Yet another good XBLA purchase - Defense Grid

I haven’t been a fan of tower defense games very much, I’ve found them a bit dull and repetitive sometimes, and there’s far too many of them. But Defense Grid has very much hooked me in and is proving to be a lot of fun, and at 800 MS points (or about 7 or your Earth pounds) it’s an absolute bargain. I think one reason I like it is that there’s no tower damage.

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PS3 gets its price cut (at last)

360 Games price cut ps3 slim

Finally. After months of speculation and general acknowledgement by all except Sony that the PS3 is too expensive for the market, and that no amount of brand loyalty, Blu-ray cross-marketing or theoretical performance advantages were going to outbalance that inconvenient fact, the inevitable has happened and the PS3 is now £50 cheaper in the UK. That’s actually pretty good; we usually get stiffed on prices in Europe so despite not quite being on par - a $100 cut in the US should mean about a £60 cut at current exchange rates, but they do have to hedge their bets there - it’s a healthy amount and I’m sure will help sales.

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Xbox Support survey - #fail

360 support survey xbox

Now that I’ve had my 360 fixed & returned, I’m being pestered with requests to fill in a survey about my experience. Ignored the first two, since I was neither ecstatic nor furious about my support experience, so it would make a particularly tedious ‘ok I guess’ response. But, they’re insistent with their damnable reminder emails, so I tried to do it. I got right to the end screen, and then got this:

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The long wait

360 Games repair steam

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).

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DLC license transfer once every 12 months? Dumb.

360 DLC DRM license transfer

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.

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360 E74 xbox

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).

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Peggleholics Anonymous

360 Games peggle popcap

My name’s Steve, and I’m here to admit I have a Peggle problem. Don’t let Popcap’s family-friendly, cuddly surface fool you. These guys are peddling gaming narcotics in their most concentrated form, throwing the authorities off the scent with unicorn/squirrel characters, smiley faces, jingles and rainbows - but I know their true forms; they are a menace I say, a menace! My wife has had Peggle for ages on the PC, and I would often make a jokey comment about how often I’d find her playing it.

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NXE Impressions

360 avatars Games nxe xbox

Short answer: I really like the new dash for the 360. The old ‘blades’ system was efficient (excluding Marketplace, which got hugely unwieldy due to the amount of content) but about as attractive as the back-end of a donkey, and pretty confusing for a newcomer. The new, clearly coverflow-inspired aproach is infinitely more attractive and welcoming. Navigation is in essence the same as the XMB on the PS3, only transposed - i.

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NXE HDD Install Noise Test with Fable 2

360 fable 2 noise nxe

This is kind of interesting, because I’ve certainly noticed the noise that Fable 2’s data streaming causes: I only have a regular old-skool 20GB HDD in my 360, but I seem to constantly have around 12GB free anyway so I’d be willing to burn 6.8GB on this kind of noise reduction.

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Go Lionhead

360 fable 2 Games

Wow, Fable 2 is getting some pretty impressive reviews (both Edge and Eurogamer loved it). I was already expecting to get it, but the reviews have convinced me to pre-order. I love good (western) RPGs, particularly when they come loaded with character and Fable 2 seems to deliver that in spades. It sounds like for the first time in a while, a game fronted by legendary Peter Molyneux may actually live up to the hype.

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