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Buy a new Windows 7 Machine get a (not so) Free Xbox 360

Posted by A Gaming Moose

The Xbox 360 4GB is totally free once you realize that you have to spend over $699 on a windows 7 PC and be a student. Just think, that $4,000 grand a year tuition is REALLY starting to pay off! The specifics come from the Windows Team Blog

Get a free Xbox 360 4GB console with the purchase of a Windows 7 PC $699 or more, at participating retailers in the US from 5/23-9/3 or while supplies last. Verification of student status required. See participating retailers for full details.

You can use the PC scout to figure out what you want, but I wouldn't expect a top of the line gaming rig (or even a mid level one for that matter). If you are looking to get a gaming machine on a budget, I'd recommend and going the do it yourself route; it's really easy!.

If you are a poor college student and looking for some Microsoft hookups, I would totally recommend Dreamspark and hitting up your college's tech department. More often than not, the tech department will have free copies of windows products that they will install for you.


Kinect Hacks and Modding Potential

Posted by A Gaming Moose

Who would have known that a motion controller ad don for the Xbox 360 would turn out to be such a hit in the hacking community? I think I have heard more about the mods than the actual game play with the Kinect. It's also good to see that Microsoft has changed it's initial hardliner stance on hacking the Kinect and will hopefully embrace the goals of the modders with some official XNA support.

The best part is that it only took a week for hackers to break down the Kinect's security and offer it up on a silver platter to everybody to enjoy. I went from thinking it was going to be another dumb motion control gaming gimmick to seriously considering picking one up to play with. It may not be as a gaming device, but as an artist it would make for a cheap way to work into a fairly sophisticated interactive art piece. It's great to see that something like the Kinect has much more use and potential outside of being an Xbox gaming peripheral and that modding can be very beneficial to the community. The community also comes up with some pretty interesting things like the Minority Report interface for your Windows 7 computer. Would befun to control your computer like that for a little bit, but I'm not sure it would be all that comfortable after awhile.

If you are looking at the nuts and bolts of how to hack the Xbox 360 Kinect, Endgadget has a pretty good writeup on it. Make Magazine also has a neat article on how the infrared camera works in the Kinect. Now I've just got to convince the SO that I NEED a Kinect for my Xbox S, If only she would let me buy this one.


PlayStation Move: like a Wii HD

Posted by A Gaming Moose

Reading through a ton of the E3 news, it seems that I called it when I said that the PS3 Move is exactly like a Wii (but just with HD and 3D). Gizmodo's Mark Wilson had a hands on of the PlayStaion Move and while the peripheral has it's pros and cons, it boils down to the first gen software.

If you have been living under a rug, the premise with the PlayStation Move (over the Wii motion controls) is that the PS3 can track Z motion (depth) and gives the player better control. So you should be able to stab somebody instead of just swiping at them with a sword. The PS3 Move is going to suffer from the same issues as the Wii has: Waggleware. Games that both console manufacturers should be sweeping under the rug. Who wants to wave a controller as fast as they can to move faster (PlayStations TV super star and Wii Sports Resorts).

The other downside to the PlayStation Move is noticeable input lag.

So I tried The Fight: Lights Out. This is game seemed like the antithesis to TV Superstar. It's gritty and violent, sure, but it also tracks two Move controllers rather than one, allowing you to punch an opponent into oblivion. Plus, the Move's camera would track my eyes, allowing me to rotate my position by turning my head (a good thing, since I was warned not to move my feet after calibration). I couldn't wait, even donning 3D glasses for the full effect. The combat? Laggy. And I never felt like my punches were registered the way I threw them onscreen. Rather, my uppercut registered a precanned animation. I understand that my punches probably looked too horrible to use, but a lag, combined with pure animation cues, stops you from feeling like you're fighting. Heck, even Wii's loosely controlled Punch Out! feels more like actual boxing.

While not everything is bad about the PlayStation Move (read more about the Eye pet, Sports Champions and SOCOM) I just don't see the need for more motion control in video games. While Mark Wilson says SOCOM is enjoyable using the Playstaion Move controllers, I don't see it as being comfortable for extended periods. Playing some of the "point and shoot" games on the Wii was great fun, but it gets tiring quick. It will be interesting to see if Sony can bring developers to write for the platform and produce games that use the controls in unique/innovative ways. Time will tell if Sony can capitalize on the more feature heavy control scheme.

Then again, once you look at the true cost of PlayStation Move, it may be hard for game developers to write for it. PlayStation Move pricing breaks down like this: $39.99 for the main controller, $29.99 for the sub controller (although you could just use a dual shock controller) and about $40 for the PlayStation Eye. High costs + optional peripherals will mean for low adoption and game developers being reluctant to write games.


Ubisoft sees DRM as “vital” to success for Splinter Cell Conviction

Posted by A Gaming Moose

This is really dis-hearting to see;Splinter Cell Conviction’s Maxime Béland is defending Ubisoft's "always on DRM" as vital to the success of the game. “We consider that protecting our PC games is vital to our business and will allow us to continue investing in the development of creative and innovative games on the PC platform,” even though the DRM has been nothing but failure for legitimate customers for Assasins Creed. The public has been very outspoken about Ubisoft's DRM failure and it's surprising to see that the DRM is going to stay. When you design a system that DDoS's itself, what do you expect?

As always with super restrictive DRM, it's the legit customers that get screwed. Pirates cracked the game before it was even released, although there are still some issues with Assasins Creed (the game downloads bits of data for each level). This DRM also completely destroys any First Sale rights since the game is tied permanently to your Ubisoft account. The game looks super fun, but I will wait to play it on a Xbox 360