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Ask X3F: Cheevoholic edition

For Ask X3F this week, we tackle the tough issues. We won't allow this feature to be dragged into the mud where there is nothing substantive to offer. No sir. This week we talk about the Vision camera, the Red Ring of Death warranty, and downloadable games. Finally, we discuss Microsoft's most devious creation, the digital crack known as Achievements. Honestly, we don't know what they put in 'em, we just know we can't stop unlocking 'em. Get your weekly dose after the break.

Got a question for Ask X3F? Maybe you have a story or some information you'd like to share? Send it all to ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

Howdy fanboys,
Last summer, after Microsoft announced that they were expanding the warranties to 4 years, I finally bought my 360. In the event that mine would RROD, I kept an eye on the procedure. Well, sadly, I turned my box on and was welcomed by three red lights. So I called 1800 4 my xbox and talked to the rep. It's all handled now, but it was different from the last time I heard about the procedure. First, he told me that my warranty expired a month ago (one year later) and that I had to supply my own box, and that they were mailing me a UPS label. How long have they been doing this? On the upside, once I get my zombie box I'll get three months, but I thought I had two or three more years. Did I buy mine too late?


We're not sure how long the procedure has been different, though we have seen similar stories in our comments. You might be out of luck in that department. Also, the warranty for the three red lights (Red Ring of Death) is for three years, not four. The general warranty for problems unrelated to the RROD is still only one year. However, so long as your error was the RROD, which you say it was, it should be covered under the three year warranty. If you haven't already paid for any service yet, we suggest you call back and demand that your unit be covered, as it should be.

Hey X3F,

I have a few questions for you guys!

1) I heard a while ago that Ubisoft Montreal was developing a 360 game based on the show Heroes. I haven't heard about it in a while. Do you know if it's been cancelled? I'd love to know the good (or bad) news.

2) Do you know if Blizzard will ever release its classic titles like Starcraft or Diablo II on XBLA?

3) The PS3 has a cool feature where you can download full retail titles like Warhawk. I was wondering if the 360 will ever incorporate such a cool feature?

Thanks guys!
Kurt (Gamertag: FATALITY7089)

1) As far as we know, the Heroes game has not been cancelled. It's currently listed on for a 2009 release, though that's certainly not set in stone. Given the writers strike that began late last year and ended earlier this year, it's not too surprising to think we haven't heard much of the game since. With the new season of Heroes underway (and pretty good so far, in our humble opinion), we wouldn't be shocked to see the game coming back into the public eye. The only question we have is how you take Heroes and make it into a game that's actually fun to play.

2) Nope. We can tell you with a fair amount of certainty that neither game would be terribly fun to play with an Xbox 360 controller. Oh sure, Starcraft 64 was passable if you could memorize its many, many control commands, but it was a far cry from the PC. Diablo II might be more doable, though it would be somewhat hampered without all the customizable hotkeys found on the PC (a spell for every button, baby!). Still, it's somewhat likely that Diablo III will make it to consoles, especially given Activision's strange determination to make money. How better to cash in on an upcoming sequel than to serve up a retro re-release on XBLA? Just ask 3D Realms.

3) Technically, the Xbox 360 already offers the ability to download retail titles. They just happen to be downloadable titles for the original Xbox (hence the catchy title, Xbox Originals). As for whether or not Microsoft will ever start hosting full retail titles for download, it's really a question of 'when' rather than 'if.' There really isn't much question that the industry is headed in that direction. It probably won't happen with the Xbox 360, though it's bound to happen eventually. After all, the New Xbox Experience will allow users to install entire 360 games onto the hard drive (though the disc must be in the drive to play), so Microsoft obviously isn't against the idea.

With the number of games that always seen to come out at once, there is definitely a need for the traded/used games market. The only problem with this is, not everyone takes as good a care of their discs as I do. When I trade or buy a used game, I always hold my breath till its completely over, as once or twice there's been a hang-up on one of, if not the, last level. Do you (or anyone you know) know of any type of application that I can download to my computer that will scan my used X360 discs and tell me if all the info is readable before I get screwed?

We've never heard of such a program (feel free to suggest one in the comments if you have). Our best advice is just to check the disc before you buy it. If it's scratched, get a different copy. If you buy from a store that resurfaces discs, have them resurface it before you leave the store (some used stores do this as a matter of policy anyway). Make sure you keep your receipt in case a return is necessary.

Unfortunately, even this is no guarantee. After all, you can't expect to finish every game before a store's return policy runs out. Still, there isn't much else that can be done.

Hey gus, two parter.

1. Does any USB webcam work with the Xbox360 or only the Live Vision Camera?

2. I've thought about getting a chatpad, is it worth owning?


Ben (ObiBen8)

1. Nope. The only camera that works with the Xbox 360 is the Vision camera. The Vision camera, however, can be used as a USB webcam with your computer.

2. While there aren't many Chatpad owners around Fanboy Towers, our own Dustin Burg says some of his friends have some and they "love 'em." Our guess is that your love of the Chatpad will depend heavily on your love of instant messaging and typing out messages on Xbox Live. If you find yourself frequently using the onscreen keyboard on your Xbox 360, the Chatpad will likely be a good purchase. It's certainly comfortable enough.

What's up guys,
Long time listener but never had something interesting enough to write to you about. I finally got my girlfriend to understand why I love the 360 so much. She has always sat lovingly through many hours of Halo but never understood why we keep coming back for more. She finally picked up the controller to play a game I downloaded from XBLA.....Astropop....she was instantly hooked. I cant begin to tell you how much fun the two of us had together, but like any good story theres a twist. She like myself (and Xav) has become an achievement addict!!! she has fulfilled all the requirements for two specific achievements but they have not unlocked. My questions to you would be..1. Have you ever heard of this happening? 2. Who can I contact to further inquire about it? I know it may sound ridiculous but she got really sad after working so hard for days to get those cheevos!! Thanks for taking the time to read this and keep up all the amazing news and 360 tidbits that keep me coming back all day.

GT: Chefmichael21

The achievements in question are for astropop:

Ace Astropopper
Finish the story by completing level 32 with each pilot.

Brick Grinder
Complete 32 levels in a game without using your SUPA Weapon.

Mike (can we call you Mike?), we've never personally experienced this problem, though we have certainly heard of it. There are a couple of common sense questions that need to be asked. First of all, did your girlfriend meet all the requirements while logged into the same profile? If she has her own profile, she'll have to do all of her achieving while logged into it to reap the benefits. Second, make sure notifications are turned on in her profile (they are by default). If they are turned off, there will be no 'bleep-bloop' letting her know that an Achievement has been unlocked, even if it has.

Now, assuming you have already considered these things, we don't know what to tell you. Unless your girlfriend didn't actually comlete the requirements (the wording on achievements isn't always exactly clear), we don't know what the problem is. If it's really that important, you could call 1-800-4-MY-XBOX, though we don't really know if they can help. If nothing works, at least the two of you will always know the truth.

That's it for this week, folks. Keep sending your questions to: ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

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