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2281  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Want Exclusives? Then You Want Microsoft for the Next 7 months on: November 03, 2006, 05:20:13 PM
I'll just add that the 360 is getting Crackdown early next year and supposedly the next Splinter Cell game later as exclusives.

I'll be very surprised if Ubisoft makes the next Splinter Cell a 360 exclusive. This title is one of there cash cows, and I couldn't see them dropping it from the PS3.
2282  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I caught one of my local Gamestops in a lie on: November 02, 2006, 09:36:15 PM
What really bothers me about the EB/Gamestop preorders is that they pass NO savings on to you. Not even a stinking 10%. You're preorder helps them reduce operating costs, but they refuse to share that savings with you. Do you realize how much money they get to use for a full year while you wait for Halo 3?

I rarely see a reason to preorder through EB or Gamestop. Even for niche titles it is just as easy to do it through GoGamer, Amazon, Play Asia, etc, and they actually give you a DISCOUNT for preorders. Or places like frys, Best Buy or Circuit City put the game on sale during the first day or week. You should see how pissed our local store was with the number of FF XII preorder cancellations due to the $38 Circuit City sale.
2283  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Want Exclusives? Then You Want Microsoft for the Next 7 months on: November 02, 2006, 04:28:58 PM
Oh yeah! DOAX2... now with independent breast physics...(for real)
2284  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Want Exclusives? Then You Want Microsoft for the Next 7 months on: November 02, 2006, 04:21:44 PM
Man, I hope not.  I also think it's a mistake.  It's not even guaranteed that Blue Dragon will be a titan here to begin with- it's obviously a take on Dragon Quest and that series just doesn't have much sway over here right now.  A Sakaguchi/Toriyama team up means a lot in Japan, but those names are largely lost on most American RPG fans. I think they'd do better here to get their RPGs out in a timely and regular fashion.  RPGs are always sparse early in a console's life and getting some significant RPGs out before PS3 RPGs hit would probably help them a lot.  It's very possible that we might start seeing a few PS3 RPGs by next holiday season, but certainly not before then.

I agree that putting RPGs out in a consistent fashion would be the best strategy. However maybe they ARE staggering them in this fashion. After all, you have Mass Effect before summer. That would give RPG fans enough time to digest that title before Blue Dragon hit. (Even though I believe the audiences for JRPGs and WRPGs are not the exactly the same.)

Even if Sony has no strong RPGs for next Christmas, you know their marketing machine will be in full gear announcing the massive library coming in 2008.

Plus, Lost Odyssey is supposed to hit Japan in the first half of next year, so it would make a lot more sense to plan for that to be their big US RPG release of the next holiday season.

If this is true then I agree that a better scenario would be Mass Effect in April/May, Blue Dragon in late July, followed by Lost Odyssey for Christmas. I sure hope these games live up to my expectations. My hope and dreams for the Xbox 360 JRPG offensive rest in the hands of Mistwalker. smile  Remember, they also have the action RPG Cry On. 
2285  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Want Exclusives? Then You Want Microsoft for the Next 7 months on: November 02, 2006, 03:58:29 PM
Devil May Cry 4 is a PS3 exclusive.

I heard end of 2007 for this. Has it been moved up? I tried to limit the timeframe to May, as moving past that date made alot of titles highly questionable. This is also why I left off Unreal Tournament 2007 (Now scheduled for late June) and Enchanted Arms (Late 2007).

Is anyone else worried that Gears of War is the Brute Force of the 360?  That game had a major "Halo" push at the time and then fell like a stone covered in concrete.

I think this will be a good game, but I don't think it can possibly live up to the hype. I see a huge opening run for the Gears of War, and then it drops off quickly within a month or two. The storyline and/or single player experience will be its Achille's Heel. I hope I'm wrong.

I've also heard more than once that Blue Dragon for the 360 will be held until early October for a U.S. release, followed by Halo 3 in November. This gives Microsoft "two titans" for the holiday 2007 season. If this is true, Blue dragon better get some damned added content since it would be held almost a full year after the Japanese release.
2286  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Want Exclusives? Then You Want Microsoft for the Next 7 months on: November 02, 2006, 06:26:10 AM
Looking to May 2007...

As expected, the Xbox360 and the PS3 share many of the same games cross platform. However, if you look at the exclusives, the Xbox 360 has the strongest exclusive library and releases over the next 7-8 months.  I'm personally disappointed with Nintendo, and have decided to bench buying a Wii until probably next summer. I have interest in only two Wii titles that are exclusives: Red Steel and Trauma Center. There is nothing else even on the radar that isn't multi-platform. Once again it seems that 3rd parties are not putting their full weight behind the Big N.

The 360 has a year on the competition, but the next 6 months look especially strong for the 360, with several heavy hitters arriving by April if the dates hold. It is a shame that Lost Planet and Forza Motorsport 2 were not ready for Christmas as intended, because I think they could have greatly added to the 360 momentum if the were released in early December. Sony looks somewhat weak on early good exclusives, but Resistance: Fall of Man and Heavenly Sword looks promising. They still manage to have a much better library than the Wii despite all the positive press on Nintendo's machine. The Wii just has too many current generation multi-platform titles and licensed games in its lineup, and they don't even have half the number of cross platform games that the PS3 and Xbox 360 share.

Obviously, dates are subject to change, and I filtered out some titles like Assassin's Creed which have been pushed back even further than reflected in this link.  I also pulled out any titles that would go cross platform before May. (Oblivion, for example)

MS has:

Saint's Row
Dead Rising
Chrome Hounds
Perfect Dark Zero
Enchanted Arms
Full Auto
Quake 4
99 Nights
Project Gotham Racing 3
Rumble Roses XX
Ridge Racer 6
Gears of War 11/07/06
Viva Pinata 11/09/06 (Expect this to get drowned out by Gears of War. Not sure what MS was thinking releasing it in the same week.)
Dead Or Alive X2 11/20/2007
Lost Planet-January 2007
Alan Wake- January 2007
Forza Motorsport- February 2007
BioShock-April 2007
Mass Effect-April 2007
Too Human-April 2007

Sony has:

Genji: Days of the Blade
Fatal Inertia
Full Auto 2
Mobile Suit Gundam
Resistance: Fall of Man
Ridge Racer 7
Untold Legends: Dark
Heavenly Sword
Eye of Judgement
Virtua Fighter 5

Nintendo has:

Rapala Trophies
Red Steel
Super Monkey Ball Bananna Blitz
Super Swing Golf
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
GT Pro
Excite truck
Rayman (Reported in the forum as significantly different than the other console releases)
Tony hawk: Downhill Jam
Zelda:Twilight Princess

Please feel free to point out any titles I may have missed that are coming out by May 2007, and are exclusive to that particular console.
2287  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I want to play through all the major PSX RPG's on: November 02, 2006, 03:17:15 AM
Excellent job! Keep going!

In the immortal words of the Simpson's:
"Forward not backward! Upward, not forward! And always spinning...spinning..."
2288  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Touch Detective Impressions (DS) on: November 01, 2006, 05:45:59 AM
I just finished the game. I found the fourth episode to be the weakest of the bunch, but also the funniest. I tossed around the idea of trading the game in, but I think I'll keep this in my library. It really is an outlandish title that deserves better scores than it received.

2289  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Final Fantasy XII Impressions on: November 01, 2006, 12:47:37 AM
I love the game with one glaring exception. It appears that this game has a darker tone and atmosphere than previous titles. So why did they fuck that up by placing little smiley faces over everyones' heads? I'm especially upset that instead of a nice  portrait next to the dialogue box of the character that is speaking, we get an icon that looks like this---> nod

Whover had that idea is an idiot. I'm also surprised that nobody else appears to be bothered by this detail.
2290  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Considering a 360 vs P3 on: October 31, 2006, 02:20:26 AM
Well, the Xbox 360 is an excellent choice for action and sports games. The PS3 will inevitably have more RPGs, but the 360 has a strong line-up already out or in development:

Enchanted Arms
Mass Effect
Blue Dragon
Eternal Sonata
Infinite Undiscovery
Lost Odyssey
Fable 2

Either console is a good choice.

<edit> I know nothing about the Dell 2007FPW, but VGA cables should give you an excellent picture.

2291  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (10/30) on: October 30, 2006, 02:46:31 PM
1701 A.D. (This game was never even on my radar, but the demo was sweet.)

I also had my heart set on Yggdra Union, but I see that has been pushed back by 2 weeks.  mad
2292  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Touch Detective Impressions (DS) on: October 29, 2006, 05:02:33 PM
Can I give you a hand? I just finished the 2nd case.
2293  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Final Fantasy XII reviews on: October 28, 2006, 01:47:47 PM
How many people her think the collector's edition is worth the price of entry, considering that it is $20 more expensive than the Circuit City standard version? I'm going back and forth on this one.

The CE contains:

-A VERY beautiful steel tin
-History of Final Fantasy featurette
-Art gallery
-US and Japanese trailers
2294  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: My Prediction: Wii Sells Even Less than the Gamecube on: October 28, 2006, 01:29:10 PM
f they sell through all of those machines they'd have almost the same install base as the 360, which, unfortunately has been selling Poorly and has been routinely outsold by last gens PS2. It's a shame because the 360 gets a lot of stuff right and is a blast to play with.

I'm also somewhat surprised by the 360's mediocre performance, but I think games like Fable 2, Gears of War, Halo 3, Blue Dragon, and Lost Planet will be some real system sellers. On paper they are doing alot of things right, but the overseas gaming community still seems to treat MS as the red-headed step-child of the family.

Nintendo, on the other hand, has some strange built-in voodoo mystique that neither Sony nor Microsoft have been able to recreate.

2295  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: My Prediction: Wii Sells Even Less than the Gamecube on: October 28, 2006, 05:35:34 AM
You mean worldwide?  Worldwide I think it'll be on par with the GCN, maybe a little lower or a little higher.  If we take Asia out of the picture, I agree with you.

I'm sorry, I should have been more precise. Yes, I am referring to final, worldwide sales. I'm anticipating an explosive start with a significant slowdown after 2-3 years. I just don't see the system having the legs of the PS3 or 360.

HDTV is for nerds and people with too much money that buy the best of everything. The average joe knows nothing about resolution output.

I'll give you this for the moment, but the new generation of consoles has a 5 year or longer lifespan. Within 2 years the HDTV scene will be far different. You can already buy a decent set for under $500.

Third party support will be the make or break factor for the Wii. The GC had hardly any in it's final years and that hurt Nintendo really badly. As far as sales predictions go, I think it will do tremendously in Japan and be only slightly better than the Cube in Europe and the US.

Third party support is already somewhat precarious. Many of the future titles you see announced in the gaming magazines have "Platform: PS3/Xbox 360" or "Platform: PS3/Xbox360/PC". I think much of this is due to the sheer lack of horsepower under the Wii hood, and perhaps the growing stereotype in North America that Nintendo is the "Kiddie Console".  I personally don't feel that way, but many average people equate Nintendo with Mario and Pokemon. There simple fact that the Wii lacks many of the perks that adults desire simply reinforces this perspective.
2296  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / My Prediction: Wii Sells Even Less than the Gamecube on: October 28, 2006, 04:05:57 AM
Okay, don't point fingers and call me a hater or a fanboy, because I know that I'll own all three next-gen consoles, just like I did for the current generation. However, the more I read about the Wii, the more I believe it will have an impressive start, but eventually fall well behind the 360 and PS3. i WANT to belive in Nintendo, but my spirit is weak. Here is my reasoning:

1) Graphics- Graphics are becoming an increasingly important aspect of gaming, and with each passing generation we become further acclimated to an ever rising standard of graphics. Once the PS3 and 360 have more development time under their belts, the disparity between these two consoles and the Wii in terms of graphic performance will increase dramatically. You will never see anything that looks like Gears of War or Metal Gear Solid 4 on the Wii, and these games are still early in the development lifespan of the consoles.

Also, people love to point at the PSP vs DS sales disparity, and use it as the flagship for the "graphics don't matter" argument. First, the PSP is $70 more expensive. Second, the PSP is more fragile, and once a parent holds both in his or her hands the DS is usually the handheld of choice for kids. Third, we expect less out of mobile electronics. People don't expect bleeding edge graphics on a portable system, just like they don't expect audiophile quality from an ipod, or cell phones that are static free and never drop a call. Home consoles are within a different category, and the expectations are higher.

2) HDTV and Multiplayer: Nintendo has no answer to Live, HD-DVD/Blu-ray, 780p, 1080i, or 1080p.

3) The Wii controller- Play magazine and several other reviews I've read on the Wii controller talk about some substandard response time or the onset of Carpal Tunnel as the player uses the controller. Play Magazine reports "...other titles required repetitive motion that while intriguing, may not hold up for extended play sessions. Marvel Ultimate Alliance, for example, requires players to flick the Wii remote in order to get their hero to perform a basic attack. The game requires a near endless series of attacks, and flicking constantly proves to be less than an exciting endeavor."  I've seen other reviewers report the same "Wii fatigue" in games like Red Steel and Batallion Wars 2.

Finally, here is one problem with the Wii controller that I never anticipated. My step-brother won't buy the system for his kids because "I don't want them jumping around the living room swinging a controller at my lamps. They're already hyper enough without something to swing in their hands." I wonder how many other parents will feel the same way? (Admittedly, probably a small percentage)

4) 3rd Party Support- No Assassin's Creed. No Grand Theft Auto. No Guiter Hero, Stranglehold, Elder Scrolls, Dark Sector, Armored Core or a host of other titles I can list off the top of my head. Rember all those great Capcom games that were going to be Gamecube exclusives? It never happened, and I doubt third parties are going to show the Wii a whole lotta love once the infatuation with something slightly different is over.

5) "Its the perfect second console"- This is the mantra I hear again and again from the Nintendo camp, but I wonder if it holds water. The core 360 is not that much more expensivethan a Wii, and the 360 will have far more quality exclusive titles in its camp as the generation continues. Fable 2, Halo 3, Halo Wars, Gears of War, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, PGR3, Mass Effect, Infinite Undiscovery, Culdcept Saga, Forza Motorsport, Lost Planet, etc, etc, etc.  My crystal ball sees the Wii having a handful of far quirkier titles than the 360, but not nearly as many exclusives.

I hope the Wii does well. I know I'll have one. But I think Nintendo's future after this generation will rest in handhelds.
2297  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Touch Detective Impressions (DS) on: October 28, 2006, 02:57:13 AM
I'm still enjoying it, but WOW, there are definitely one or two head-scratching puzzles. Be absolutely sure you pay attention to those little comments she makes on the top screen. Her thoughts give hints on what to do next, and they are easily missed while you focus on the bottom screen.

It is important to realize that part of the game takes place in a dream state, and much like real dreams eveything is not logical during these play sequences.
2298  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Touch Detective Impressions (DS) on: October 26, 2006, 07:47:29 PM
Do the later investigations get better or worse?
2299  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Touch Detective Impressions (DS) on: October 26, 2006, 07:24:08 PM
Yeah, I bought Touch Detective because I enjoy adventure games, and I love to support Atlus. They bring out some games that would otherwise probably never see an American release due to their niche status.

I still feel that Pheonix Wright had more personality than Touch Detective, but I'm enjoying this title better than Trace Memory.
2300  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Touch Detective Impressions (DS) on: October 26, 2006, 07:18:54 PM
I thought I'd post a few impressions of this new DS game now that I've completed the first investigation.

I love the graphics style, as it is very reminiscent of the golden years of PC adventure gaming. Everything is beautifully designed with vibrant colors and wonderful attention to detail. The cast of characters is nicely modeled and indeed strange. There is a definite Tim Burton feel to the characters, and many of them have some rather entertaining things to say.

I'm happy to report that the touch screen interaction works flawlessly, and navigation around the environments is very simple. The stylus is used for everything.

Now, the biggest complaint reviewers have had with the game is the rather obtuse puzzles. If the first investigation is an indicator of difficulty, those people with experience playing PC adventure games will have little problem with most of the puzzles. It is true that some are vague, but the number of items in your inventory is rather small, and there are limited areas in which you travel. So, even if you are forced to click on everything and try to combine various items, the number of cominations is not as staggering as those seen in certain PC games. In fact, I would  say that most experienced adventure game enthusiasts will blow through 90% of the puzzles. (for everyone else be warned that there is currently no walkthrough available on the Internet)

Obviously, the best part about the game are the characters. They truly are a motley bunch, and each has something rather humorous or ominous to say. Most are not fleshed out, but it is always entertaining to meet someone new. This is definitely the first game I've ever played where a skeleton was concerned about my eating habits. As always, the Atlus translation is very professionally done. I really wish I could be more attached to the characters, but conversations and background details are limited, and the story moves along at a brisk pace.

Overall, I think adventure fans will be pleased with this purchase, especially since it comes in at only $29.99. The sweet spot for most people, however, is probably $20.
2301  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Do I want the 360 HD-DVD Add On? on: October 26, 2006, 06:42:50 PM
I won't buy it just because I'm concerned about the wear and tear on my 360. We already know that the systems are not exactly masterpieces of design and manufacturing, so I'm concerned about using it for an extra 8-10 hours per week for movies. (This is assuming that, as I understand it, the 360 does most of the heavy lifting i.e. processing)

Having said that, the current crop of HD-DVD movies apparently look much better thab the Blu-Ray.
2302  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [360] Console Noise Levels on: October 24, 2006, 03:12:26 PM
I have hardware manufactured in August and it is exceptionally quiet in comparison to my last system which was manufactured in January. Overall it is on par with the noise levels of the first Xbox. The reduction in noise is truly significant.

BTW, after reading about the problems with the MS warranty area, I'm glad that I just folded and grabbed my new one from EB Games. Ironically, as soon as I turned it on I kept getting the E67 error for the hard drive. Even after reattaching the drive the error soon came back. I immediately returned the system and had them float my warranty to a new piece of hardware.
2303  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Strange...Bundled xbox 360 controller only good for that system? on: October 24, 2006, 02:35:00 AM
....and thus, with one short reply, Purge makes Dante Rising look like an idiot... mad
2304  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Strange...Bundled xbox 360 controller only good for that system? on: October 24, 2006, 02:15:08 AM
As many of you know, I was recenly robbed and they got my 360 among other items. One of the things they did NOT get was the original controller that came with the system. Well, I recently purchased my new console and I've discovered something strange. The wireless controller for my previous system does not work with my new system. I've pushed that small white button on the front of the controller thinking that it would identify a new system but that didn't work. Likewise, when you push the silver X on the controller the geen lights rotate and then turn off without "booting" the controller.

Are these controllers that are bundled with the system only good for that system? I'll be upset if I have a useless piece of $40 hardware for no good reason.
2305  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I have 3 ways to Buy an Xbox 360? Which is the way to go? on: October 22, 2006, 01:34:31 PM
Damn...Costco only sells package deals on Xbox 360s and PSPs? I already have an extra controller, so I have no need for a third. And that PSP bundle is #$% $300. If Costco doesn't sell a regular package then they are out, unfortunately. I have no need for the extra bloat.

So, they question now becomes save $20 and get a free copy of Dead Rising plus the 2 year MS warranty, or spend an extra $20, get no game, but have the peace of mind that I can just walk into the local EB and get a system if mine breaks. I'm assuming that it costs less than $20 to ship a broken Xbox 360 to MS, so even if the system breaks once I'm still slightly ahead.

Do EB and MS both give you refurbished or new systems?
2306  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I have 3 ways to Buy an Xbox 360? Which is the way to go? on: October 22, 2006, 03:26:05 AM
Is going through MS really that bad?
2307  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Purchasing consoles (and other stuff) at Costco on: October 22, 2006, 02:35:17 AM
Do brick and mortar Costco stores actually sell things like the PSP and Premium Xbox 360 WITHOUT bundles?  On their website both systems are only available with bloated prices and accessories.

Also, to be definitive, if I buy a console system through Costco, how long does the warranty extend? From Kobra's post it seems like I will still be able to return it two or three years later for a full replacement.

Thank you.
2308  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / I have 3 ways to Buy an Xbox 360? Which is the way to go? on: October 22, 2006, 02:30:48 AM
Yay! My insurance company has begun paying me back for my stolem items. One of the things I'm going to re-purchase is the Xbox 360. Considering all of the hardware issues, I want an extended warranty. Which way should I go when making the purchase?

Option 1-

No Tax
No Shipping charge
Free copy of Dead Rising ($49 value)
Microsoft 2 year extended warranty: $60
TOTAL= $459.99

Option 2- EB GAMES
System $399.99
Tax $31.00
1 Year extended warranty $49.99

Option 3- Costco
System $399.99
Membership to Costco (Acts as an extended warranty? I would probably also use the membership to but my PSP and Microsoft Zune) $50
Tax $31.00

Basically, by going through Amazon I get Dead Rising plus the system for $20 less than the other two options, but I would be using MS to service the system if it crashed. EB and Costco are a wash, but I suppose buying the Zune and PSP at Costco throws extra warranties on these items also.
2309  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: WOW! Devil Summoner [ps2] looks AMAZING! on: October 13, 2006, 12:13:36 AM
Oh crap.  The one thing I was afraid of when I heard about this was that the battle system sounded like it was very limited.  If you are going to do an action game, do an action game (DMC 3 or fighting game for examples).  To have just 'keep hitting x, then once in a while hit triangle' (ie Shining Force Neo) combat sucks.  It completely sucks the fun out of the game.

I'm of the exact opposite philosophy. The LAST thing I want in an RPG, even an action RPG, is the need to learn complex combo attacks and precision timing. If I wanted that I'd go buy Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden or God of War. This is an RPG with action elements, so I think the old adage KISS (keep it simple stupid) applies.

My only disappointment with the game is how combat often takes place within the city environments. I'm acclimated to these areas always being safehavens. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it really is somewhat jarring to be attacked on a city street in broad daylight, and after the battle see everyone just walking around as usual.
2310  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Chaos League becoming one of those "Rare" titles. on: October 12, 2006, 09:47:06 PM
Don't forget about the Sudden Death expansion pack.
2311  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My townhome was broken into this morning. 360 and other items stolen. on: October 10, 2006, 04:16:26 AM
I think, given how you describe what happened, that the 'thief' may have been looking for your gf

The more I think about it, the more I fear this may be true. The main reason I'm starting to buy into this line of thought is that the first floor still had an HDTV, iRiver MP3 player, stereo, palm, and DVD player that were never touched. Three of these four things are easily portable by one person. Why even chance going upstairs when there is still $2000 of electronics within eyeshot?
2312  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Office XP Professional for $55 shipped. on: October 09, 2006, 10:17:23 PM
I have a copy of Microsoft Office XP Professional w/Powerpoint, Word, Excel and Access for sale via Paypal.

All discs are brand new and never opened. They are complete, full versions of MS software, just branded as "Student Media". These are NOT trial versions. They come in plastic sealed bags with all the appropriate keys. 

The software will be sent to you with delivery confirmation. I'm asking for $55.  I'd really love to sell these to someone who is looking to build a new system or upgrade their own. Lockdown gets first dibs if he wants this set, but otherwise it is open season.

2313  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My townhome was broken into this morning. 360 and other items stolen. on: October 09, 2006, 10:01:40 PM
That was my thought after hearing about the GF giving the tours alone.  I would suspect they thought they would only be encoutering a female, with all that entails.

I never even considered this, but you could be correct. The room he was about to enter upstairs is my girlfriend's room. (We usually sleep together in the master bedroom, but she sometimes sleeps in the smaller room so that she doesn't disturb me when she needs to wake up in the morning.) Needless to say, she won't be giving any more tours.

Today I learned that if you simply tug on our townhome's glass sliding door the lock unlatches with no damage. You don't even need to put your $%#$ weight into it. I went over to my neighbor's townhome, and his lock is the same way. We did a quick experiment and I broke into his kitchen in 3 seconds by tugging on the door. It merely feels like the door is stuck for a second and then in immediately unlatches. His eyes were as big as saucers when he saw how quickly I got into his place. What's the point of even putting a lock like this on a door? Aesthetics?

2314  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My townhome was broken into this morning. 360 and other items stolen. on: October 07, 2006, 04:14:45 AM
I have a friend who works in the city's police force, but he was not on duty yesterday. This evening he stopped by my house to see how I was doing. He already knew what happened (I'm assuming at the shift start briefing) and he agreed with most of you here that to continue chasing the thief outside was not a good idea because:

1) Most of the home invasions/thefts in our area involve two to three individuals. One or two do most of the heavy lifting while another acts as a sentry. He said that most likely there were two people in my house, but I never saw the second person because he or she evacuated while I was still upstairs. If they regrouped while I was in pursuit, I may have been caught in a very dangerous situation.

2) If I had caught up to the thief and used the sword, I would most likely be involved in a very messy civil suit. If I injured him I could be sued. Even if I killed him his family could still take everything I own in a lawsuit since he had already fled from my property. Strangely, the fact that I have renter's insurance could at that point actually be a liability because there was no good reason to give chase, since everything that was stolen would be replaced.
2315  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My townhome was broken into this morning. 360 and other items stolen. on: October 06, 2006, 09:10:20 PM
New addition to the event:

Taking some of the advice here, I ran down to EB and Gamestop and give them the serial number of my system. I just got back and when I arrive home I see that my damned front door is slightly OPEN. The first thing that ran through my mind was "I can't believe the fucker is back again." I go out to my car, get a tire iron, feel my pulse rising, have my finger on 911 SEND, and rush in expecting to be vindicated. Instead I find a maintenance man putting a new screen door on the back of the house, along with a new bar-lock that holds the sliding door shut.

My first words to him once I realize that the landlord had sent him over:  "Damn, I can't tell if I'm happy or pissed to see you." 

He looks at the tire iron. "I'd prefer it if you were happy."

I'm surprised to see how quickly my landlord has responded to the incident. They changed the screen, gave me a locking bar, increased the wattage of the bulb in the back lamp, and put a better lock on the sliding door. Now I wish he'd just let me know if I could buy a dog. As I mentioned before they are not allowed here, but I've had dogs all my life. I'm personally partial to German Shepherds.

<edit> Looking back, rushing into the house was not very wise. For all I know, the thief could have realized that I saw his face, and was coming back to fix that messy detail. It is a longshot, but stranger things have happened.
2316  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My townhome was broken into this morning. 360 and other items stolen. on: October 06, 2006, 07:31:03 PM
What really upsets me is my perspective on the issue. Instead of being grateful for being alive and unhurt, I'm livid that they got away with about $1000 in electronics. My mind refuses to let me center on the positive side of the scenario. I should be repeating the mantra "I'm alive, I'm unhurt and most of my stuff is intact."  I don't even feel violated,which is everyone's usual question. I'm just furious over my material losses.
2317  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / My townhome was broken into this morning. 360 and other items stolen. on: October 06, 2006, 07:05:37 PM
I could really use some advice from you guys about something terrible that happened to me at about 2:00AM this morning. I live in a two-story townhome, and at midnight I went to take a nap in the master bedroom on the second floor. About 2 hours later, for a reason I still don't understand, I suddenly woke up.  With my head still on the pillow, I looked into the hallway because my door was partially ajar. In front of our second bedroom a man was slowly opening the door to the guest bedroom.

For a few brief seconds I felt like I was in some type of dream state as I watched him cautiously slide the door open. That was quickly followed by an immediate wave of fear which quickly turned into anger. I shouted out at the guy and stumbled out of bed detangling myself from the blankets. At this point I remembered that I have one of those ornamental "Way of the Samurai" samurai swords from the Franklin Mint on the bedroom wall. I grabbed it and he was already running down the steps to the bottom floor.

At this point I chased after him, but a thousand thoughts started running through my mind, the primary one being that he may not be alone. I slowed down at the bottom of the stairs, turned the corner, and saw him bolting toward the back sliding door of my townhome. I shouted again and then he turned to look at me and started to slow down.  I'm not sure if he was disoriented, frightened, or was thinking about attacking me since he wasn't wearing a mask and I'd seen his face twice now, albeit in partial darkness.  After a brief moment he reoriented and then bolted out the back sliding door. I chased him out the threshold trailing about 15-20 feet behind him.

Our backyard (unfenced) sits against a farmer's field. He ran into the dried corn husks. It is pitch black in the back of our house so visibility is very poor, but I got the distinct impression that there were two people moving together through the field. Despite the fact that I had this admittedly blunt sword in my hand, I was feeling scared all over again. I moved back into the house. I called 911, the call dropped once,  and the second attempt a woman stayed on the line with me until two police units arrived within 5 minutes. They had a few other officers moving through the corn field with flashlights, but according to them it looked like the person(s) doubled back. The police took fingerprints from my entertainment center and doors, so I'm hoping they turn out to be helpful.

Three worrisome points:

1) The officer thinks the theft was possibly done by a neighbor in the college townhome complex. His reasoning is that I interrupted the burglary, but no stolen items were piled against the back door. This can be a sign of a "train" where the thief and/or his partner move things to a nearby house as they rob you. (Cars cannot access the back area, and the townhomes are in a long connected chain that basically bars a person from going to the front of the homes.) One other possibility is that one of the people we  brought through our townhome as we tried to sublet it was there strictly to case our house in order to rob it later.

2) They also believe that the person may have been "prepared" for violence, but I managed to catch him by surprise. I guess ordinarily when a thief sees a car in the driveway he will stay on the bottom level of the townhome unit away from the upstairs sleeping bedrooms. The fact that he went upstairs, at the very least, implies he is bolder than many thieves.

3) I offered to give the police the phone numbers and names of the people who came to view our place for the sublet, because according to my girlfriend two of them closely match the description I gave the police. (My girlfriend gave the tour alone. The police asked me to call her because one of her purses was lying on the floor open and they wanted to know if she had credit cards or money in the purse. She is currently staying at her sister's home 4 days a week until we are able to sublet because her commute is so long. She was not here for the incident) Surprisingly, the officer declined to take the information. I felt like they were not taken the situation as seriously as I expected.

Items stolen:

Xbox 360 Premium (and everything with it)
A few DVDs
My entertainment center is also damaged.

I'm so angry because as I replay the event in my head I feel like I should have done more. I should have pursued him relentlessly, moved faster, creeped up behind him...something. But everything happened so fast, and even with the adrenaline I felt like I was in some sort of dream. Still, I can't help but feel that I somehow fucked up. Every time I think of this bastard using my electronics it enrages me. I hope to God he gets a red light of death within an hour of using the system for which I now have a useles @#$# warranty.

I'm HOPING my renter's insurance covers my loss. The back screen door was torn open, but the glass door showed no clear signs of forced entry. If my insurance uses that as some form of technicality to refuse payment, I think I'll lose it. I don't have alot of money at the moment and I'm trying to save up for an engagement ring. Rebuying the 360 and its accessories would be especially painful. One final problem is that my girlfriend ABSOLUTLEY refuses to live here anymore, especially since I work on second shift. I'm not sure what we can do about our living arrangement because the lease is until next July. I can't buy her a dog because they are not allowed in our complex.

A few quick questions for you all (and this is how it relates to console gaming smile )

1) Is there any way to track the hardware serial numbers of an xbox system via Live?
2) Does EBGames track serial numbers of items reported as stolen before offering trade-in value?
3) Does anyone know how often a thief will attempt to second try a home after a thwarted encounter? He clearly knows that there is still an HDTV, DVD player and computer for the taking.

2318  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Kill me now please on: September 29, 2006, 10:21:07 AM
I might shop at costco if there were one within 150 miles of here.  Kinda like fry's in that way.  Hate seeing all the bargains/deals that I can't follow up on.

I feel yor pain on the Fry's store. There is one just far enough away from my house to ruin the cost savings by driving out to it. You know how they usually release new games for $10 under the MSRP? Well, it costs me $8 in gas to reach the store. Factor in time lost and it isn't worth the drive. Every time I buy a game at EB for $49, I irrationally feel like I'm getting screwed because it is $39 at Fry's. <sigh>
2319  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Paraworld Impressions on: September 29, 2006, 03:51:59 AM
Thank you for the review, Kobra. By any chance, can you pause and issue commands in this game?
2320  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Kill me now please on: September 29, 2006, 03:32:39 AM
Oh this just keeps getting better and better.  I called on the 25th of September.  They didn't process my repair request until the 27th and now I won't get my box until October 2nd, that is one week from the time I called in the repair.  This is so incredibly frustrating.

So she transfers me to some guy who speaks english as a second language.

"Sir... how can I help you"

"You can transfer me to your supervisor, because I already know you can't help me"

"But sir, I am a supervisor"

"I know, and you are powerless to help me, I already have been told, so escalate me to the next level, I want to speak with someone higher up the ladder"

"I can't do that sir, we aren't allowed to transfer you to our supervisors, we have to put a case in the system, and THEY will call YOU."

I understand the frustration you are going through. I honestly do. But you need to put this in perspective. It is only a gaming system. They have agreed to replace it. (yes, I understand, AGAIN)  Two days to process a return is actually a swift turnaround. You have a weekend wedged in there which extended your delivery date. That is not Microsoft's fault, it is the UPS business model. You ask for a supervisor, get your request fulfilled, and then immediately brush him off. They offer to have HIS superior call you and it isn't good enough. In most cases, Manager level individuals are not standing around to field calls over a $400 problem. They deal with strategic priorites and high ticket customers, and if every CSR or supervisor called them out of a Six Sigma meeting to resolve an issue for Joe XYZ, the department would come to a grinding halt. That isn't to say that your complaint is not important, it simply means you need to wait. There are other customers of a higher priority than you or me , because they spent $40,000 rather than $400. When I worked for Motorola and I received a call from customer Sarah Beckmen and a different call from Ameritech, I'm sure you can guess who got my attention first. I truly wanted to solve both issues, but prioritization is the name of the game.

You won't have a leg to stand on with the BBB because this isn't an issue of fraud, negligence or non-communication. People think that when they call the BBB and receive a response from the company with which they have a dispute that it was the work of the BBB. In most cases that isn't even true. Despite BBB claims that they contact a company within 2 days, it is usually closer to 3 or 4 days. Then the company has 14 days to respond to the first BBB request. If there is no response, a SECOND request is made followed by another 14 day wait. When you get a call from the company the day after filing a complaint, it is usually because you happened to come up in the company's CSR queue- NOT because some thugs at the BBB strong-armed the ACME Corporation.

Also, the Better Business Bureau is much less intimidating to multinational corporations than most people understand. Again, I sympathize with your frustration. You worked hard for your money and deserve a product of a specific quality threshold.  But it isn't like the piece of machinery that needs repair is the car that drives you to work to put food on the table. Read a book for a week or so. They ARE trying to help you.

This is also why you should own multiple gaming platforms.  smile
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