Solo Goodness

One of the reasons that Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is so great is that Bethesda has concentrated entirely on one niche: the solo role playing game. They haven't fallen into the MMORPG camp, and have steadfastly refused to go there. The result is a game that reigns supreme in its niche. And it isn't because they're the only one satisfying the niche... Oblivion is truly an awesome game.

Via Nelson's linkblog, I found a great story on why the solo RPG can be so great, relative to an MMORPG. It's all about concentrating on the player and their role in the unfolding story of the world. Basically, the player matters. The Elder Scrolls series has been entertaining me a dozen years. They have some really epic stories for the character to participate within.

If you don't have Oblivion yet (for the 360 or the PC), then I highly advise you check out some of the reviews. Very highly recommended.

Darn you, EBStop

So EBgames finally switched some of their web property over to use the GameStop web stuff (you may recall, these two companies merged last year). No real noticable difference until recently.

I went to log into to check out my wish list. Euh... Where'd it go?

Bit heaven. They tossed my list. I've been using EBgames to track stuff for a long time now, and it has just vanished. I'm a bit peeved.

At one point, I used Amazon, but switched when Amazon didn't know a game, yet EBgames did. These are games that I know I want to buy, or maybe that I'm thinking of, but am waiting for reviews. Some are games that I'll track until their price goes down. All very handy.

Sad thing is... this is EBgames' loss. I visited the site frequently because I liked that service. Probably won't visit so much any more. As a result, I've started setting up a wish list over at IGN, but they have kind of a clunky UI. They do have good information on game release dates, and they track everything. Any other suggestions, gamers?

Xbox Hacking

Hacking my xbox is a question that has come up a number of times. There is the obvious reason, enable playing of pirated games, but I'm just not into that. But when I look at how my buddy has converted his xbox into a suh-weet media center, then I start to really think about it.

But not for long. I always decide that it isn't for me. "Why?" you ask.

Consider this: Microsoft has explicitly stated that they'll disable Xbox Live if they discover the box is hacked. My impression is that this isn't just for that box, but for your gamertag, and quite likely for any account trying to use that credit card. Heck, they could even go and disable it for anything associated with your MSN Passport login. They have a number of bits of information about "you" which can interrupt your use of Xbox Live quite permanently without some effort on your part.

I haven't blogged about the 360 much here (yet), but its integration with Xbox Live is brilliant. Live is always there. Last night, I spent three hours playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. The entire time, I was on voice chat with my buddy while he played. The game is single player only, but the two of us could talk about what we were doing, what we found that was cool, or simply be quiet while engaging in heavy combat.

Do I want to risk that? Not a chance. Without Live support, the 360 would be a ghost of its real self.

Xbox modding can be nice, but the potential cost is just too much for me. Be careful out there.

Goodbye, Nova

After the latest slip, it now looks like they're finally giving up on Starcraft: Ghost. The game has been put on indefinite hold.
"Like many in the industry, we've been impressed with the potential of the new consoles, and we're looking forward to exploring that potential further,"
Bah. Marketing speak for, "we gotta figure out how to get this running on next-gen hardware".

The game has had its share of problems in the past. Looks like the road has ended, though. Sigh.

Nice knowing you, Nova...

US date for N3?

I just noticed that IGN lists a US release date of June 1 for Nighty-Nine Nights. There hasn't been any other press that I can find, so I don't have any real confidence in this date. But a guy can hold out hope, right?

The Golden Dynasty

Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires has gone gold, for a March 28 release date.

"Woo!" I say, given how much I like this game (prior writing).

Problem is... some hands-on previews have said it is just so... current-gen. Sigh. Damn it. Ah well, I'm going to be playing Oblivion for who knows how long. I'll see what the official reviews (rather than previews) say about the game. Given that I'm on DW4, this upgrade will be nice, along with the addition of the "Empires" gameplay (there is still the smackdown, but add some Risk style strategy elements).

First Culling

So last week, my Xbox games went through their first culling. I picked out 18 games to take over to GameStop, where I averaged about $3 each for the games. Not a whole lot, so maybe I'll look for other options. But awfully convenient.

The moolah went into Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. Way cool! Also on a deposit for Oblivion (awesome).

So what kind of games got culled? Games where I have 360 replacements already (driving, Ghost Recon, etc). Games that I've completed once, but won't do a second pass through (e.g. Fable). And a few where I know that I'm not interested in completing them.

I still have a stack of Xbox games, and I'm holding out some small hope to play them. But I have the feeling that I'll do another round of culling without having played most of them...

Life as I Know It

Life as I know it will end on March 20th. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion ships that day (it has gone gold finally).

"But isn't Oblivion shipping a good thing?" you may ask?

It is. And I'm gonna be glued to that damned 360 for the following eight weeks. Seriously. With Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, I played it somewhere between 30 and 40 hours for week for about seven weeks.

Sleep? Friends? Family? All gone, in the face of Oblivion. Life is going to be quite different starting March 20th...

Gaming Music

I'm not sure whether it was in Need for Speed: Underground or one of the Burnout games, but there was a track called "Stay in Shadow" by a band named Finger Eleven. It always stuck with me, and when it came on the satellite music channel I listen, I was all "hey! I know that one!" The satellite channel played another of their tracks, and also the track "Good Times" (very good, btw) appears on the latest SSX game, SSX On Tour.

What's the point? I bought the CD recently. Music in games can be an excellent sales tool for bands. I've heard quite a few great tracks.

Of course, on the Xbox 360, you can toss out whatever background music comes with the game and use your own playlists. A nice thing, but don't forget to listen to the bundled music... you might find something new and interesting!