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You got Halo in my Oblivion!


If you thought a Spartan was out of place in Dead or Alive 4, your head just might explode when you see one in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Entitled the "Spartan Project," this Oblivion mod adds a brand new Halo themed mission to the game. The story actually borrows from Bungie's official explanation for a Spartan in DOA4. A ship from the future gets caught in a timespace rift, and crash lands in Oblivion's timespace. As the hero, you find a broken energy sword, take it to the local (mad) scientist, and he asks you to investigate further. After all is said and done, you wind up with the energy sword, Mjolnir armor, and even a Covenant plasma shield. All in all it sounds pretty cool. Unfortunately, this mod is PC only. Check out a video after the break.

Continue reading You got Halo in my Oblivion!

360 HD-DVD on PC? You bet


One of our colleagues here at Weblogs sent us this link about using the 360 HD-DVD player as a cheap HD-DVD drive for PC. It looks like all you need is the right set of drivers and a playback program and voila! Instant, cheap HD-DVD goodness. The boys who discovered this solution -- UNEASYsilence -- were not satisfied with such an easy outcome, so they took the damned thing apart anyway. Check out the article if you'd like to see the Toshiba-powered guts of the HD-DVD player. Also worth noting, a Mac recognized the drive immediately, no drivers needed. Unfortunately, as there is no HD-DVD program available for the Mac, it will only play DVDs.

Fall update curbs GamerScore cheating

GamerScore whore awfullygood, from the appropriately named blog, "Confessions of a GamerScore Whore," describes how the Fall update made life more difficult for achievement cheaters:

With the Fall Update, Microsoft has introduced a hybrid locking mechanism that effectively harms the first method [ for swapping game saves] and squelches the second method. Method 1 has been smacked silly because the vast majority of existing game save files created on the previous update do not work on the Fall update software version. This renders those files useless until unscrupulous members decide to re-upload hundreds of saves based from the new dashboard version. This will most likely take months upon months or possibly never happen for very unpopular games.

Method 2 has been rendered useless as new console specific security is in place. Gamerscore thirsty gamers are taunted with a Corrupt Save message when the bypass method attempts to be used. Obviously, the new security may eventually be cracked by code junkies, but those game saves may also have to be re-uploaded. I'm unsure of any repercussions to method 3. I've always found trading accounts to be supremely idiotic as anyone could keep your account for themselves. Anyway, if anyone has heard if method 3 has been affected, let me know.

Former champ ST TheKing quit the GamerScore race after the upper reaches of the leaderboard became became clogged with fakes, including awfullygood himself (who admits he was cheating just to keep up with the Joneses). Sure Xbox 360 achievements are intangible and useless, but they are fun to earn and these a-hole cheats make a mockery of every pallid kid who spent a three day weekend in the basement going after that final Lumines Live time attack get. For God's sake, if putting endless hours into a crap game like Bomberman gives you a limited sense of accomplishment, stealing a game save must give you even less. Of course, these changes won't stop cheating, just slow it down for a bit. But it does serve as a reminder that you're not entitled to an elite score, unless you're playing that other console.

Update brick your 360? Speak up [update 1]


Since yesterday's update, there are numerous reports about 360s being bricked. Some people suspect that this is being done by Microsoft intentionally to stop modders and hackers. Xbox Scene thinks it has more to do with certain combinations of hardware and firmware. That would explain why some people are reporting problems even with new, unmodded 360s. Other readers have informed X360F that they are unable to even complete the update download itself. Since the update can't complete, the 360 won't even allow users to play offline games for "security" reasons. It's worth noting that Microsoft is definitely aware of these issues.

Having heard about these problems, we tested our own 2005 360 with a few levels of Lego Star Wars II -- purely for research, of course. So far, we haven't encountered any problems since the update. How about the rest of you? Any bricked or otherwise nonfunctional 360s out there since yesterday? Leave a comment here and let your voice be heard.

Update: Microsoft has released a new version of the update that should behave with all console configurations now. If you've been afraid to update, it should be safe now. Those whose consoles have already been wrecked are advised to call customer support. Click here for more details.

MS banning firmware modders?

Xboxic has a detailed post on Microsoft's response to Xbox 360 firmware modders that I won't attempt to explain in full. Supposedly, MS is now banning users with the easily detected hack. No surprise there, unless you don't happen to have hacked firmware and get the axe anyway.

Tiger Woods content is cheating


We swear, we don't just come to work wondering how we can hate on EA. Honestly, we don't, but we couldn't help pointing something out. There's a new batch of downloadable content for Tiger Woods 07. Sure, everyone loves downloadable content, but this new "content" stinks.

Unlock Golfer:-200 points
Pro Shop – 300 points
Maxed out Player – 200 points
Unlock Courses – 200 points

As a quick explanation, all of these downloads unlock content in the game. The thing is, it unlocks content in the game that you can unlock just by playing it. What it comes down to is that EA is basically charging us for cheat codes. You want every single golfer in the game, but you don't want to unlock them yourself? That'll be $2.50. Maybe you'd like to have every item in the Pro Shop. No problem: $3.75. Can't be bothered to raise your golfer's stats? Easy, we'll max him out for $2.50. And of course, what good is a maxed out golfer if he can't play on those pesky locked courses. We'll just unlock those for another $2.50.

Now, we're not going to completely condemn this. Many people have complained that they don't have time to unlock things in their games. All they want is to be able to play with their friends, using all the same content. That's all well and good, but we can't help feeling that things like this are chipping away at the soul of gaming. Seriously, why play the game at all if you're just going to strip it of all accomplishment? Put simply, it's bullsh*t. And probably a goldmine for EA. God help us all if Konami charges us for "the code" when Contra hits XBLA.

Boost Gamerscore the easy way: pay for it


Life is hard. Every time you boot up your 360, all you see is the incredible Gamerscores that your friends have. It's embarrassing. Your pathetic, anemic little Gamerscore just doesn't compare. You feel like you just can't perform anymore. You don't have the time. You turn to your significant other and say, "I swear this has never happened to me before." Your significant other turns to you and says, "That's okay, honey. A lot of people have this problem. It's very common." Cold and ashamed, you warm up a glass of milk and go to bed early for 8 hours of fitful sleep.

Does this sound familiar? Well, the dastardly fine folks at Levelmy360.com are here to help. Through the goodness of their hearts (and for significant amounts of cash), they will boost your Gamerscore anywhere from 500 to 7000 points. Prices range from $40 to $400. That's right, all the pride and public notoriety of having a high Gamerscore is now free to be bought (and sold) at your discretion. Why on earth someone would actually pay just to boost Gamerscore we have no idea. It's not like World of Warcraft or anything -- the only thing Gamerscore is for is bragging rights.

We're not really sure what's worse, paying to use this service, or the countless hours of King Kong and College Hoops 2K6 being played by the people who run it.

[Thanks, Christian Santarelli]

See Also:
Earn 6,000 Xbox 360 points -- without trying

MS responds to DVD firmware hacks


Microsoft has responded to rampant (in certain circles) DVD firmware hacking with a new version of the Hitachi-LG GDR-3120L Xbox 360 DVD drive (0078FK), currently found in post-August '06 manufactured consoles bound for the UK and Australia, and probably everywhere else in the near future. Xbox-Scene has details on changes that seem designed to confound the best the hacking community has to offer. Ok, so how long before some 13-year-old in Norway cracks this thing?

By the way, if you want to know what version you have, there's a helpful sticker on the drive.

[Thanks AoE]

Guitar Hero faceplate rocks


Self-described "hockey nut, computer geek, gadget whore and video game junkie" Kevin Murphy add this home-made Guitar Hero faceplate to his fanboy resume. Rock on Murph.

Black 360 (cat not included)


Vlad at Joystiq sadly confirms that the black Xbox 360 pictured on various sites is in fact a test unit, not a new Halloween feline bundle.

Sweet custom case with Master Chief

TeamXtender, the bad boys of 360 case design, are at it again. This time they have released a new design called Chameleon, which (surprise) changes colors using LEDs. Perhaps more interesting is their new custom design featuring the Master Chief (shown at right). Presumably, TeamXtender will offer cases with different images in the future. See more images after the break.

Continue reading Sweet custom case with Master Chief

Run XBLA games from DVD-R, CD-R

Those crafty fellows over at 360GameSaves have uncovered an interesting "feature" of our beloved 360. It looks like Xbox Live Arcade games will run off of an ordinary DVD-R or CD-R. There's some technical mumbo jumbo that we won't relate here, but the upshot is that all you have to do is pop in a CD or DVD with the games burnt onto the disc. The article does note, however, that these games will still only run in trial mode if the full versions haven't been purchased on the 360 being used. Please know that X360F will not be held responsible should you attempt to break open your 360 like a piñata in order to retrieve the delectable games inside. Hit the read link for more details.

[Via Xbox-Scene]

Xbox 360 laptop mod envy of all


Ben Heckendorn's super-sweet re-built Xbox 360 laptop caused such a sensation in the nerdosphere that it apparently crashed his website, with many crowning his achievement the best 360 mod of all time. But you can't please everybody. Like this bitter forum poster:

No memory card ports = lame. Where's the built-in iSight er I mean Vision camera? Back to the drawing board...

Sarcasm or sour grapes? While you're waiting for Ben to get back online, check out this thread of formerly impressive case mods.

Shoddy faceplates from EA

The clerk at GameStop gave me an NCAA 07 promotional faceplate with the purchase of Dead Rising because no one else wanted it. Now I know why. Although it appears to fit at first glance, the power button doesn't line up properly. It also blocks the DVD tray from opening. I haven't had this problem with third-party faceplates from Pelican, Nyko, etc. I'm guessing this shoddy workmanship applies to the Maddden version as well. With the millions EA makes from their licensed football monopoly, how hard is it to press a decent piece of plastic?

Pimp your 360 controller


Good news if your lack of confidence with a screw driver is inhibiting your desire for nerd bling. TeamXtender.com has released detailed step-by-step on how to pimp your 360 controller with some flashy chrome.

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