Portal 2: Cute video!

Yeah, after play­ing Portal through a few times, both on the Xbox and the PC, I was happy to see that Portal 2 will be arriv­ing on shelves in the new year. If this video is any indic­a­tion, it’s going to be quite fun — espe­cially with co-op mode.

4 Reasons I’m looking forward to Halo Reach

Yep, it’s out today (at 00:00 hrs tech­nic­ally), and no, I don’t have a copy, yet.

My wife and I have been big fans of the Halo fran­chise since we star­ted play­ing it co-op on the ori­gin­al Xbox years ago when it came out. Multi-play­er was nev­er our thing, but co-op, now there’s fun.

So yes, I’ll be pick­ing it up soon, and yes, there will be many even­ings when we’re ensconced in our base­ment, a nice romantic fire, and the gentle sound of gun­fire and gren­ades — good times.

And here’s four reas­ons why:

1. Huge storyline and story
Though this is the last Halo game that Bungie (the game’s developers) will be pro­du­cing, Halo Reach actu­ally takes place earli­er in the series story arc — weeks before the events por­trayed in Halo: Com­bat evolvled, the first Halo game.

By being a sort-of pre­quel, I’m expect­ing to under­stand more of the game uni­verse — and will also cause me to dust off my Halo, Halo2 and Halo 3 discs to play through those games again. I don’t have ODST, but am temp­ted to pick it up to be a com­ple­tion­ist :smileyhappy:

2. Famil­i­ar uni­verse and game­play
As I men­tioned above, I’m famil­i­ar with the Halo exper­i­ence. This means I don’t really have to learn a new con­trol sys­tem, learn how to nav­ig­ate the world, and how enemies react. I’m guess­ing that’s 30% of the learn­ing curve, and I’ve already got it down. Bring it on!

3. Co-op
The BEST part of the Halo series so far. Co-op game­play lets you and friends help each oth­er through the chal­lenges of the game. Halo was really the first FPS my wife and I could enjoy togeth­er. Gears of War also does this well, but Halo has a spe­cial place in my heart as a thing we can do ‘togeth­er’.

4. Qual­ity
Game after game, Bungie has won awards for each ver­sion of Halo, all of them point to a qual­ity title that doesn’t dis­ap­point. No mat­ter what my level of FPS skill was, the Halo series always man­aged to chal­lenge and keep me enter­tained.

Well, I’m sure there are more good reas­ons for check­ing it out, but for me those are the big ones. How ‘bout you? Why will you be pick­ing up Halo Reach?

This post of is one of many I pub­lish weekly at the Future Shop Techb­log. Read more of my stuff here.

Legacy Hardware loses flagship application

Five years ago I mod­ded my first Xbox to cre­ate a Media Centre. The soft­ware I ran, and still run is the über awe­some XBMC (for Xbox Media Cen­ter).

But now it seems that the days of using my ori­gin­al Xbox as a media cen­ter are numbered — the developers are stop­ping work for that hard­ware plat­form.

So now there will be no updates, no new ‘offi­cial’ fea­tures or bug­fixes for what has become the corner­stone of my enter­tain­ment sys­tem.

And this means that I’d bet­ter start look­ing at a replace­ment that offers:

  • Mul­ti­me­dia play­back
  • Huge lib­rary of media codecs
  • Nat­ive net­work aware­ness for Win­dows, OSX and Linux shared drives
  • Simple and easy-to-use inter­face

But I’m in no rush. My ori­gin­al mod­ded Xbox­en still run the last build of XBMC just fine. And will likely con­tin­ue for some time. But now I know, the days are numbered. Some­thing else just got added to my todo list. Lucky for me it involves tech 🙂

A pound of eBooks

Over the week­end some com­ments raised good points about longev­ity of media. It was on a post about Microsoft plan­ning to shut down Xbox Live for the ori­gin­al Xbox gam­ing con­sole. This got me think­ing that I’d kinda heard these argu­ments before. Per­haps applied to dif­fer­ent sys­tems, maybe even to dif­fer­ent tech­no­logy, but they weren’t new… …more

This post is an excerpt from one of my weekly posts on the Future Shop Techb­log. Check out the full post here.

Modding my Xbox…

[ This item ori­gin­ated at my pre­vi­ous (now defunct) blog bradblog.info — copy retrieved from the Inter­net Archive]

A while ago I man­aged to lay my hands on a refur­bished Xbox for a fairly reas­on­able price. Great, methinks. A game con­sole and a DVD play­er, all rolled into one. And hey, it’ll even play music from the built in hard drive too¦ but not stock from the fact­ory. No, my friend, you have to void the Microsoft war­ranty and mess with the happy tech­no­logy that lies bur­ied with­in your game con­sole. Once you do that, you then have unlocked the power of your Xbox, and cre­ated a Monster¦here’s how I did mine¦ Con­tin­ue read­ing “Mod­ding my Xbox…”