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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Xbox Live Gold Sold Out or Price Skyrocketing [UPDATE]

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Selling out everywhere is the Xbox Live 12 Month Subscription Gold Cards that usually can be found for under $40 and as low as $30 to $35 on occasion. Now the prices are skyrocketing and deals are harder to find since everyone is scrambling for a deal before the price increase November 1st.

If you didn’t get chance to stock up and score a few yesterday, your best bet might be to pick up the Xbox 360 Live 12 Month Messenger Gold Pack for $55.54 since the price hasn’t budged in months. You get Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Subscription Card, a Xbox 360 Chatpad for fast texting, an Xbox 360 Wired Headset and PGR 4, all for a low price of $55.54.

[UPDATE 9/2/2010] The price is still $55.54 at the moment even though you might see an offer that’s higher. Look on the Amazon page for “More Buying Choices”. Amazon still has it available for $55.54.

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Click to order now for $55.54

If you just want the 12 Month Subscription Gold Card, wait a few days/weeks for the dust to settle, the deals will start cropping up again before the November 1st price increase. There will always be a deal somewhere and can usually be found here, The Best Deals for Xbox Live Gold.

If you found a good deal not posted here, let us know so we can share with all. Thx!

New Xbox 360 Wireless controller featuring a transforming D-Pad – YES!

Major Nelson just announced that they made the Xbox 360 Wireless controller even better with a brand new version that includes a transforming D-pad.  The engineers have come up with an ingenious solution with a d-pad that can go from a plus to a disc with the twist of the wrist. Very COOL!

From this: To this instantly:
dpad_up dpad_down

 

In addition to the new d-pad, the matte silver controller also features concave analog sticks and gray A,B,X,Y buttons for added style.

The controller will only be available with the new Play & Charge Kit that will launch on November 9th for US $64.99.

More photos on Major Nelsons flickr.

Watch for the pre-order page here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Price change for Xbox LIVE Gold subscription

If you thought Xbox Live was going to someday be Free, think again! As of November 1, 2010 Microsoft will be increasing the price of Xbox LIVE for some members. This price increase only affects Xbox LIVE Members in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom or the United States.

US

Current

1M Gold:  $7.99

3M Gold:  $19.99

12M Gold:  $49.99

Starting Nov 1, 2010

1M Gold:  $9.99

3M Gold:  $24.99

12M Gold:  $59.99

UK

Current

1M Gold:  4.99 GBP

Starting Nov 1, 2010

1M Gold:  5.99 GBP

Canada

Current

1M Gold:  $8.99 CAD

Starting Nov 1, 2010

1M Gold:  $9.99 CAD

Mexico

Current

12M Gold:  499 Pesos

Starting Nov 1, 2010

12M Gold:  599 Pesos

 
I guess with the NEW features coming this Fall, ESPN3 sports coverage and Video Kinect, they feel they need to increase the cost of Gold.
 

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I suggest you stock up now before the price increase. And as always, we’ll be updating The Best Deals for Xbox Live Gold post.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Unlock Two Pieces of Visual Flair Now for Halo Reach

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As mentioned in Bungie's Weekly Update, players of classic Bungie games get a head start on making their Reach lobby appearance shiny by unlocking some special nameplate images.

If you have Halo 1 for PC/Mac, and/or Marathon 2: Durandal for XBLA, you can unlock two pieces of Visual Flair today before Halo Reach releases on September 14th.

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Good News!
You still can score this piece of flair by buying a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved for the PC at either your local retailer or right here onAmazon, only $19.82.

Halo 1 – Enter your Halo 1 PC/Mac product key to enable this emblem. Each key can only be used once, so you’d better stop reading this and grab that key before your brother does. Since we have no way to validate who has played the Xbox version, this emblem is reserved for that dedicated community of computer gamers, with over 50k unique users still active each month, 7 years after release. Thanks for sticking with us. It’s been quite a ride!

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Marathon – Play the full version of Marathon: Durandal on Xbox LIVE Arcade to enable the Jjaro Terminal emblem.

The full set of Visual Flair/Nameplate Emblems could be found here

To unlock these two emblems now:
1. Make sure you're signed in to Bungie.net with the account that's linked to the gamertag you want to tie your Halo PC key to. If you tie it to one account, but only played Halo 2 and 3 on a different account, we CAN NOT help you combine them later to get the emblem for playing all 3. Choose wisely! Obviously, this also has to be the gamertag you'll play Reach with.
2. Visit your Bungie.net account page , then click the Game Settings tab, then the Nameplate Settings link below that.
3. Follow the instruction there to unlock your stuff!
4. Wait until 9/14 when you get Reach and play it online
5. Return to the same Nameplate Settings page , where you'll be shown all the nameplates available to you, and you can choose one to use. Return there whenever you feel like changing things up.
6. Questions? Problems? Post here

[via Bungie]

Related Post:

Halo: Reach Controller & Headset pre-orders ship this month – Avatar Bonus
New Halo: Reach Trailer Offers a Stunning Preview
Now is the time to Jump In!
Unboxing Everything Halo: Reach, then pre-order

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Full List of Halo Reach Visual Flair/Nameplate Emblems

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Dedicated Halo fans, you will have more ways than one to express yourselves in Halo Reach. Before, we only had the Septagon to choose from in Halo 3. Not this time, Halo Reach will have up to 11 different ones to choose from, that’s if you’ve been a Bungie and Halo fan for a long long time.

See below all the flair available and what it takes to earn it, or would have taken to earn it.

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The Septagon – This option returns for anyone who links their LIVE account to their Bungie.net account.

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The DMR – A pro weapon for Pro members. Get Bungie Pro to bump up your File Share, render videos, and get this emblem. Active subscriptions bought in Halo 3 or Halo 3: ODST carry over to Halo: Reach, of course.

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Marathon – Play the full version of Marathon: Durandal on Xbox LIVE Arcade to enable the Jjaro Terminal emblem.

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Good News!
You still can score this piece of flair by buying a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved for the PC at either your local retailer or right here on Amazon, only $19.82.

Halo 1 – Enter your Halo 1 PC/Mac product key to enable this emblem. Each key can only be used once, so you’d better stop reading this and grab that key before your brother does. Since we have no way to validate who has played the Xbox version, this emblem is reserved for that dedicated community of computer gamers, with over 50k unique users still active each month, 7 years after release. Thanks for sticking with us. It’s been quite a ride!

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Halo 2 – Automatically available if you played Halo 2 for Xbox on your LIVE account before its tearful retirement. If it’s not active for you, no amount of wheedling will change that, sorry.

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Halo 3 – Take a guess… On the plus side, there’s plenty of time to head to your local purveyor of fine, shrink-wrapped games to snag a copy if you’re the one person who actually reads the news on our site and hasn’t played this game.

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Halo 3: ODST – Ditto.

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Assault Rifle – This fine armament goes to anyone who played the Halo: Reach beta a few months ago.

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Spartan Helmet – CLASSIFIED

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HALO – Like Blamite out of a Needler, these faceplate options can supercombine. Unlock the emblems for Halo 1, Halo 2, and Halo 3 to get this special emblem.

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The Star – Who knows? We haven’t come up with a use for this yet. Maybe we will in the future.

 

Not pictured, is the ‘Bungie’ staff emblem, awarded for successfully negotiating the obstacle course that begins at bungie.net/jobs.

[via Bungie]

Get a chance to plot a spot on a Halo: Reach Light Sculpture

monument

Microsoft’s Remember Reach website will go live Monday morning as part of a viral campaign for the highly anticipated Xbox 360 shooter Halo: Reach. This robotic arm will polt points you the Halo fans place when the site goes live, constructing a monument of light to honor the members of Noble Team, the main characters of Reach, who go missing in action after the fall of one of the game’s last human colonies.

Check out the video below how this will all go down.

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[via WIRED]

Friday, August 20, 2010

How to unlock the Halo: Reach Avatar Awards

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Halo Reach isn’t out yet but once it does, you will know what to do to unlock the Halo reach Avatar Awards from the list below.

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Jorge’s Helmet Earn a Killtacular in multiplayer Matchmaking.

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Carter’s Helmet Clear a Campaign mission on Legendary without dying.

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Emile’s Helmet Earn a Bulltrue medal in either multiplayer or Firefight Matchmaking.

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Kat’s Helmet Avenge a teammate’s death in multiplayer Matchmaking.

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Jun’s Helmet Kill 100 enemies in a row without dying in either Campaign or Firefight.

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7 game lineup

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The most creative minds in game development are bringing the biggest franchises to Windows Phone 7. The first wave of launch portfolio titles includes Xbox LIVE games from the likes of Gameloft, Konami Digital Entertainment, Namco Bandai, PopCap and THQ. Whether you choose to play a gem of a puzzler with “Bejeweled™ LIVE” (PopCap), bring down the house with “Guitar Hero 5” (Glu Mobile), fight off a destructive alien invasion in “The Harvest” (MGS), paint your way out of a corner with “Max and the Magic Marker” (PressPlay) or defend your city in “Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst” (MGS), the first wave of games announced in the launch portfolio of Xbox LIVE games on Windows Phone 7 has something for every mobile gamer:

  • “3D Brick Breaker Revolution” (Digital Chocolate)
  • “Age of Zombies” (Halfbrick)
  • “Armor Valley” (Protégé Games)
  • “Asphalt 5” (Gameloft)
  • “Assassins Creed” (Gameloft)
  • “Bejeweled™ LIVE” (PopCap)
  • “Bloons TD” (Digital Goldfish)
  • “Brain Challenge” (Gameloft)
  • “Bubble Town 2” (i-Play)
  • “Butterfly” (Press Start Studio)
  • “CarneyVale Showtime” (MGS)
  • “Castlevania” (Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • “Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst” (MGS)
  • “De Blob Revolution” (THQ)
  • “Deal or No Deal 2010” (i-Play)
  • “Earthworm Jim” (Gameloft)
  • “Fast & Furious 7” (i-Play)
  • “Fight Game Rivals” (Rough Cookie)
  • “Finger Physics” (Mobliss Inc.)
  • “Flight Control” (Namco Bandai)
  • “Flowerz” (Carbonated Games)
  • “Frogger” (Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • “Fruit Ninja” (Halfbrick)
  • “Game Chest-Board” (MGS)
  • “Game Chest-Card” (MGS)
  • “Game Chest-Logic” (MGS)
  • “Game Chest-Solitaire” (MGS)
  • “GeoDefense” (Critical Thought)
  • “Ghostscape” (Psionic)
  • “Glow Artisan” (Powerhead Games)
  • “Glyder 2” (Glu Mobile)
  • “Guitar Hero 5” (Glu Mobile)
  • “Halo Waypoint” (MGS)
  • “Hexic Rush” (Carbonated Games)
  • “I Dig It” (InMotion)
  • “iBlast Moki” (Godzilab)
  • “ilomilo” (MGS)
  • “Implode XL” (IUGO)
  • “Iquarium” (Infinite Dreams)
  • “Jet Car Stunts” (True Axis)
  • “Let’s Golf 2” (Gameloft)
  • “Little Wheel” (One click dog)
  • “Loondon” (Flip N Tale)
  • “Max and the Magic Marker” (PressPlay)
  • “Mini Squadron” (Supermono Limited)
  • “More Brain Exercise” (Namco Bandai)
  • “O.M.G.” (Arkedo)
  • “Puzzle Quest 2” (Namco Bandai)
  • “Real Soccer 2” (Gameloft)
  • “The Revenants” (Chaotic Moon)
  • “Rise of Glory” (Revo Solutions)
  • “Rocket Riot” (Codeglue)
  • “Splinter Cell Conviction” (Gameloft)
  • “Star Wars: Battle for Hoth” (THQ)
  • “Star Wars: Cantina” (THQ)
  • “The Harvest” (MGS)
  • “The Oregon Trail” (Gameloft)
  • “Tower Bloxx NY” (Digital Chocolate)
  • “Twin Blades” (Press Start Studio)
  • “UNO” (Gameloft)
  • “Women’s Murder Club: Death in Scarlet” (i-Play)
  • “Zombie Attack!” (IUGO)
  • “Zombies!!!!” (Babaroga)

Additional titles in the launch portfolio will be released between now and the Windows Phone 7 launch this holiday season; once the phone launches, new Xbox LIVE titles also will be added to the games portfolio every week.

[via Microsoft]

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Best Halo Reach Pre-order Deals

Updated 9/2/2010

If you’re looking for the best Halo Reach pre-order deal, you came to the right place. We will be searching high and low for the best deals and will keep this post updated until September 14th, 2010 when Halo Reach Drops! If you come across a better deal, let us know right away to share with all. Thx

To start, all versions come with a Halo: Reach Special Bonus!
Pre-Order your copy of Halo: Reach and get a code to redeem the coveted Recon helmet with the Visor/Blast Shield (stowed) variant for use in Halo: Reach’s campaign and multiplayer modes via Xbox Live.

imageHalo: Reach Standard Edition

Amazon $59.99 – w/ $20 off a future video game purchase. Free Super Saver shipping & No Tax for most!

Walmart $59.96 - w/ Bonus $20 Walmart.com eGift Card

Newegg $49.99 – Free shipping

Buy.com $53.99 – Free shipping

Target $59.99 - Free Halo Reach Fathead Jr. ($39.99 value)

Expired Deals

Newegg $44.99 – Free shipping

imageHalo: Reach Limited Collector's Edition

Amazon $79.99 – w/ $20 off a future video game purchase. Free Super Saver shipping & No Tax for most!

Walmart $79.00 - w/ Bonus $20 Walmart.com eGift Card

Buy.com $74.99 – Free shipping
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Halo: Reach Limited Collector's Edition

Amazon $149.99 – w/ $20 off a future video game purchase. Free Super Saver shipping & No Tax for most!

Walmart $149.00 - w/ Bonus $20 Walmart.com eGift Card

Buy.com $139.99 – Free shipping

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Xbox 360 Limited Edition 250GB Halo Reach Console Bundle

Amazon $399.99 - Free Super Saver shipping & No Tax for most!

Buy.com $399.99 – $4.99 shipping

Related Post:

Unboxing Everything Halo: Reach, then pre-order

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition announced and ready for pre-order

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On November 9, 2010, the newest installment in the biggest action series of all-time and follow-up to last year’s Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2, Call of Duty®: Black Ops, will insert players behind enemy lines during the most dangerous time period mankind has ever known. Filled with heart-racing action, Call of Duty: Black Ops puts players in the boots of elite special forces units engaged in covert warfare, deniable operations, and explosive conflicts around the globe.

The Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition includes:

  • RC-XD Video Surveillance Vehicle
    • Fully custom RC vehicle modeled after in-game RC-XD Killstreak Reward
    • Video camera to send wireless video to Transmitter
    • Microphone to send wireless audio to Transmitter
    • Digital proportional steering and throttle
    • Independent suspension
    • Display stand
  • RC-XD Transmitter
    • 2" backlit TFT 220 x176 color screen to receive video from car
    • Integrated speaker to receive audio from car
    • Custom pistol grip style RC controller
    • High and low speed settings
    • Up to 200ft control range
  • Includes the full Call of Duty: Black Ops Hardened Edition
    • Limited edition Black Ops Collector's Medal w/display case
    • 4 extra playable co-op maps not in the standard edition
    • Black Ops PlayStation® Home avatar outfit
    • Premium, special-edition SteelBook™ case
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops full game

Quantities limited; only available while supplies last.

 

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition

  • Includes the full Call of Duty: Black Ops Hardened Edition w/ Collector's Medal and 4 extra playable co-cop maps not in standard edition
  • RC-XD Video Surveillance Vehicle - Fully custom RC vehicle modeled after in-game RC-XD Killstreak Reward
  • RC-XD Transmitter - 2" backlit TFT 220 x176 color screen to receive video from car

Pre-order: $149.99

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Hardened Edition

  • Limited edition Black Ops Collector's Medal with display case
  • 4 extra playable co-op maps not in the standard edition
  • Exclusive Black Ops Xbox LIVE avatar outfit
  • Premium, special-edition SteelBook™ case
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops full game

Pre-order: $79.99

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Standard

  • Wide array of play modes including single player, local multiplayer versus and online co-op and multiplayer
  • Seventh installment of the Call of Duty series, based on the live fire conflicts of the Cold War era
  • Diverse variety of play setting ranging from urban air and ground combat in SE Asia, to snow combat in Soviet region and jungle combat
  • Blending of traditional COD, and new first-person character scenarios designed to both retain the essence of the COD gaming experience and ensure constantly flowing and varied action
  • New arsenal of weapons and vehicles tied to the Cold War era, including the SR-71 Blackbird and sited explosive-tipped crossbows

Pre-order: $59.99
Get a $20 Video Games Credit

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Netflix Steaming to grow in EPIX Proportion

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It’s official, Netfix signed a deal that brings EPIX's library of movies to Watch Instantly. This deal will bring Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate movies to Netfix streaming. Under this new agreement, movies from those studios can come to Netflix 90 days after they debut on the premium pay-tv and subscription VOD services. The first movies covered by the new deal arrive September 1.

Press Release

EPIX AND NETFLIX ANNOUNCE EXCLUSIVE INTERNET-ONLY DEAL TO INSTANTLY STREAM EPIX MOVIES TO NETFLIX MEMBERS

NEW YORK and BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., August 10, 2010 – EPIX™ and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] today announced an agreement through which Netflix members can instantly watch an array of new releases and library titles from EPIX streamed over the Internet from Netflix. Movies from the multi-year deal will begin streaming from Netflix on September 1 and include movies from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM.

EPIX has subscription pay TV rights to new releases and movies from the libraries of its partners and will make these movies available to Netflix 90 days after their premium pay TV and subscription on demand debuts. Historically, the rights to distribute these films are pre-sold to pay TV for as long as nine years after their theatrical release.

For Netflix, the agreement is a significant step in building the company's streaming offer, adding many popular movie titles from some of the world's leading studios. It adds meaningfully to a growing library of movies and TV shows that can be watched instantly on TVs via a range of leading consumer electronic devices capable of streaming from Netflix and on computers.

For EPIX, the deal reflects the value of the EPIX platform which, from its start, has provided new rights and flexibility for the distribution of its movies. The agreement allows EPIX to continue the distribution of popular content on a variety of platforms and preserve the premium television, subscription on demand and online window reserved for cable, satellite and telco television partners.
"Adding EPIX to our growing library of streaming content, as the exclusive Internet-only distributor of this great content, marks the continued emergence of Netflix as a leader in entertainment delivered over the Web," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. "The EPIX deal is an example of the innovative ways in which we're partnering with major content providers to broaden the scope and freshness of choices available to our members to watch instantly over the Internet."

Mark Greenberg, president of EPIX, added: "Netflix is an incredibly popular service and we welcome them as our newest distribution partner. We are pleased to be able to continue our mission of bringing consumers the movies where they want to watch them, while satisfying the differing needs of cable, telco and satellite operators. This deal also underscores the tremendous value of our offerings in the marketplace."

About Netflix

With more than 15 million members, Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is the world's largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet and sending DVDs by mail. For $8.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited TV episodes and movies streamed to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. With Netflix, there are never any due dates or late fees. Members can select from a growing library of titles that can be watched instantly and a vast array of titles on DVD. Among the large and expanding base of devices that can stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix are Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii consoles; Blu-ray disc players from Samsung, LG and Insignia; Internet TVs from LG, Sony and VIZIO; the Roku digital video player and TiVo digital video recorders, and Apple's iPad tablet. For more information, visit http://www.netflix.com.

About EPIX

EPIX, a joint venture between Viacom Inc. [NYSE: VIA and VIA.B], its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate [NYSE: LGF], is a next-generation premium entertainment channel, on-demand and online service. EPIX provides a powerful entertainment experience with more feature films on demand and online and more HD movies than any other service. It is the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up of new Hollywood titles, classic feature films, original series, music and comedy specials through the linear channel, on-demand and online. EPIX has made the commitment to deliver the industry's most expansive online collection of movies, making more than 3,000 titles available to subscribers this year. The service is available to over 30 million homes nationwide through carriage agreements with Verizon FiOS, DISH Network, Cox Communications, Mediacom Communications, Charter Communications and NCTC. For more information about EPIX, go to www.EpixHD.com

[via engadget, L.A. Times]

Friday, August 6, 2010

It’s Official! Halo: Reach is…

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GOLD!

Congrats Bungie!!!

[39 days and counting]
[pre-order]

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gold is Halo: Reach

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It’s not official but The Sydney Morning Herald got a chance to interview Bungie’s executive producer Joseph Tung, and the first question they asked was,

So, it's done, right?

We went gold last night, so yeah, it's pretty much in the can. It is a weight off my chest to know that we went gold. It was a little bit scary to leave on the tour before we'd actually got the rubber stamp.

So there you have it, it’s in the can, Halo Reach went GOLD!

 

Related Post:

GameStop to hold a Exclusive Halo: Reach Event 08.06.10
Black Halo: Reach themed controller spotted, is bundle to follow?
Halo: Reach Pre-order Deal - $44.99 with Free Shipping
Halo: Reach Controller & Headset pre-orders ship this month – Avatar Bonus
New Halo: Reach Trailer Offers a Stunning Preview
Now is the time to Jump In!
Unboxing Everything Halo: Reach, then pre-order

GameStop to hold a Exclusive Halo: Reach Event 08.06.10

780x120_HaloAfter

Want to get a sneak peek at Halo: Reach before it releases on September 14th? Tomorrow might be your chance!

GameStop has partnered with Microsoft and Tom "Tsquared" Taylor, professional gamer and team captain of Major League Gaming's Str8 Rippin, to provide Halo: Reach tips and tricks, exclusive in-game footage that has never been seen before, the new Firefight mode and tons of other great information that can only be seen at select GameStop locations during the Halo: Reach Afterhours Event. Customers at the event will have the chance to participate in a text-to-win sweepstakes for the chance to win a life-size Halo statue, view exclusive Halo: Reach footage and great product offers.

I won’t give GameStop my money but I will try to make it the event.

Click here to get more info and see if a location near you is holding the event.

Related Post:

Black Halo: Reach themed controller spotted, is bundle to follow?
Halo: Reach Pre-order Deal - $44.99 with Free Shipping
Halo: Reach Controller & Headset pre-orders ship this month – Avatar Bonus
New Halo: Reach Trailer Offers a Stunning Preview
Now is the time to Jump In!
Unboxing Everything Halo: Reach, then pre-order

Black Halo: Reach themed controller spotted, is bundle to follow?

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This could change everything! A Black Halo: Reach themed Xbox 360 controller!

If you were thinking of getting the Halo: Reach Xbox 360 bundle that comes only in Silver (that we know of) and would rather have a black one, there may very well be a Black Halo: Reach Xbox 360 bundle on the way as well. This is only speculation that DualShockers broke the story on but I see this only to appease those with a Black Xbox 360 already. What do you think?

[via DualShockers]

Related Post:

Halo: Reach Pre-order Deal - $44.99 with Free Shipping
Halo: Reach Controller & Headset pre-orders ship this month – Avatar Bonus
New Halo: Reach Trailer Offers a Stunning Preview
Now is the time to Jump In!
Unboxing Everything Halo: Reach, then pre-order

Halo: Reach Pre-order Deal - $44.99 with Free Shipping [EXPIRED]

This pre-order deal has expired. See this post for the latest updated Halo Reach deals.

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The latest Halo: Reach pre-order deal is offered by newegg.com. They are offering the Standard edition of Halo: Reach for only $44.99 along with free shipping. I don’t see this lasting long, so if you haven’t pre-ordered Halo: Reach yet and $20 future game credit doesn’t interest you as offered by Amazon, then you best jump on this deal now.

Halo: Reach releases on September 14 exclusively for the Xbox 360.

Click here to get Halo: Reach for only $44.99

Related Post:

Halo: Reach Controller & Headset pre-orders ship this month – Avatar Bonus
New Halo: Reach Trailer Offers a Stunning Preview
Now is the time to Jump In!
Unboxing Everything Halo: Reach, then pre-order

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Halo: Reach Controller & Headset pre-orders ship this month – Avatar Bonus

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If you haven’t pre-ordered the Halo: Reach controller and/or Headset yet, what are you waiting for?

The planet depends on you.

Blast Covenant forces like never before with the Xbox 360 Halo: Reach Wireless controller. Designed by Bungie in sleek silver and complete with a Halo: Reach prop for your avatar, the exclusive limited edition controller frees you up to roam the room (Up to 30 ft range) and save humanity. [via Amazon]

That’s right, pre-order the Xbox 360 Halo: Reach Wireless controller and with it includes a token for a Banshee aircraft Avatar item/prop for your avatar. Sounds cool!

Not sure you get a token for pre-ordering the Halo: Reach Wireless Xbox 360 Headset but it’s a must have for the wireless freedom it gives.

Every squad needs a leader.

Let the game go to your head with an Xbox 360 Halo: Reach Wireless Headset. Custom designed by Bungie in sleek, game-inspired silver, this exclusive limited edition headset keeps you connected to the team in online multiplayer game play as you storm the battlefield and save humanity.
(Xbox LIVE Gold membership required for online multiplayer)
[via Amazon]

Both the Halo: Reach controller and Headset release this month on August 17, 2010. These are said to be Limited Editions, so get your pre-order in now!

Click to pre-order the Xbox 360 Halo: Reach Wireless controller

Click to pre-order the Halo: Reach Wireless Xbox 360 Headset

Xbox 360 Hot Deals - Jump in!

Some Hot Deals to be had. Lets Jump In!

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Final Fantasy Console - Bundled with FFXIII faceplate, UFC 2010 and Bioshock 2

Get the Final Fantasy XIII Limited Edition Bundle, the Final Fantasy XIII faceplate, UFC Undisputed 2010 and Bioshock 2 all for $299! Hurry though, offer limited to products shipped and sold by Amazon.com, while supplies last.

This bundle is compatible with Kinect.

Click for Final Fantasy XIII Limited Edition Bundle Deal

~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a newer version of this item, the Xbox 360 S shown below.

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The new Xbox 360 S. Here today, ready for tomorrow with a brand new, leaner machine in an all new black gloss finish. Wi-Fi is built-in for easier connection to the world of entertainment on Xbox LIVE, where HD movies and TV stream in an instant.

Features:

  • Xbox 360 has blockbuster games, HD movies and controller-free fun for everyone.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for easy connection to Xbox LIVE.
  • More storage for games, movies and music with 250GB HD.
  • Super quiet with sleek new design plus matching controller and headset.
  • Ready for the controller-free fun of Kinect.

Get this Now for $299

Sunday, August 1, 2010

HALO 2600 Atari Style – Wanting on XBLA Game Room

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Halo 2600 could be an instant hit on XBLA Game Room. Make it happen MS! Until then, you can play the Flash emulation of Halo 2600 here.

PLAY NOW!

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A hint: Head upward to find a gun. Once you have a gun, use spacebar to shot.

This is what AtariAge says about Halo 2600,

Halo, one of the decade's most renowned video game franchises, has finally found a home on the Atari 2600! In this special version of Halo, you play the role of Master Chief as he battles his way through 64 screens! Locate weapons and power-ups that will help you defeat increasingly aggressive enemies! Watch for special Shield power-ups that will give you a second chance when engaging an onslaught of Elites!

Halo 2600 was programmed by Ed Fries in just 4K of space. We've made this new game freely available for you to enjoy in your favorite emulator or on real hardware via devices such as the Harmony Cartridge. You can download the game from this thread as well as discuss the game with its creator, Ed Fries. We made a limited number of Halo 2600 cartridges available for those attending the Classic Gaming Expo this weekend! The carts are adorned with a beautiful label designed by Mike Mika.

Do you have what it takes to tackle the four different zones and infiltrate the Covenant base? Can you reach and defeat the final boss? Humanity is counting on you!

 

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Ed Fries writes over on AtariAge,

Hi guys, here's the story of how this game came about:
(note - I wrote this description for a general audience. sorry that you guys will already know the stuff I'm trying to explain below)

Last fall I was in Philadelphia, speaking at a small video game conference. On the way to the airport I was talking about writing games for the Atari 800 in the early 80s and someone suggested that I read the book "Racing the Beam" about programming the Atari 2600. It sounded cool so I did.

After reading the book I thought it might be fun to play around with writing some of my own code for the machine. I hadn't written 6502 assembler in almost 30 years but it turns out it's pretty easy to pick up again since there are so few instructions. I wasn't sure what to write so I created a little Master Chief from Halo and made him run around the screen. Then I created an Elite for him to shoot at. At this point it wasn't my intention to make a full game. I was just screwing around.

The thing you need to realize about the Atari 2600 is that it is an incredibly limited machine. It has only 128 bytes of RAM and without bank switching the maximum program size is just over 4000 bytes. There are just two 8 pixel wide monochrome sprites, two one pixel bullets, a "ball" and a 40 pixel wide background (and even that is exaggerating...). There is no memory to store the screen image like any modern console or PC, instead it has to be drawn a line at a time by changing the values of the registers that control the sprites and background. The processor is so slow that only 76 clock cycles occur while a line of the screen is being drawn, and the simplest 6502 instructions take at least 2 clock cycles. So just to draw an image of the Master Chief is pretty tough. To create a complete game while living within these constraints is much harder.

Fortunately the Atari homebrew community has created a wealth of resources for the wanna be Atari 2600 programmer. There is a fine assembler and several excellent emulators that include all the debugging features any programmer would want. There are also hundreds of pages of example code and documentation to aid you on your quest.

As I became more familiar with the machine I thought it might be possible to make something that was actually fun to play. I also ran into some fans of classic games at the Game Developers Conference in March and they encouraged me to keep going and try to make a finished game. At first I had the player battling through a linear series of rooms. You had to kill all the enemies before it would unlock the walls and let you move to the next room. As you can imagine, this got dull pretty quickly. I was doing it this way because it was relatively easy on the Atari 2600 but what if, instead, I could make a 64 room map the player had to explore, kind of like the old atari game Adventure? To implement this would require that I make an "asymmetric playfield" so that some rooms might have a wall on one side but not on the other. It turns out that's pretty tricky to do on the 2600, at least while you are trying to drawn everything else you want to draw, but I managed to get it working.

I was still worried there wouldn't be enough variety so I created a completely separate kind of level where you were driving a Warthog (jeep from Halo) across a rolling terrain while Banshees circled overhead and dropped bombs. But as I progressed on this I realized it had two problems: First it was too large. I had given myself the limit of 4K for the entire game and my Warthog section was over 1K by itself and it wasn't complete. Second, it wasn't fun. So I cut the Warthog level and tried to focus on making the core game more fun.

To add variety I divided the map into 4 "zones": outdoor, covenant base, ice world, and final boss area. Each had a unique look and some unique enemies. I also played with the atari's ability to stretch and duplicate sprites to create some further surprises for the player. Then I added some pickups the player could find to help them on the way.

At the end of the map I wanted to have a Boss encounter. This posed several problems. First, bosses are supposed to be BIG. How to get that feeling across in my game? Second, it had to be exciting. How could I make the boss encounter different from the rest of the game? I solved the first problem by writing a special Boss kernel for the final room. The rest of the game has what is called a "two line kernel" which means that all pixels on the screen are two scan lines high. What if I switched to a one line kernel for the Boss encounter? That would make the Master Chief half as tall which would you feel like you just walked into a big room and the camera zoomed out to be able to show the boss. Of course this meant I had to do all the processing in one line (only 76 cycles...) instead of two, but I had written the Warthog section with a one line kernel so I knew it was possible for me to do it.

To make the encounter different I made a single large boss that moved up and down the screen. He uses the maximum sprite width to be wide and is 24 pixels tall compared to 12 pixels for my other sprites. I also wanted him to be able to shoot 3 missiles at once. Of course that was a problem because the atari only supports 2 missiles and I need one for the Master Chief to be able to shoot back. I solved this by "multiplexing" the enemy missiles which basically means if there are 3 missiles on the screen I draw one each frame for three frames. That has the effect of making them flicker a bit but it's not bad for fast moving missiles. The great thing was once this was working for the Boss I could also use it in the rest of the game. Up to this point only one enemy could fire at any time because there was only one bullet for them to share, but now they could each have their own virtual bullet and fire whenever they wanted to.

At this point the rough outlines of the game were complete but it needed a lot of polish. For one thing it was brutally difficult. One of my playtesters convinced me to add three lives instead of the original one. Another convinced me that running into trees shouldn't kill you, and another finally got me to make the walls not kill you if you accidentally ran into them. I added the title screen at this time but had some pretty spastic stars which another playtester finally convinced me to clean up. I also added sound effects and a bit of the Halo 2 theme song on the title screen.

All of these changes were made extra difficult because I was completely out of space. Every time I wanted to fix a bug or add a new sound effect I had to go back through the code and rewrite some part of it to do exactly what it was doing before but with fewer bytes of code. At first there were some pretty easy ways to save space but, as you might imagine, this become more and more difficult when I was staring at something I had already rewritten two or three times before.

When a playtester complained that there was nothing after defeating the boss, I added legendary mode, so that if you beat the game you can play all the way through it again with a few parameters tweaked to make it much tougher.

It's around this time that I discovered the existence of what I call "Magic Land". I was working on a bug with the boss encounter and accidentally found myself completely outside the 64 room map. I was wandering through memory that was never intended to be interpreted as part of the map but the code was doing the best it could to interpret what was being thrown at it. Strange, misshapen monsters attacked me in even stranger ways as I wandered through this bizarre land that I had unintentionally created. I left a bug or two in the final game to allow others to find and explore this strange landscape as I did.

One of the last changes I made has to do with the Atari 2600 HMOVE (horizontal move) register. Basically if you want to reposition a sprite horizontally while the screen is being drawn (something I was doing 3 times on every screen.) you have to store a value into HMOVE. You are supposed to do it as the first thing on a scan line and a side effect of doing it is an ugly black line about an inch wide on the left side of the screen. You'll see those black lines on almost all Atari games. In the old days it was kind of hard to see on a phosphor TV display, but on a modern TV or computer monitor it's quite clear. Some games hide it by having a black background (not something I wanted to do) or by doing it every single line so the entire left side of the screen is black (also not great for the look I wanted), so I had kind of accepted that it was inevitable and had learned to ignore it, but every time I showed the game to someone who wasn't familiar with Atari games, one of the first things they would ask me is "what are those ugly black lines?"

When reading through some documentation I noticed that it was possible to do an "early HMOVE" which involved storing to the HMOVE register a few clock cycles before the beginning of the scan line and that in that case it didn't act the way it was supposed to (things moved in a funny way) but if you could do it exactly on the right cycle (cycle 74 in my case) then the black line wouldn't ever appear on the screen. I wrote a simple test program with ducks moving back and forth on the screen to prove to myself that I could compensate for the crazy behavior caused by this early HMOVE, make the ducks move as I wanted them to, and never have to see that ugly black line. That gave me the confidence to go back into my main kernel and implement the early HMOVE in Halo 2600 to get rid of the black lines for good.

That's pretty much the story. I couldn't have made the game without the incredible resources available on AtariAge.com and the many websites it links to. All the work you see in the game is mine except for some of the sprites which were drawn by Mike Mika who was a great encouragement and aid throughout the process. Chris Charla, Colin Williamson, Tom Russo, Ian Bogost, and Albert Yarusso all helped me by playtesting and by trying to talk sense into me when I was being stubborn about not fixing some glaring issue.

I hope you have as much fun playing Halo 2600 as I had making it.

-Ed Fries

[via NeoGAF, AtariAge]