The NfamousGamers Roundup Post
I really enjoy working at NfamousGamers, getting things sent to me with expectations of a timely turnaround, but it’s made it hard to work on GameLuv since a lot of what I write would probably end up here as well. I’ve been linking individual stories but I think I’m going to do a roundup kinda post since a lot of what I’m writing now is press release recaps. I’m still proud of what I write and want to share it here (and across Livejournal, and Twitter, and Facebook… hi guys!!). I’m especially pleased with this write up I did on the whole “new Xbox” talk which is posted here in its entirety with some older headlines after the cut.
It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point, what with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer having just confirmed a new Xbox for 2010 that features a “natural interface,” but I think it’s worth looking back over our shoulders at the bread crumb trail. Out of E3 it was Microsoft conference MC Don Mattrick who cryptically revealed that the motion sensing Project Natal would support the current Xbox and all Xbox hardware going forward. I assumed he was talking about future backward compatibility with any Natal games that were released for the Xbox 360 but it was a carefully worded hint at this newly confirmed console release.
Then came the news that Microsoft would no longer be sending out Xbox Coffins, the all-too-familiar, pre-paid cardboard box that the company had been shipping to Xbox owners with defective hardware. Coupled with this news is the recent discovery of yet another new hardware chipset in the Xbox 360 Arcade unit featuring 512mb of memory, up from 256mb. Microsoft confirmed the new hardware to Eurogamer stating that, “The Xbox 360 system software uses some of the included 512mb memory. We want to offer consumers a bit more memory at the same low price so they can enjoy more experiences on Xbox LIVE.” And then fellow Nfamous Gamer, Robert’s Xbox died.
This new Xbox 2010, for lack of an official name, is going to do more than just bundle in the Natal hardware. It’s a Nintendo style “refresh” to be sure, just like the DS Lite was to the original Nintendo DS, but it may also be a chance for Microsoft to finally put the Red Ring of Death era behind them. Over the years they’ve added heat sinks, changed out microchips, reworked the layout of the components, and added more ventilation but it’s never been enough to keep the Xbox 360 running reliably for long. Now able to completely update the hardware and even redesign the case with Xbox 2010 the biggest technological advance might be one we never even realize; no more red rings.
Now for the bad news. It’s obvious the repair program for all those years of dead systems has taken its toll on Microsoft’s bottom line. They’re drawing back support already by ditching the coffin boxes, which must cost quite a bit on their own for cardboard, packing foam, plastics, and shipping costs. We’ve still got the hyper-extended three year warranty but it’s apparently only a matter of time before everyone’s Xbox 360 dies and we’ll eventually have to pay for shipping and repairs or finally upgrade to an Xbox 2010. For those of us not yet ready to invest in a whole new console let’s hope the Natal hardware doesn’t push our Xbox 360’s any harder… or that Microsoft offers a sweet incentive deal. Hey, we’re on the verge of controller-less gaming of the future, I can dream right?
Proving once again that all things Metal Gear must be a time-bending, self-referencing homage, Konami has announced the latest add-on for Metal Gear Online, the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 4 on PlayStation 3. Available now, the free download (for those who already purchased the SCENE Expansion Pack) includes a dark and snowy battlefield map called Icebound Inferno that’s a tribute to the original Metal Gear Solid’s Shadow Moses island. Unique structures litter the snowfields in this medium-to-long range map, a perfect addition for the other new content included in the download. Read the rest of this at NfamousGamers.com.
While you were off exploring ring worlds, stomping Locust, and time traveling back to World War II again and again over the last seven years, the U.S. Army was busy working up the next iteration in their America’s Army series of free “action games”. Deftly sidestepping the controversy of pitting U.S. soldiers against, well, anyone other than U.S. soldiers, America’s Army 3 strives to painstakingly recreate the experience of joining the Army, learning its ins and outs, and then putting those skills to the test in Red vs. Blue team “training” battles. Read the rest of this at NfamousGamers.com.
While still not quite as epic as rival Sony’s SingStar, Microsoft can brag about one thing; that their karaoke game Lips has found an american idol of its own through the recently-concluded Lips Open Mic contest. The AT&T sponsored contest started back in February and required more than a simple Play And Win GamerPic download to enter. Hopeful idols would have to produce and perform their own song as well as create a music video to go along with it. The competition was impressive but after several rounds of nationwide voting it was narrowed down to just one winner; ForeverGirl (aka Craig DelBonis, 22, from Providence, RI) with his song “Shake the World”. Indeed, it’s a catchy pop song that incorporates all the right elements of the times with auto-tuned vocals and simple, sweet, and memorable melodies. And the video’s pretty awesome too. “Shake the World” is available as a free download through Lips’ Get Music Store from now until the day they finally shut down the Xbox Live servers, so fire up a copy and grab it already! In other Lips news… Read the rest of this at NfamousGamers.com.
You wouldn’t think it by looking at Taito’s latest iPhone release, Waterways, but the colorful puzzler commemorates 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Netherlands and marks the 400th year that the two distant nations have been working together. Back in 2008 the two nations sponsored the Netherlands-Japan GameJam contest, out of which the concept for Waterways was the winner. A year later and Dutch developer Rough Cookie has turned it into a full-fledged iPhone release, now available worldwide on the App Store for $2.99.
In Waterways you play as Patch, an unexplainably heroic and selfless cow who sets out to save the Netherlands when their state-of-the-art water management system “Caretaker 300” blows its valves. That story alone is worth three bucks but if you’re still not sold on the high concept it’s a vibrant and brain-tweaking puzzler in which you use the motion controls of the iPhone to navigate the watery mazes of the Netherlands in order to reach and repair leaking valves, one screen at a time.