My 360 woes revisited

Is it just me, or is the S model Xbox just as broken as the previous model?
I'll state for the record that I've owned three different 360s so far, two old pro models, one which was broken out of the box, one which red ringed, and my current S model. My current 360 I got the winter before last and had no issues at all, until I put in Fallout: New Vegas last summer.
At first I thought it was the game, which is notoriously buggy. The screen and console would just freeze, and I couldn't do anything but force shutdown the console. This started very infrequently, but became unbearable, and I detailed it in my blog on the site. And then it disappeared. I played Arkham City, Skyrim and Dark Souls, and life was good. And then it started again and now it's worse than ever. It's been a gradual process, it's gone from once every day to once every few hours to once every few minutes. In the last 30 minutes it's frozen about ten times, three times during the xbox logo animation. It's even red ringed on my a few times this week. Luckily I still have my warranty.
I'm having far more problems with this S model Xbox than my old pro, and this doesn't fill me with confidence about their next console. If their hardware is as shoddy next time around, maybe I'll buy a Portstation instead, or a PC...
Anyone else having problems with their consoles in general, or S model 360 specifically?


My 360 woes

I'd like to state up front that I don't think there's anything wrong with the console itself, but it was my reaction when it happened.

Some backstory is in order: I was a clueless Playstation fanboy, praising the earth sony walked on. I owned both a PS1 and PS2, though my friend had bought an Xbox 360. At any opportunity he'd try get me to buy one, but I was holding out for a PS3. 1 year after it's release, I cracked. The PS3 had nothing interesting going for it. MGS4 was still far off and I found none of the current games appealing, while I had played a fair amount of good 360 games at that point and I think Mass Effect was the thing that really sold me on it. I save up some money and buy a 360 bundle with Forza 2 and Viva Pinata. My new 360 arrived broken. It had a weird graphical issue, and I got it replaced through the internet store where I bought it. My second 360 lasted 2 years. Annoyingly, I had just bought Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Darksiders. It was the infamous red ring. I bought 250 gb 360S almost a year after.

I've done a fair bit of catching up this year, while trying to keep up. I've bought Red Dead, Hot Pursuit and Fallout: New Vegas. I adore Bethesda. While I liked Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout 3 are among my favorite games of this generation. But New Vegas is a mess. Even now, a year after it's release and a hefty patch. I still played it though, and a lot. The game would freeze with regularity. More than once I've lost an hour or more, and more than once my autosave was also corrupted by such an incident.

The only reason why I'm talking specifically about Fallout is that, like when I'm playing Fallout, my 360 itself is now freezing up. I've had this problem for weeks now. When I turn it on, I can play and get a meaningful experience, but eventually it'll freeze. If I immediately turn it back on, it freezes after a short time. My xbox is less than a year old. How can this be happening, I thought. Unlike most people though, I consulted Microsof's customer support site, specifically on screen freezes.

I followed a step-by-step guide on the site. After completing a few steps, the conclusion was a hard drive issue. The last time my 360 broke, my harddrive was fine and I could import all my save games back into the new one. However, sending my hard drive away to get a replacement scares me. I tried using my MP3 player as temporary storage, but it was rejected, my old memory unit isn't compatible with my new 360, and the only other storage unit I can think of is hooked up to the TV. I suppose I could wait for cloud storage. Also, Skyrim is released in less than 2 weeks and I can't be in a situation where a physical copy of that game exists in my house and I cannot play it.

Edit: After removing the HDD and putting it back in two times I haven't had any troubles and hope this issue is resolved.


Trials of my childhood

 So I dusted off my PS and started going through my old games recently. Just now I'm going through Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha, specifically the Expert Mode(like the trial mode in SFIV). I've come to a conclusion after getting blisters on my thumbs and lost skin at the base of my fingers. I fucking hate charge characters. I think I did every one of Ryu's and Ken's challenges on the first try, and I didn't need a lot of tries to get Chun-Li or Zangief either. I even got Dhalsim, a character I don't really like playing as.
Who am I missing? Bison's last three and Guile's last. Guile's last is only two moves. It's a double flash kick canceled into an opening gambit. Now, I can wrap my mind around the logistics that goes into this combo. You first do the double flash kick, then immediately hold back and input the rest of the sequence when Guile lands after the first flash kick... But I never get it.
But Bison is a different beast altogether. Like Guile's #16, Bison's #14 requires multiple supers in a combo, but is preceded by a jumping punch and a crouching light kick before the Psycho Cannon, Knee Press Knightmare and another Psycho Cannon. It's not like the others get any easier. I guess I find it much easier to execute double quarter-circles in a combo than Charged Back, Forward, Back, Forward, especially when you have to do multiple in a row...
And no, I'm not seeking the aid of the community. I'm content with not getting this and I'll probably put my PS1 back to collect dust again before too long. But out of curiosity, are there anyone else who have this problem with charge characters in this game(come to think of it, I think Guile and BIson are the only charge characters in this game)?


Two years to go?

This is a little weird for me to reply to this question, since I don't own either, but I keep up with the news, the games released and all that.

I'll tackle the Wii first. Though there's not much to say for the Wii this year, they don't have many innovative features or interesting game releases, they sold so much the first year that it doesn't really matter. With a Zelda game at launch, being bundled with a game and a new Mario game last year, it's had it's share of critical acclaim and popular titles. Of course, the appeal of the motion sensor cannot be denied and it was a few hundred bucks cheaper than the competetors. They used a lot of old hardware when making it, it was risky, but it paid off. Nintendo probably got the most money back on their investment. Despite the strong start, this year has been lackluster, almost no innovation and no noteworthy titles.

The PS3 is pretty much the opposite of the Wii, it has a lot more modern hardware, it's twice as expensive, it didn't feature a great line up at launch and have mostly relied on four games to create the buzz around the console. Killzone 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, Little Big Planet and Final Fantasy XIII. The only problem with this is that none of these games came out before this year and two of them aren't out until next year, plus one of them didn't sell as well as they'd hoped, despite overwhelming critical acclaim. But this is only one of the few problems that haunt the PS3. The price tag is the other and I still can't believe that the PS3 is still as expensive as it is. Some think it's a minor problem, but I can get two 360 bundled with two games for the same price as a PS3. Sony has also been a little slow to act on the online features, which Microsoft have really excelled at. So far, the only edge the PS3 have over the 360 is free online play, a blu-ray and a handful of exclusive titles. On the flip side, PS3 is having a really good year when it comes to games, with plenty of good exclusive titles.

So, how's the 360 doing? It's kinda sandwiched in the middle. It had the advantage of the early release, they have a great library of games, perhaps the best of the three consoles. It has the superior online experience and with the fall update they keep improving the service. Of course, they've had their share of trouble as well, like the red ring of death. 360 has had more hardware failures than any console I can remember and while microsoft generally have tried to fix these issues, they just keep popping up.

I guess it's time to wonder how long it will be before Sony(and it probably will be Sony) announces the PS4. The PS3 has been a failure for Sony in many ways. It's sales hasn't even come close to the first two consoles, both sold more than 100 million world wide. Microsoft have gained from having the first console out the door and is probably working on a replacement right now. I'm not sure what Nintendo will do. The Wii has been such a success, they can probably afford putting games out there forver and it will sell, but they could launch a second console to compete with Sony and Microsoft. Having two consoles out there, they could corner the market... or they could cannibalize their own customers. I'll make a bold prediction, new console holiday season 2010.

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Johnny, I guess

I think it's very easy to look at the roster and say "ah, reptile's missing" or "Johnny Cage is missing, Midway sucks". Especially after MKA's 60+ roster, this 22 character roster seems small.

Let's look at the characters we do have. The first that come to mind are Scorpion and Sub-Zero. They are a given, Sub-Zero have been in every single MK game so far as a playable character, the only character. Scorpion runs second, tied with Liu Kang, and have been excluded in only one game. They are easily the two most iconic MK characters.

The same can be said for Batman and Superman. They are the two most iconic DC characters, no use arguing their inclusion. They are easily the most popular characters from DC, spawning multiple movies that aren't just popular, but critically acclaimed(Superman 2 and Dark Knight specifically).

The rest of the MK roster is mostly the old greats. Liu Kang is the champion of MK, Sonya and Kitana are the most iconic women of the series, Baraka makes more sense than Reptile, because they needed a bad guy and Reptile is "just" another ninja. Raiden needed to be in, being the most powerful good character in the MK universe, in addition to being very popular. Kano is one of the original, so I'll give him a thumbs up... even if I don't really like him. Jax... I'd rather have Johnny Cage, but he's a good character. Finally, Shao Kahn is the bad guy you'd bring to the game.

As for the rest of DC, Wonder Woman is easily the most popular heroine they have, the Joker is a given after the Dark Knight's success, Catwoman is the most iconic femme fatale DC have. Deathstroke is a good character to bring to the mix. Flash and Green Lantern were a given, though not as popular as Batman and Superman, they are very popular. The two characters that seem to be the source of the most complain are Captain Marvel, who I frankly don't have a problem with. I can see plently of DC fans looking forward to tear up Metropolis in an epic showdown with Superman. He is overpowered and many people don't know him, but I'm okay with him. The other character is Lex, mostly because he is so out of place. Lex isn't a fighter, without his suit he wouldn't pose a threat to any of the characters on either side... that said, he is the best known villain Superman has and he is iconic. Finally, Darkseid. I personally don't think they could've picked anyone better for the ultimate DC bad guy.

Lastly, I'll talk about the characters that aren't in. First of all, I'll ignore all the characters who were introduced in MK3 or after. They have no place in the game. The characters from MK and MK2 they are missing, are Johnny Cage, Kung Lao, Reptile and Mileena... I know that's pretty dismissive of Goro and Kintaro, but I'm not sure they make good playable characters. Kung Lao is iconic, he is a great fighter and he has a good selection of special moves... so why not include him? Liu Kang. Liu Kang and Kung Lao are too similar, despite having different personalities, clothing and special moves. Reptile is an interresting character, he is insane and he is the only servant of Shao Kahn that wouldn't betray him. Ultimately though, he is "just" another ninja. Mileena is another iconic character. Her problem is that she is Kitana, but evil. They look exactly the same with a veil, they dress very similarly and Kitana is ultimately a more interresting character. Johnny Cage is the final character from MK to mention and probably the only of the four missing that should have been in with such a small roster. He is one of the originals, he is more than another palette swap. He has special moves that are different from the other characters and he punch people in the crotch.

There are a few good choices for DC characters that could've been included. I see Doomsday coming up very often, but I don't know... he killed Superman, props for that. I still don't know if he is someone I'd want to bring into a game, at least not with such a limited roster. I also see Sinestro showing up from time to time, but ultimately there's only room for one power ring with a small roster. I also see Martian Manhunter showing up often, I could see him getting into the game. His powers are unique enough to make him stand out. He is also sort of well known.

Long post...

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Two posts in one day?

Yes, I'm posting again...

I'm adressing a growing issue in the gaming community at large. Useless petition signing.

I'm not talking about petitions like "release this game here too", that totally makes sense. I'd love to play some games that are only going to be released in Japan or especially games that are released everywhere but Europe. I get why companies do it, I think it sucks, but it's life. I support those petitions.

The petitions I don't support are the "keep this game exclusive" petitions. Why? It's dumb. You want to keep it exclusive to sell more consoles, I get it. But you expect Capcom to halve their profit to help out Sony? There are twice as many 360s out there as PS3s, keeping a game exclusive to the PS3 isn't profitable at all. It's not Capcom's fault that Sony can't move as many units as Microsoft, it's not Square-Enix's fault either. It's Sony's fault and you fanboys sure isn't making Sony's cause any easier by not buying the game on the PS3 to demonstrate your distaste for the publisher. If anything, you should buy more copies to show that it's profitable to make exclusive games for the system, but that's not really right either, to bail out the company like that. Believe me, I'd be just as upset, and have been even more upset with MS fanboys and Nintendo fanboys.

Then there's the other type of petitions. I don't know what your problems are with Diablo 3, but have Blizzard made a bad game in the past decade? You think it's too colorful? It's 8 years since diablo 2, the graphics need improvement. Everywhere I got I keep finding petitions to alter some aspect of a game. Why? Just because you don't agree with it, doesn't mean the rest of us agree with you. People form different opinions and there's a good chance you'll come across a person or two who share the same views, that doesn't mean everyone do. I doubt we'll have to worry much that they'll ruin Diablo with 3(for the record, I loved diablo 2. I have(or had) a level 82 Barbarian to back it up). I'm convinced it will be darker than Warcraft, but the petition is an annoyance Blizzard don't have time to deal with.

I just seems everywhere I go I find a petition to "keep Final Fantasy XIII exclusive", or "petition for XP support for Halo 2"... actually, the last one isn't that bad. The point is, it's not gonna happen, why waste their time?

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My console history

Just thought I'd give you some info before you judge me as a microsoft fanboy.

C64 - Yes, that's where it all started... it wasn't mine, but my cousin's. I spent countless hours I can't remember in front of that thing, can't even remember what it looks like now...
NES - My first console. Started off with a little SMB, but soon got a taste for MM and TMNT. Also played some T&T, NWC, BM and in later years FF.
SNES - Again, another console I've spent a lot of time with, but wasn't actually my own. A few of my all time favorites are on this console, like SMW.
PS1 - My second console. The PS1 has so many classics, I don't know where to begin. This console is also where my favorite game was released, FFVII.
PS2 - My third console. The last time I counted, I owned 80+ games for this console, but I'm not sure what the total is. Favorite games include MGS3, GT4, T5, MKD, FFX and many more.
360 - My fourth and current console. Own a few games for it; Forza 2, Viva Pinata(bundled, and I'm kinda glad it was), Mass Effect, Skate, GTAIV, FIFA 08 and Oblivion. Got it in January.

Honorary mentions:
Genesis/Mega-Drive - A memory dimmer than the C64, I can't remember much more than Sonic. Good console, but I'd rather have my NES.
Gamecube - My brothers trusty old gamecube is still going strong, to the point that I've almost become indifferent to Mario as a game character.
PS3 - Haven't played a lot, I think it has the potential to be great, but Sony keeps dropping the ball. There's something odd about the controller too...
PC - Until a few years ago, I held my PC in higher regard than any platform, mostly because I really like to mess with games... but then windows deleted itself and I'm computerless...

So, that's it. I started out as a Nintendo fanboy, I turned to Sony for two generations and now I'm with Microsoft. Next generation depends on the consoles, which is why I wait for at least 6 months before I buy.

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