Archive for Gaming

XBox360 Just Killed PS3 and Wii at E3

I just watched the Microsoft XBox 360 E3 show streamed from the Gamertagradio balcony camera.  Some big games were announced and some big advancements were announced.  They went through the already known games, Halo ODST, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Forza 3, Beatles Rock Band, and then also announced Halo Reach, Alan Wake, Final Fantasy XIII, Crackdown 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and a big pull from PS3, Metal Gear Solid.
The XBox has also joined some other services that many people use such and integrated them into the console.  Little services like Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, and Skynet live television stream broadcasting.  Improvements to Netflix is also coming.  No more going to the computer to add movies.  Also the ability to watch movies and tv shows with your XBox friends.  Still no Blue Ray but why would you need that when you will have instant 1080p HD movies and television.  I’m really glad I got rid of my cable subscription.

Towards the end of the show they ended by announcing a new evolution in not only the XBox but in gaming in general.  Controllerless gaming.  A new hardware device will provide 3D motion detection and recognition as well as voice detection and recognition.  You will be able to flip through the dashboard menus simply by waving your hands and start playing games or watching movies by simply telling it to play through speech.  They have named this Project Natal and they are stepping up to Nintendo’s Wii to get non gamers involved in gaming by removing the controller all together.
The show started a little neutral and then just got better and better with a big bang at the end.  Hopefully everything materializes and comes to be.  I hope for Sony’s sake they have something big up their sleeves for their show because Microsoft just put another nail in the PS3 coffin.

It will be a fun holiday season this year!

Street Fighter II Tournament @ Red7

Street Fighter II Tournament

Marathon Madness

Yes, I have been neglecting this blog, but not too much has happened in the fields that I usually write about.  Rock Band 2 was released and I purchased that on the release date.  It has been very fun.  The actual “game” portion of the game is a lot more fun with friends as a full band.  In RB1 I played through the game just to open songs, but in RB2 we’re playing as a band and in specific events that we make “band” decisions on.  Good times!  And the drum silencers on the RB1 drums have been GREAT!

I haven’t had too much time for much else due to my rigorous marathon run training schedule.  I’m signed up with Rogue Running and I’m up to 12 mile long runs as of last Saturday and running about 12-13  miles during the week.  I have decided to run in 6 races all together of the next 5 months which is a part of a series called the Austin Distance Challenge.  For more information on this part of my life and how my training is going you can hit up my other blog, which is where I’ve been, at http://marathon.invidkllr.com(Yes, I really need to get a better header image for it.)

Red Rings of Death Plague Me

Red Rings of Death

Well it finally happened.  My XBox360 Elite died about two weeks ago.  We first noticed a problem playing Lego Indiana Jones.  We would be about 5 to 10 minutes into playing and then the video would go crazy and the audio would give an annoying buzzing lockup sound.  The only thing to do from there was to just turn it off.  A week later I had some time to trouble shoot the issue and found that this problem would occur with any game, though not when I was just in the Dashboard.  And during the troubleshooting I finally got the dreaded “Red Rings of Death” I’ve heard so much about on the white XBox’s.  I assumed this issue had be resolved with the release of the Elite system, but alas, I was wrong.   I called Microsoft XBox support and they were quick to setup shipment for my system to be repaired.  UPS tracking states the my XBox is ‘out for delivery’ in good ‘ol Mesquite, TX just about 200 miles north of here.  And now I just wait for that box to show up on my door step, I’m guessing in about 2 weeks.
My XBox is about 14 to 16 months old and I’m glad it happened now and not later after my warranty expired.  This has brought me closer to thinking about a PS3 now that the Blue-Ray/HDDVD war is over.  Though I’m not really convinced that Blue-Ray will even stay around too long due to the ease of HD download and streaming over network.  Right now I have other things I need to spend money on.

My Dog Ate My Rock Band

A few weeks ago my dog, Crom, decided it would be fun to chew on the Rock Band microphone cable. This did not completely break it. Rock Band would intermittently recognize the microphone but when you sang, no sound would come out. It was broken. A few days later, Crom had so much fun chewing the mic cable that he decided to chew on the drum set kick pedal cord . Well that was just bit right in half. No kick pedal anymore. Rock Band was turned into Guitar Hero by a bored dog. The dog is no longer left alone with the XBox 360 anywhere around.

I shopped around for USB mics that would work with Rock Band and opted to just spend the $30 for a new one. I figured my Best Buy extended warranty wouldn’t cover dog chewage and I was a little lazy about checking it out. I attempted to rewire the kick pedal but found it useless to really even try. It wouldn’t be the same. In the process of disassembling the kick pedal I was able to disconnect the broken wire from the pedal. I just needed to find this little wire part and replace it.

One day I finally decided to call Rock Band support to order this little wire part or to see if it was even possible. In trying to find a support number for Rock Band, I learned that EA handles Rock Band support. I’ve had issues before with EA’s online website and support in working with the online portions of the game Skate. I was unable to login or create a new login to EA’s support site, which is needed to even get any contact info, like an email address or a phone number for EA. I searched some forums and found that other users had the same issue and another poster posted EA’s support number.

Finally, I called EA’s support and they questioned me why I didn’t try to contact them online…. :| After I told him my issue, the support rep informed me that I need to call another phone number for Rock Band hardware support. :| I called Rock Band hardware support and was able to work through the teleprompts to get to a rep that could help me. Jesse was very helpful. I told him that all I needed was the wire for the kick pedal because mine was “accidentally cut”. He informed me that I cannot buy or get just the wire, it would have to be the entire kick pedal. :| But he also surprised me when he said he could replace it under warranty. In my shock, I simple said, “Ok! Cool.” In setting up the RMA I decided to try for a microphone replacement as well. Told him the same thing, “The wire is slightly severed and doesn’t transmit the sound data.” He then jokingly asked, “What, did your dog get a hold of it?” I just replied, “Yes, yes he did.” In my mind I was cursing that little hellion. I blame it on the new adult food I accidently got for him that made him crazy. But Jesse said he would replace that under warranty as well. HELL YES! Rock Band was saved.

I recieved the kick pedal and microphone and sent back the kick pedal. The did not want the microphone back. Rock Band is back in our lives. Crom has been told that he cannot play Rock Band anymore ever.

This blog is to say that Rock Band’s support was bad ass and top class support. I’m guessing that it was another company that was hired by EA to handle the Rock Band support, but whoever that company is, they indeed ROCK. Thanks to Jesse for his understanding and quick help without any needless troubleshooting beyond what I told him I had already done and knew.

And EA, so many people I have talked to have expressed their hatred and dissatisfaction with your direct support and online support. Please do something with the online login system you have. Get rid of it and try another or you know what? Provide some company contact info without a login at least.

That is all, Rock Band party soon!

 added:  EA Support:  1-866-543-5435
                 Rock Band Support:  1-650-628-1001

GTA IV Release Today

GTA IVGrand Theft Auto IV is released today. This is supposedly one of the biggest and most anticipated game release in history. I haven’t written anything on this yet because I have been trying to stay away from spoilers and not learn too much about it. It was supposed to be released back in November and then was delayed until today. That really upset me, although with the release of Halo3 and Call of Duty 4, I ended up not minding too much. And I’m glad they did wait to make sure all the glitches were taken care of. The last two release I was excited about I did not pre order and regretted that decision. I had to wait almost a week for Halo 3 and a day and some calling and driving for Call of Duty 4. This time I was smart and paid the $5 pre order price and I’m set and don’t have to worry about not getting it today. So during lunch I will go pick up my copy and play tonight….all night? A mandatory meeting will get me to work on Wednesday but I’ll be taking a personal day on Thursday to get GTA IV out of my system …..and maybe a recovery day from this week’s S&B Night too. ;D

Multiplayers!!! I’ll see you in L.C.

The time for killing, wrecking, and beating is here!

update:  it’s in my hands now.  What’s up with the huge map poster.  Can’t I get a pocket book map?

Gary Gygax: Gone but Never Forgotten

Yesterday one of the greatest pioneers of gaming passed away, Gary Gygax (1938-2008). He was the creator of the Dungeons and Dragons RPG (role playing game). Kevin Pereira on Attack of the Show said some very nice words about how without Gary Gygax, games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Everquest, and many more RPGs would not have existed (even L.A.R.P.ing). His games and ideas sparked and influenced imaginations of multiple generations of people of all ages since 1974 when D&D was released. There are many people who’s thoughts, including mine, that are with his family and friends. Thank you Gary Gygax.

Gearing Up for Getting Down

SXSWWith XBox Live being so flakey right now and new years resolutions to deal with, there wasn’t much game playing this weekend. Operation reorganized room is at about 53% completion. Oil is changed. Registration sticker stuck. Headlight bulb replaced. I got more done this weekend than I thought I would despite the fact that I got my foot stomped and ankle twisted in one of the Hooligans soccer games on Friday. Saw some shows. Went to some friend gatherings. Only had about one or two drinks when I went out. Played Catch Phrase: Music Edition. Seems I might be coming down with a cold right now though.

I’ve added the SXSW Interactive link to the sidebar. SXSW will be here before we know it! I’m already getting excited. Two months away. That’s nothing. If you’re going, look me up and lets hit some panels.

I finally feel motivated to get some things done that I’ve been putting off and that’s a very good thing for me.

Halo 3 beta starts in 2 days!

Halo 3My asian version of Crackdown finally arrived on Saturday, which included the Halo 3 beta. Just in time too. As all of you gamers know, Halo 3 beta starts this Wednesday, May 16th and will continue for 3 weeks. In order to be included in the beta, you need to have the exclusive Halo 3 beta version of Crackdown and XBox Live Gold. That’s what I should be doing Wednesday night but there is also the Wednesday night Guitar Hero competition at Ink, so I might be there after 3 or 4 hours of H3. If you’re playing and you know me, add me to your friends list and lets go killin!

XB0X 133t

EliteXBox 360 Elite (133t or 733t) is in the house. My boy and I waited in line for about 40 minutes before the store opened on Sunday morning. With rumors of 25 Elites in the store and with my ticket with #4 on it, we knew were set. Most of the other people in the line were there for Wii’s, which they did not have any, so most of them left at this announcement. Some had been there since 8am. I was very glad to see the small line and knowing that I wasn’t going to have to drive all over town that day in a quest for Eliteness.

So reviews of it so far. Yeah it’s the same. I don’t have HDMI on my HDTV, so I can’t really say on that. But it is black. black black. I may not even put the silver faceplate back on, because the console is almost invisible with it’s blackness. The video content that came on it was very futbol oriented which I liked. Soccer movies trailers and commercials. Less content I wanted to delete right away.

I was also happy to see that my achievement points were restored with my Gamertag, although of course my game saves were not. I still have to replay my games to get back to where I was before. Not too big of a deal though.

It it nice to have the security of having all that extra harddrive space. As Melissa would say, “It makes me happy in my pants.”