The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Sega Logo

I’ve been reading Console Wars, a new book by Blake J. Harris that chronicles the rise of Sega during the 90’s. It’s a delightful book, full of endlessly fascinating details, such as how Target’s lenient return policy allowed customers to return years-old NES’s in order to get credit towards a SNES. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Nintendo and it led to Target pulling Nintendo products from the stores for a time. I lived through this era and reading the behind the scenes drama that went on has been very enjoyable. My nostalgia bones are all tingling right now. Continue reading The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Getting Ready for the XBox 10th Anniversary

XBox

Come November, Xbots everywhere will be celebrating the original console’s 10th anniversary. The Xbox was the console that nobody thought would work, as Microsoft was stomping into territory completely dominated by Nintendo and Sony, and to some extent, Sega. Who would have thought that 10 years from now, they’d be neck-and-neck with the big dogs of the video game world?

To prepare for this event, VG247 has actually done a pretty cool retrospective on the system’s origins, titled The XBox Story. It’s a four-part series that looks at the conceptualization, greenlighting, marketing and launch. They really did their homework, and the whole thing is fascinating. Really interesting in particular is the way they first devised it as an answer for PC gaming.

I confess that I was one of those people that doubted the XBox’s staying power when it first came out. I was eventually swayed by Knights of the Old Republic, and later Halo. While this generation still doesn’t give me much of a favorite at the moment in terms of consoles, I’m overall impressed with the 360 and the job Microsoft has done. We’ll see what it does in the future.

So what do you guys think of the 10th anniversary of the XBox? What are some of your favorite games on either console? What do you think of the retrospectives?

Source – VG247: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Announced

Final Fantasy XIII-2

JRPG fans unite! Hello? Is this thing on? Well, anyways, those of you who enjoyed the latest installment of Square Enix’s flagship franchise, Final Fantasy XIII (and I know there are some of you out there) can rejoice because more of Lightning and company is on the way. Square Enix has officially announced Final Fantasy XIII-2 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The game will be out in Japan before the end of the year and in the U.S. and other regions next winter.

Despite the Internet ravings, FF XIII sold pretty well and garnered mostly positive reviews. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit and though I was divorced from the story, the ending was still rather touching, so I am anxious to find out what happens next. And more of Lightning is never a bad thing.

What say you? Is this a chance to make some quick cash for Square Enix or are you actually curious to see where the story goes? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Playstation Blog

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Says Xbox Isn’t Just for Games

xbox 360 isn't a gaming machineWe’ve been grumbling and moaning around here since E3 of last year about the Xbox 360 and Microsoft’s seemingly all-in strategy with Kinect, but I think that we took solace in the fact that the 360 would remain a bastion for the hardcore in some respects even after Kinect sold 8 million copies this past holiday season. Our hopes may be in vain, however, as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently spelled out the company’s long term plan in an interview with USA Today, citing how the Xbox 360 isn’t only made for playing the video games.

“Xbox isn’t a gaming console. Xbox is a family entertainment center. It’s a place to socialize. It’s a place to watch TV. We have Hulu coming. It’s the only system where you are the controller. Your voice, your gestures, your body.”

Mr. Ballmer goes on to say that while the Xbox has the 15 year old boy demographic nailed down, they’re searching for ways to expand beyond that, into the 15 year old girl and the middle aged market. Things like Kinect will go a long way towards that end, especially after the aforementioned sales bonanza which outstripped Microsoft’s own internal estimations. Sounds like the Xbox only does everything, right?
Continue reading Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Says Xbox Isn’t Just for Games

Fable 2 is Free [Updated]

In what seems to be a glitch by Microsoft you can go right now to xbox.com, and download Fable 2 for free. I know we only gave it a C, but as Jeff said to me, “free is free.”

I would suggest grabbing it quick before Microsoft fixes the bug. (I’m currently downloading it)

UPDATE: Per @XboxSupport, this is a legit download, but is only Episode 1 of the game.

EA Removes Taliban Reference From Medal Of Honor

Bowing to pressure from those wary of disrespecting U.S. soldiers killed by the Taliban, EA has announced that they are removing references to that group from the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor, due to be released in November. The Taliban will now be referred to as “Opposing Forces”, which is just generic enough to not offend anyone opposed to the change.

Executive Producer Greg Goodrich made no mention of any changes in behavior or gameplay, so it sounds as if it just a cosmetic change and no mention was made of removing references to the Taliban in the campaign, which would likely be a significant undertaking. Still, I can’t help but be disappointed that EA has caved. If video games are going to move forward as a significant art form and a medium, publishers shouldn’t back down if they truly believe in their artistic decision.

One thing I must mention is that it is just a name change. At the end of the day, people are still going to be able to kill U.S. troops in the game, so I am curious to see what the reaction from the “opposing forces” of Medal of Honor will have to say about this.

What do you think about the change? Is EA doing the right thing or should they have stood their ground? Do you think playing as the Taliban in a multiplayer game is disrespectful to fallen soldiers?

Source: Medal of Honor Blog

Fable III Achievements Encourage Friend List Love

Fable 3Fable III, the next entry in Peter Molyneux’s epic Trilogy of Great Expectations, is due out on October 26th, but if you want to start planning your playthrough with regards to achievements, 1UP has the newly released list.

The most interesting are two that expect you to marry and have a child with someone on your friends list, which should either bring you and your pals closer or end the friendships all together. Lionhead is encouraging cooperative play of a type heretofore unseen and I am all for trying new things. That being said, I am not having Eddy’s baby. Mitch’s, maybe. Eddy, no.

Check out the full list here! Are there any appeal to you? Would you enter matrimonial bliss with an Xbox Live Friend?

Source – 1UP