Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive transfer attempt

Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive Transfer Kit While I was at the Microsoft 2008 Global MVP Summit in Seattle during April I was able to visit the Microsoft Company Store. I happened to pickup a shiny new 120GB Xbox 360 Hard Drive while I was there.

Microsoft were really clever when they packaged the 120GB hard drive accessory as they include a USB data transfer cable that hooks up to back USB port of the console and clips onto the 120GB hard drive SATA connector. This allows for the software to move all content (except movie rentals) to your new hard drive albeit only in one direction. So you can’t downgrade your drives at a later stage. They also include a DVD titled “Xbox 360 Hard Drive Transfer” in the kit which does the actual work.

So tonight I decided would be a good time to do the transfer as Eskom aren’t planning on any electricity load shedding. Also you have to know that the 120GB hard drive content will be erased when you do the transfer, so make sure you check out all the content before doing the data migration.

I followed the instructions and connected the 120GB drive up to the back USB port on my console, turned my console on and inserted the software DVD. This is what I saw:

image 

Yes, can you freaking believe it! They have region locked the transfer software. Unfortunately its after hours so I can’t contact the local support line. I’ve tried searching for a solution and it seems I need to get a DVD for PAL consoles as it seems there are 3 versions as there are games, namely NTSC (USA), NTSC (Japan) and PAL. Is it too much to ask that the fact that its region locked appear somewhere on the product packaging at least?

I’m hoping the solution will be a simple Xbox LIVE code I can redeem to download the transfer software to my hard drive or even a memory unit.

[tags]Xbox 360,rant[/tags]

Viking: Battle for Asgard Review

Viking: Battle for AsgardSeldom do I get a game for review that I really enjoy right from the start, Viking: Battle for Asgard is one of those games. The opening cinematic sets the tone for the entire game and I was immediately drawn into the world of the Vikings and was set for an adventure.

Hel, goddess of death, orders her merciless army of undead soldiers to enslave mankind and destroy Asgard, the realm of the gods. As Skarin, last hope of the Vikings, control every vicious blow of your sword and axe and drench the battlefield with the blood of your foes.

Viking: Battle for Asgard is a single player only action adventure game that is set in the time of, you guessed it, the Vikings. It carries an 18 age restriction due to the strong bloody violence.

Viking: Battle for Asgard

Initial impressions of the game aside, I got the hang of the game quite quickly although there are no starting tutorials or guides to help you. By wandering around you just happen to see characters with a question mark above their heads and when you approach it turns into the B button which initiates a dialog with the character in question. The subtitles system during in-game character dialogs is a bit clumsy as the voice over isn’t synchronised with the subtitles and requires the user to press the A button all the time. I suppose one good thing about that is when you prefer to read fast and skip ahead. Although this is not always the case, as pressing A during the cinematic characters dialogs results in skipping of the dialog. Never fear, all important dialogs are preserved in your journal which is accessible by hitting the Back key and navigating using the LB and RB buttons.

Action packed fight sequencesBeautiful Viking scenery

The graphics in the game are surreal and lively however I am not too excited about the 3rd person camera which tends to stay where you left it, which can be a good thing, but can also be an irritation during combat scenes. Thankfully the camera is easily adjusted with the right stick.

If you enjoyed playing Overlord as much as I did, then I’m pretty sure you’ll like Viking: Battle for Asgard. Its available for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. A quick price shop reveals the following online pricing:

[tags]Viking,Xbox 360,review[/tags]

Missing Links

The Missing Links setOn Saturday night my amazing girlfriend took me to dinner and the theatre to celebrate my birthday last week. We found ourselves at the Liberty Life Theatre on the Square to watch Mark Sampson’s production called Missing Links.

I never knew what to expect and found myself laughing my head off. Mark Sampson surely knows how to improvise on stage and often had the house lights up for interaction with the audience.

Missing Links

The inimitable Mark Sampson’s hilarious new show. A roller-coaster taxi ride through 3-billion years of evolution: from microbes to man, via Little Foot, Mrs Ples and a lot of monkeying about. A laugh-a-minute hour with one man and a microphone that will make you see our ancestors – and our present – in a whole new light!

I’m very pleased that Tamsyn didn’t think to take photos or a video with her mobile phone camera when I got hauled up onto stage to demonstrate what the first walk would look like. Unfortunately for me, Mark managed to get on a pair of pink ladies high heel shoes that were about 5 sizes too small onto my man sized feet. I was quite proud of the fact that I didn’t chicken out and that that the flimsy heels didn’t break when I jumped up and down on stage. Strangely enough I felt very comfortable on stage (no I wasn’t comfortable wearing the high heels!) and I think that it was Mark’s laid back Capetonian vibe that made me feel at ease.

Mark Sampson poses after the show I can definitely recommend the show to all that enjoy dynamic improvised theatre laced with side splitting humour.

Be sure to make a booking right now as the national tour ends up here in Sandton on the 3rd of November 2007 and you’ll be sorry if you don’t get to see it. If you don’t believe me, check what Richard had to say about his experience on his blog.

[tags]theatre,humour,review[/tags]

Awesome online shopping at NIVO

NIVO Interactive Shopping logoA few months ago I happened to be browsing a free copy of Unwired magazine that I was given at a 27 Dinner when I noticed a review of a new online shopping site in South Africa called nivo.co.za. The review was very complimentary about the site so I decided to check it out and was pleasantly surprised by the general site speed and powerful comparison features. Being a gadget freak and a hobbyist photographer I was most excited to see oodles of cameras and other gadgets featured prominently on the site.

The following day a colleague of mine was chatting to me about buying a new digital camera as he was trying to decide between two different models. I suggested he took a look at NIVO and he ended up finding the camera at a significantly cheaper price. He ordered online that same day and the following morning his shiny new digital camera was delivered by courier. He seemed really chuffed with the site and service.

Later I decided to order some blank 8cm DVD+RW media for my Sony Handycam (which was stolen from me this week). Due to some supplier issues I had to wait a little longer for my delivery but was highly impressed when the owner herself, Antonia Ilieva, went out of her way to personally deliver my order. In chatting to her I found out that she had setup the business with her brother, the mastermind developer behind the site, and that they had great plans to grow the site from a small operation into a serious online shopping experience.

I highly recommend checking out NIVO Interactive Shopping as you won’t be disappointed by their efficient service and their excellent prices make it an even sweeter decision.

[tags]NIVO,Unwired,online shopping,service,review[/tags]

So what is Halo 3 actually like?

Halo 3 bubble shield If I only had one word to describe my experience of the game so far, it would be awesome.

After spending 3 days playing the Halo 3 multi-player maps at rAge last weekend, Andre (aka Mailowl) invited me to join him and Leon (aka UltraVan) for some co-op campaign action over Xbox LIVE. So on Monday night we started the co-op campaign on normal difficulty and managed to complete 4 or 5 missions in about 3 hours. We decided that we had better make this a nightly effort until we finished and upgraded to heroic last night and tonight to complete the campaign. It was beyond amazing. I don’t want to spoil it for others but the last two missions had me lost most of the time.

I don’t often play first person shooter style games and I certainly don’t ever feel the urge to complete the campaign. However playing co-op just makes the game so much more enjoyable. I think its the social aspect that I like the most not to mention it helps to have others playing with you that can fill in for your lousy shooting/aiming skills.

Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw as usual has a particularly interesting Zero Punctuation video review of the game over here, copied below for ease of reference. Thanks to Robert Scoble for the link.

[tags]Halo 3[/tags]

rAge 2007 round-up

Master Chief visits rAge 2007 After three very busy days rAge 2007 is now over, if you missed it, then you missed out. Once again the Xbox 360 console dominated the consoles at the exhibition with almost every stand featuring at least one.

It was quite a shock to not see an official presence for Sony’s PlayStation 3 console. Yes there were a few consoles tucked away on various stands of which the most interesting was the one on the Megarom stand with a preview build of Haze on it. I must say I wasn’t too impressed with it, sure the graphics looked wicked but the game-play was jerky and not what from a next generation console title.

The Nintendo Wii console seemed attract a bit of attention as was to be expected. I can’t help wondering how long it will be until the novelty will wear off. At times during the show I found myself laughing at how funny kids and adults looked waving that Wiimote around. I even gave it a try with Pirates of the Caribbean and got quite annoyed with the seemingly delayed response to my actions; it was more irritating than cool. I suppose its great for bowling, boxing and other sports titles but it doesn’t really do it for me in general.

Halo 3 multi-player on the Xbox 360 stand On the Xbox 360 front, the highlight of the show was definitely Halo 3, which dominated the Microsoft stand with both co-op single-player watchtowers and an 8-player multi-player Slayer setup seeing a constant stream of players eager to discover the Halo franchise for the first time. Considering that Xbox LIVE is not officially available in South Africa, yet, it was an awesome demonstration of the Xbox 360 system link (LAN) functionality as I believe most people were not aware that Xbox 360 consoles could be networked together.

This year we got to see some very cool new games and pre-release games such as the highly anticipated sequel Project Gotham Racing 4 (PGR4), which garnered much interest from the crowds passing by. The game now features more cars, weather conditions and the addition of motorcycles. If you enjoyed PGR3 then you should definitely consider picking up a copy of PGR4 when it releases in October.

The MiDigital stand had numerous games on show including Virtua Fighter 5 and a preview of the awesome new game TimeShift.

Guitar Hero 2 on the NAG stand Megarom show-cased the Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer Beta running on Xbox LIVE as well as a preview copy of Assassin’s Creed which was demonstrated twice daily on the big screen for all to drool over. A preview of Guitar Hero 3 with a wireless Gibson electric guitar proved to be immensely popular but not as popular or loud as Guitar Hero 2 on the NAG stand.

Nu Metro had a preview of Kane and Lynch available to play. I must say that graphics didn’t seem that amazing however I won’t dismiss the possibility that the game might receive some spit and polish before being released and surprise us all.

MINI 37 - Arcade Racer On the PC front I was quite surprised to find local game developer, Luma, showcasing their new racing game, MINI 37 – Arcade Racer, developed for MINI South Africa. Tracks in the game are currently based on the South African A1 Grand Prix circuits and I understand that some episodic content is in the pipeline.

The game is currently nearing development completion and will be available as a 120mb free download from their web-site. If you prefer to conserve your bandwidth it will also be made available on the November 2007 NAG magazine cover disc.

Its really awesome to see a local game developer succeed and I can’t wait to see if Luma can take this PC based game to the next level as perhaps an XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) title in the near future.

Overall an awesome exhibition with plenty to see and do. I predict that the Xbox 360 console will do extremely well this festive season considering the awesome assortment of titles that will be on the market.

[tags]rAge,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,Wii,Megarom,Nu Metro,Luma,Halo 3[/tags]

Disturbia review

image I was lucky to be invited to a pre-screening of Disturbia by Ster Kinekor this evening. I took my good friend Tim along and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the pace of the movie and it kept me on the edge of my seat.

To be honest I hadn’t read much about the movie and I don’t think I would have watched it unless there was nothing else on the big screen that I hadn’t already seen. The cast was a bunch of unknowns to me so that wasn’t even a draw card. I am just not normally keen to watch thriller or horror movies as they usually involve lots of blood and guts.

I won’t give away the plot but I will say that Disturbia was at least original with an ingenious mix of thrills, suspense, comedy and touch of romance binding it all together. I highly recommend it. It comes out on the South African movie circuit this Friday, the 21st of September 2007.

[tags]Disturbia,movie,review,Ster Kinekor[/tags]

Zero Punctuation review of BioShock

Last night Andre introduced me to some very funny video reviews over on The Escapist. Thanks to James Francis for the original link to this video review of BioShock.

 

He has some other very cool zero punctuation reviews including Tomb Raider Anniversary, Console Rundown, Psychonauts and Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff. Go check them out, they really do rock.

PS. I was going to post the Tomb Raider Anniversary review by Zero Punctuation but Gavin beat me to it – next time I must remember to blog it here and not send out links on IM. :p

[tags]BioShock,Zero Punctuation,The Escapist[/tags]