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In Defense of the Xbox 360

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I ran across a title to an article in the St. Louis Dispatch.

“The Xbox 360 is the worst video game console in the world”

I am a little surprised the author didn’t claim it’s the worst in the galaxy or the universe. I mean, if you are going for drama, why not go big or go home, right? Worst video game console in the world? He’s got to be kidding. So, yes, I read the article.

rrod-freakoutUnfortunately, the author, the Game Guy aka David Sheets, makes a good case…if he were talking hardware only. Yes, the actual console in terms of hardware can be a piece of sh*t.

How many times has your Xbox 360 died? The Game Guy has had four 360’s, and all of them have died. I almost want to ask him if he is performing “gamicide” on purpose to make his point, but when I think about the first four Xbox 360-owning friends that come to mind, three of them have also experienced the RROD. Add me into that equation and that’s an 80% failure rate. Seems a bit higher than Microsoft’s 3%.

Although the Game Guy has a point about hardware failure, his tone throughout his article is one of pure disdain for the system as a whole. He claims that he plays it not by choice, but “out of necessity” because of his horrible job as a game and gear reviewer.

To the St. Louis Dispatch: I will be more than happy to take the Game Guy’s position. I love all games, and I don’t hold any grudges against any system. I will never complain because you are forcing me to play the Xbox 360. Nor will I write such over-dramatic op-ed pieces.

Back to the Game Guy…In defense of the Xbox 360, Microsoft gladly, no-questions-asked fixed my 360. Sure, I had to wait 2 weeks between packing it up in the supplied box and receiving it back from an commiserating UPS guy, but that’s what I have a PC for. And you know, I could always go outside for a walk or read a book while on my gaming hiatus. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

halo_3_final_boxshotAlthough I understand the Game Guy’s frustration with the hardware problems with the Xbox 360, I cannot agree with his summation that the Xbox 360 is the worst console in the world. If you consider the ease of playing Live, and the awe-inspiring graphics, as well as the convenience of the Xbox marketplace, as well as the calibre of games designed solely for the Xbox 360, well, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

The Xbox plays hard and it breaks hard. I’ve had much more problems with my damn Dell, and at least when my Xbox did break, I didn’t have to spend five hours on the phone with India trying to explain to them that no, they didn’t fix my motherboard…again.

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My New Xbox Experience: Day One

Friday, January 30th, 2009

So, I finally plugged in my internet connection to my Xbox. Not that I never have before, it’s just that my router is in the office and the HDTV is in the living room, and I don’t want a damn cord running through the entire house, and I haven’t got off my lazy butt to get a wireless adapter for my Xbox 360 because truthfully, I don’t go online that often with my Xbox.

Not often at all…

Which means that tonight was finally the night when I upgraded my dashboard on the ol’ 360 (among other things). I am sure that I haven’t spent enough time on it to see how awesomely awesome it is, but what is the big deal?

I think the whole Netflix thing is nice, and I imagine I will love it. As I mentioned before, I am not on Xbox Live all that much to make that a big draw for me, but then again, maybe it will be a good reason to log in more often. It does get tiring to have to hook up my laptop to the tv to watch something instantly on Netflix, but still, It’s not like it’s that hard. I’ll live.

myavatarOther than that, I am not big into keeping a bunch of pictures and music on yet another hard drive, so that option does nothing for me.

I do have a kickass avatar, but I don’t know when she’ll ever come into use. Don’t you just dig her warrior scar and black (I hope they are rubber) gloves? Unless I am missing something, I don’t think the avatars get to play in, say, Tomb Raider, so yeah, what’s the point. I like my little panda icon. Isn’t that enough?

I know I must sound like a troglodyte to some of you, but seriously, I like to play video games. I don’t care if someone else plays with me or not. So other than downloading stuff, I have little need for Xbox Live. And that’s too bad, because my dress is so cute.

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Don’t Panic, Breathe Slowly: The Second Red Ring of Death

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Let my friend be a cautionary example to the rest of you…

Mark* is a late bloomer when it comes to video games and next-gen consoles, but he is an enthusiastic newbie at any rate. He is a Madden freak, so much so that he bought a guide book for it. I mean, yeah, I like Madden 09 just fine, too, but not enough that I am going to plunk down an extra 20 bucks just to read about the back-up kicker on the Miami Dolphins and what are the general defensive strengths of the Detroit Lions (ha, that last one was a trick — the Lions have no strengths).


Anyhoo, my Red Ring Of Death moment happened last October. Mark’s just happened.

He was devastated, naturally, and he worried about Microsoft fixing it, as he bought his Xbox 360 off of craigslist from some other guy. He was in luck. Microsoft would fix it, and all seemed okay. He dutifully sent it into the service center, like we all have, and about two and a half weeks later (he was freaking out because MLK Day kept his beloved 360 out of his hands for an extra day), he got his Xbox back.

I haven’t heard from him since. But then I talked to a mutual friend who worked with Mark last night.

Oh, Mark got his Xbox back. He plugged it in and played happily for ten minutes. Until the RROD happened…again.

I don’t know the whole story at this point but it seems that the Xbox was further damaged after the RROD occurred. Mark went to Circuit City and now owns a totally new Xbox. I imagine as Circuit City is going out of business that he got a great deal. Or at least I hope he did.

Don’t be a Mark. The RROD will be fixed by Microsoft, and if not, there are videos out there showing you how to fix it yourself.

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Xbox 360 to go Blu-Ray?

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008


With Blu-Ray seemingly beating HD-DVD into submission like a redheaded stepchild, it really shouldn’t surprise anybody that Microsoft is now considering adding Blu-Ray playback to the Xbox 360.

In an interview with Reuters, Microsoft’s group marketing manager Albert Penello made it pretty clear that Microsoft would be willing to switch sides in the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray debate, saying “It should be a consumer choice, and if that’s the way they vote, that’s something we’ll have to consider”.

That is code for “If HD-DVD gets beaten into the dirt, we’re switching sides.” This may turn out to be the case, as it is widely believed that Paramount Pictures, who just this summer backed HD-DVD, may be ready to switch sides and join the Blu-Ray camp.

HD-DVD is dead. Long live Blu-Ray!

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Microsoft: Xbox 360 has sold 17.7 million, Halo 3 8.1 million

Friday, January 4th, 2008


Whether you bought a Wii, Xbox 360 or even a PlayStation 3, you can’t argue that this was an amazing year for console gamers. The industry certainly can’t argue this fact either, as gaming as a whole made over $40 billion in 2007, with much of the success coming between August and November. Microsoft in particular did well for themselves over the year, or so they tell you.

According to Microsoft, thanks to a strong holiday showing which included hits like Mass Effect and Halo 3, the Xbox 360 surpassed the 17.5 million unit mark. In fact, Halo 3 alone has topped 8 million units, with Mass Effect selling another 1.6 million units in just six weeks.

“Microsoft is proud of the contributions Xbox 360 is making to the gaming industry, and looks forward to an even more successful 2008,” Microsoft said.

I would be kind of interested to see if we could find out how many of those 17.7 million consoles Microsoft brags about selling were purchased by people who just didn’t feel like sending their Ringed One in for repair.

[GameDaily BIZ]

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Xbox 360 Internal HD-DVD coming at CES?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008


Before we get back to the business, I just want to wish you all a happy new year once again. I hope you all had a fun, and safe new year celebration, and I’m looking forward to shaming myself for your entertainment until this time next year. Now to business…

Remember when there were rampant rumors that Microsoft and Toshiba were working together in an effort to bring a new Xbox 360 SKU with a built-in HD-DVD drive. Now those rumors have been revived after several reports have indicated that Bill Gates and Microsoft may be ready to reveal a new SKU for the 360 at CES.

Unlike earlier believed, this new SKU will not be a stand-alone, but rather a replacement for the soon-to-be-discontinued Xbox 360 Elite. If true, of course.

While the idea of a Xbox 360 with built-in HD-DVD is a good one, I just feel it’s a bit late. Also, the inclusion of an internal HD-DVD drive would surely drive up the cost of the console, so maybe its best we wait and see before we get excited.

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Motion Sensing Coming to Xbox 360?

Thursday, December 27th, 2007


Nintendo succeeded, Sony failed, and now Microsoft looks like they want in on the motion sensing market.

According to XboxFamily, Microsoft has contracted a company out of Saratoga, California, Gyration, to develop motion sensor technology for the Xbox 360. Does the company sound familiar? They should – Gyration is the company that developed the prototype for the Nintendo Wiimote, and is currently working on a motion-sensing controller for Microsoft’s Media Center.

Xbox 360 modders have had access to motion sensing for a little while. Devices like the Xilt have given gamers the ability to emulate motion-sensing, albeit if they’re good with a soldering gun. For those of you who aren’t handy with technology (or, like me, scared to death of voiding the warranty) however, the idea of a motion control from Microsoft is sure to make many people happy.


MadCatz bringing HDMI to older 360s

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

hdmic.jpgDo you own a pre-HDMI Xbox 360 that HASN’T Red Ringed on you yet? If you do, then listen up — MadCatz is bringing HDMI to you in the form of the HDMI Conversion Kit. Outside of the fact that it it will give you the crystal clear quality of HDMI that we’ve been enjoying for a while (this reminds me, I need to buy a bigger monitor), we also know that it will support 1080p, and it comes with HDMI and optical audio cables.

The entire package will sell for $89.99, and will be available at or shortly after the new year.

[ GameStop]

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Toys R Us Offering $130 HD DVD drive

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007


Michael Bay is either incredibly crafty, or phenomenally paranoid, but either way his theory that Microsoft wants to keep HD DVD alive long enough for them to perfect digital downloading seems to be carrying more and more weight. Why do I say this? Because it had appeared that Microsoft had dropped the price of their HD DVD drive yet again.

Toys ‘R’ Us currently is offering the HD DVD drive for the low, low price of $129.98, and according to some reports, Amazon also had this price listed earlier today.

Pretty cool, huh? …yeah, doesn’t matter to me, either. I mean, once you had the one ultimate HD DVD deal, they all fail to compare. The only thing I have that’s HD-ready is my 19″ PC monitor, and really… what’s the point? High Def is meant to be enjoyed on HUGE screens, not computer monitors.

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Friendly Reminder: WE WANT TO LEAVE, ALREADY!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007


Hi, boys and girls. It’s just me, your friendly neighborhood JW, here to remind you all that we’re currently looking for people to replace us here at Xbox 360 Rally. All you have to do is go HERE, fill out the form, and wait to hear back. It’s really not that hard.

So, get to it already — so Paco and I can get to the NEW site!

Red Ring’d 360? Send it to Microsoft, it comes back “Brand New”

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

so 1337
Kotaku had a sit down with Aaron Greenberg regarding many interesting things I’m sure, however, they decided to just post a blip of what was said. An interesting blip none the less, on the topic of the 360 quality issues:

We have made all the improvements in our manufacturing process… All the consoles on the market have those improvements…. [We will] repair the console sent to us with these improvements. It should be similar to buying a new console off the shelf.

Now, I am on my second console, so far, it has red ringed on me once, however never again (still, I don’t care as much as I should, I called Microsoft and am getting another new one, included with a free game which they actually already shipped me, but still haven’t received a coffin for it). Sadly, I have faith that what he speaks is true. I mean, if the trend of returned 360’s being returned and returned again went on, even the mighty Microsoft could fall. Once the general public found out about the Xbox’s breaking a lot, they did get right on top of things with the warranty extended and the new chips/heat sinks.

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Microsoft announces new HD-DVD drive!

Thursday, September 20th, 2007


As reported at 1PStart… by me… Microsoft announced at their 25th anniversary bash in London a new HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. No price tag has been revealed, however we were told to expect the new drive sometime in ‘08.

Director of Business for Microsoft Europe, Mark Bennett, showed off the new features of the upcoming upgraded drive:

The interactive features actually work on HD DVD whereas Blu-ray titles are six to nine months away from getting features that actually work… there are more plans to incorporate HD DVD into the PC platform in the future.

I have to think that those of you who bought the HD-DVD drive for the 360 may be a little ticked off about this. I know I would, especially when you consider just how much this damn thing costs.


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We want YOU! …to replace us!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007


Ok, people, here’s the deal — Paco and I are on our way out. We’re taking over at 1PStart.com in an effort to restore it to it’s former glory. …that, and I just plain want to write about another game every once in a while, is that so wrong?!

Anyways, here is what we’re looking for: A competent, capable writer with a love for all things Xbox. Now, by competent writer, we mean someone who spells “you” correctly, and knows when to capitalize. If you can do that, you’re a shoe-in. So, CLICK THIS DAMN LINK, do the required stuff, then get paid to play video games and write about stuff.

…hell, Mike and I did the hard stuff already, and YES, the GTA4 Banner contest will continue, and I will still give you a copy of GTA IV… or something. So, hop to it.

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Gamercize - Workout While You Game - Not Such a Bad Idea

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

oh baby let me grab your joystickThough a complete rip off of that World of Warcraft diet guy (link), the concept of Gamercize is that you have to keep working out (like on one of those walk/run in place type machines) and that will keep your controller on. The way I think it worked with the Warcraft guy was that the exercise becomes a second thought, as you are concentrating on the video game.

Some information directly from their site:
“Gamercize interacts with your game console’s controller stopping it working when you are not exercising and letting you play normally when you are exercising.

Gamercize does not limit gameplay by physical skill or ability, and does not make games harder to control. You choose the exercise level for maximum enjoyment of the game and greatest fitness benefit for you.

Gamercize can work with any type of exercise machine but cycle and stepper are the best choice, as these machines leave your hands free to operate the controller.”

Honestly, this isn’t a bad idea at all, sort of takes the Nintendo’s Wii Fit game idea and expands it to let you play any game, but there is a sad part to all this, the people who make this have the worst marketing team ever. Do yourself a favor and hit up Gamercize.net, where you too can find out that “Gamercize is 6 times more popular than exercise alone.” (I would like to see the scientific studies to back up such a claim of grandeur). Be prepared, the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are coming soon!


August NPD Figures: Month of Madden Edition!

Thursday, September 13th, 2007


The newest NPD numbers are out, and it’s lookin’ good for the Xbox 360. In the month of August, the 360 sold 276,700 units, coming in second out of the three consoles (and third overall, DS being #2) behind the Wii.

Also, two Xbox 360 titles were in the Top 20 SKUs for August: Madden NFL 08 at 896,600 units, and BioShock at 490,900 units. Two Workds, Guitar Hero II and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 for the Xbox 360 were also in the top 20, as well as Madden NFL 08 for the Xbox.

You can see a full list of consoles AND games after the break.


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