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The Duke's blog

4:44 PM on 10.01.2008

The FEAR: Adventures In Xbox 360 Cleaning.

I doubt I'm the first person, or the last for that matter, that will suffer from Xbox 360 problems other than having 3 red rings staring them in their horrified faces. Possibly the most annoying error of these is the constant overheating problem that occurs, where your Xbox will shut down and flash 2 lights every 10 minutes.

This cry for attention from my Xbox has been happening over the last couple of weeks. Every day I would throw my arms in the air, pop the monocle whence forth from my eye and spit my tea all over my lap. With two filthy flashing lights glaring back at me in disgust I contemplated how much splash damage it would cause on my lawn if I threw it out the window.

But alas, I could not bring myself to destroy my beloved Xbox. How else would I experience the ear-piercing frequencies of 10 year old racists? How else would I get the chance to throw two cuddling stormtroopers down a ventilation shaft? Only in my dreams and nightmares unfortunately.

This brought me to the disagreeable option of ringing Xbox customer support. Though the staff there were courteous and helpful, they would not listen to my pleas for a brand new 360, they would not heed the cries of my broken heart, offering instead that I send it in for repairs but nothing more.

Repairs? At this point I welled up, ashen faced with burning tears slipping down my cheeks, it took all my will to hold it together. "Please" I begged, "I'll send cookies, hookers, whatever you want, just give me a new Xbox!"

"I'm sorry sir we can't supply you with a brand new Xbox, give us £60 and send it in for repairs", he didn't say anything about the hookers at this point, but I knew he was tempted.

"£60!?" I exclaimed. "What will I use to buy FarCry 2? AND HOOKERS FOR THAT MATTER". "I'm sorry sir, your problem is not covered in the extended 3 year warranty, only hardware failures. And your ability to acquire the services of a humble wench is your own problem."

Unable to beg any more, disdain flooded my arm resulting in the thunderous crash of the phone upon the holder. "Damn" I whispered under my pepperoni smelling breath.

This left me one final option, searching google. When all the solutions I found online were unable to suffice, I almost accepted my fate, that I would never be able to play by beloved games again. (Well at least not for the price of £60 and waiting 10 days for repairs). But suddenly, a thought hit me, a slap in the face like a wet fish, or that girl I thought was a hooker and offered money to in the supermarket the other day.

Youtube. Youtube was to be my salvation, a young man by the completely unrelated nickname FixYourOwnXbox had posted a video detailing exactly what to do to open your Xbox. Salivating I clicked his video and was enthralled for the whole video at how dexterous he was with a screwdriver, how his hard yet tender hands managed to peel open the flesh of his 360 and delve into the wonderful insides.

I followed his every dictation, like a school boy getting into the back of a strangers van and eventually wrestled free my Xbox from the oppression of its cover.

Suddenly and without warning, I became frozen in time, horrified, dismayed, shocked beyond all recognition at the view that lay in front of me. The insides of my darling Xbox stared back at me with contempt, a blaming, shuffling look that took the very soul of me and crushed it into oblivion. Dust, dust, dust, it seemed to say with snapping lips and hateful glances. The whole inside of my 360 was caked with dust, cigarette ash and some random viscous substance that looked like tapeworm.

I edged forth, running my hand across it. My hand screamed out in damnation that such a thing was upon me, but still it needed cleaning. I vacuumed with the wit and fancy of 500 housewives, I scrubbed like a man caught with lipstick on his collar until all was well and sparkling in the Xbox.

Finally, as if the shroud of Mount Doom had been lifted, my 360 was in perfect condition, shiny, clean smelling and quieter than usual, its gentle purring soothing me, letting me know I had done a good job.

At last, I was free from the curse, at last I could play Brothers In Arms completely un-interrupted, at last I could touch my - "Dinner is ready" came a booming voice, shaking the very walls around me into submission. After a scared silence, I suggested "I'll be there in a minute". But the voice would not be silenced, it repeated its original order, but this time, with such depth and tone that the words would not be out of place coming from Satan herself.

It was then I realised, the once swelling pride that I had fixed my Xbox, the happiness that I could now shoot some Nazis, was now shattered due to the demands from a petite 5"6 woman. But I will have my revenge, like Hitler himself, what with gassing all those people at a dinner party with his dangerous flatulence. My time begins soon, mark my words woman, a war is brewing.

- Andy Howells - also writes erotic novels for polar bears.   read

9:10 AM on 09.02.2008

FarCry 2: New Preview Video and Dev Talk.

Clint Hocking, Ubisoft creative director, discussing animations, gun breakage and immersion in Far Cry 2.


ARRRR I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS GAME, GIVE IT TO ME NOW! I'll say please and everything if it helps?   read

9:25 AM on 08.20.2008

New Far Cry 2 and Red Alert 3 Trailers: GC2008.

Fresh from the GC in Leipzig oven comes a new Far Cry 2 trailer.


Gotta say it looks almost as sexy as you Dtoid.

Red Alert 3 character introductions, I didn't know so many of these actors were in it.


Okay Gemma Atkinson is hotter than Dtoid, sorry guys.

- Andy H   read

4:35 AM on 08.20.2008

WIN! SBK08 Superbike World Championship from me.

Well my destructoid brethrin, I'm feeling charitable, nay, I'm feeling sexual. Either way, you have your chance to get your filthy mits upon my review copy of SBK08 for Xbox 360.
It is PAL regioned, so none of you dirty capitalist pigs (americans) should bother entering unless you enjoy having games you can't play.

I'm running a caption competition on, a website which gave me my first writing job and has been unable to get rid of me so far, head on over there to be in with a chance to win.


The picture is this;

Winner will be announced next Tuesday when another contest will be unveiled to win a different game.
It's all completely free in case you're wondering, I'll post it to you out of my own cobweb and bat filled pockets much to my own displeasure, but as long as someone earns it by making me laugh, it's all worth it.

Head on over, what have you got to lose?

- Andy H   read

4:26 AM on 08.06.2008

Thailand bans Grand Theft Auto IV

In response to the murder of a taxi driver, GTA 4 has been banned across Thailand and is being pulled from shelves all over the country.
According to Captain Veerarit Pipatanasak of the Bangkok police; "[the murderer] wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game."
That's just fabulous, this news is sure to spread across all news channels eventually, expect Fox News, Sky News, Jack Thompson and the censorship boards to eat this news up and spit it back into the faces of gamers everywhere.

I do however find this slightly over the top and somewhat hypocritical of Thailands police and government. I've been to Thailand quite a few times and I'm sorry Thailand, but your record on crime and human rights is pretty appalling. The child sex trade is still running, drugs, violence, bad healthcare and crime run rampant, even without the prescence of GTA 4.
So perhaps they should be looking at problems other than gaming and I hope they realise that there are problems in Thailand that banning a game isn't going to solve.

However, eventually this story is going to break on news networks, so expect there to be a media backlash against GTA once more with this as a much repeated example.

Stay sexy Dtoid.
- Andy H   read

10:03 AM on 08.02.2008

Battlefield Bad Company Review.

Yes, the game has been out a little while but I've only just got round to penning out my impressions and a review. Hope you enjoy and find it useful if you still haven't tried/bought the game.


"Tank on the left Rummy, TANK ON THE LEFT RUMMY!" I scream at unintelligible decibels down the microphone at my squad mate, but to no avail, a fireball lets loose itself heading straight for us.
His body goes hurtling through the air at the speed of sound, flipping over the street and burrowing itself into a ditch, my ears have popped, the screen has gone hazy and the tank bursts straight through our lines. I stare up at the mammoth waiting for its gunner to open up and finish me off, but suddenly I hear the roar of a snipers guided bomb and the tank is reduced to molten steel 10 feet from me as I run to cower and hide in a crater.

The above is just a taster of the explosive new instalment from DICE, following on from it's previous incarnations, all centred around massive multi-player battles with Tanks, Jeeps, Choppers and a host of other vehicles thrown in for good measure, what it does differently however is offer a true sandbox experience to the game-play. Have you ever been annoyed by that sniper you can't pick off in a high window? Have you ever been unable to bust your way into the enemy base because they're camping all the entrances? Those problems no longer exist, because in Bad Company you just blow the building up instead.

Although Battlefield is known for it's multi-player, Bad Company takes a side track in the form of a meaningful and comprehensive single player mode, featuring fully rounded characters, an intelligent and well thought out plot, while still including massive battles, explosions and even some hilarious moments.

In the campaign you see the world through the eyes of Preston Marlow, a new draftee to Bad Company after he crashed a stolen helicopter which apparently had he "landed it a few feet to the left, no one would have noticed". Our protagonist is quickly introduced to the other three members of his squad, Sweetwater, a soldier who hacked the army's network, Haggard, the dumb but loveable redneck who is often the comic relief and Sergeant Redford, the tough as nails leader.
The foursome are sent off on dangerous missions used mainly as bullet magnets to clear the way for other units and often treated as disposable objects, which doesn't bode well for the characters, but certainly does for you since it means you get to see a hell of a lot of action.

Due to the way the single player is set up with massive maps and expansive environments, you usually have the choice of which objective to complete next and something all too rare in shooters, the ability to choose exactly how and where you attack. This is where the game sets itself apart from other first person shooters, many are linear scripted battles moving from point A to B without any real choice being involved and simply following the course the game sets up for you. But the brilliance here is that the game truly excels as a sandbox adventure from start to finish, you can do what you choose, when you choose.
However there are some problems with the single player, the biggest one being that sometimes the AI in the game is quite shoddy, often I've been creeping up on an enemy location only to have Haggard start firing rockets or Sweetwater start spraying his machine gun which quite frequently is completely useless since they rarely hit the enemy or help you at all.

Another somewhat frustrating part of the game is that when you are killed absolutely nothing bad happens, you simply re-spawn at the last checkpoint with no impact on the game whatsoever. Whilst this may be construed as being a good thing, it quickly means your game disintegrates into simply charging and spraying because you realise that getting yourself shot in the face will have no repercussions.

Another dilemma that betrays the blessing of these open battlefields is that often it leads to breaks in the momentum of the level, because you'll conquer a village and be on a high, only then to have to drive for 5 minutes to the next battle.

Multiplayer however is free from these problems, you get to choose between ranked and player matches which will suit hardcore and casual players respectively and fulfil all of your wall exploding needs. It is a well rounded experience with intelligent map design and great battles, but there is only one game mode at present in the form of Gold Rush, which is basically search and destroy with re-spawns, where the attacking team must demolish the crates that are chock full of gold while the defending team tries to hold them back.
Most maps have around 5 sets of these crates with the battle lines changing after every pair is successfully destroyed which means battles can be long but also varied as it unusual to have a multiplayer game fold out exactly the same way each time. This is of course helped by the Frostbite engine which allows players to literally craft the world around them, blowing up buildings, creating trenches with explosives, using fallen trees for cover and basically means that each time it is a completely different escapade.

Online play is also not without bugs and glitches, many players have noticed quite a few annoyances cropping up, a major one is the lag that is often experienced, possibly due to high demand, but nevertheless it is probable that most games you play in you will suffer from it one way or another.
Unfortunately the problems don't end there, bad hit detection, a mediocre party mode and faulty game mechanics also plague this exemplary game and often you are taken out of the immersion and your experience tarnished because of the inability for DICE/EA to publish a game which is appropriately completed. The badly thought out party modes are almost unforgivable in a day and age where gamers expect to be able to play with those on their friends list, but are usually seperated and split up from each other in game. This wouldn't be such a problem if you could still hear everyone on your team. But due to the inclusion of the squad system which means only the four of you stuck together in a squad can communicate it is a seriously bad annoyance when this occurs.
Of course a lot of these problems will be fixed in a patch that is apparently in certification as we speak, but the game badly needed a bit more spit and polish before being released.

What Bad Company does do well are glorious graphics that help bring the game to life, a gritty feel to it created by the grainy filter that almost makes you feel like you're watching a movie at times, all backed up by fantastic sound effects. Never before has a game had such amazing sound, the deafening shell shock when an explosive hits nearby, the wonderful whiz of bullets impacting around you as you run for cover thudding into the dirt and slicing through wood and concrete.

The sound and visuals also work well together, especially when you're facing an array of bullets, the screen shakes and high pitched bullet impacts ping all around you to bring a wonderfully engrossing and realistic feel to the game. The only part of the visuals that sometimes let the game down are of the iconic smiley face grenades which look almost cartoonish in size and flight, and the way the environment, such as trees, doesn't actually break, but is instead replaced by different textures and objects, but these can be forgiven as quickly as a mortar strike sends you to meet your maker.

Due to Bad Company’s brilliant graphics, excellent sound, amazing sand box gameplay, longevity is not an issue for this game, especially since every time you play it'll feel brand new, a different experience. The problems it is suffering from at the moment, pre-patch, could be it's undoing, but with good sales it seems the public is willing to forgive a few little quirks to play this fantastic shooter while eagerly awaiting an update.
Overall you should look at buying battlefield as an investment, something that will mature with time like a good wine, and therefore will taste much more delicious in the long run.

Visuals: 8
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 7
Lifespan: 9
Overall: 8.5/10 Although due to the glitches it should really get a 7.

- Andy H   read

4:50 AM on 08.01.2008

Soul Calibur 4 Tech Comparison!

"Too much coffee man" was totally on to something with his comparison of PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, we're about to go through the looking glass here people, so pull your socks up, this could get dangerous!
Right ladies and gentlemen, lets get down to the nitty gritty! Comparing the 360 and PS3 Versions!

First up!

See, if you look really close, I mean REALLY close you can totally see a difference between the versions, now lets keep looking.

Right, hmm.

See I uh... right there look anti.... where was I?

Ah look right there, in the middle, see that haziness that's what you'll get with PS3! But on this next one you'll see 360 problems too!

Um, yeaaahh....

Same here, looks good upclose but zoom in and;


Finally a woman with fully covered boobies, maybe I can concentrate! Right lets zoom in for a closer look;

See totally different on both consoles!

Lets check out vader.

Goddamn that's hot.

- Andy H   read

5:45 PM on 07.27.2008

When did we become the Beta Testers???

Once upon a time a gamer would be able to go to their favourite games store, to buy the games of their gaming desires and play a game that was a game they wanted. That game would be exactly as was promised, excellent, fulfilling, a master piece in the eyes of the faithful customer that it appealed to.

Unfortunately "once upon a time" is a phrase usually reserved for fairy tales, and sadly for us gamers, the likelihood of a game being complete when we purchase it, might as well be compared to the frequency we encounter wolves who can talk and have a fetish for following little girls dressed in red.
Many of us know a game, I bet you've already had one come to mind, where we snapped open the box, thrust the game into our disk drives sweating with excitement only to realise we were playing a game that had been kicked out of the door quicker than shit flies from a shovel.

It's about time games were complete when they separate us from our hard earned and hopeful cash, instead of being like the new experience of Battlefield which on occasion lives up to DICE's choice of name "Bad Company".
Indeed they are a bad company, a company which without reservation or sympathy has unleashed upon it's customers a game with such amazing graphics, amazing sound and promising game-play, only to take a dump upon it from such a massive height as to not only ruin it before it got off the ground but bury it in a crater akin to those artillery makes in the game.

The gripes many of its players have are extensive and multiple, with the usual suspects tossed in such as lag, bad hit detection, a ridiculous party mode and faulty game mechanics. But the real kicker is that this will all be fixed at a later date, with patches, new game modes, promised fixes and updates full of things the gamers want such as private rooms, bigger squads and improved servers.

For example, my experience thus far of BF:BC has been one of mixed enthusiasm, packed with moments of awesomeness such as walls exploding, tank shells and bullets whizzing overhead, but all of that is often ruined because the game is interspersed with horrific examples of bad design such as my shots seeming to be in-effective, terrible lag and horrible features. You may be wondering if I am simply bad at the game, my answer would be possibly, but it is also possible that the game is just bad. Ask yourself this, when you shoot someone with something close to 50 bullets in the chest, yet they continue to run directly at you and thrust a knife into your screaming mouth, what is wrong with that situation? When you are shooting at someone and they suddenly teleport 20 feet to the other side of a field, is that my fault? I think you'll realise the answer to both of these is quite obvious.
That is the problem with this game, it promised so much and at first it seems to deliver, it is entertaining, shockingly realistic at times, but you are often taken out of the immersion and your experienced tarnished because of the inability for DICE/EA to publish a game which is appropriately completed.

The question is "Why?", why were these things not included from the very beginning? Why didn't DICE realise that many of these things are staple to what is expected from FPS games? Why did I eat so much at dinner time?
So here commenceth the vitriolic rambling. We are quickly becoming the beta testers for games, QA and testing is obviously quite an expensive endeavour for companies to get involved in, so logically, why would they pay for something they can get for free? Instead they are pushing these games out to the early adopters who will pre-order and purchase on release day knowing that they will play excessively while costing nothing to the companies that created them, in order to quickly discover the problems and then spend the minimum amount of time fixing it for those that take time to buy their products. After all, they've already got our money (the game fanatics), so our opinions whilst being worthless, are also helpful to them so they can fix the game for the casual gamers that come after.

There are multiple reasons companies release their games without properly polishing them, promised release dates, financial reasons or wanting to cash in during a certain fiscal quarter. But they know we will buy these games anyway, no matter how annoying and frustrating they may be to us. But the companies need to realise that people will prefer to splash out on games they know are pristine and perfect, exactly as promised instead of being forced to wait for patch's and their inherent laziness to catch up with the investment we make by buying them. I actually find the games introduction quite apt;

What DICE/EA is doing with your money.

Now I'm not suggesting that DICE is for one minute a soul grinding, faceless hate machine, but in actual fact they are just a bunch of people with wives, children and friends who also have a passion for gaming, trying to make a product, but they need to understand what is and is not acceptable from something which many people spend a small fortune on.

You may exclaim; "What can I do about this you penis? I want these games! I don't have any control over the companies!?"
Correct, we want these games, we want them to work, we expect all of that and we certainly don't have any say in what they do, but what we can do is make our voices heard, post in their official forums, write to them, inundate them with complaints until they realise that they should supply us with what we pay for.
Whilst this may be unrealistic and ultimately a moot point, at least it will make you feel like you are getting something done, but if they get enough evidence that there is a problem it could help fix the problem.

With this in mind I've sent this write up to the PR managers at DICE and EA to see what response I might get.

Stay tuned and stay gorgeous Destructoid.

Andy H.   read

5:55 PM on 07.15.2008

E3 '08 Sony Press Conference Round Up.

With the other two consoles' press conferences finished, it was up to Sony to bring us home, literally.
It began with announcements of figures and features and strangely entered into the area of PlayStation 2, which mentioned that there will be 130 Titles coming to PS2 in 2008. With the ninth year of the PS2's life cycle already underway it amazing that development is still going on such an old system, especially since better consoles are currently on the market.

However Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton describes the Playstation 2 as a "perfect entry level gaming system", mentioning that the "PS2 will keep going strong" as it is a perfect family friendly gaming console, adding to this he introduced the new Batman PS2 bundle, which will come packaged with the Lego Batman game and the animated film Justice League which will price at around US$149 this fall.

When the Sony conference got underway with the its "flagship product" the PS3, Tretton exclaimed that "2008 is year of the PS3" and that this "year we will set in motion things that will define industry in 2008 and beyond".

After making these somewhat over-confident remarks, Resistance 2 is previewed with help From Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac Games. After seeing the impressive in-game footage, viewers were treated to the knowledge that there will 8 player online Co-op and 60 player competitive gaming available to consumers.

Upon continuing we were briefed that "The word we most often use [at Insomniac] to describe it is, Scale, scale describes single player bosses like you just saw, expansive environments, giant Chimeran warships, epic battles, single player, coop and competitive online experiences." According to him, Resistance also "offers more than any shooter in 2008."
Towards the end of the segment for Resistance, the audience is shown "Twin Falls Idaho" trailer;

Little Big planet also made an appearance in the conference, a game Tretton presents as being made by "mad geniuses" at Media Molecule. It is through the use of the ever lovable SackBoy that the figures for Sony are revealed, including the sales for all 3 sets of hardware, as well as revenues generated by Sony for themselves and others.

According to the presentation, in the year to date, 1.8million PS3's have been sold in the United States alone, 1.6mil PSP's and 1.5mil PS2's which of course totals over 5 million units shifted by Sony since June 2007. They go on to include figures that Sony has helped generate US$6.6 Billion in 5 months and that Sony is at the "forefront of our industries expansion", citing sources that suggest US$23 Billion is expected to be made in 2008 from the lucrative video gaming sector while also mentioning that since 1995, Playstation alone has generated US$50 Billion at retail.

For those that cry at the wall of text and numbers above and were unable to make it through without falling asleep, here it is instead, shown through the cuteness that is SackBoy;

Video of SackBoy presentation available on KamikazeTutor's Dtoid Blog.

The next segment highlighted the Playstation Network, or PSN, that Tretton suggests is perfect as "for many next gen consumers, being connected is all they've ever known", in return for the next-gen consumer loyalty, they are prepared to work at making PSN the "best online gaming experience in the industry". As such it is noted that PSN is a popular download facility, bringing 20 million downloads to consumers last month taking the total since November 2006 (PS3 Launch) to 180million downloads.

"What's an E3 press conference without a few surprises?" was uttered next, which was a lead into the upcoming game "Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty". Now no offence Sony, but a surprise to me is either being hit by a car, or being greeted by a naked woman I don't know in my living room when I get home, which is apt since I have my own "quest for booty" continuously going on.

The story will be "a continuation of the Ratchet and Clank feature" in which the last part Clank was mysteriously abducted, much like the strange naked woman I may or may not have found in my living room, and the game will be focused more on exploration and platforming, whilst "making gamers think".

Once Tretton was finally wheeled back on, he mentioned that at Sony they're "not interested in filling up our stores so we can say we have the most games". OH YOU BITCH! This meany mean comment, which is clearly a blatant jab at Microsoft, has some truth to it, since we all must to agree that Live Arcade does have some seriously appalling games, but oh dear Sony, that was rather harsh!

GRAN TURISMO TV was announced, which is to be part of the Gran Turismo 5: Prologue package, which includes "Worldwide TV features and a wide variety of content" from Polyphony Digital, these will be free and pay-per-view licensed such as Nuburgring, a Ferrari show, the Super GT, D1 Grand Prix Series and everyone's favourite show featuring a hamster and a moaning old man, Top Gear from the BBC.

Next up was the new achievements, sorry, Trophies system that will have an impact on the community experience of PSN, so that users can "compete, share and brag" (XBOX RIP OFF COUGH COUGH COUGH). Followed up by the quote "PSN is providing game play and community that is defining this industry", now that's a funny suggestion since I could have sworn Microsoft came up with the achievements system.

However PSN also has innocent similarities to Xbox Live in the form of entertainment, while it doesn't have the deal with Netflix, some could say it outdoes Microsoft by having so many movie companies signed up to publish it's content online, these companies include; Sony Pictures, Fox TV and Movies, MGM, Lionsgate, Warner and Disney.

The pricing of the content is also attractive, TV episodes will be $1.99 and above each, movies from $2.99 to $5.99 as rentals, or $9.99-$14.99 to buy. Compare this to Xbox Live and it works out as a little cheaper, except you also have the option to purchase movies, instead of paying extortionate prices just to keep them for 24 hours after watching. These are also available from PSN right now.

PS3's Home was also involved in the press conference, some simple screens below to illustrate, since everyone pretty much knows everything already.

PSP's also got a pat on the back, with Tretton being "pleased to announce this fall, a new entertainment pack, targeted at a younger demographic and family friendly audience will feature Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, including a
Silver PSP Slim, a UMD of National Treasures 2, a 1 gig memory stick and a PSN Voucher all for $199."

Other announcements for PSP revolved around Resistance Retribution a way to literally have the fate of the world in your hands, which is based in a post apocalyptic version of the UK still battling after all of Europe has already been lost, typical, it's up to dear old England to save Europe from destruction once again.

The Force Unleashed will also make a debut on behalf of Light saber wielding on the PSP as well.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the PS3 conference for me was the piece about MAG, AKA "Massive Action Game" which is a humongous new IP from Zipper, just how massive you may ask? "MAG will support battles with 256 players" in "sweeping battle experiences using only real players" made up of "8 player squads" which are "lead by those proven to be strong players".

A system for "character growth provides players long term goals" such as upgrading your online persona with guns, skills and other equipment that will better enable you to have a chance in hell of holding off 128 other players while everyone else goes for dinner. MAG appears to be a persistent game, with "faction based campaigns" so you'll need to check every day to see where the battle lines are and what is happening in the game world.

To me this looks like an amazing concept, perhaps one not too far off on 360, due to the merger of Activision and Blizzard, it is just a matter of time until Call of Duty: World at War really means just that, instead of just a bad name for a most likely bad game made by Treyarch.

The conference ended with Tretton asking the audience to "imagine year 3 and beyond" and believe me, if games like MAG and The Agency keep getting made, I might just have to invest in a PS3 to snuggle alongside my 360 like a fan-boy hated Yin and Yang.

Andy H

(Edited images to fix this article for my beloved IE7 users, even though they're ugly.)   read

1:13 PM on 07.14.2008

E3 08 - Microsoft. Dashboard Update, GW 2, Portal:Still Alive.

Been watching E3 2008 live? If not here's the latest from the Microsoft Press Conference.

According to them $1billion has been spent on xbox live since november 2005 by the millions of members that have now amounted to 12mil people, there is now a new member every 5 seconds joining Xbox Live. What does this mean? Well it means that one more racist, screaming child is joining to ruin your LIVE experience every 5 seconds.

Other news is that they have mentioned that 10,000 movies and tv shows will be available, including their partnership with Netflix flourishing meaning new and exclusive content for the 360.
Whilst this news is of course excellent for 360 owners, one has to ponder whether this is (as is most likely) just Americans that will recieve this abundance of content, whereas the rest of the world will be left behind as per usual.

One thing that is for sure is that NBC Universal will be for US audiences only, but MGM and Constantine Films will be supplying marketplace content for Europeans as well as our brothers across the pond.

After these announcements were issued there was a statement from John Chappert the Live Software and Services Dev, who mentioned that Xbox is apparently "Improving the experience through the MAGIC of software!" After reiterating the 12million members number, he then exclaimed they would be asking "what's next?".

Perhaps the most exciting segment begins, with the new system update being revealed to be a fully 3D experience with many new and exciting options available.

Avatars were among the most mentioned innovations, with you being able to create your own personality online via Xbox Live. Screens Below;

This will also involve the Community feature showing friends avatars.

The TV game show 1 vs 100 is also scheduled to make an appearance on 360 mentioning that all members of Xbox Live will be able to take part in the game, which will feature live hosts and real prizes. This all being part of the "Primetime" feature.

Geometry Wars 2 from Activision and bizarre that "should occupy a place in every nostalgic gamers heart" was also revealed, which seemed to incorporate a 4 player coop mode from one part of the video, it looks much more graphically enhanced than it's predecessors and most certainly will be a seriously good coop game.

Last on my monumental list of things I've seen so far is Portal: Still Alive, which is going to be exclusive to Xbox 360, no more was mentioned from what the laggy streaming video showed but I will put money on this being a smash hit for gamers and Microsoft alike.

That's all for now.

Andy H (The Duke)   read

7:08 PM on 07.13.2008

Sixty, 360.

Article from IGN.COM
New 60 GB Xbox 360 Announced
The new model will replace the discounted Pro.
by Ryan Geddes

US, July 13, 2008 - It's official. The Xbox 360 Pro model is now $299 and is being phased out in favor of a new SKU with more storage space, according to a news release sent out by Microsoft today.

Rumors of a price cut have been flying all week, and Target made it official from a retailing standpoint earlier today. But today's Microsoft press release is the first confirmation we've heard about a new SKU.

The 60 GB model will retail for $349, which the Pro model previously sold for. The Elite model, which comes with a 120 GB hard drive, remains at $449, and the Arcade SKU, which has no hard drive, is still $279.

"We know consumers need more and more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers, and we're giving it to them at no extra charge," said Albert Penello, Xbox director of product management at Microsoft. "No one device offers the depth and breadth of entertainment that Xbox 360 can deliver, and now you'll have three times the storage to manage all that great content."

The new 60 GB model will be available in early August, Microsoft said, and the discounted Pro will only be available "while supplies last."

Okay, I'm completely on board with the price cuts, god knows we could use some over here in the UK, oh, what's that Microsoft? You don't care what Britain wants? You just expect us to keep paying twice as much as the US as we do for everything else? Ah okay.
Irregardless, I often wonder what the point in having a larger HDD for my 360 would actually be.
I download the odd movie on marketplace, every week or so a new demo, but I usually delete movies due to the laughable 24 hour timer on movies once you've watched them and demos usally suffer the same fate because once you've played them, they're pretty much useless to keep around.
Perhaps the real reason we're seeing an upgrade to 60gigs is because the PS3 has been offering more HDD space this entire time and MS want to get on the horse as well.

But perhaps instead of releasing yet another version of the 360, they look at the hardware problems still plaguing the current ones, red-rings, broken disk drives etc and stop lying to us that new hardware is any different from the last.
One suggestion to Microsoft would be to stop pretending. Yes I bought your console, yes I love it, it's a great laugh and a nice piece of machinery, but cut the nonsense Microsoft, give me a damn break.
Cut the prices of your 360's in the UK, give me some cheaper MS points so I can buy the crap you release on marketplace without worrying I'm going to go over my graduate overdraft to get the latest DLC. And for christ sakes fix the goddamn hardware issues in the current models before bringing out new ones that will probably end up being chucked out the window because you forgot to fix the problems that have been there all along.

Andy H   read

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