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Spinter Cell: DA in 1080p: Your impressions

Right now, every 360 fanboy with a hopelessly old-fashioned 720p or 1080i max HDTV is wondering the same thing: What does Splinter Cell: Double Agent, supposedly the first Xbox 360 game to support 1080p, look like in glorious "True HD" (quotes added for sarcastic effect)? The 1080p debate is a rhetorical swamp filled with technical jargon, foggy "real world" benefits, arguments about performance trade-offs and general hype. Now that those of you with TVs capable of 1080p via component or VGA have gotten a look at the 360 in action post-Fall Update, what's your verdict? Is Splinter Cell really 1080p? Is the difference noticable? Is it worth the extra money you paid for your cutting edge HDTV? Please include the details of your set-up (TV model, screen size, inputs, etc.)?

Zune zapped with delays in Europe

Disappointing news for European fanboys eager to trade in their Apple-made music player thingie for Microsoft's would-be iKiller, the Zune. MS Media and Entertainment Alliance Manager Dean Schonknecht tells MVC that the lack of a selected music store provider means the launch is "way off" meaning Christmas '07, or worse, sometime in '08. The fact that MS never appointed anybody to head up the launch indicates the Zune was never intended to hit Europe any time near November 17 US date. I guess MS loyalists across the pond will just have to spend their money on something else this holiday, like say, an Xbox 360.

[Via Xboxic]

Carving contest vote: Pick the best 360 pumpkin [update: cheater!]

A hearty Halloween hello to all the fanboys who put their squash fruit skills to the test in our 1st Annual Xbox 360 Fanboy Pumpkin Carving Contest. Some of you obviously know how to carve pumpkins. Richard and I have narrowed down the entries to 10 finalists based on carving skill and originality, which we now present to our readership for a vote. The owner of the top Xbox-O-Lantern will receive a copy of Gears of War courtesy of RockMeTV with slightly less cool prizes for 2nd and 3rd place (XBL Unplugged Vol. 1 and UMK3 respectively). The ballot will close at midnight tonight, with any ties decided by a random drawing, so pick your favorite. This isn't Chicago, so please vote only once. We'll be plugging this post throughout the day to ensure as many participants as possible besides your Mom and friends. Pics are listed after the break in no particular order.

Continue reading Carving contest vote: Pick the best 360 pumpkin [update: cheater!]

Saints Row: Pimps up, patch down

Despite widespread reports that a release was imminent, the long-awaited Saints Row patch is still a no-show as of 4am October 31 and -- as you might expect -- the pimps are getting restless. Do you think trying to issue an update in the same window as the Fall Feature-for-All might have been a bad idea?

Tears for Gears: It's a Mad World

Mike from the Xbox Domain dug up the original Tears for Fears version of "Mad World," recently made famous in the gaming community as Marcus Fenix's favorite song to kill to. Do you think these guys ever imagined back in the 80s that their tune (albeit in haunting minimalist form) would be gearing us all up for multiplayer war?

Viva Pinata goes gold

GamerScore Blog confirms that an exceedingly Rare kiddie crack title has just gone gold. Viva Pinata will be in stores November 9, giving you just three days to awaken your inner child before you're officially obligated to awaken your inner warmonger. How many people are eager to take a wack at Microsoft's "most important game of the year"?

Fall Update: Textual healing

Buried in the slew of Fall Update features is an answer to my personal pet peeve:
  • Improved visual display of text in themes.
I seriously hope this fix makes a difference because hard-to-read text really discourages the use of themes. This could turn a novelty into something practical. What other less flashy upgrades do you think will have a big impact on your Xbox 360 experience?

RoboBlitz gameplay looking unreal

More impressive looking gameplay footage from RoboBlitz, aka the first Xbox Live Arcade game to boast Unreal Engine 3. Sony loudmouth David Jaffe better remind indie evelopers like Naked Sky, Gastronaut and Ninja Bee that XBLA is only for retro titles.

Gamertag Radio 2.0

Miami's favorite Xbox Live Community hip-hop podcast is sporting a new website design. While you're waiting for them to finish the update you can catch up on old shows at host Godfree's blog.

XNA Game Studio Express: Subscription required

Reader James has not-so-stupid question about this part of the Fall Dashboard Update:
  • Support for upcoming release of XNA Game Studio Express (separate download and subscription required.)
This means that a subscription (should be well under $1000 for the professional edition) will be required to run code on the 360 using the XNA Game Studio Express development tools. As far as I know, there will be no separate subscription for playing "homebrew" games that ultimately make it to XBLA (aside from whatever the devs decide to sell them for), although it does sound like a nefarious idea.

GoW: Odyssey Remix

Not to beat a clever idea to death, but here's one more Gears of War trailer remix for the road.

RB6: Vegas demo available in Japan

The Rainbow Six: Vegas demo showed up in Europe last week, and now it's available -- the English version -- in Japan as well. Unfortunately, fans in the US are still out of luck, unless they finagled a UK profile or grabbed the latest OXM. Worse, not everybody seems happy with Ubisoft's effort this time around. For those who have played the demo, is everything coming up sevens (or sixes rather) in Vegas?

[Thanks Chris]

Halloween Fall Dash Update: Trick or treat?

Unlike OXM, which reports the Fall Dashboard Update is already in your possession (don't bother looking), Famitsu says (via German site that the hotly anticipated upgrade will be a worldwide treat on Halloween:

Microsoft will release its "Fall 2006 System Update" on 31.10.06 in Japan, according to a Famitsu report. The update is free and available to all Xbox Live members.

The update, among other things, improves Xbox Live Arcade and Marketplace functions, provides 1080p support, adds a start menu for XNA-developed games, adds HD-DVD player support and over 80 additional functions.

Microsoft is holding a press conference in Japan at which additional information will be provided.

It's widely believed that MS will roll the update out everyhwere at the same time, so that's good news for folks in the US and EU as well. Better yet, Japanese site WatchImpress has pics from the press conference confirming WMV streaming via Windows Media Connect, CD-R/DVD-R and USB thumbdrive.

Hey 1080p, HD-DVD support and more sure beats Smarty Smarts and stale Nestle Crunch bars. Plus you don't need a costume.

[Via Xboxic]

Halo Trilogy theme on XBLM

A Halo 3 theme is now available on Marketplace for 150 MS Points or as a bonus with the new Halo faceplate out tomorrow. Here's the official description:

The Halo Trilogy dashboard theme is a must-have for serious Halo fans. Available as a free gift with the purchase of the Halo 3 Xbox 360 faceplate, or right now as downloadable marketplace content, the theme features never-before seen scenes from Bungie Studio Halo 1, 2 and 3. Each blade presents a re-imagined view from the Halo universe, including all three iterations of the Master Chief's iconic Spartan armor, from past, present and future.

Buyers please weigh in with your review. Does everybody agree that just about all of the game-related themes on XBLM make the text too hard to read?

Breakfast Video: Eggs over 360

Eager to prove that the Xbox 360 is the most multi-faceted culinary console out there, Engadget reader Brett used the piping hot heatsink on his busted 360 to fry up a crappy looking scrambled egg breakfast. Call him the Not Quite Frugal Gourmet. Thanks for putting a common expression to the test, Brett.

[Via Engadget]

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