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X3F Week in Review: November 23, 2007 - November 29, 2007

It seems like only a week ago we were writing a wrap-up post just like this. Oh wait, we were. This week we must stress that we have an awesome Fancast featuring James Silva, creator of the Dream-Build-Play winner The Dishwasher Dead Samurai for XBLA. The game sounds awesome. Give the Fancast a listen and find out why. Oh, and while you're at it, why not get your shot at winning a Dead Samurai T-shirt?

Community Stuff:

More proof of incoming Video Marketplace for Europe, Canada

The crafty and terminally bored denizens of the message boards have uncovered yet more proof that the Canadian and European arrival of the Xbox Live Video Marketplace isn't too far away. According to a forum goer by the name of Hybrid Alien, the Xbox Live Marketplace terms of service were updated this month to include a new section labeled "Special Video Content" and another labeled "VOD Content," VOD likely referring to "video on demand" in this case. According to Hybrid Alien, the section details the same regulations that American Marketplace users have, such as the 24 hour time limit placed on movies once they've been played for the first time. We certainly don't want to jump the gun, but we'd bet there are plenty of Europeans and Canadians out there waiting for the Fall Update with fingers crossed.

[Thanks, DaveC. Original image by Refracted Moments]

'Faulty' Halo 3 discs lead to MS and Bungie lawsuit

Is anyone familiar with the process to become filthy rich in America? That's right, use the courts, makeup a frivolous lawsuit and sue corporate America for all their worth. And that's exactly what's going down in San Diego.

On behalf of all Halo 3 owners (how sweet), Randy Nunez of San Diego has filed papers claiming that Microsoft and Bungie knowingly released a faulty product that "consistently causes the Xbox 360 to crash, freeze, or lock up while the game is being played". Nunez claims that his copy of Halo 3 (specifically) causes his 360 to act all funky and he wants compensation. Right ... Mr. Nunez may not be familiar with the whole Xbox 360 hardware failure fiasco that came to a head this year and was acknowledged by Microsoft to cause Xbox 360 problems.

We're pretty darn confident that Nunez's 360 hardware problems aren't Halo 3 specific. If we could give any advice, we would say to call 1-800-4-MYXBOX and we think Microsoft would be willing to take care of the hardware issues lawsuit free. But then again, that wouldn't result in boatloads of cash. And heck, even if a person were lawsuit happy and wanted to specifically attack Halo 3, aren't there other more credible issues to go after? Frivolous lawsuits are lame ...

[Via Joystiq]

Chessmaster Live checkmates XBLA in January

Calling all chess pros and rooks (badum-ching!) Soon there will be a new chess game in town and it's ready and able to challenge you to a few ego-breaking games.

Ubisoft just announced that the latest game in their Chessmaster series, Chessmaster Live will be making its way to the Xbox Live Arcade sometime in January. Chessmaster Live will include fleshed out features like ELO rankings, hundreds of AI opponents, complete Xbox Live integration, Vision camera support, various game boards and will even come with five chess variants off the bat (more will probably release later on as paid DLC). So ... Spyglass Board Games what?

BlackSite designer says low scores "no surprise"

In the financially driven world of the video game industry, honesty can sometimes be hard to come by. From sycophantic game reviewers to gab-gifted PR reps that constantly spin crap into gold (no easy feat), finding a bit of real honesty is refreshing. Kind of like politics. For today's bit of honesty we turn to Harvey Smith, designer of the recently released Midway shooter BlackSite: Area 51. You may recall the game not wowing critics upon release. So, how honest is Smith about BlackSite? Take this quote for a spin: "This project was so f*cked up." Of course, he didn't go to the trouble of injecting an asterisk into his statement. No, he really said it. Smith went on to say that development was hampered with multiple problems, noting that one (unnamed) aspect of the game took eight months to implement. Furthermore, the development team didn't have adequate time to test and polish the game, and Smith said that the project went directly from alpha to final (ouch). He concluded that he was upset that many failed to see the game's subversive and satirical nature -- he would have given the game an 80 -- but said the low scores were "no surprise."

[Via Joystiq]

Guitar Hero driving interest in the real thing?

Any Guitar Hero comment thread is bound to draw out at least one person claiming that gamers should forget the game and try the real thing. It looks like all the cranky musicians have something to be thankful for, as it appears many Guitar Hero fans are doing just that. CNET reports that guitar teachers are seeing guitar students apply because of the game, even if they don't admit it directly. According to San Fran guitar teacher Jay Skler, "My adult students, they don't want to cop to it, but they're all, 'Have you played the game?'" Not every teacher agrees, some say that Guitar Hero will "kill music." Still, others like Skyler believe that at the very least the game gets young people interested in music they may not have been exposed to otherwise, rock and roll in particular.

So, has Guitar Hero or Rock Band given you a new interest in music? Have they driven you to learn the real thing? Of course, you know our answer.

Gamer almost evicted because of Rock Band [update]

[Update: Lo and behold it looks like reason prevailed, as reading deeper into the forum thread reveals that luminary pants spoke to the apartment manager and has avoided eviction. It seems that everyone on the internet that reported this story (including us) failed to uncover this beforehand. Thanks to Kurifurisan for setting us straight.]

It seems Rock Band is getting closer and closer to the real thing all the time, though perhaps not in the manner Harmonix had hoped. Case in point: a Rock Band forum user by the name of "luminary pants" has been handed what apparently amounts to an eviction notice. The reason: overly loud sessions of Rock Band. Even though the notice states that he has 10 days to "abide fully by the covenants and conditions" of his rental contract, luminary pants claims that he has until December 1 to move out. While this apparently isn't the first time luminary pants has been warned -- he claims he wasn't given a reason for the previous warnings; he thought it was because he ran the laundry too late -- we feel sorry that he's being kicked out because of a video game. Maybe Harmonix could find some way give luminary pants a special achievement. "You got evicted for noise violations. Next stop: Rock."

[Via Eurogamer]

GRID will burn rubber mid 2008

Codemasters just officially announced that their upcoming racing game (once referred to as Race Driver One) will be ready for a mid 2008 release and it's going to be called GRID.

GRID is currently being worked on by Codemasters' DiRT team and aims at being all about racing with no busy car work. You know, just straight up racing. GRID will dabble in the somewhat standard list of locals around the world including Washington DC, Pagani and Japan's ever popular drift racing circuit. The game's early visuals look solid enough and it does have the DiRT team's pedigree behind it, so it's quite possible GRID could be something worthwhile. But we'll just have to sit back and see if game's visuals impress, if the gameplay is there and if it can bring something unique to the racing genre sometime next year. Until then, we'll just play with our graph paper

News station tackles Xbox Live trash talk

Anyone who has spent any length of time playing Halo 3 online knows that it is a place of filth and depravity. Oh sure, the actual gameplay is nothing more than garden-variety violence. Nothing wrong with that. No, it's the language. The kinds of God-awful racist, homophobic, and xenophobic garbage that spills from the mouths of babes would make even the saltiest sailor blush. Of course, most gamers simply hit the blessed mute button, pwn some n00bs and move on. As a local news affiliate, such things can't be done, and are, in fact, irresponsible. So, a FOX news affiliate took it upon themselves to frighten inform parents about the copious dangers of Xbox Live, particularly the trash talk in Halo 3. The report notes that most parents don't know about the parental controls present in the Xbox 360. Furthermore, if they do, the piece asserts that parents would have to figure out how to use the controller to implement them. What is this, 1983? Are there still parents that are deathly afraid of game controllers? For what it's worth, the report does say that proactive parenting is the best defense for the virgin ears of children.

Another video, this one taken from, is posted after the break. One of the sites readers created the Gamertag "Gay Boy," took it into Halo 3 online, and recorded the results. As you might expect, the results are far from safe for work (or safe for civilized ears really). Just remember: mute button. It's your best friend, and the other guy will happily continue talking to no one. That's what the internet is for.

Continue reading News station tackles Xbox Live trash talk

Journey's End ViDOC recaps the Halo saga

Again we've stumbled across some new Xbox Live Marketplace content prior to any announcement and this time it's a brand new Halo 3 ViDOC. W00t!

The new Journey's End ViDOC is a 753MB download (only available in HD) and we presume to be available worldwide to all Xbox Live subscribers via the XBLM. In essence, it's a fifteen minute introduction to key Halo characters and a brief overview of what events occurred in both Halo and in Halo 2. And, since it is a ViDOC, it's sprinkled with the patented Bungie charm we've all come to love. So, if you're rather new to Halo or just want cliff notes on what has taken place over the past few years as it pertains to the game, then give the new ViDOC a watch. If, at the very least, it'll leave you salivating and want to pick up and play Halo 3 again.

Boom Boom Rocket to get explosive Rock Pack DLC

Dust off your guitar, dance pad and your copy of Boom Boom Rocket (don't ask ...), because today Bizarre Creations will release brand new content for everyone's favorite explosive game. And we use the terminology "will release", because the content has yet to appear on the Marketplace, though Bizarre promises a Thursday release.

The new Boom Boom Rocket "Rock Pack" content will include five new musical tracks ("Sting of the Bumble Bee", "Explode to Joy", "Sugar High", "Eine Kleine Rochtmusik" and "Cannon in D") and feature fifteen additional fireworks that can be unlocked. But guys, we saved the best news for last. The new "Rock Pack" will be offered as a FREE download through December 16th after which it'll revert to 250 Microsoft points. Explode to joy indeed!

Speedball 2 and EXIT get some DLC love

Yesterday, new downloadable content became available for two Xbox Live Arcade games with one costing a few points while the other is being offered for free.

For 150 Microsoft points Speedball 2 owners can purchase the "Super Star Players Pack" which will add three super-talented players to your single player game. These characters are said to be extremely talented which leads us to believe that this is a fancy way of selling a cheat code. You know, just saying. The second game to feel the warm glow of downloadable goodness is Arcade game EXIT. The EXIT "Additional Stage Pack 1" can be downloaded for free and it'll unlock five extra stages from 13 through 17. Both Arcade DLC offerings are ripe for the picking, so get your picking baskets prepared and pick away ... pick away!

EA replacing defective Rock Band guitars

Do you find yourself in the unenviable position of having one a' them broken gee-tars for that Rock Band game? Believe it or not, you're actually lucky, because Electronic Arts is now replacing (or repairing) said guitars for free through a customer support page. We should probably note that Joystiq hasn't managed to get the replacement site to work yet, so be patient. Harmonix has admitted that there was a strum bar "imperfection" in an early production run of guitars, which has since been rectified for future runs. Of course, you could always try to fix it yourself, not that we're recommending that. If anyone out there manages to get a guitar replaced, let us know how smoothly the process went.

[Via Joystiq]

Read -- Rock Band support
Read -- Harmonix on guitar problems

McFarlane's exclusive active camo Spartan figure

And you thought Todd McFarlane was so innocent, so pure only choosing to make Halo 3 action figures out of the kindness of his heart. Well, we'd hate to say "we told you so", but we did, because Mr. McFarlane is releasing yet ANOTHER Halo 3 figure this May available exclusively from his website.

Newly announced today is a brand new Halo 3 Spartan figure featuring EVA armor and active camo (ooo ahh!) This clear figure will only be available through pre-orders and we're led to believe that if you don't grab a pre-order by December 12th, you'll miss out on a chance to own this limited figure. You can see what the new active camo looks like in the gallery below, check out the complete details here and get your pre-order over here. An exclusive McFarlane money making Spartan figure ... we told you so.

[Thanks, TMD]

Two Worlds expansion served up in 2008

Two Worlds
wasn't exactly the Oblivion killer it was hailed to be, but apparently that isn't stopping Reality Pump from pumping out an expansion (see what we did there?). The expansion, entitled The Temptation, brings the typical things you'd expect from an expansion. These things include new areas to explore, new monsters to slay, improved NPCs, and a few new skills, most notably active blocking. The expansion is set to hit both the PC and consoles in the first half of 2008. So far the price has not been announced. But then again, you weren't really paying attention anyway, were you?

[Via WorthPlaying]

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