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Crash Party on the 360

It’s been an interesting past couple of days for computers. On the upside, I managed to fix a problem that’s been plaguing Vickie’s PC for about a week; the external LCD monitor for her laptop would go into some sort of power-saving mode after five minutes of inactivity, and nothing short of resetting the laptop would get it to work. Some fiddling with the screen saver and power saving settings in Vista got it back up and working properly, though.

On the downside, the wireless transceiver for my rather expensive mouse was broken – definitely not due to a fault in the manufacturing, so not a warranty replacement – and I went out and got another one. Well, a different model, but a Logitech still. Also, as mentioned in the prior post, Karl’s Xbox 360 Elite decided to shuffle off to Buffalo in a blizzard of screen distortion.

You know, of my local circle who own Xbox 360 consoles (myself, Karl, Podge and Nodge), all of them have had to do warranty returns. What’s disturbing is that Karl’s 360 is not only barely four months old but also an Elite, and although Microsoft are keeping the details of their products’ hardware close to their chests, scuttlebutt says the Elite’s processor manufacturing process underwent a die-shrink. This, coupled with a new heat sink, was meant to have fixed these issues, often linked to overheating – which is triply interesting, as Karl’s living room is air conditioned, and he bought one of those third-party console stands with cooling fans built in.

It’s got to the point where, as much as I’d love to get someone else I know onto Xbox Live for some Halo 3, I can’t in good conscience recommend the 360. Karl even mentioned that he’s turned a few people off buying 360s after telling them about the problems that both he and I have had. Yesterday, as well as a new mouse, I bought a $50 third-party external cooler for my 360; while the console hasn't played up since I got it back I’m keen on making sure it doesn’t in the future.

Something else, though - there's nothing game-wise that I'm particularly looking forward to this year. The only things I'm keeping half an eye on are Guitar Hero III, Burnout Paradise and Halo Wars, but two of those are sequels to games I've not even finished yet and the third - well, it's not exactly a sequel, but I already have a real time strategy for my 360 (Command & Conquer 3) that I also haven't even come anywhere close to finishing. Plus, I still have some Achievemnts to unlock on games like Halo 3 and Mass Effect. Then there's my PC games; Team Fortress 2 has me sewn up for first-person shooter action, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and its expansions (another one of which is on its way in '08) feed my RTS needs, and if I ever feel like a massively-multiplayer online roleplaying game, the fee-free Guild Wars awaits.

In essence (please feel free to roll your eyes at this), I don't think I'll be spending much money on computer or video games this coming year.

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Can we quote you on that? Anyone willing to make a wager that you do end up buy a game or two this next year. We could start a pool. Anyone? ;)

Heh heh heh! Well, as long as Soulstorm is counted out of the conditions of the wager, mate, I think I'd come out okay! Even the Guild Wars expansion Eye of the North, going at $25 a copy in EB's post-Xmas sale, wasn't enough to tempt me. Well, it tempted me, but not enough to make me plonk my hard-earned down.

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