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New Releases: January 23rd, 2007

by JW

Busy week for the Xbox 360. After a slow Monday, the rest of the week will surely be occupied by a plethora of new games. So, let’s get to it…

…what? Nothing? There is NOTHING this week?! …son of a bitch… ok, well… um… you know what? Screw it!

This is going to be a LONG week…

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Gears Grabs 10 AIAS Nods

by JW

Gears FTW

So far this week, news regarding everyone’s favorite console has been scarce. In fact, it’s been nearly non-existent. So in my continuing efforts to both meet my deadline, and keep you coming back for more, I’m actually reporting about the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards.

Either way, a few big Xbox 360 titles are up for awards this year. Gears of War led all games with ten nominations, while The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion raked in eight nods, although it seems they are recognizing the PC version, rather than the console offering so we’ll just talk about Gears of War for the remainder of this. The awards GoW is up for are:

Overall Game of the Year
Console Game of the Year
Outstanding Innovation in Gaming
Outstanding Achievement in Animation
Outstanding Direction in Art Achievement
Outstanding Character Performance - Male
Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering
Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play
Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering
Action/Adventure Game of the Year

The winners should be announced on February 8th, 2007. Expect Gears to go home with a LOT of hardware.

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Halo 3 BETA Invites Due This Week

by JW

Halo 3 FTW

Remember back in December when the entire gaming blogosphere exploded in a nerdgasm when the Halo 3 BETA went into open invitation. Well, this is zero hour, now — the Halo 3 BETA Registration is complete, and those lucky bastards who were chosen (since I’m almost certain I won’t be) will be notified this week.

Screw you asshats.

If you’ve been chosen, you will know by Friday. Do let me know if you’ve been chosen — that way I can stab you in the throat and steal it. [*insert smiley face here*]

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The Sunday Grind: Gears tops 3 Million

by JW

Gears FTW!

I know, I know. I’m posting this on a Monday morning — sue me. I just got back from my duty station. Regardless, looking at the RSS feeds and around the general internet, I couldn’t find a single piece of news about the Xbox 360 from over the weekend. Notta. Zilch. Absolutely nothing. So naturally, when a blogger can’t find anything on the subject he’s supposed to (and in this case, is paid to) cover, he does the sensible thing: Rehash an already reported and very well known story, adding a hint of personal opinion to the matter.

Kind of like my personal Jesus Christ, Keith Olbermann. So without further interruption, let’s do this.

As I’m sure you all know by now, Gears of War has topped over 3 million copies sold. For those of you who can do math, $60 x 3,000,000 = $180,000,000, which essentially boils down to $180,000,000 = Cliffy B. rubbing his naked body with crisp $100 bills. Epic is making money hand-over-fist with this game, due in part to the George Lucas effect. Namely, Epic developed both the game AND the Unreal 3 engine, thus doubling the lining of their pockets. When this game became a HUGE hit, this is when the George Lucas effect truly manifested itself.

Now I know that Epic doesn’t get all of that money. Retailers and Publishers get a hefty chunk of the game’s profits as well. But when I see a game like this making as much as it does, I find it hard to root for the little guy. The “small time” developer who falls back on the age-old excuse of “We were working on a budget” for producing a steaming pile of virtual feces. Epic Games was once one of those “small time” developers. But they put forth the time and effort, and were able to create a game like Unreal using nothing but hard work, determination, and a crap-load of caffeine.

At one time, Epic Games was amongst the development houses who had their games thrown into the bargain bin days after release. Now you see them and think of them as one of the top development houses in the industry, turning out one great game after another. And they’re not done.

So I say to all you small time development houses out there — don’t try to make the quick buck by knocking off a bigger, and better game. Take the time, effort and energy to create your own idea. Your own gameplay mechanics. Your own game engine (if necessary, since they take a LOT of love). Do all that is necessary to create a game that will make you money, but will also get you recognition from inside the industry. Do your part, little men, and some day YOU could be like Epic.

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Weekend Absence

by JW

Uncle Sam FTW

The site may be a little lacking in the updates this weekend. I know, I know, you’re all heartbroken, but let me explain.

I’m a member of the United States Army Reserve, and this is my weekend to report in.

…no, that’s it. I’ll try to get a couple things in over the weekend, but really, it won’t be much.

Xbox Live Arcade File Size Bumped to 250MB

by JW


Okay, when the Xbox 360 launched, games on the Xbox Live Arcade were capped at 50MB. I can only assume it was done to accommodate those 360 owners who didn’t get a hard drive and had to store their arcade games on a memory card. Well, now many a source is reporting that Microsoft is going to bump up the file size limit five-fold, to 250MB. With Microsoft’s approval, a particular developer could get the limit bumped up further, to 450MB.

While this isn’t yet “official”, I really couldn’t see any logical reason why Microsoft wouldn’t do this. After all, the upcoming Castlevania: Symphony of the Night not only surpasses the current 50MB limit, but it absolutely squashes it, coming in at 96MB. Of course, the 50MB limit was also the reason that Lumines Live! was broken down into a successive series of downloads (which, in turn, was why I didn’t get it). My point is that the 50MB limit is currently placing a limit on games we want to see on the XBLA.

Just think, with a larger limit to the file sizes, we could potentially see games coming from the Sega Saturn and the 3D0 in the future. I know I’d love to see those “lesser known” classics, like Mr. Bones, on the XBLA one day soon.

t3h w31rd: January 19th, 2007

by JW

t3h w31rd!

This is “t3h w31rd”, a weekly segment here at X360R that spotlights the more… “unique” side of gaming. Sure, while most blogs tend to stick with industry news about the latest updates on games and rehashing release dates, “t3h w31rd” dares to venture into the dark underbelly of the video game industry, to find the best in out there, off the wall, and just plain odd gaming stories that will either leave you in stitches, or scratching your head.

So, without further adieu, I present… t3h w31rd.

Kidnapper posted images on Xbox Live community site
Naturally this story was going to lead off t3h w31rd. Now, I had never heard of “Gamertagpics.com” before this story, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone so I’m certain that they are happy about the press, but this story in and of itself is pretty out there. Basically it boils down to this: This manager at some pizza parlor, Mike Devlin, kidnapped this 13-year-old kid as the child was getting off the school bus. Witnesses described the white truck that Devlin and the recently acquired boy sped off in, and found a truck that matched the description in a suburban St. Louis apartment complex. When police went to investigate, they found the boy, as well as Shawn Hornbeck, who had been there for four YEARS!

Here is how this pertains to gaming: Mike Devlin had a profile on Xbox Live, “DevilDevlin.” This is where the aforementioned website comes into play: You see, if you search for DevilDevlin at Gamertagpics.com, you will find a picture of Shawn Hornbeck standing in front of the apartment building he had been living in for four years. But wait, it gets more and more out there. According to neighbors:

“Residents said they often spotted Shawn out and about, visiting friends on his bicycle or playing video games with the apartment door open.”

So, apparently this kid had been kidnapped four years ago, yet here he is, just hangin’ out with friends and playing on Xbox Live, apparently never having tried ONCE to escape. This leaves me with two conclusions.

1.) This Michael Devlin is the coolest mother [censored for the children] to ever live, or…
2.) This is a testament to how great the Xbox 360 truly is.

Elsewhere in the w31rd…

Custom Xbox 360 Casings
Don’t tell me you’ve never looked at that eggshell white Xbox 360 and said to yourself “God, I wish she were black.” I know we all have, though the color may differ. I know quite a few of you would love yours to be really, really shiny. Personally, I’ve always wanted to see what goes on inside my console, and there hasn’t been a console since the Nintendo 64 that gave us the see-thru shells that I thought were so kick ass. Well, for $49 (plus shipping & handling) you can get your own custom Xbox 360 shell, and by going to their website you can get instructions on how to replace the existing shell with the new one. That way you don’t go and screw yourself with this blatant violation of the Xbox 360 warranty.

The Ultimate Toilet
Roto Rooter, you know, the guys who make sure that burrito night in the Walker home doesn’t lead to mass hysteria and ritual suicide, are giving away perhaps the greatest thing ever. Just look at the list of what all they were able to fit into this throne that is TRULY fit for a king:

Flat-Screen HDTV
iPod w/ Dock
DVD player
Beer tap
Mini Fridge
Bullhorn (Huh?)
Bike Pedals (Oh, now you’re just being ridiculous)

…since you’re reading about it here, you probably could’ve guessed that yes, an Xbox 360 comes with it.

Boy, is my face red

by JW

So, I got curious and finally opened up the blog inside of Internet Explorer… yeah, all I’m going to say to my IE readers is… I’m sorry. The problems have been corrected.

First Impression: Battlestations: Midway

by JW

So the multiplayer demo for Battlestations: Midway has been launched for download on the Xbox Live Marketplace. After spending less than one whole game with this, I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it. It’s that awful.

I love World War II games. I am one of only a few left. So I get my hands on this game, I take the ten minutes to download it (my broadband is split between my phone, PC and 360), I set up a match and I jump right in. Now, I expected off the bat to be piloting a fighter taking off of an aircraft carrier and engaging in high-speed air combat. Instead I find myself AS the aircraft carrier, tugging slowly across the open waters launching aircraft and occasionally shooting down a few very slow moving fighters.

Of course, by using the D-Pad you can switch from the battleship to each fighter, though both are equally tedious. The fighters move painfully slow, and have absolutely NO maneuverability which makes them easy targets for the ground turrets and battleships. When you play as the ship, which is often since it is an easy target if the computer controls it, you are tasked with launching the fighters and maintaining the ship’s systems (turrets, flooding, fire prevention, etc.). Not very fun, and the way the controls are set-up make navigating the menus confusing for the first few minutes.

Now again, I didn’t even play an entire match, and yet, I was playing for a half-hour. I know that this “First Impression” is pretty short, but that should tell you something. After all, when a game is great, you can say it in a million different ways. But there is really only a handfull of ways to say “This sucks.”

Shivering Isles Officially Official

by JW

Bethesda Softworks today sent out the official Press Release for the upcoming expansion pack to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Now, I’m going to warn you that the official press release is a bit long, so I’m going to let you all read the official FAQ on Shivering Isles.

When will Shivering Isles be available?
The worldwide release will be this Spring. We’ll announce the specific release date as we get closer to release.

Is it just for PC, or for Xbox 360 too?
Shivering Isles will be available for both Windows and Xbox 360. The Windows version will only be available in stores. The Xbox 360 version will be available for download via Xbox Live. A retail version is not possible for the 360 at this time. Both versions will be released simultaneously, worldwide.

Will localized versions be available?
Yes, it will be localized into French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Is this just another gate to Oblivion like the ones in the main quest?
No. Oblivion is made of lots of planes, one for each Daedric Prince. Oblivion featured the fiery realm of Mehrunes Dagon. The Shivering Isles is the realm of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. It’s a place unlike anything you’ve seen in Oblivion.

How big is Shivering Isles?
Shivering Isles is about ¼ the size Cyrodiil, where Oblivion takes place.

How many hours of gameplay should I expect?
About 30 hours of new content, including an all new main quest — in addition to miscellaneous quests you can complete, lots of landscape to explore, dungeons to discover, etc.

Do I have to create a new character to play Shivering Isles?
Shivering Isles works with your existing save game/character from Oblivion, or you can start a new game of Oblivion and create a new character just for Shivering Isles.

Can I continue my quests in Oblivion once I start Shivering Isles?
You can go back and forth between Oblivion and Shivering Isles with your character whenever you like.

Will it be available for the PLAYSTATION®3 system?
It is our intention to make it available for PLAYSTATION 3 this year, but no release date has been set.

Basically, once you get Shivering Isles, you will not go outside again for a long, long time. Either way, the story of Shivering Isles boils down to this: Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, asks you to defend the people of his realm on Shivering Isle when something goes really, really awry.

So really, Shivering Isles is looking to be something we have never seen before in Elder Scrolls. I can hardly freakin’ wait.

MGS, Peugeot Announce Car Design Contest

by JW


Have you ever wanted to have something of yours featured in a video game? No, the face mapping in Tony Hawk and Rainbow Six: Vegas doesn’t count. Well, if you ever DID want to take part in creating a video game, Microsoft Game Studios and French Automaker Peugeot have announced a contest that you may be interested in.

Here’s what it boils down to: You design a car that you would like to see in an upcoming Microsoft Game Studios racing game (*coughprojectgothamracing4cough*) and submit it to THIS website. Then you, the other contestants, and people like me who have no artistic talent whatsoever, go to this website and pick our ten favorite selections. The winner will get his or her car rendered as a playable car in an upcoming Microsoft Game Studio’s title (*coughprojectgothamracing4cough*).

Damn, I must be coming down with a cold, or something. Regardless, it should also be noted that by winning this, you’re still not guaranteed the car will appear in the game. MGS says it’s still dependent on “technical consideration”, which basically boils down to “if every entry sucks, you’re all screwed.”

So, future artists, get to… um… artist… ing? If it helps, here are a few of Peugeot’s ACTUAL cars:

Car 1
Car 2
Car 3

So feel free to let your imagination loose on this.

A state of Crysis

by JW

So, I guess Crysis on the 360 isn’t going to be. Not if what Electronic Arts says is true, anyways. According to a statement from a representative of Electronic Arts, the original story about Crysis coming to the Xbox 360 was a result of a miscommunication between an EA representative and a representative of 1UP.com.

While I cannot say I am not saddened by this news, it doesn’t completely surprise me. Crysis, once released on the PC, will run on DirectX 10, whereas the Xbox 360 runs on DirectX 9. So basically, the development house behind Crysis would have to develop a completely new game, replacing everything except the essential bare skeleton of the game.

Hopefully EA will sit back and reconsider Crysis on the consoles, though. But, only time can tell.

Details on Half-Life 2 Orange

by JW

Half-Life Deuce

IGN has given us all some new info on the console Half-Life 2 package, entitled Half-Life 2: Orange. (Because the logo is orange, get it?! …friggen lame) Now, instead of having you sit there and sift through the info on the Half Life 2: Black info (basically, the PC equivelent minus Episode One), I’ll tell you what Half-Life 2: Orange will give you:

Half-Life 2 (Duh)
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two (w00t!)
Half-Life 2: Portal
Team Fortress

Half-Life 2: Orange should run you about $60, and you can expect to get your grubby little hands on it sometime this summer.

Four Words: Halo 3 Gameplay Footage

by JW

As first shown over at 1PStart, there is some new leaked gameplay footage of Halo 3 on Game Trailers. I was originally not going to feature it, because the quality of the footage is pretty craptacular, but it’s been a fairly slow day for the Xbox 360 AND I’ve been side-tracked by my girl being in town. BUT, again, considering that it’s a slow day, have a look:

Again, sorry for being behind the times today — just got going ons over here.

New Releases: January 16th, 2007

by JW

Only one game coming out for the 360 this week.
March Madness

NCAA March Madness 07

…seriously, that’s it. An even worse version of a bad basketball game from EA Sports. God, what ever happened to those guys? Don’t you remember when EA Sports led the way in sports gaming?

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