Archive for December, 2005

Xbox 360

I’ve just changed my Gametag (after leaving my 360 on all night downloading the NBA Live demo with no crashes).

Prinny is no more.

No, I am now That Rev Chap.

I’ll probably hate that Gamertag soon, too, but I’ll never hate it as much as I hated Prinny, that’s for sure.

Best seven quid I ever spent. Yes, it costs 800 points to change a Gametag. Bloody Microsoft. Had to be done, though. It really did.

Xbox 360

Met up with the same two friends as last night. Played some PGR3. I came last again. Again, by a single second on the last race. Tch.

Then we decided to switch the Perfect Dark Zero, because that allows multiple people per Xbox, so we ended up with five of us playing. Lots of matches against bots. Was really, really good fun. Graphically, it’s obviously an Xbox game given a quick coat of paint and I really don’t like the look of the interface, which reminds me of mid-nineties shareware PC games. So it’s really not very next generation, but it is damn good fun. The cover feature – where you can take cover behind boxes and walls and doors and such and then leap out to shoot people – is brillianlty implemented. And the plasma gun, whatever it’s called, is awesome. In fact, the the weapons are great generally.

After a fair few games three of the five decided to bugger off, so myself and the remaining friend did the first mission in co-op mode. I found the whole thing very, very confusing. Attacks were all coming in from above and below and I really don’t think well in three dimensions in FPSes. (How do you pluralise FPS anyway? That looks very wrong.)

I’ve also been checking out people’s gamer scores today. There’s a problem. Most games give 5-20 points per achievement and most of them mean something. King Kong, though, seems to give out hundreds of points just for being able to press the A button on the controller and other simple tasks. So anybody who’s played King Kong has a huge gamer score compared to other people. Not a major problem, but slightly odd. You’d think MS would have guidlines.

And now I’m very tired and am off to bed while the NBA Live Demo downloads.

Xbox 360

Well, I’ve spent most of today with it. I have actually been outside into that big place without walls that has clouds on its ceiling, but that was only for an hour or so. Nowhere had a Play & Charge Kit. Woolies thought they did, but after ten minutes searching, realised they didn’t. At least they looked for me. Nice people. Game were completely out of virtually everything 360-related, only seeming to have a random selection of a few games and wireless controllers & networking adapters left in stock. Oh, and the big remote controls. HMV and Smiths had some games, but no accessories at all, as far as I can see. I didn’t get as far as MVC and Gamestation is inside a Blockbusters, so doesn’t open until ten or so, which was after I was in town.

So, enough about what’s lacking out in the world, what have I done here?

Well, I’ve played a lot of PGR3. I’ve taken some photos from some races I saved replays of last night. I’ve played one of my friends. I’ve done a huge chunk of the solo career. And I’ve done quite a few online races. Apparently, 25% of the people who’ve voted for me in the gamer rep thing have given me bad marks. For being ‘unsporting’, apparently. I’m assuming four people have rated me, one of whom was someone I slammed into in a PGR3 race. I normally apologise unless it’s just a part of the rough and tumble. Ah well, never mind. I’ve got up to league nine today, which means I’m only 1345674358th in the world. Or thereabouts.

What else? Um, quite a lot of Mutant Storm Reloaded. It’s excellent. And I’m the best person on friends list at it. (Probably won’t be once at least one of my friends actually plays it, so I’ll take my glory while I can.) I really like the fact that if you go to a game’s page in the Live Arcade section of the dashboard it downloads your friends’ scores so you can see how you compare without launching the game.

I’ve played a bit of Joust, too. I’ve been trying to beat my friend Ade’s score, but can’t. I’ve got within 2,500 in one very flukey game, but haven’t got close since.

I played the Need for Speed: Most Wanted demo and it could have been a return to the glory days of Hot Pursuit 2 (yes, EA does make a decent game every few years or so) but the frame rate was just awful, so it’s going in the bin.

I’ve rippped a few CDs to the hard drive, so they’re there if I need them. Whatever database the 360 is looking at is a bit rubbish, because it didn’t recognise the Dangerdoom CD or the last three tracks on Ghetto Pop Life. So I didn’t rip them, as there’s no way I’m using the 360′s nasty text entry system to enter titles, artists, albums and genre info. It’s bad enough writing messages to friends. When I’m feeling extra lazy I just send a voice message instead.

Right now, as I type this, I’m playing The Auteurs off my iPod on the 360 while Neon makes pretty pictures appear on my TV. Good stuff. The iPod support is a bit rubbish during a game, but it works well in the main dashboard. I just wish I could work out how to turn off Shuffle. I normally want it to shuffle stuff, but not every single time I play something. Oh, and it sees the iPod Photo as a device that could contain photos, but doesn’t find them. Never mind.

Still haven’t tried any of the other games I ordered. PGR3 is so good that I haven’t felt the need. When I do get a little bit tired of it, I just play Mutant Storm Reloaded for a while. Still should test them sometime soon.

Xbox 360

That PGR3 is good stuff. Very, very good stuff. Just had a lovely few hours playing with a couple of friends of mine. Not Live friends, friends friends. You know. I came last over the 22 races we played, but good times were had, anyway. It’s fantastic fun, it really it.

Oh, and I played the Kameo demo. Better than I expected, actually. Maybe when it’s cheap I’ll grab a copy.

Xbox 360

Some PGR3 – I bought a Lotus Esprit! – but mostly I’ve been playing with Live Arcade, where you can download small games to play off the Xbox’s hard drive. Which is the best idea ever. Little bite-sized games you can dip into whenever you want? Brilliant! Not a new idea, granted, but still a good one.

Downloaded the demo of Joust, played a game and remembered how bad I am at it. I haven’t bought it yet – costs about £3.50 – but I might.

Downloaded the demo of Mutant Storm Reloaded, which is Robotron meets Asteroids meets [example of something psychedelic]. I played the first two levels and bought it straight away. (It asks you after each level if you want to buy the full version and I’m very weak. It’s ace! But starting from level one each time could get annoying.

Then I played Hexic HD, the full of version of which is pre-installed on the Xbox hard drive. it’s a very, very dull puzzle game. Well, in Marathon mode it is. Timed mode might be more exciting. (To be charitable, Marathon mode might be a good hangover game.)

Anyway, you can see what I’ve been up to by clicking my gamer picture on the right there. (‘There’ being on my blog page, if any RSS types are reading. Which I doubt, but you never know.)

But Microsoft really need to sort out the stability of the pop-up mini dashboard that you can bring up mid-game. Not only does it crash PGR3, as previously mentioned, but it also crashed when I looked at it while playing Hexic, thus losing my progress (but not my achievements).

But, hey, the great remote control means I can turn the console on and off without getting up.

I’ve left it downloading Kameo while I watch some TV. I’m not sure how to turn the wireless controller off when the console is on but not being used. I’ll hope it has some sort of non-use sleep timer thing. And I’ll hunt round town tomorrow for a Play & Charge Kit.

Xbox 360


I’m far more impressed than I expected to be.

Since my last post, I’ve mainly been playing PGR3. In the default our of car view, it seemed all right, just another PGR game but a bit prettier. Changing to the in-car view, though, changed things completely. For some reason unknown to be, it just started looking better and immediately became more immersive. I tried the first race in career mode about ten times and failed it every time. (I had the difficulty set to medium and refused to take it down.) So, as I was rubbish at single player, I decided to dive into the online career mode. Played a few more races there – and even won one of them. It’s just such incredible fun.

Then I set up a private online game so myself and a friend could have a chat and race each other. That lasted a few races, until we decided to play Gauntlet. So we leapt into that and died horribly. Still, got 15 gamer points for collecting treasure.

I’m not sure how achievements work. I thought I’d got a few from playing Gotham, but I’ve only got one. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll understand in time.

I’ve just realised, actually, that you can see what I’ve been playing on the main page of this gaming diary. Cool.

A couple of further PGR3 notes -

The soundtrack is quite possibly the best “licensed tracks” soundtracks ever that doesn’t feature J-Pop.

There’s a crash we can sometimes reproduce in the online mode. If someone’s playing with the mini-dashboard while the online stuff is loading the game can get stuck on the loading screens. Everyone can quit out, except the person who had their dashboard up. They have to turn the console off, because their dashboard stops responding.

As for the console OS itself, it’s worth mentioning how great it is. Everything’s all just there whenever you need it. It’s taken all the different bits of the original Live and packed them into one place. It’s very slick and, if not quite intuitive, then easy to use once you work it out. And, yes, Jeff Minter’s Neon is great.

Xbox 360

Well it’s here, it powered up and seems to be working.

(Though I nearly had a heart attack when it turned itself off briefly after downloading the required Live update.)

And what’s the first thing I’m doing with this incredibly powerful new console?

Downlading “coin-op classic” Gauntlet, obviously.

Xbox 360

Ah, the eve of launch. Without wanting to sound like a complete tosser, it feels like Christmas did when I was kid. Well, how it would have felt if Santa had been a Parcel Force driver who may or may not have turned up and if any presents he did deliver had a good chance of not working out of the box.

So not a lot like Christmas then. I might be more excited if Parcel Force had any record of the tracking number Game sent me, but they don’t. I’ll be waiting outside my flat tomorrow in hope, though. Yes, waiting outside. I have a stupid address and my front door is at the back of my property and not where it looks like front door is. It’s complicated. Luckily, some nice people seem to have dumped a couple of plastic patio chairs near my bins, so I’ll have something to sit on while I wait, at least.

I do have four games now. They arrived today in the post. Perfect Dark Zero, Call of Duty 2, Project Gotham Racing 3 and, deep breath, Peter Jackson’s King Kong The Official Game of the Movie. Yes, that’s what it says on the spine. Normally I’d assume a game with a name that long was rubbish, but I loved the demo in a way I’ve loved very few games lately.

I popped into Game on the way home and they had all the accessories out on the shelves, but wouldn’t sell me a Play & Charge Kit. I didn’t expect them to, but I had to ask. I have a feeling they’ll be difficult to find.

But, well, I suppose I should check my 360 turns up and works before buying anything to go with it.