Planned purchases for the next 3 months

(Yes, I’m listing the backlog too…)

Xbox 360
Fight Night Round 3
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
… and XBLA games, depending on if anything comes out.

PS2
We <3 Katamari
Guitar Hero

PSPDS
DS Lite and
Me and My Katamari
Splinter Cell Essentials
Animal Crossing: Wild World
Tetris DS

Xbox Live privacy settings

I’ve recently been reading Elle’s blog, Circlets, since she was linked to by Major Nelson. She is a writer for the Xbox documentation team. A few days ago she wrote an entry about the privacy settings for Xbox Live that you can find on the Dashboard. It isn’t the first thing I would think to read about in a manual or search out for, but now that she posted it, I was interested in the details.

Besides the usual opt-in/opt-out marketing options, there were two things that caught my eye. The first was the “Played Games” option, which lets you show or hide your Played Games list from whoever is looking at your Gamercard. The other option is for “Member Content.” Elle comments that this option “doesn’t have a lot of use right now, but it will as people create content to share with other people. You can choose whether you want to see the content.” It will be interesting to see how that comes into play in the future.

I’m a VGA output convert

A couple of weeks ago I was reading through a thread on GAF where someone replaced gaming with their Xbox 360 from the normal TV with gaming on their PC monitor via the VGA cables. The thought the picture looked a lot better even though they had to go to a smaller screen.

Then a few posts down, some other people started talking about how they hooked up their Xbox 360 to the PC input on their TV. And a decent number of people thought the picture was significantly better, even the ones that had some complaints (e.g. too dark, washed out, bad contrast, etc.) thought that in general the picture looked much sharper and more detailed.

Now that got me thinking something I hadn’t even thought about before… I’ve already hooked up my laptop to my TV so I could watch TV shows I downloaded from iTunes, but I had never, ever considered to do the same with my Xbox 360. I always thought that component is the way to go for that. So the next day I went out to get myself a VGA cable to try this out.

After making sure I got the right resolution through the Dashboard menu, I was really impressed with the results. I guess I lucked out because my TV has its VGA settings calibrated fairly well, so the image looked visibly different to me — some of the text in the menus looked sharper, some of the textures looked more detailed, things like that. I suggest that if you can try the VGA cables with your display, definitely try it out because I was totally missing something good because I didn’t think about it.

Katamari Damacy flash

Since the Katamari Damacy website went down on March 17, this no longer exists. Very, very sad.

Thanks to GAF, yet again, is my enjoyment of the Katamari Damacy mini-game (Flash based).

Slightly more addicting than is safe for a day at work I’m sure. I’m sure I would have done better if I stopped accidentally clicking the mouse every 30 seconds and shaking off all my collected objects to have to start from scratch.

Screenshot courtesy of Xrenity.

Achievements

You like them or you dislike them or you certainly have way too much time on your hands.

When I first heard about them as part of my job here, I thought it was a pretty cool idea but I still didn’t have a clue what it would be like. I even thought that people would be looking each other up and comparing each others achievements and getting a handle at how good (or bad) other folks on Xbox Live were.

I must have been really short-sighted to not realize that people would be competing for comparing Gamerscores and of course, a leaderboard has popped up too.

I’m not quite that competitive with Gamerscores at least, but I really like checking out what people have accomplished in their games. This is especially true since, at the moment, I’m really not good at getting secret achievements that aren’t specifically part of the game or story (like Kameo) or some downer achievement like the losses in DOA4. I also avoid reading the walk-throughs for games just to get achievements. Although I’m now eternally frustrated that I think I missed a mining point in Gun and I’m one away from getting the “Professional Prospector” achievement.

Anyway, what’s my point? Oh, even though I do my best to avoid spoilers, I like the fact that there are sites, like Xbox360Achievements and Achieve360Points out there to catalog them. That’s a pretty nice thing to have as reference.