumble across some interesting Bioshock information.

While Bioshock is expected to be a big hit for 2K Games, it was originally turned down by many studios. Executives just saw it as another FPS. And this was even though (or possibly because) the team behind System Shock II was behind Bioshock. System Shock II was a great game but apparently didn't meet the sales hopes of the distributors.

So while you're waiting for Bioshock's August 21st release, you can wait for the demo to download. ... If you're not busy with Madden 08.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

More Halo 3 Swag!

All excited about the upcoming release of Halo 3 but worried that the replica helmet won't be enough to satisfy your love of swag? Have no fear! GameStop has introduced some new Halo 3 accessories to spruce up your gaming lair.

Behold the Halo 3 Missile Case! It retails for about $20 and looks like it holds one or two wireless controllers and some games.

While I usually scoff at gaming swag, this doesn't look too bad. I don't know that I'll get it, but it's interesting. What other swag can we expect as the hype for some of these games reaches boiling point?

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

HDMI for Everyone!

Okay, not everyone, but Microsoft is starting to put HDMI ports into their Xbox 360 Premiums. Crazy HDMI ports which apparently are the best video quality are now no longer the sole property of the Xbox 360 Elite.

With the new retail price of $350, the Xbox 360 Premium is almost a new system. There's the HDMI ports, the new 65nm chips, supposedly fixed cooling system... This means that my 360 which I bought January 2006 might be considered a classic (or an antique).

While Microsoft has confirmed the Premium HDMI port, they say they have no plans to install the HDMI ports into the Core system. Which, of course, has helped fuel the ongoing rumor frenzy about the possibility of removing the Core SKU.

(And in personal news, sorry I haven't been blogging lately. I was in the middle of a move.)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Add My 360 to the Pile

So it finally happened to me. My Xbox 360 has broken down just weeks before the release of Bioshock. I didn't get the red ring of death. Instead my 360 just freezes up on the load screen, so I can't get to my profile. I will be calling 18004myxbox to get the process started. Hopefully it will be back in time for Halo 3.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

August Game Releases

Summer is coming to an end. Will the end of the summer mean an end to the summer draught of games? Hopefully. Most of the dates are provided by Gamestop with a few changes.


DS Titles
August 2
* Chameleon: To Dye For
August 3
* Glory Days 2
August 6
* Pet Alien
August 7
* Mega Man Star Force Dragon
* Mega Man Star Force Leo
* Mega Man Star Force: Pegasus
August 14
* Fullmetal Alchemist: Trading Card Game
* Heroes of Mana
* High School Musical: Makin' the Cut
* Luminous Arc
* Madden NFL 08
* Operation: Vietnam
* Rune Factory: Fantasy Harvest Moon
August 20
* Brain Age 2: More Training In Minutes A Day
* Flipper Critters
August 21
* I Spy Funhouse
* LifeSigns: Surgical Unit
* The Settlers
* Turn it Around
August 28
* Garfield: Nightmares
* Master Jin Jin's IQ Challenge
* Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08
August 30
* Professional Fisherman's Tour: Northern Hemisphere

PC Titles
August 6
* Mission: Combat Force
August 10
* Attack on Pearl Harbor
* Combat Mission: Shock Force
* Hidden Expedition Everest
* Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst
* Virtual Villagers: The Lost Children
August 14
* 7 Wonders of the Ancient World 2
* Concentration
* Madden NFL 08
* Mystery Solitaire
August 15
* Miami Ink Temporary Tattoos
* Star Wars: Empire at War Gold Pack
August 21
* BioShock
* Destination: Treasure Island
* Panzer Killer
* Pet Luv Spa & Resort Tycoon
* Two Worlds
August 27
* Hears of Iron Anthology
* Stranglehold
August 28
* Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms DVD-ROM Expansion Pack
* Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 DVD
August 31
* Guild Wars Eye of the North

PS2 Titles
August 7
* Call of Duty 3 Enhanced Greatest Hits
* Marvel Ultimate Alliance Enhanced Greatest Hits
August 14
* Madden NFL 08
* Metropolismania 2
* Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Special Edition
August 21
* Brunswick Bowling
August 28
* Honda: Motorcycle Racing
* Stuntman Ignition
* Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08
* Wild Arms 5

PS3 Titles
August 14
* Madden NFL 08
August 21
* Ghost Recon: Advanced WarFighter 2
August 28
* Dynasty Warriors Gundam
* Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08
* Warhawk Bundle - Online Play Only

PSP Titles
August 7
* Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars
August 8
* Tomb Raider Anniversary
August 14
* Brunswick Bowling
* Dungeons & Dragons Tactics
* Madden NFL 08
August 21
* Dragoneer's Aria
* Ghost Recon: Advanced WarFighter 2
* Jeanne D' Arc
August 27
* NHRA Countdown to the Championship
August 28
* Dead Head Fred
* Monster Hunter Freedom 2
* Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes
* Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08

Wii Titles
August 7
* Boogie
August 14
* Brunswick Pro Bowling
* Madden NFL 08
August 20
* Mercury Meltdown: Revolution
August 27
* Carnival Games
* Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
August 28
* Pool Party
* Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08

Xbox 360 Titles
August 14
* Madden NFL 08
August 21
* BioShock
* Two Worlds
August 27
* Moto GP 2007
* Stranglehold
August 28
* Blue Dragon
* Dynasty Warriors Gundam
* Stuntman: Ignition
* Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 08

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I said the Sherrif is a Ni...

If you've seen "Blazing Saddles" you get the humor of the title, and therefore are probably an intelligent member of society. If you've seen the new Resident Evil 5 trailer and thought, "what the f! this white bastard hates black people" then you are probably ignorant. Case in point, this article on Game Politics with a women from a website called Black Looks has made some very poorly informed statements regarding said trailer.

I actually wondered how long it would take before somebody cried foul about this, I mean there was a crazy Mom who saw a video of Castle Crashers and thought they were KKK members killing the homies. I think it will be interesting to see if this affects the production of the game at all.

Japan has a very different, not really better or worse, view on people of other ethnic backgrounds whether black, white, red or yellow. Either way, I for one know that black people love me but if there was a black zombie, or white, or even skinless, I would put that muther down faster than Tu-Pac in a drive by.

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