Gaming Steve

Xbox Archives - Page 7

November 2, 2005

Xbox 360 for Dummies

Xbox 360 for DummiesFrom the same people who released Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies and Sex for Dummies comes their latest worldwide bestseller -- Xbox 360 for Dummies!

Scheduled to be released on November 22nd in North America this 360 page book (get it?!) will cover perplexing topics such as:

  • Hooking up an Xbox 360, taking advantage of HDTV and Dolby capabilities, using built-in digital video recording and wireless functions, storing media files, playing music, and displaying photos.
  • Shows how to have even more fun by taking an Xbox online for massively multiplayer gaming, instant messaging, and more.
  • Discusses the social potential of the Xbox, which people can use to make new friends, join groups and teams, and even throw fantastic parties. (fantastic parties?)
  • Includes tips for securing the Xbox from online threats.
Uh ... yeah. I just want to play games. Does it show you how to do that?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:00 PM | Posted to Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 26, 2005

Blizzard's Xbox 360 Surprise

BlizzConSo what's going on between Blizzard and the Xbox 360? There have been several "leaks" over the past few months, including the "accidental" listing of StarCraft: Ghost for next-generation consoles, an hour-long "Microsoft Next Gen Platform" presentation at BlizzCon this Friday, and several "Next-Gen" programming positions on the Blizzard jobs board.

Most likely Blizzard will simply be showing an Xbox 360 version of StarCraft: Ghost, but there is the possibility that they will be announcing an Xbox 360 version of World of Warcraft. However, I have confirmed that Greg Canessa (Group Manager of Xbox Live Arcade) will be at BlizzCon this weekend.

Why is the Manager of Xbox Live Arcade attending BlizzCon? Is he there just to hang out and play World of Warcraft with the masses or is he going to be announcing something? Very interesting. Well, BlizzCon starts on Friday so we'll all know soon enough!

UPDATE: This afternoon Blizzard changed their BlizzCon schedule and the mysterious Microsoft presentation was renamed to "MS Windows Vista Presentation". Hum, perhaps Greg is just going down to BlizzCon to play games and geek-out with the rest of us? We shall see...

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:30 AM | Posted to MMORPG | Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 24, 2005

Gaming Steve Episode 24 - 10.24.2005

Atari Age Swordquest!This week I got a chance to speak with Xbox Live's Major Nelson where we chat about the new Xbox Live, cool new Xbox 360 features, Major's gaming history, German booth babes, and much more. Check it out.

Gaming Steve Episode 24 Program

  • 00:04:22 Game News:
    • GameTap unleashes classic games to the masses.
    • California game restriction law disputed.
    • Big Mac, fries, and Wi-Fi.
    • Xbox 360 controller for sale in stores ... really.
    • Wal-Mart demoing the 360.
    • GameStop receiving 360 kiosks.
    • San Andreas hits retail yet again.
    • 10 million PSPs in 10 months.
    • Dead or Alive 4 ... now with more Spartan.
    • Satin Sliver PS2 buggy?
    • Gizmondo? Bless you.
    • The Main Event: Penny Arcade vs. Thompson.
  • 00:31:10 GameTalk: Interview with Xbox Live's Major Nelson, Larry Hryb.
  • 00:59:46 SporeTalk: I break open some emergency rations.
  • 01:00:40 Game Review: The Warriors for the Xbox and PS2.
  • 01:11:15 RetroReview: Swordquest for the Atari 2600.
  • 01:24:19 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the cool prize!
  • 01:29:24 Final Thoughts on upcoming interviews, sending me audio questions, Civilization IV and more.
Download the show (96 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 24 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:00 PM | Posted to Classic | Interview | Podcast | Review | Spore | Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 17, 2005

Gaming Steve Episode 23 - 10.17.2005

NYC Xbox360 EventAfter spending two days playing with the Xbox 360 I decided that I needed to do something special for this week's show. So I sat down with Nick Puleo from Evil Avatar, John Callaham from Gamecloud, and James Ransom-Wiley from Joystiq to dissect every aspect of the Xbox 360. We talk about the hardware, the interface, every single game at the event, and a lot more for over an hour and a half! It's like getting two shows in one, check it out.

Gaming Steve Episode 23 Program

  • 00:02:15 Game News:
    • EA Settles Lawsuit.
    • GameStop and EB become one.
    • GameStop cuts 700 jobs.
    • The Goverantor targets violent video games.
    • Judge sentences gamer to death.
    • Activision cards web users.
    • Game pirate walks the plank.
    • Xbox 360 backwards compatible with just Halo?
    • Steven Spielberg and EA get back together.
    • Blizzard is spying on you.
  • 00:21:55 GameTalk: Roundtable discussion of the Xbox 360 New York City Press Event with Nick Puleo from Evil Avatar, John Callaham from Gamecloud, and James Ransom-Wiley from Joystiq.
  • 01:52:45 SporeTalk: SporeTalk to calm down for a little while.
  • 01:55:04 Game Review: Dragonshard for the PC.
  • 02:06:03 RetroReview: The Vectrex Arcade System.
  • 02:16:06 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a very cool prize!
  • 02:19:54 Final Thoughts on the NYC Xbox 360 press event.
Download the show (145 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 23 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:00 PM | Posted to Interview | PC | Podcast | Spore | Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 12, 2005

My Second Day with the Xbox 360, Part 2

Xbox 360 Live and in PersonDuring my second day at the NYC Xbox 360 Event I brought along my friend Dave to try out some of the multiplayer aspects of the games. Unfortunately Live multiplayer wasn’t enabled so we could only try out two-player and co-op modes on each game. Below are my thoughts on multiplayer as well some photos from the event. Make sure to come back later in the week for my podcast show where I’ll go into even more detail about every single aspect of the Xbox 360!

Perfect Dark Zero: It was a bit hard to completely understand what was going on with all the room noise but we got to play a cooperative mission where one person played Joanna Dark and the other person played a nameless female agent (well, I’m sure she had a name but we couldn’t hear what it was). The mission we were playing took place inside an industrial complex which was being attacked by small robotic spiders -- Dave mentioned that it looked like something from the cheesy Tom Selleck movie Runaway, not a good sign.

The level appeared to be a basic tutorial level it was explaining how to use the controller and it was a bit light on the combat. The mission consisted of us rescuing a scientist being assaulted by the killer robots, unlocking doors via a timing minigame, flying remote controlled skybots (which looked like chrome sphere’s from the movie Phantasm), and taking out flying enemies on the roof. Overall co-op play was a lot more fun than the single player experience, but then again, co-op play is usually more fun. I still have my reservations about this title as I didn’t see anything ground-breaking and the graphics were "next gen" but a bit on the funky side. But the weapon selection was very nice, and I wasn’t able to try out a large multiplayer map, so I’m still reserving final judgment.

One thing which should be mentioned right away is that you can’t jump in PDZ. You can do a combat roll, which is pretty cool, but Joanna Dark Can’t Jump. It was explained to me by the Microsoft rep that one reason jump was removed is that they didn’t want multiplayer to become a jumpfest. I told him to get ready for a mini-mutiny and sure enough throughout the night I would repeatedly hear “What? You can’t jump?!” But who knows? Perhaps the combat roll will become the new “jump button” of 2006?

Call of Duty 2: Being a huge Call of Duty fan Dave practically ran to this station and was not disappointed. The game looks great and plays just like the original. After playing single player for a bit the MS rep set us up on a 2-player deathmatch game in a bombed out town in France. I played the Germans and Dave played the British. Before the match we each got to select one of five different country-specific weapons and then the fun began. Dave took the ground while I managed to find a machine-gun nest on the second floor of a bombed building. Things were looking bad for Dave, until a well thrown grenade took my guy out.

The game continued as your basic one-on-one deathmatch game with each of us dying several times. Fun, but the map was a bit too big for intense two-player action. It would have been nice to try an eight-player deathmatch, but the game looked and played great. This game looks like a winner and a solid sequel to the excellent Call of Duty.

I also played Dead or Alive 4 multiplayer a bit, but don’t really have a lot to say about that game. If you played the first three you know what to expect in this version. Overall I was most impressed with Xbox Live Arcade, Kameo: Elements of Power, and Condemned: Criminal Origins as well as the physical unit itself. Look for a lot more Xbox 360 coverage in the upcoming weeks.

NYC Xbox 360 Event
Finally, the ability to touch and use the Xbox 360 without a 3-inch protective sheet of plastic surrounding it.

NYC Xbox 360 Event
Kameo looked amazing and was a blast to play.

NYC Xbox 360 Event
Xbox 360s as far as the eye could see.

NYC Xbox 360 Event
Gaming Steve plays the most graphic-intensive Xbox 360 game ever to be released...

NYC Xbox 360 Event
... Joust! (It's part of Xbox Live and actually looked amazing in 1080i!)

NYC Xbox 360 Event
People were eating and drinking right next all those brand new Xbox 360s. It almost felt wrong.

NYC Xbox 360 Event
One nice bonus was the free Xbox 360 Memory Unit we each got to keep after the event. They even pre-loaded a few games onto the unit.

NYC Xbox 360 Event
Of course without an Xbox 360 it's just a nice piece of plastic right now.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:00 PM | Comments (16) | Posted to Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 11, 2005

My Second Day with the Xbox 360

Xbox 360After spending one day with the Xbox 360 I went back to the New York press event and played the few games that I missed. Here are my thoughts on those and make sure to check out the site tomorrow when I do a final recap of the event, post some pictures, and talk about the Xbox 360 multiplayer experience:

Xbox Live Arcade: I spent quite a bit of time playing Live Arcade since I knew almost nothing about it before the event and ended up quite impressed. Think but with more "mature" games and lower prices (each game is priced separately with most being under $10 each). All of the games from Live Arcade are downloaded onto your Xbox and they have wide variety of game categories. After you download a game you can try it our for free and if you like what you see you can purchase the game for a small fee. The games I saw were more twitch-based than puzzle-based (which I think is a "good thing"), they played great with the console controller, looked amazing in HD. You might not buy the Xbox 360 to play Xbox Live Arcade but I think people will be amazed at the selection and quality of these smaller titles.

Dead or Alive 4: If you played DOA1, or DOA2, or DOA3 know the drill. It looks amazing and it plays just fine. If you liked DOA3 (or 2 or 1) you'll like DOA4.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The demo only featured two levels, which I believe are the exact same levels you can play on the currently released PC demo. The gameplay was a bit rough, but the graphics looked great. Plus, it's being made by Michel Ancel and the same team behind Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil (a fantastic game that nobody played). Expect potentially great things.

Project Gotham Racing 3: I didn't get to spend a huge amount of time with this one, but the plethora of options should appease any hardcore racing fan. One nice touch was crowd reactions, smash your car into the guardrail and watch the people scatter. I heard there were "famous New Yorkers" in the crowds, but they're a bit hard to see when you're flying by at 140 MPH.

NBA 2K6 & NBA LIVE 06: Wow, I mean, wow. The graphics were jaw-droppingly realistic. Shame they didn't have NHL 2K6 there as that is one of the only sports genres I still actively play.

Finally, I got a sweet little "keepsake" from the event -- my very own Xbox 360 Memory Card (of which I'll show you all tomorrow) and they even preloaded a few games on it for me. Of course, now I need an Xbox 360 to play those games...

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:00 PM | Posted to Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 10, 2005

My Day With The Xbox 360

xboxevent.jpgSo here I was, just playing some new games when I was unexpectingly invited to a private Xbox 360 preview event right here in New York City. So I hopped on the subway, showed up to Xbox-themed loft, and played lots of Xbox 360 games for several hours (yeah, I know, I suck).

Before I get "into it" I have to say that I've been to a fair number of these things over the years but this one was by far one of the best. The space was small, quiet, comfortable, and I got tons of quality time playing Xbox 360 games.

The event started out with an hour demo of Kameo: Elements of Power (looked fantastic), Project Gotham Racing 3 (pretty good), and the Xbox Live Dashboard (beyond words cool) and then we were able to play games for a couple of hours. I have to say, I was a bit concerned about the Xbox 360 launch lineup, but after today I am starting to think that the PS3 might be in some serious trouble. I was extremely impressed with what I saw and a couple of the launch titles look downright legendary.

I will do a detailed podcast about my experiences at the event later in the week but here is a quick rundown of my thoughts:

"The Hardware": The Xbox 360 controller is "like butter" and handles better than the PS2 controller (yes, even I was surprised by that one). The system design itself is "iPod Nano slick", compact, and the little "trap doors" which protect the various plug-in elements (like the memory unit and controller slots) are a nice touch.

Xbox Live Dashboard: I have to admit I was quite skeptical about how well the Xbox Live features would integrate into the overall gameplaying experience. But after playing with the Dashboard firsthand I have to say that it is seamlessly integrated with the overall experience and Xbox Live will definitely enhance the overall gaming experience, even with games which have no multiplayer options (more on this in the podcast). Really impressive stuff.

Kameo: Elements of Power: Considering that this game was supposed to be a launch title for the GameCube, and then was supposed to come out for the Xbox, and then was "retooled" as a launch title for the Xbox 360, I had a lot concerns about this game. But after playing it I have to say that the graphics are most definitely "next gen", the gameplay was lots of fun, and the music fantastic. I think Kameo will herald in the triumphant return of great Rare games.

Perfect Dark Zero: I played two levels of this game and while it was definitely fun I am going to hold judgment. There were a lot of cool innovations in the game (the safecracking "locktopus" being the coolest), and the weapon variety quite nice, but the gameplay seemed pretty standard.

Call of Duty 2: Played a lot like the first Call of Duty but with refined controls and updated gameplay. If you liked the first one I'm sure you'll like this one.

Condemned: Criminal Origins: Of all the games I played today this one surprised me the most and I felt the "winner" of the show. Created by Monolith, the game is a bit hard to explain as it does of lot of things I have never seen before. It plays like Resident Evil crossed with an FPS crossed with an psychological thriller. The game looks amazing (when I was watching someone play the game I thought I was watching a movie) and pulls you into the story within the first five seconds. Expect this to be a huge surprise hit.

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: For those of you who can't wait to get this game (you know who you are) make sure to pre-order your Xbox 360 now. Look forward to another 250+ hours of "Elder Scrolls gameplay" but with next gen graphics.

For pictures of the event make sure to check out Xbox Live's Major Nelson blog and photo album. On a side note I have to say meeting Major Nelson for the first time was great. Not only is he "the nicest guy ever" but he and I got a chance to talk "podcast shop". Very cool.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Posted to Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

September 29, 2005

eBay for Gamers

GameSwapZoneI don't know how many people out there are buying their video games from eBay (I buy my used games at EB) but a new site just launched dedicated to just buying and selling new and used computer and video games. Sort of like eBay for gaming, launched a few weeks ago and it seems like a pretty interesting idea.

The site seems to contain your "standard" online auction capabilities such as rating systems and buyer feedback, an optional "Buy It Now" feature, and the ability for people to create their own online store. Plus, anyone can create listings, or even post "want ads" for specific games. It should also be noted that the site is owned by the same company that owns Computer Games Magazine and Now Playing Magazine for what it's worth.

So far their selection seems a bit limited but that's sure to grow over time, definitely an interesting idea for finding those rare and hard to find titles.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to GameCube | PlayStation 2 | Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

September 15, 2005

Sam & Max To Return (No, Really!)

Sam & MaxIt appears that the immensely popular Sam & Max adventure series, which has been threatening to make a comeback more times than John Travolta's career, is finally returning to the gaming world. Steve Purcell (the original creator of Sam & Max) announced at the end of his keynote speech at "The Future of Digital Entertainment" conference that Telltale Games has received the go-ahead to develop another Sam & Max game.

The new game will be completely original and will have nothing whatsoever to do with the canceled Lucasarts Sam & Max: Freelance Police title. So why after all this time have Sam & Max finally returned? It appears that Lucasarts lost the rights to the series and creator Purcell, who was familiar with Telltale from their days together in Lucasarts, went to Telltale to answer the legion of fans who have been begging for another Sam & Max game.

Not much is known about the game right now, but what is known is that Telltale Games will release the game in episodic format, much like their upcoming Bone series whose first episode is due for release later this fall (update: you can now download the demo/trail for Bone from Telltale).

This is the third attempt to make a follow up to 1993's Sam & Max Hit the Road, the first one being an Xbox-bound action/adventure title from now-defunct game studio Infinite Machine, and the second of course being LucasArts' ill-fated attempt at a sequel, Sam & Max Freelance Police. Both of those died before having a chance to live, but here's hoping third time's the charm!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:00 AM | Posted to Classic | PC | PlayStation 2 | Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

August 31, 2005

Gaming Steve Episode 20 - 08.31.2005

Xbox 360 Omega SystemThis week is the "extra large news week" edition plus two "reviews" and two "RetroReviews"! Oh yeah, and if you buy the new "super insane crazy Xbox 360 bundle" I'll have you on my show! Enjoy the gaming bounty:

    00:02:30 Game News:
    • Game Boy Micro coming September 19th ... how many more can they make?!
    • Zelda: Twilight Princess delayed, of course.
    • Xbox $399.
    • All hail! Caesar returns to the PC!
    • Madden 2006 tackles sale charts.
    • Star Wars Galaxies causes a great disturbance in the Force.
    • Halo goes Hollywood.
    • China gets serious with online gaming addicts.
    • Come on, buy the Xbox 360 Omega bundle for $2000 ... I dare you!
    • Auto Assault applies the brakes.
    • Asheron's Call 2 goes dark.
    • Nintendo buys itself.
    • We Love Katamari, oh yes we do!
    • Another week, another million people join WOW.
    • Xbox Live 2.0 priced.
  • 00:40:20 GameTalk: What on earth was Microsoft thinking when they priced the Xbox 360?
  • 00:57:30 SporeTalk: No news is good news?
  • 00:59:09 QuickTake: Advance Wars Dual Strike for the Nintendo DS.
  • 01:13:55 QuickTake: Nintendogs for the Nintendo DS.
  • 01:20:33 RetroReview: Military Madness for the TurboGrafx-16.
  • 01:26:49 RetroReview: The Little Computer People Discovery Kit for the PC.
  • 01:32:00 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a new prize!
  • 01:34:32 Show mail!
  • 01:39:10 Plus some very quick random thoughts.
Get the podcast from this page (100 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 20.

You can also subscribe to the weekly podcast.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:45 PM | Posted to Podcast | Review | Spore | Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!