Monday, December 31, 2007

XYBA Podcast Ep 17

Andy, Eric, Jeff, and Josh are back with the last XYBA Video Game Podcast of 2007. We discuss games we played on holiday and games we got for Christmas. Good times.

00:00 - Intros
00:35 - Games We're Playing :|: Geometry Wars: Galaxies, Gundam, Viva Pinata: Party Animals, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, SceneIt, Call of Duty 4, Half Life 2, Guitar Hero III, Tenchu Z, Transformers, Contra 4, New York Times Cross Word Puzzles, The Simpsons Game, Rock Band,
50:57 - Gaming News
1:02:30 - What We Are Looking Forward to For Gaming in 2008
1:34:38 - Rantz :|: Jeff goes off on Sony and their firmware restrictions

Download XYBA Podcast Ep 17

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm Pretty Good at Geometry Wars

Geometry Wars LeaderboardsI'm not good at Geometry Wars: Galaxies, but I'm not bad either. I recently went to San Francisco with the family for holiday and I needed a game to take. So I bought Geometry Wars: Galaxies on the DS. I wasn't a fan of the demo on the Xbox 360 and this game is pretty repetitive, so I get bored with it.

This game is good for trips to kill some time and I had plenty of free time. With all this free time I was able to score in the top ten on one of the planets. You can actually view me on Geometry Wars site. Just go to the leaderboards and go to the planet Minduo. I'm aplusj. Boo yaka. I think I'll try to place higher seeing as how I'll probably be bumped very soon.

On a side note, the Geometry Wars site is pretty cool. They've made it so that it's friendly to browse if you are using the DS browser, Wii browser, or your regular browser. Neat idea.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Give the Gift of MS Points

Well, you could always give the gift, but it used to only be in these gift card forms. Now Microsoft is allowing US members buy Microsoft Points for other gamers, as long as they know those gamers' Windows Live IDs.

Unfortunately, you can't yet buy M$ points for people just by knowing their Gamertag(which would make more sense).

You can buy and give the points from Major Nelson.

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Gamercards Now Track Old Games Too!

After the recent "Fall" Dashboard Update for the Xbox 360, gamercards are now keeping track of when you play original Xbox games on your system as well. The symbol for all older games is a white original Xbox and the achievements are always 0 out of 0.

Now, seeing these older games on someone's gamercard is only available when looking at their gamercard while on Xbox Live. The website and other gamercard tracking sites do not show the older games.

It's definitely an interesting little tidbit which will help me to cyberstalk what my friends are doing even more! That's right, I saw you playing Spongebob: The Battle for Bikini Bottom!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Falcoln has landed

The new line of Xbox 360s is on shelves now. But it's not something you'll see advertised. Because all the changes are internal.

Codenamed the Falcoln, the new interior systems reduce power consumption, heat and noise. The older system was known as the Zephyr. Not every system out there right now is using the Falcoln, but you can tell from the box which system it is.

If you are buying a 360 at the store, look on the side of the box where it compares the three different SKUs. At the bottom, there will be a label like this:

If the Watts listed is 175W, it's a Falcoln. If it's 203W(like mine), it's still a Zephyr.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm Heroic!

I know many of you will be upset, but I gave Bungie another $10. I bought the Heroic Map Pack today. And I don't regret it!

Rat's Nest is pretty fun. Santana and I were able to dominate on the outer track with a Warthog and when that got destroyed, I was able to jack a Ghost and continue to rain destruction upon the other team. The interior middle can get pretty intense with the various bridges and passages. There's even a hammer in the middle, but I SUCK with the hammer.

Stand Off is very big. On Capture the Flag, I was able to defend the base almost entirely by myself with a shotgun and some plasmas. We were able to score at the last second to win. Regular slayer is fun here too. You can see far across the map on this one. Which is apparently why there are no snipers on the map. There are battle rifles, shotguns, lasers, rocket launchers, Warthogs and Mongooses, though.

Santana really liked Foundry, but I was constantly killed. It's definitely an intense map because the enemy could be in any direction and it's not really that big. The cramped areas definitely make for some interesting situations.

But one of the main reasons I wanted to buy the Heroic Map Pack was for the extra stuff in Forge. I spent a good portion of today making a map on Foundry by deleting everything and building from scratch. There's a lot of options. I did play with a soccer ball for a while, but it didn't make it into my final design.

So go ahead and flame away. I can take it. After all, I'm heroic!

(BTW, this is our 300th post! Hoorah!)

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Topless Wii?

Possibly old news to some of you, but a British magazine has put out a series of videos called Topless Wii on the internet. In the videos, one or two girls play a Wii game while topless and you can guess what game they are playing.

For research for this post, I studied the videos. There seem to be 13 episodes so far. In the first eight, there is a blonde and a brunette. In the beginning of each episode, they say the name of the video and then take off their shirts before beginning to play. After episode 8, nobody ever wears a shirt again. In episodes 9-11, it is a new blonde girl. In episodes 12-13, they pair up the two blonde girls. Even though there are 13 episodes so far, they seem to only play the same four games. Of course, it is still the Wii...

While the Wii has a large children's market, Nintendo doesn't seem to be crying about the free publicity these videos are bringing. And of course, it is Europe where nudity is pretty common in advertising.

I will say that Warioware Smooth Moves looks perverted enough when being played by clothed people...

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Get Your Legendary Halo 3 Cheap!

So... your 360's been broken since Halo 3 came out and you still don't have a copy? Or maybe you're finally getting a 360 for Christmas. Either way, if you want to get your hands on Halo 3 Legendary Edition for $70 off, check out Wal-mart.

For a limited time, Walmart is selling the Legendary Edition for $60, the price of normal Halo 3 regularly. If you don't want the fancy helmet, they also have the Collector's Edition for $48.

Of course, I don't know anyone who doesn't already have Halo 3 but maybe you do. Could be a Christmas gift for someone. I have been looking for something to buy my mom...

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Make Your Own Themes

I found this posting that shows a template for making a background for your Xbox 360 Dashboard. Now you can finally have that theme of your dog!

You can actually make any picture a background by looking at it through the Pictures option and then pressing Y to make it your background. This template makes it so the image isn't stretched or covered by the blades.

The only problem is that whatever picture you make your background is the background for the different sections. You can't make multiple backgrounds.

I even made this sweet XYBA Podcast theme:

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This Game Brought to You... by Army

The Army has opened a new office with the sole purpose of designing video games. These games would be used to train troops in realistic military simulations.

I wouldn't expect these games to ever go to the public(or be much fun). But apparently the military is sick of paying third parties to make their training games and simulators. The new office is part of the National Simulation Center out of Kansas.

The tool kit they are working on now would allow soldiers to create and customize different scenarios. However, it isn't slated for release until as late as 2015. Won't we all be using Virtual Reality by then?

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Gamefly Opens New Shipping Center

I went back to Gamefly almost 6 months ago(according to My Rewards, at least). Honestly, the shipping times have not increased much despite the fact that they opened up an East Coast shipping center in Pittsburgh. But now Gamefly is opening a third shipping center in Tampa, FL.

Hopefully this new center will speed up shipping. If Gamefly ever got as fast as Netflix, then they'd be in business for real. Right now, I only keep my account to check out games I refuse to pay full price for. Whether it's because the game looks too short, has no replay value or just looks bad.

One great thing about Gamefly is that they sell used games for very cheap and free shipping. I do use them for this quite a bit.

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Guess What EA Sent Me? (Part 2)

Remember the extra guitar that I received from EA last week? Well last night I got around to opening it and as I thought it was another Rock Band guitar, but this one was different. At first I didn't recognize the difference, but then I realized there was no cord. This mama jama was a wireless guitar.

As you can imagine I was pretty excited. I would much rather have the wireless guitar over the wired guitar. But as quickly as I noticed it was a wireless guitar, I noticed something else. The guitar was lacking a certain green color. Something was off just a smidgen. Then I took a closer look at the Xbox 360 jewel (you know the button with the 4 green curves around it that can turn on the console) and to my surprise it didn't have it's signature green X on the button. Instead it said "PS".

At this point my heart broke and all the great moments I imagined having with the wireless guitar disappeared. I'm not sure why EA sent me a PS3 wireless guitar, since I never requested one and I don't own a PS3 yet. Something in their automated system must not have been tested well because they sent me 2 guitars instead of one and one of the guitars is for the wrong console. I started a thread on the Rock Band forums about it. Thanks EA.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Xbox 360 Arcade Review

I bought the Xbox 360 Arcade yesterday to replace my busted Xbox 360 Premium. The Arcade is the new Core system from Microsoft. It's definitely better than the Core system was. Here's some of my thoughts about the Arcade system.

First, what does it come with? The Xbox 360 Arcade comes with a wireless controller, a 256 MB memory card, standard video cables(no HD connection) and a copy of Xbox Live Arcade.

The wireless controller is definitely a nice change from the wired controller that used to come with the Core system. Plus, I've been meaning to get another wireless controller for a long time now.

The 256 MB memory card? Meh. I guess it's alright for saved games if you don't have a harddrive. I just transfered over the harddrive from my dead 360.

Standard video cables are ok if you don't have an HD TV. I used the component video cables from my Premium. One cool thing about all the new 360's are that they all have HDMI outputs, the 360 Arcade included. Unfortunately, the HD TV my 360 is hooked up to is too old to have an HDMI input. If you are lucky enough to have an HDMI input, you'll have to buy the HDMI cable seperately.

Xbox Live Arcade is five XBLA games on a DVD - Uno, Pac-Man Championship Edition, Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy and Luxor 2. This was a pleasant surprise. I had thought they might just include download codes. This makes up for the fact that I already own two of these XBLA games. Now I can delete them off my harddrive and save a little bit of room.

So far, my Xbox 360 Arcade runs pretty cool. It doesn't heat up too much even after hours of play. It's also pretty quiet. Overall, I'd say some of the upgrades Microsoft has been implementing are working pretty well.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

My 360 finally died!

I was the last of a dying breed. Those whose original Xbox 360s still worked. Then last night, I was replaying Mass Effect and fighting the boss battle at Peak 15 when the graphics started getting lines through them(like when I updated Half-Life 2). I couldn't see and kept dying. Tried a couple restarts and it would still act up. Powered down and went to bed.

Played some this morning and after a short amount of time the lines came back. But now they were everywhere - Mass Effect, the Dashboard, Beautiful Katamari. Powered it down again.

Went back later and got an E-74 error message. I've gotten the E-74 error from time to time since getting my 360 in January 2006. Usually a quick reset and it's gone. But now my 360 refuses to do anything other than show the E-74 error.

An E-74 error means there is a 90% chance it's a scaler chip problem (the "ANA" or "HANA" chip near the AV cable connection). It can also be caused by a faulty AV cable, but I checked that. In rare cases, it is a problem with the GPU.

I talked to Microsoft, and they made me try a bunch of stuff I already tried on my own(unplugging and plugging back in cables, harddrives, etc). Shockingly, none of it worked this time either. So it needs repairs.

Of course, their system is down right now so they can't take my repair order. I should call back in 2-4 hours. And I asked about costs. Since I'm not under warranty and it's not the 3 Red Rings, it'll cost me around $99. Plus the time away from my 360.

I'm thinking about going out and picking up an Xbox 360 Arcade system and just throwing my harddrive on it.

On a positive note, I like the program who answers the phone for 1-800-4MY-XBOX. I've dealt with a few of these programs recently and Microsoft's seemed the most friendly and realistic. Of course, I still had to repeat most of the information to the real person I eventually talked to.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

I Denounce Xbox Originals!

I was playing around with some of the new Xbox Live features after the Fall Dashboard Update. I put my name and location in. I browsed some friends' friends lists. I tooled around the Marketplace and downloaded some free stuff. Then I checked out the Xbox Originals.

Now, as we discussed in the podcast, I was disappointed with the announcement of Xbox Originals since it is $15 a game and there are no additions to them. There are no Achievements, no live capabilities, etc.

Now the layout for the Xbox Originals is pretty nice looking. However, as I was looking at the Xbox Originals on the Marketplace, I noticed something else I didn't like. The size of the files.

I suspected they might be large files. They are complete games after all. But they are between 2-4 gigs each. I rarely have 2 free gigs on my 20 Gig Xbox 360 harddrive! I suspect that as well as being a way for Microsoft to make money off of old games, it is also their way of influencing people to go out and buy the 120 Gig harddrive.

I'm not against playing old games. Old games can be great! But if you want to play them, I suggest you go to the used game stores and try to find them there. Many times, you'll probably find them for cheaper than $15!

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hey look, it's Ryu [update 1]

Capcom released the first jab in its raging demon of screens and info about it's long awaited/overdue Street Fighter sequel.

On a personal level, I don't know that I like the return to the creepy SFII beefcake iterations of the classic SF characters over the more stylized Alpha/SF3 style, but beggars can't be choosers, ya know.

If you can't hold your combos for the EGM issue full of real info, hit the link below to read 5 paragraphs of non-information on 1-up's site and check out a high-res version of the screen shot to the right.


Just kidding! New leaked screenshots reveal Street Fighter 4 to look like a butt:

Also, check out this shot of "We <3 Us Some Golfin'" featuring Capcom cameos. +100 points for including Arthur in full knight armor. -1 million for using new-comer Apollo Justice instead of the infinitely more bad-ass Phoenix Wright.

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Culdcept Rocks

I just want to make sure everyone knows about the demo available for Culdcept Saga. Don't be fooled into thinking that it's some sort of Japanese RPG like every other. This is actually a highly addictive mix of board game (think Monopoly) and Magic the Gathering card game. The card system is easy to learn and the mix of random dice action combined with the strategy of a card battle is great fun. I actually got the precursor to this game on the ol' PS2 on a whim and everyone I made play it with me ended up really enjoying it. My only complaint is that this could have easily just been a XBL Arcade download, but since Namco has been in the habit of jackin' people on their games lately (i.e. Katamari should have been $20 for such a short game)I guess I'm stuck.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Guess What EA Sent Me?

Another Rock Band guitar. I'm not sure why, but yesterday when I was tending to the puppies at home I heard a knock at the door. I go outside and I see the UPS man placed another Rock Band guitar box at my door.

I haven't opened it yet, but I have contacted EA asking if the 2nd guitar is a more reliable guitar. Also I didn't accidentally order two because I signed into my EA account and checked the replacement order screen and there's only one order. So if they reply that they only have on record one guitar, then it looks like I gots me a freebie.

Apparently the EA customer support is giving out freebies as well. One thread on the Rock Band forums says that the customer support gave him a free game for his replacement not showing up in time.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Activision - Blizzard Merger

Activision and Blizzard have announced a merger. This merger is valued at over $18 billion. The new company will be known as Activision Blizzard.

This is where I'd put information, but that's pretty much it. Unless you want to know things like Activision is a US based company and Blizzard is owned by Vivendi, a French company. Vivendi will now be the number one share holder of the new company. Activision's current CEO Bobby Kotick will be the chief executive of Activision Blizzard.

The real question is : What does all of this mean for Brian?

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December Game Releases

December’s here already! November seemed to fly by. Probably because of all the good games that I buried myself in. Sadly I don’t think December will have as many good games. What will Santa bring me?

(Some of the release dates seem even more unreliable than usual. I didn’t even put in Alan Wake which is listed at 12/31 for PS3 and Xbox 360 because I think that is definitely inaccurate.)

DS Titles

December 3
• American Girl: Julie Finds a Way
December 4
• Alvin & the Chipmunks
• Draglade
• Left Brain, Right Brain
• The Golden Compas
• Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2008
December 6
• Strawberry Shortcake: 4 Seasons Cake
December 17
• MX vs. ATV: Untamed
• Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command
December 18
• Corvette Evolution GT
• Indy 500 Legends
• Luxor 2

PC Titles

December 4
• Alvin & the Chipmunks
• Quest Pack
• Universe at War: Earth Assault
December 5
• Combat: Collector’s Second Edition
• Left Behind: Eternal Forces Expansion Pack
December 6
• Deal or No Deal: Secret Vault Games
December 10
• The Lost Crown
December 14
• Golden Compass
December 17
• Carrier Strike Force

PS2 Titles

December 4
• Alvin & the Chipmunks
• The Golden Compass
December 11
• Daisenryaku Exceed
• NCAA March Madness 2008
• NeoGeo Battle Coliseum
December 17
• MX vs ATV: Untamed
December 18
• Rock Band (Game only)


December 4
• The Golden Compass
December 8
• Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles
December 10
• BlackSite: Area 51
• Unreal Tournament III
December 11
• Half Life 2 Orange Box
• History Channel: Battle for the Pacific
• NCAA March Madness 2008
December 17
• MX vs ATV: Untamed
December 31
• Afrika
• Sam Suede: Undercover Exposure
• Urban Mysteries


December 4
• Beowulf: The Game
• The Golden Compass
December 6
• Warriors of the Lost Empire
December 17
• MX vs ATV: Untamed


December 3
• Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenhaichi 3
December 4
• Alvin & the Chipmunks
• The Golden Compass
December 5
• Godzilla Unleashed
December 7
• Jenga
December 10
• Indoor Sports
December 11
• Pimp My Ride
• Showtime Boxing
• Super Swing Golf Season 2
December 18
• Classis British Motor Racing
• Indy 500 Legends
• Kawasaki Quad Bikes
• Kidz Sports: Basketball
• Mythmakers: Orbs of Doom
• NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
• Rig Racer 2
December 31
• Ping Pong

Xbox 360

December 4
• Dance Dance Revolution Universe 2 Bundle
• The Golden Compass
December 11
• NCAA March Madness 2008
December 17
• MX vs ATV: Untamed

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XYBA Podcast Ep 16

The XYBA crew is back with a semi long podcast. Lots of video game talk and little news and no rants. We've been gone for more than a month playing games and now have a lot to talk about.

0:00 - Intro Music
0:58 - Games We Are Playing :|: Mass Effect (we talk about this for a while), Rockband, Guitar Hero III, Assassian Creed, Zelda Phantom Hourglass, Kane and Lynch, Stranglehold, Beautiful Katamari, and Halo 3
55:30 - Gaming News :|: Xbox Live Dashboard Update, Super Mario Galaxy not selling as well as predicted, DLC for Bioshock, R4 Chip for DS costing Nintendo millions, Nintendo Virtual Console does good for it's first year, and more
1:24:09 - Shoutouts
1:24:46 - Outro music

Download XYBA Podcast Ep 16

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