Gamers can be Givers, too…

I’m going to apologize up front if this post drags on, but it’s something that should be said.

So I downloaded a recent podcast episode of GamerTagRadio, a staple in the Xbox Live Community. In the opening minutes of the show, Godfree made a remark that he was “disappointed” in the Xbox Live Community. I listened intently. He made it clear that he didn’t want to stand on a soap box and preach, that wasn’t his role, but as one of the most famous and powerful podcasters in the community, he wanted to bring charity into the limelight.

The point was made that late breaking news spreads like wildfire, but what about the good things gamers do?

You may have heard a few things about RagingJellyBean and the Halo 3 Tournament to help get her surgery. If you’ve been asking “How does playing Halo give a girl a new kidney?” – why haven’t you clicked a link to find out more? The tournament has a $10 entry fee, and all proceeds will go to the fund trying to help RJB! In another case, a Guitar Hero III tournament will be brought together by a large group of gamers, Red Octane, GTR, & SFX360 (South Florida Xbox 360 Meetup), all for the benefit of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And my good buddy DeaconBlade 360, over at his Unscripted 360, has been doing everything in his power to get a poor kid who was robbed a 360. Maybe not as huge a charity, but still a great thing to try and take over. I’ve been supporting it as much as possible, and I will continue to promote this, and many other charity events in the future.

I am cooking up a few things of my own, and I found out my sister (send her a message!) spent some time at an event I can only assume was a tie in between Hollywood princess Dakota Fanning, GameCrazy stores, and Child’s Play. Momentum is growing, and these charities are doing good things, but, as Godfree and crew said, it’s our job as the bloggers and podcasters to help spread the word. A post in a forum is sometimes all we can do, but independent journalist have the duty of spreading the word as best they can. So keep it up, folks. I know I will!

GTR & SFX360 Sponsors GH III Tournament April 5th Fundraiser Event to benefit LLS
Finish RJB’s Fight
Child’s Play Charity
U360 Cares

[UPDATE 1] BluRay, Microsoft, corporate double speak, and interpretation…

Alright folks, now we’re hearing that Microsoft has confirmed support for BluRay. Does that mean we’re getting a BluRay add on for the Xbox 360? NO! That has yet to be confirmed, no matter what carefully worded statements from Microsoft may have you believe.

The quote is that Microsoft, as a company, are working on “device driver support for Blu-ray drives and the like.” It’s called Windows Plug’n’Play, folks. When you buy a new CD Burner for your computer, it’s hard for them to give you a CD-ROM with the drivers on it so you can install it – certain things need to work wout of the box. BluRay drives and BluRay burners will inevitably end up on the PC, supporting them is a must for Microsoft. But not a necessity for the Xbox.

Microsoft is a large company with a lot going on – they need to keep ahead of BluRay development, but not specifically for the benefit of their Xbox devision. Microsoft’s answer to BluRay is the Xbox Live Video Marketplace, #2 only to iTunes (which can be installed on literally BILLIONS of computers, instead of just MILLIONS of Xboxes, so I think the #2 seat seems pretty cushy). To the naysayers that say the Xbox 360 can’t survive without BluRay support, I encourage them to stick around. It’s a gaming console first, and a home entertainment unit second. Sales of Halo 3 should attest to that, as well as the power of video games over the power of movies. If a BluRay add on drive makes its way to the 360, good for it, but I hope nobody is holding their breath… they just might go Blu before Microsoft does!

[UPDATE 1]: Reuters has pretty much confirmed my hypothesis. 😉

Bioshock 2 is official! Holiday '09?

By way of Investor’s Release, 2K Games officially announced Bioshock 2 for “release in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.” Who’s excited? This guy.

WinBreak Central Command suggests that this game will hit a Holiday ’09 release because the projection is SO far in advance of the game’s release. You see, announcing that Gears 2 may make a November ’08 release is believable, because they’ve already been working on it for a while and have a time frame established. But with this announcement, it seems like they’re in the very early stages, and we all know that delays are inevitable. With a projection this early, even if 4Q Fiscal ’09 ends September 30th, 2009, if there IS a delay, seeing a November / December ’09 release would be quite likely.

Be sure to come back in 2009 and let us know if our predictions were right. 😉

Xbox 360 Blu-Ray rumor still growing…

Financial Times, GlobeandMail, EETimes, PC World, Wired, BetaNews… you get the picture… EVERYONE is talking about the idea that Microsoft and Sony are in talks to offer a BluRay add on for the Xbox 360.

While I don’t doubt the validity, I honestly doubt that it will happen. You see, Sony will essentially be able to control the price, based on how they offer it to Microsoft. Doing so, they will be able to ensure that the combined cost of the 360 and a Blu Ray player will exceed that of the Playstation 3, which, as we all know, has the ability to play Blu Ray movies out of the box. The only thing Microsoft could truly do to that end is not only minimize, but NEGATE their profits (take a loss on every BluRay add on sold)… while this would give them higher sales numbers, it’s quite an expensive thing to do just for bragging rights (expensive, mind you, does not mean out of Microsoft’s reach).

CONTEST: Design our new logo!

See the picture above? Take it, make it your own! 🙂

Or rather, make it mine. Here’s the skinny… I want a new logo. See that “X-Globe” Guide Button I use in my logo? It’s trademarked property of Microsoft! I’d rather have something that I can call “mine.” However, since I can’t make anything of mine own, and many of you can, I want to offer my readers the chance to make my new logo!

Let’s lay the ground work, the idea I’m shooting for is to turn the “X” in the guide button image into an “A” (as in “Angel”). Early samples I have seen from others have already included Wings around the logo, some of you may wish to do away with the “halo,” ring, make the “A” into the word NuAngel, or WinBreak, things like that… whatever you want to do, give it a shot! You can do whatever you want!

You can use the files from here as a starting point, or make your own:
http://NuAngel.net/logo_rc1.png – PNG (Macromedia Fireworks).
http://NuAngel.net/logo_rc1.zip – Zipped PSD (Photo Shop).

I will personally select a winner based on a design I like best. It would be great to get ‘source files’ from everyone, if possible. Individual layers, so I have the ability to make changes if and when necessary, and also (hopefully) not containing any materials which are the property of anyone else.

What’s the CONTEST part? Well, it hasn’t been totally decided… the contest has been announced to a few other communities who don’t have much to do with the Xbox / 360. The prize could be Microsoft points, an Arcade game, a retail game, a PC game, or just a deposit to a paypal account… the grand prize will be between myself and the winner!!! 🙂 That should be a pretty big incentive, I think… the value will be no less than $20 – and could potentially be much higher. Remember, we’re trying to make this into the new identity for WinBreak.com – that’s valuable to me! 🙂

Fine print junk: The winning artist will get credit on the website as the designer of my new logo, however, all submissions become the property of Garrett “NuAngel” Culver and WinBreak.com. You may make submissions as comments here as a comment to this post, email them to contest@winbreak.com, or brought to my attention via posts in threads on forums and other websites which I have presented the contest to.

For reference, this is a great source of Hi-resolution Xbox related images:
http://www.xbox.com/ja-JP/press/xbox360.htm.

The King of Kong: A new record may be set at Microsoft's Conference!

At this very moment I am watching the final minutes of the movie “The King of Kong, A Fistful of Quarters.” I have heard good things about this movie for several months. I have seen ads on TV, reviews on websites, and now the movie has even been placed on the Xbox Live Video Marketplace. Major Nelson even mentioned it in a podcast a few weeks ago.

Why is this important? What does this have to do with the Xbox 360? Twenty four hours from now, at Microsoft’s MIX08 Conference, in Las Vegas, Steve Wiebe (one of the guys in the movie) will be attempting to set yet another world record. Rather than attending a multi day venue, he intends to attempt this new record in a four hour period. That gives him, technically, less time than 2 play-throughs of Donkey Kong would take.

The following information (and the picture above) is from the Twin Galaxies website:

Steve Wiebe Attempts Donkey Kong Record
Walter Day to referee High-Score Attempt at Microsoft’s MIX08 in Las Vegas
3/4/2008
March 3, 2008 — Las Vegas, NV — Noted Donkey Kong competitor, Steve Wiebe, of Redmond, Washington, rolls up his sleeves at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas on the night of March 5th and tries to make history by taking back the highly-coveted Donkey Kong Crown.

Right now, Steve and the equally-as-famous Billy Mitchell, are running neck-and-neck on the high-score circuit, with Billy currently in the lead with 1,050,200 points to Steve’s 1,049,100 points. With only 1,100 points separating them, Steve poses a serious threat to take back the world title.

And, in the referee’s outfit, performing Master of Ceremonies duties, is Walter Day, Twin Galaxies’ Chief Evangelist, who will monitor Steve’s record-breaking attempt while ensuring that the strictest Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings are enforced.

The event takes place during Microsoft’s TAO NIGHTCLUB PARTY from 6:00pm to10:00pm in The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Hosted by Microsoft, the high-score challenge is one of the cultural highlights of this year’s MIX08 gathering, an annual techological smorgasbord titled MIX08: THE NEXT WEB NOW.

The Mix08 conference will also play host to a one of a kind Rock Band tournament this weekend. But, really, who cares when there’s a world record at stake!?

To step back a bit, I have heard people think that this movie is good, and others that think it’s horrible. Maybe it’ll just make you feel good that you have a little more substance to your life. Maybe it will make you question the motives of men retiring at age 30, without a girlfriend, so that they can spend time playing 1980’s arcade games, maybe it’ll make you wonder how Billy Mitchell fits in those jeans, or if Steve Wiebe really should wear a purple shirt when he teaches junior high science classes… who knows. But the thing I want to make you think right now is… maybe I should go watch this! Screenings at MIX08, downloadable on Xbox Live Video Marketplace, and generally just something every true gamer should see just once. Get to it!