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Blue Dragon demo set for July 20

If you've been on the fence about Blue Dragon, then we have some good news for you. According to Dengeki Online (helpfully translated by Siliconera), an international Blue Dragon demo is slated for July 20. Weighing an impressive 1.1GB, the demo will apparently contain a whopping 2 hours of available gameplay. We hope you've grown accustomed to the English voice-overs though, as Japanese will not be an option in the demo. There may be a few different subtitle options, depending on the language settings of your Xbox. Finally, be sure to grab the demo as soon as you can, as it will fly away from Marketplace on August 3rd, giving just over three weeks to save up for the real thing.

[Via Siliconera]

Calling 1-800-Magic episode 4


The fourth installment of 1-800-Magic is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace. Strangely, the episode isn't available at Rooster Teeth yet, so, for the moment, you're stuck watching from your Xbox 360. In this episode we continue the story of Bitterman in his quest to understand his newfound magical abilities. Now that the series has been established in the first three episodes, the fourth gives it a little twist to keep things interesting. We won't spoil it for you, but suffice it to say it is both funny and intriguing. We're looking forward to future episodes. This is the last episode, so we hope you weren't too attached to the series.

Update: Looks like this is the last episode of the series, so there won't be any more. So sad.

Behind the scenes with Halo ActionClix


So, how do you take a tabletop game and turn it into something that the average Halo fan will enjoy? Bungie.net has an article up explaining just that. Lukems took some time to sit down with Mike Elliott, senior game designer for Wizkids, to discuss the upcoming Halo ActionClix. Easily the most interesting aspect of this new Clix series is that Wizkids didn't just take the old rules and apply them to Halo branded miniatures. Instead, Wizkids took some of Halo's core gameplay elements and melded them with the Clix game. First and foremost, Halo ActionClix has players set up respawn points and games are played to a certain number of kills. When a character is killed, it respawns, unlike other Clix games in which that character is simply removed from play. You can also choose to switch that character with another of the same point value. You know what, you'd better just read the article if you're interested. If we keep talking about this, you'll discover what nerds we really all.

(Psst! Does anyone want to trade a Master Chief for my Arbiter? Hello? Anybody?)

Gallery: Halo ActionClix

The end is here: Red Vs. Blue #100

Well folks, today is the day: the end of The Blood Gulch Chronicles. Rooster Teeth promises that there will be a few one-off Red Vs. Blue episodes, but for now, the series as we know it is no more. Episode 100 is available now in all its 15 minute glory. The episode hasn't been released in embeddable format, so you might as well head over to Rooster Teeth, watch the episode, and join the already lengthy discussion. Yes, it is the end of an era. We wish the crew at Rooster Teeth the best of luck in their new endeavors.

[Thanks, NitroFrost]

Blue Dragon officially lands on August 28


It was confirmed during GDC this year that Blue Dragon would be hitting the U.S. sometime this August. We've received official word from Microsoft this morning that the game will ship on August 28. Yes, in just 61 days, U.S. games will finally be able to play Mistwalker's first opus. In celebration of Blue Dragon, Microsoft plans to make a fan site kit available from the official Blue Dragon page on Xbox.com (it's not available right now, despite the press release's protestations to the contrary). Xbox.com will also be hosting a feature article about the game, though it still hasn't gone live as of this posting. For those of you still unfamiliar with the game, we suggest you check out the recent preview from Eurogamer.

Eurogamer takes Blue Dragon for a spin


Eurogamer got its hands on the English version of Blue Dragon and took the time to write up some impressions. Overall, the gist of the preview is that Blue Dragon tries to recreate classic Japanese role playing game design without reinventing it. As noted by the preview, everything seems as though it was pulled from classic RPGs and made to mesh with modern console aesthetics. The graphics look like old school 2D characters and worlds come to life, the characters are broadly drawn, and the combat is solidly turn-based. About the only concession the game makes to modern game design (or "progress" as Eurogamer calls it) is that battles are not random. In the end, it seems that Blue Dragon was meant as a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a new coat of paint. The only problem, according to Eurogamer, is that such nostalgia may be in limited supply outside of Japan. We'll find out when Blue Dragon hits North America this August.

1-800-Magic #3 BAMFs onto XBLM


And the cycle of machinima continues. Even as Red Vs. Blue readies for the final curtain, another series is just beginning. The third episode of 1-800-Magic has now landed on Xbox Live Marketplace. Of course, you could always check it out on the intarwebz right now, but we find the HD widescreen view from the couch much more appealing. In case you've missed the series so far, here's a quick nonsensical recap: arguing trolls, talking trees named Frank, bacon, BAMF!, tech support, and magic. That pretty much sums it up.

Shadowrun now playable on XP


X3F readers will recall that Falling Leaf was preparing to save Windows XP gamers a lot of cash by making the Windows Vista versions of Shadowrun and Halo 2 compatible with XP. Unfortunately for Falling Leaf, the hacking group Razor 1911 has already cracked* Shadowrun according to the Inquirer. Apparently, all the crack does is overwrite a few files in the installation directory. It should be noted that the crack only allows for single player against bots and multiplayer over LAN. As far as we know, online multiplayer is still restricted to Vista.

Falling Leaf expects its solution to arrive in late July.

[Via Joystiq]

*If you want the crack, you'll have to find it on your own; we're not linking it.

1-800-Magic continues, argues with tree


The latest episode of 1-800-Magic, from the demented minds that brought you Red Vs. Blue, has hit the airwaves ... er ... internetwaves? The story continues to evolve as the characters learn to deal with magic (and tech support). Oh, and there is a rather protracted argument with a tree (whose name is Frank). And we can't forget the trolls continuing to look for the perfect attack phrase ("smoke 'em" is the new hotness this week). Rather than spoil anything else, why not have a look for yourself and tell us what you think? Be warned though, the video is NSFW on account of some salty language. Check it out after the break.

Continue reading 1-800-Magic continues, argues with tree

Click your way to the Halo ActionClix website


Wizkids has unveiled the official Halo ActionClix website, where you can learn all there is to know about the collectible miniatures game. Well, actually, you can't learn everything. Right now there is only a basic description of ActionClix in general and a blurb about the new Halo ActionClix. We assume that once the various units and vehicles are revealed, you'll be able to learn about them at the official site. In the meantime, there are forums for the obsessed Halo and tabletop gaming fans everywhere. There is one tasty bit of new info, though: it looks like you can get your hands on pre-release figures at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con and Gen Con Indy. These conventions roll out in July and August respectively, so if you've just got to get some HaloClix before September, you'd best start making travel plans.

[Via Evil Avatar]

Open your eyes, Iris ARG continues


The Halo 3 ARG, Iris, is finally starting to get interesting. Yes, we've moved beyond mock websites and the requisite countdown clocks. Now we actually have something concrete ... sort of. The IP address revealed at Halo3.com/comic (206.16.223.65) now displays one of the "servers" pictured on Halo3.com. Incidentally, Halo3.com shows that the server is unlocked as well, though clicking it produces no results. On the IP address, the floating "server" (or whatever it is) rotates. Clicking on it allows you to rotate it manually and click on certain hidden symbols, which prompt you to download certain documents (including the image above). Additionally, a symbol on the front of the object causes it to unfold and display a movie which contains cryptic messages spliced with strange footage (and a few snippets from previous Halo games).

Right now, we're not certain what it all means. Hopefully, Iris will develop into a more concrete experience in the coming weeks. Check out some of the various new documents after the break, including the video.

Continue reading Open your eyes, Iris ARG continues

Todd McFarlane talks Halo toys

Todd McFarlane, creator of Spawn and self-named McFarlane Toys, recently sat down with the boys at Bungie to discuss the creation of the new line of Halo toys. While we don't get any new pictures of the upcoming toys (we want a shot of the light-up Cortana ... now), we do get to hear Todd's impressions of Bungie, as well as the philosophy behind creating great toys. Thankfully, McFarlane notes that the most important aspect of toy creation is authenticity. With the Halo toys, the goal is to strike a balance between detail and cost. Obviously, they want the toys to appeal to die-hard Halo fans, but they don't want to price them outside the range of the mass market (which is one of the reasons the figures are relatively small). Finally, McFarlane says that the Halo universe presents McFarlane Toys with a chance to "do all of the things we're good at," namely aliens and badass superheroes. Hit the "read" link for the full interview.

1-800-Magic episode 2 smells like bacon


We always knew that teleportations are accompanied by a BAMF! sound effect -- caused by the rushing of air into the newly created vacuum. What we didn't know, however, was that teleportation is also accompanied by the hearty smell of bacon. At least, that's what the newest episode of 1-800-Magic tells us. Episode 2, cleverly subtitled "The Second Episode," is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace. Of course, it's been available online for a week, but we likes our "high resmolutions."

So, what do you think of this new series from the creators of Red Vs. Blue?

Too Human update, new screen


Okay, first thing is first, the headline above is somewhat misleading. Indeed, there is a new entry on IGN's Too Human blog. This time, however, Dennis Dyack of Silicon Knights steps back to let a cognitive psychologist write the entry. No, seriously, the latest entry was written by a psychologist discussing the Interacting with Immersive Worlds forum, a gathering of game designers and scholars. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss game design and theory. Rather than discuss, say, Too Human, the blog uses the birth of chemistry as an allegory for the game industry. Again, we're not joking. It's an interesting read, sure, but a little Too Human talk wouldn't have hurt. Still, we do get a screenshot, which you can see above (see it in hi-res here). Hit the "read" link for the full article.

Bungie's Halo 3 beta breakdown


Not satisfied with gigantic numbers and statistics? Bungie has posted a brief article detailing the team's thoughts on the Halo 3 beta. We must share one more number first, though. Remember those twelve million hours that were logged into the beta? According to Bungie, 816 years worth of that time was spent in-game. Yowza. Back to the task at hand, the Bungie team is pleased with the information gleaned from the beta. Network bugs in particular were weeded out very effectively. However, those of you hoping for any drastic weapon changes may be disappointed, as the team will leave the weapons mostly the same. There will be minor tweaks, of course, but don't expect anything drastic. Finally, the team is definitely aware of the many map escaping exploits (particularly Banshee ... in ... Space) and plans to seal the maps a little tighter for the retail release. Still, Bungie knows that fans are dedicated to finding ways around such measures, and has no illusions that they won't. Hit the "read" link for the full article.

Update: Clarified Bungie's claim of 816 hours worth of play time.

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