WTF !?!? Microsoft stuff in Alive magazine!?!?
Yes I know many of you out there think that Microsoft is the
Devil's tool, but please hear me out.
IMHO, the first Xbox was a superb machine. It featured a built
in hard drive and a built in Ethernet port. Thanks to the hard
drive I could listen to good French house music while playing
instead of the standard Japanese disco rock that finds its way
into many videogames. But let's not talk about what has passed;
let's examine the new - for not long ago, Microsoft released a
sequel to the Xbox - Xbox 360. Xbox 360!?!? WTF!?! Why 360??
Well rumours say that Microsoft wanted a name that sounded more
powerful than Sony's upcoming Playstation 3.
The first impression, of course, comes from the design of the
machine. Instead of the classic black box and green logo,
Microsoft replaced the black with a more futuristic silver/white
colour and the big green logo is now gone.
I know I'm going to regret saying this, but the Xbox 360 is like
an Apple G5 for the videogame world (both in design and CPU
processor). The 360 itself is a bit smaller than its older
brother and also a bit quieter, so maybe this time the Asian
market will accept the look of the Xbox.
Now this is a major upgrade! It seems that Microsoft has learned
that no one wants a controller like their old oversized
Dreamcast alike pad (the DC controller being the best controller
ever made). The 360 controller is an update of the original Xbox
S (small) controller. Instead of the black, we have the new
silver/white colour and it also weighs a bit less than the old
one. Button wise we also have some changes - and good changes
they are. First of all the START and BACK buttons are now
located in the centre of the controller and not at the left side
as with the old one. The old BLACK and WHITE buttons that were
originally situated on the right-hand side on the controller
have now moved above the L and R buttons (thanks for that
There is also a silver/green Xbox logo jewel on the controller,
having the most useful function of powering up/down the machine
(great for those lazy late-night game sessions from bed). The
feel of the controller is GREAT! – It's even better than the
Classic PS2 controller. The memory card slot is absent from the
front of the new controller - that's on the Xbox is self
nowadays. Instead we find a battery charger socket on the
wireless version of the 360 controller (there are two versions
of the 360 controller, one corded and one without).
A powerful console is nothing without good games and I have to
say that the initial release games were not what I expected.
Many of us wanted to see games like Dead or Alive 4, Halo 3 and
Amped 3 as launch titles, but we will have to wait for those.
Instead we get Kameo, Quake 4, GUN, Gotham Racing 3, Call of
Duty 2, Perfect Dark Zero, Condemned, King Kong and a few more.
The games I tried were Perfect Dark Zero, Quake 4, Call of Duty
2 and Gotham racing 3. From those titles I liked Call of Duty 2
and Gotham Racing 3 the most, the latter being most impressive
with its superb graphics, smooth screen update and ultra-tight
What the 360 really needs is a game like Halo. Rumours say that
Microsoft is planning to release Halo 3 on the same day that
Sony releases their Playstation 3, but only time will tell if
that rumour is true.
Microsoft now has two versions of their Live account for 360
owners, the first a free-of-charge-version "Silver" and then the
premium "Gold" version. Live Silver has extended account
features including the ability to show when your friends are
online and also lets you download freebies such as new levels
and maps for your games. You can also download demo versions of
upcoming games as well. But if you wish to play online, you have
to get Live Gold. Live Gold has a subscription fee, but this
time you don't need to have a credit card to buy - to obtain
Live Gold you can simply walk into your local videogame store
and buy it. There are multiple versions of Live Gold available
such as a 12 month account or just a 2 month account. To get you
hooked on the Gold version, Microsoft throws in a free one month
trial. When I tried Quake 4 online I was surprised how smoothly
every thing went in getting up and running. Microsoft is not
missing a chance here - your Xbox Live account requires you to
have a hotmail or Microsoft passport account, so I suppose there
will be some Xbox spamming... :(
FIRST BOOT UP
The new dashboard is a MAJOR update from the old Xbox, and
everything is much sexier than the old green version. When I
booted the 360 up for the first time I got the feeling of an
exclusive machine – nice layout on the menus and fast response
while browsing through the menus. Thanks to the built in USB
port, you can change the background on the dashboard for your
favourite jpeg picture (read p0rn).
The 360 is a DOPE machine, despite the fact that many of you
HATE Microsoft. The machine is well built and has a feeling of
luxury surrounding it. The only two drawbacks I can see with the
machine at the moment refer to the game library. For new games
this will hopefully change soon - I know that I will be playing
Dead or Alive 4 on the release date and also count me in when
shooting covenants in Halo 3. For old Xbox games there are still
compatibility issues here and there, but the list of working
"old" games is growing steadily. (See
for more information)
Crazy Q for Alive, 2005-12-23
Special thanks to SH3 from RG checking my spelling and
correcting wrong grammar in this article.