I’m still waiting to get my 360 back after it fell on its own sword, but luckily late last week I got confirmation that it’s making its way back to me (or at least, a doppleganger with a service label on it is). It’s now languishing somewhere in Belgium as it meanders through UPS’s various relay stations like some signal trying to evade detection. All in all it will have taken about a month for the repair to go through, with a week of that just being lost by nothing happening with the initial web-registered fault report, and the rest just being dreadfully slow UPS shuttling of boxes (a courier that takes a week to go from Germany to here isn’t really ‘express’ if you ask me - I made it in a day, and FedEx is always much faster than this).
In recent years, I’ve been pretty disappointed with Nintendo (barring the excellent Super Mario Galaxy) and their machines for seeming to totally miss the opportunities that their devices offered for new types of games, lamenting that they just seem content to regurgitate every game from their previous consoles and couple it with a lazy waggle / touch control scheme, and go for the super-casual brigade with things that can only be loosely described as games (Wii Fit, Wii Music), and leave it at that.
So, following my 360’s demise I was looking up the practicalities of using an alternate borrowed machine temporarily until the repair is turned around. I’ve bought a lot of DLC (mostly Rock Band, but also quite a few XBLA games, Gears maps etc), and I know the license for them is associated with the machine, so I looked up the license transfer tool. All seemed pretty sensible and reasonable - I’d have to download everything again, but that’s no big deal.
Yay, I can finally join the not-so-exclusive club of having my first 360 die, with the ever so fashionable E74 error code. I don’t have a launch machine, whose failure rates are legendary, I have the 2nd revision (‘Falcon’), and it’s about 18 months old now. The ‘Falcon’ chipsets are not supposed to be quite as error prone as the launch machines, but still the failure rates are above what is usually expected of consumer electronics, so I seem to have fallen into that statistic (no official numbers, but thought to be around 16%, or 3-5 times the expected average).
Too many rant posts lately, let’s talk about something positive. I’m still really enjoying Fallout 3, it’s far, far exceeded my expectations and I really can’t believe it was made by the same company that created the cookie-cutter, sprawling yawnfest that was Oblivion. Now, being a veteran of the series (Fallout 1 and 2 were some of my favourite RPGs of all time, along with Planescape: Torment and KOTOR), to some degree it’s nothing new - they have clearly lifted a great deal of the style and content directly from the originals, but the fact that they’ve managed to do this without trampling over my treasured memories of the original is a revelation.
I’d been tipped off about this possibility a while ago, but couldn’t say anything until now - Runic Games are now OGRE users and have been beavering away on their new game ‘Torchlight’, announced this week: In case you didn’t know already, Runic formed from the ashes of Flagship Studios, and includes members of the team that worked on Diablo and Diablo 2; games which I personally enjoyed but which my brother in law almost worshipped - he still plays the second one now.
I picked up on the Gamasutra article about B-games thanks to Penny Arcade, and I found the debate fascinating. I’m a regular casual consumer of B-movies myself, thanks to the fact that the Sci-Fi channel shows them almost constantly, and their ability to amuse is seemingly inexhaustable. I also like the fact that you really don’t need to watch the whole of a B-movie to get something out of it, or even see the beginning or the end; you can have fun just trying to figure out the (usually awful) plot by just watching a 30-minute slot - in fact this is part of the entertainment.
I don’t play competitive multiplayer games very much, because I just don’t have the dedication to hone my skills to even the median average of the online pack, at least beyond about week 2 of a game’s release, but one thing that’s constantly annoying when I do is people who disconnect because they’re losing. Given that I don’t win online very much, I don’t encounter this that often, but on the few occasions where I’m getting the upper hand, there’s nothing more annoying than having people quit out on you mid-game.
For those who don’t follow these things, the new, free Left 4 Dead DLC drops next week, which does 2 things - it enables ‘Versus’ mode on the 2 maps where it wasn’t available before, and it adds a new gameplay mode called ‘Survival’, which is basically about holing the survivors up in one area of the map and throwing zombies at them relentlessly, with leaderboard scoring for the teams that survive the longest.
Cool, another relatively unknown (in the US anyway) British band is getting their start in Rock Band next week; Glasvegas with their track Geraldine. It’s a really good song, so great that it’s in there. Should I be ashamed that I’m glad Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” is in there too? Probably. And… Spongebob. Yeah, that Spongebob, it’s not some quirky ironic punk band or something. Bizarre - one for the kids though I guess 😀