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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lame

Ok, so I’m a wee bit late with my latest blog post, and to top it off it’s going to be a lame text-only email post. I do have an excuse though, really I do. Two words: Xbox 360. I picked up my ‘360 from BT Games in Brooklyn after the launch party. There weren’t as many people as I expected-they probably all headed to the Northgate store instead because there was a party going on there too-complete with DOA and PGR competitions. It took the poor, slow salesman about 5 minutes per preorder box, so I only got out of there with mine by about 00:30. After setting up I played about an hour of Oblivion and headed to bed to get some rest for rAge.

rAge has come and gone

rAge lived up to it’s name and was truly awesome! There have been mixed reactions to the expo, especially because of the relative lack of PC component resellers and the obvious absence of Ster Kinekor. This led to the show being largely Xbox 360 focused, but that suited me just fine. Just about every major game retailer was at the show and each of them had 360 demo kiosks running to impress the masses. Microsoft themselves had set up a very impressive stand showcasing the machine and a number of launch titles. They also had Flight Simulator X displayed quite prominently, though not much else on the PC side gained any focus.

Unfortunately, someone at Microsoft forgot to involve the techies in setting up the stand. Not only were the Xboxes themselves housed in airtight perspex display cases (overheating, anyone) but they were attached to the gorgeous Samsung HD LCD display TVs with standard component cables! Thankfully the day was saved by Dan Wagner who pitched up with a box of HD cables and sorted out most of the demo machines. A word of advice to Microsoft SA: If you don’t know what’s potting with your own damned products, let the community who are willing and more than able to help you, do so.

Nintendo also had a stall of sorts, though nowhere near the level of Microsoft’s. A number of GameCube and DS games were on display, though sadly no DS Lites. These were however apparently available on request from staff.

As I mentioned before, Ster Kinekor decided to skip the show, which meant no major PlayStation presence. I found this very strange. I can understand that they choose not to have the PS2 appear side-by side with Xbox 360 for comparison reasons, but what about the PSP? The enormous EA stand was just about the only place to play any PS2 games, though they were of course overshadowed by EA’s 360 games that were also available to play. Smaller retailer stores did have a couple of PlayStation consoles and games available, but the focus was undeniably on the 360 in these stalls as well.

Of the smaller stalls, AnimeWorx’ was probably the most interesting. It was significantly larger than last years, and packed with comics, figures, games and just about everything else.

The NAG LAN was more prominent this year than in the past, since it had to be relocated to the exhibition area due to it’s sheer size (1200 gamers). I didn’t take part, but it sounds like people had a ball. Maybe next year I’ll go along with my 360 ;) I did get some PSP WiFi multiplayer in, and that was great. We were joined by Rebound and El33tOnline players from Natal, and even a couple of guys from Bloemfontein (yeah, they have electricity!). We played WipeOut, Fired Up and even some Tekken: Dark Resurrection (what a gorgeous game!). The DS definitely had a stronger showing, and I even had a go at Mario Kart, which was great fun.

Despite best intentions, no get-together ended up happening with pond members afterwards, but it’s probably just as well considering how bushed I was-and how keen I was to get in some quality time with my new Xbox.

Call me lucky

I also contacted the editor of GEAR (for whom I had written an article on mobile gaming), and it turned out they needed freelance 360 reviewers. I landed Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter as my first review title, so I now have that in addition to Oblivion (courtesy of GEAR of course). Between the two games I spent A LOT of time playing this weekend (my reviews of both are due for this Friday) and they’re both excellent. More details in a future edition of GEAR ;)

Bits

And last of all, I’ve become obsessed with all things Xbox 360 and Live. Notice my profile has been replaced with my gamercard and I’ve got my 360voice blog set up. So if you have a 360 and well and want to say ‘hi’, pop over to xbox.com and add me as a friend or send me a message.

6 comments:

Samuel Kock said...

You of course conveniently left out that I kicked everybody's ass in WipeOut :)

Lord Spaceman said...

It's about time (you lazy b@st@rd) we got some Rage feedback. I've been waiting for this! I've never been to a Rage event, but I've made a promise to myself to attend next years one! I don't think I will be LANing, but I will definetly bring along my Nintendo DS Lite. Rage 2007, here I come!

The more I read about the XBox 360, the more I want one! I can only imagine the excitement you had when purchasing the thing.

Congrats on the review you landed with GEAR mag! All the more reason to buy GEAR mag now! Keep up the good work and they may make it permanent!

Flint said...

Who's your lazy bastard! When last did you post, eh? ;)

Make a plan to get to rage next year, you WILL NOT regret it. Best 30 bucks I have spent in a long, long time.

Lord Spaceman said...

Lol. Yeah, my blog posting and commenting have been slack lately. :)

I will definitely be at Rage next year, if its the last thing I do. The bus trip to get up there will cost me around R200 and 9 hours of sheer boredom, but it will be worth it without a doubt!

I better start saving for that R30 entrance fee and bus trip. :)

wayne said...

Great post Flint. I was one of the El33tonline.com DS players and unfortunately didn't get to chat much with trying to cover the event. Congrats on the GEAR mag reviews... it all bodes well for gaming is SA.

Flint said...

Thanks Wayne. It's a pity we didn't get to chat.. but so little time and so much gaming to do! :)

 

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