Tag Archives: 360

Xbox Live online while at a Hotel

So I ran into an interesting hurdle while here in Vegas this week. As you know I brought my Gaems Xbox case with me to get some gaming in while not at the conference. Well when I arrived at the hotel, I had unlimited Internet, both wired and wireless, (Thanks TI, you guys rock) but, to access it you have to fire up a browser and select the “I accept” option. This is usually the case with most free wifi locations. (Starbucks, Panara, etc.)

Well, with my iPad and my laptop that’s not a big deal, but the Xbox doesn’t really have a web browser to allow you to accept that proxy! This was a problem. When I connected the Xbox, it pulled an IP address but, of course, it couldn’t get out. Without accepting that proxy, it’s a no-go.

Well, I poked around in the Xbox settings and noticed that in the advanced network settings I have the ability to switch to an alternate MAC address. (the MAC is a hardware address for the specific network card). The fact that this was there blew me away. They allow the Xbox to essentially spoof its MAC address20120416-142118.jpg

So I thought, If I accept the proxy and use my Laptops MAC address as an accepted address with the hotels server, then I should be able to tell my Xbox that it’s that MAC address. Sure enough, by “Borrowing” my laptops address, the Xbox popped right up on Live and I was good to go!

Seeing as how there is a good chance I will be in a hotel a lot through out the rest of the year, I figgured this was good info to know, and, who knows, maybe some of you might need to know it!

N7 Gaems G155 Case


Yup, it’s finally here!  I spent the last 3 weeks refreshing the Bioware store website.  Now it has finally arrived.  My Mass Effect N7 Branded Gaems G155 Portable Gaming Case.

So let me rewind a bit here.  This year I have a TON of travel coming up for work and personal stuff.  With Mass Effect coming out, I really wanted a way to carry my xbox with me on these trips.  So weeks ago I started looking at the G155 case.  It was inexpensive and had great reviews.  It was just a matter of pulling the trigger.  Then my friend tweets out a link to this.  My eyes went wide, pulse raced, cheeks flushed…..wait a sec here…ummm.  Yeah, so, the fact that I had just been looking up this very case, and this one is N7 BRANDED!!  It was a no brainer.  Trigger pulled.

Click to Embiggen

Then began the waiting game.  I didn’t realize that the shipping would take 3 weeks.  I had hoped to have it before PAXEast, but alas, that did not happen.  Thankfully, it did arrive yesterday so I will have it for my Vegas trip.

The case itself looks great. It’s not overly heavy with a system in it and it holds, in its side pouches, the power supply for the Xbox (which is ginormous), power for the screen, 2 HDMI cables (a short one it comes with, and a long one in case the hotel I am in allows for an input), a single controller, and a play-and-charge cable.  I can set two games on top of the Xbox and close the lid with no difficulty.

Click to Embiggen

Overall, I am very happy with how the case works.  I was surprised to see that the screen actually will do 1080p.  Everything fits great and works perfect.  What I wasn’t that pleased with was that the N7 branding was a sticker skin……that I had to apply myself.

So let me throw some things into perspective here.  The case I had started looking at is the listing on Amazon.  At the time I was looking at it, the price was listed as $269.00 (prime shipping).  The N7 Branded one on the Bioware store was $260.00 (with $8.50 shipping).  I was like “Sweet, I am saving $0.50 AND getting the N7 brand!”  Meanwhile, in the past 3 weeks, the Amazon listing has dropped to $249.00, still with prime shipping.

Grand Scheme, I love the case.  If I were waiting for 3 weeks for it, I would have liked for them to professionally apply the skin.  That’s it.

If you are interested in the G155, or the N7 Skin, you can find them Both at the Bioware Store, Separately at the Gaems site, and the Amazon listing is still the best for fast shipping.  The Skin by itself is $29.99 from Gaems only.

Working through the Trilogy (again)

Lately I have been suffering a little PTMED (Post Traumatic Mass Effect Depression, it’s a thing).  I tried to go play some Old Republic, but found myself too distracted with all of the huge range of emotions I experienced with my playthrough of ME3.  (Note, still liked the ending).  As I have mentioned before, I never did a second playthrough, only the single story, and single save.  The quick recap about this meant that I was able to experience the whole story in a very unique way.  It didn’t get convoluted with alternate choices or multiple stories.  (Not that there is anything wrong with that, just not what I wanted to do).  I have now experienced the whole story, and I loved it.

So, what do you do with a story you just finished and loved?  You experience it again!  I made the decision to run through the whole story again, starting at Mass Effect 1, and working through the whole trilogy.  I experienced a small snag in this though.  My ME1 disk went missing!  I had pre-ordered and bought the collectors tin for ME1 and had the tin, and the bonus discs…..but no game disk!  I checked with Gamestop and they wanted $30 for a pre-owned copy (WTF!!!).  Amazon had new Platinum editions for $19 (UPDATE, it’s $16 now!!!) with prime shipping so that’s how I went.  It arrived on Friday.

To accompany this epic playthrough I also splurged and purchased the N7 branded G155 Personal Gaming Environment.  I have a number of trips coming up that may end up with me in a place that might get boring. (assuming I don’t get out and take pictures.) So I picked up this case so I could take a 360 with me.  I will probably have a post about the case after I get it wit photos and such.

So, I am now 10 hours into Mass Effect 1 and the experience is amazing.  First off, it’s VERY difficult to transition from ME3 controls down to ME1, you can tell they improved on quite a bit.  Outside of that, though, it’s been outstanding.  It feels like one of those movies where I have been transported back in time and given the opportunity to make new choices, knowing what I know now!  My favorite moment so far was meeting Wrex for the first time (again) with the Dialogue

Wrex: Do I know you human?

Me: * Not yet
* You will
* Shut Up

For those that are curious, I am playing through as BroShep.  My first was with FemShep, and my Romance options were ME1: Liara (Duh), ME2: Garrus (Comedy Option), and ME3: Traynor (Stress Relief).  I would be happy to explain these if you ask, but I think I know how I will steer things this time around.  I will certainly keep you updated on the progress both here and on Twitter.

The new Retro (Wait what?): Braid

Also featured at http://www.retronick.com

You got Retro in my Next Gen!  Well you got Next Gen in my Retro!!

Stop stop, you’re both right!  I want to talk a moment about a current gen game that brings the classic retro style that we all know and love.  This one is about….Braid.

Braid is a side scrolling game created as an indi project by a developer named Jonathan Blow.  JB took the initiative on himself and solely funded the Braid project with the idea of creating a classic style game with high artistic value.  Using $200,000 of his own money, he did just that.
In Aug of 2008, Braid was released on the Xbox Live Arcade platform.  Since then it has taken off on all platforms now.  It’s even been featured on the Humble Indie Bundle a few times.

But what is it?

Braid tells the story of a young man working to rescue his girlfriend from a horrible monster.  To do this he uses various skills and tools to master the art of time and space.  He can rewind time to fix mistakes and move objects to solve puzzles.  Each world he visits presents new challenges that he may or may not need tools from a different world to solve.  To your average player, this may seem like a copy of many other classic games like Prince of Persia, or even the various Mario games.  (Yes, your princess IS in another castle)

What sets Braid apart from these other games is really in the artistic presentation.  The artwork is very stylized and beautiful.  Even more so than the visuals, the music was outstanding.  I almost found myself using Braid as a way to relax because the music was so soothing.  I am not even kidding about that.  If you doubt me, listen to yourself. (link to Magnatune, embeds below)

Personally, I enjoyed the hell out of Braid.  I bought it on XBLA and couldn’t stop playing it.  I picked up the Humble Bundle and now I play it on my PC.  I highly suggest it to any gamer who appreciates the art of the game as well as the art of the world.

You can find a demo version of Braid at http://www.playgreenhouse.com/

The Single Play-through.

The long awaited trilogy ender Mass Effect 3 came out yesterday.  I picked up my copy from GameStop, pausing quickly to ensure the cover is set to FemShep, came home and got everything ready.  I set about migrating over my save games from the previous ME games, just as I had done before.  Thankfully, it didn’t take long since I only have the single character, the single play through.  One run, one set of decisions, one story….my Shepard story.

Mass Effect is one of those epic adventures that BioWare has created to have a bazillion different choices along the way and different outcomes.  They do this to increase the playability of the game.  It’s a great idea and it makes the game full of possibilities.  The problem I have with this is that the story is not done yet.  I haven’t reached the end.

People have told me that it’s like reading a book more than once, or watching your favorite movie again.  The difference being that, when I do that, it’s the same story.  It hasn’t changed, branched off, turned evil.  All of the decisions in the book/movie are the ones I enjoyed and delight in experiencing because they still lead in the direction of the ending.

Mass Effect allows you to change the path you take to the ending so drastically that it could be considered (and often is) a different story.  This isn’t so bad except that I knew that it wasn’t over yet.  Mass Effect 3 is supposed to be the ending we are all waiting for.

Imagine if you will, you are watching Star Wars: Episode IV.  The first watch through is great, you are rooting for this young do-gooder Luke who flirts with Leia, crys over his aunt and uncles deaths and then goes off and helps the rebels win against the evil empire.  Now, say you watch it again, only this time, Luke abandons his aunt and uncle, flirts with Chewbacca, sells out Han Solo to Jabba, and steals the Falcon to use on the Death Star run to blow up the Death Star, only to demand money from the rebels to do so.

Now you have to wait till Empire Strikes back comes out.  You are now invested in two very different story lines.  Yes, you can play them individually, but when it comes to an important decision in the next installment, The good side was ok, but the bad was so much fun and OH MY GOD WHAT DO I PICK?!?!?!

By playing through just the once, from 2007, when ME1 came out, to now, I have had one story.  My Shepard story.  I lived with my decisions, be they good or bad, I have made my choices, and lost a few people.  When I wander around the ship, I get flashbacks to events that happened there.  They are not muddled with other play-throughs, they are the memories of Shepard, they are my memories.  No confusion, no regrets.

Now, I need to get back, apparently the world needs saving…..again.

Photos, Games, and Cars

Here is a fun mix of photography, gaming, and cars all bundled into one post!  Now, as you all know I picked up my new MINI just over a week ago and couldn’t help but get out and take come cool shots of it.  I have some ideas of some other shots but those will come along soon.

On kind of a whim I picked up the Forza 4 game for Xbox 360.  (ok not so much whim but I learned that there is a MINI in the game). On top of it being a great racing game, I learned it has a cool photo mode that allows you to take great shots of the cars in the game.  Of course, I couldn’t resist.

Lastly, wanted to post that my work travel plans have changed and this means I will be able to join in on the MINI’s take the Beltway charity drive!!  The money all goes to the Wounded Warrior project and it’s 50+ MINI’s gathered to do a Lap on the beltway!  It’s this Sunday so if you are in the DC area and want to see a ton of MINI’s check it out!

Portal 2: The Gateway drug

As we get ready for L.A. Noir to be released, I have finished up playing Portal 2.  (Still haven’t finished Dead Space 2 yet, man I need more time in the day).  So, impressions?  

Loved it!

No, really, I don’t know that I could love a game more.  This was just what I needed to pull me back to my xbox lovin world.  From start to finish, the dialogue and environment of the game where astounding.  There were breaks in the story in all the right places for the casual gamer to know when to pause and step away, and the puzzles were infinitely more enjoyable than Portal 1.  Now, the reason I say that is because there were certain puzzles in the original Portal that involved so much twitch style of playing that if you didn’t nail shooting that portal from 30 feet in the air while you were flying from another portal and now you have to start all over.  That sort of gameplay is Ok, but can wear on you.  Plus, and this was one of the reasons I loved it as well, Sarah was able to play Portal 2!

Thus the reason I call it the gateway drug.  After I finished up the single player side of the game I asked Sarah if she wanted to try the Co-Op.  She agreed and we both had a great time.  She is awesome at puzzle games so she was wired for this sort of thing.  Sure enough, when we finished up, she wanted to play through Single player.  

Warning!!!  If you have played through the single player, DO NOT WATCH YOUR SPOUSE PLAY!!  Seriously, it could lead to a nervous break down for one or both of you.  I had to do my best to refrain from “Oh, put that portal there!” and “No, use the gel over here”.  I thought she might kill me.  Thankfully we both made it through unscathed.

I have also heard from friends that the same scenario is playing out in their homes!  (The playing part, not the kibitzing part).  So I would HIGHLY suggest this to you, Go get Portal 2 and play it with someone you love!

(and them do your best not to crush them with spike plates)


Busy weekend

This weekend was pretty damn packed!  Spent some time with Louis and Jen helping them move.  It was practically just across the street but still managed to smash my face on a box, rack my knee on the concrete and jam my thumb to the point where it flipped the nail up.  Came home and finished up adding the divider to Sarah’s planter so she could finish up her herb garden.  We also had a small visitor emerge from his cocoon.  The butterfly from the previous post got some garden time before taking off (or being eaten by a bird, we aren’t too sure about what happened with him, but we will hope for the best.)

Battered and accomplished I set in for some Portal 2 time.  I will do my best to get a full review of it up sometime after I finish the single player and start in on Co-Op (and whenever I can stop laughing!).

Sunday I managed to replace the kitchen sink disposal too!  Thankfully Lowes was open and had a great plumbing expert on hand!  Install of the new one was done in about an hour and they were an awesome help, despite the kludge that is my kitchen sink plumbing.

All in all, a very fulfilling weekend!

What are you playing? or….The Risk of Cracking Down on your Limbo Skills

It’s that time again to run down what you are playing!  I am slowly but surely working up a review of the XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) game Risk Factions, which I managed to finish the campaign on.  The nice thing about it is that it’s such a great Family game that we find ourselves playing it as a group all the time.  Also mixed in lately has been Crackdown 2.  Initial impressions of CD 2 are not that great.  I just get the feeling like it’s too much all at once and it’s REALLY hard to focus on the ga…oooo  Agility orb!

The latest add in to the library has been the XBLA game Limbo.  This came out for the Summer of Arcade promo that Xbox does every year.  The game is a hell of a lot like Braid, and if you haven’t played Braid you need to go check it out.  Both are side scrolling puzzle platformers that will twist your brain in loops.  I love it!  Review for Limbo will be after Risk and Crackdown 2 will probably be a while still.  Don’t forget that the first DLC for Alan Wake is out now, The Signal.  My copy of Alan Wake is out on loan right now so I will be getting to that as soon as it comes back.

Outside of that, the workouts are going great, I can already feel a difference and only 36 days left before DragonCon!  I am hoping to maybe squeeze out an interview with one or two celeb’s to see their take on gaming.  And with that I leave you with the amazing Music video from the Guild:  GAME ON!

What are you playing?

I have been thinking of trying to get a weekly post up of what I am playing and maybe put it out to see what you guys are playing as well. I have seen a lot of sites do this to get a good discussion going and maybe get some ideas about a game I wouldn’t normally pick up.  So, seeing as how I am the only one here, I’ll go first.

The past week or two I have been working on some house type stuff and reconfiguring things on my network.  After picking up the new Xbox 360S (I traded in my old 20gb Xbox) I decided to upgrade my router to a Wireless N to use the new Xbox’s N device.  I bought the Belkin Play Dual Band Wireless N router and replaced my crappy Netgear G.  Long story made short, I can’t stream media from my PC to the xbox anymore and have no idea why.  While I am not a hard core network guy, I still know my way around a subnet and have spent the past 2 weeks tweaking and such to figure this out.  It’s kind of a pain.

Outside of that I have been playing some Lego Harry Potter with Sarah.  It’s one of those games where we pretty much only play together.  I believe we are towards the end of Book 3 right now.  the Quick review on it, it’s a Lego game.  Same basic premise and humor.  That’s not a bad thing, because I love the Lego games.  Aside from that I have picked up Risk: Factions from the Xbox Live Arcade.  They found a way to really make a Risk game fun for everyone!  We have played as a family, as well as through the solo campaign.  Enjoyable all around.  May have more of a full review on it up soon.

In the life department, I also picked up an Elliptical machine and am using it to get back into some sort of shape that’s not “round”.  My hope is to turn some of this belly fat into muscle in time for DragonCon at the beginning of September.  We’ll See, as of this morning I was at 192lb.  My target is Around 175lb but I would be happy with a strong 180-185lbs.  The goal is not so much loss but re-distribution.  Wish me luck!

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