Tagged: Xbox

The most ridiculous light gun I own: The Silent Scope Light Rifle.

It’s been a rough month for me, folks. Admittedly the drive to write wasn’t quite there for most of the month until fairly recently, and I do have some actual posts prepared to be published in October.

But for now, I’m gonna write a fairly short post. This is about something I found unexpectedly at a Goodwill. A rare relic of a bygone era. Probably one of the goofiest video game controllers I own. In a sense, this is part “here’s something interesting I own,” part “I Bought Stuff!”

I know light guns aren’t supposed to resemble real firearms anymore, but this looks so goofy.

No, this isn’t a super soaker or Nerf gun, though I can’t blame you for thinking that. This is the Silent Scope Light Rifle, a light gun made for the original Xbox. I bought this for $7, and in hindsight it probably was one of the more impulse purchases I made that I have a small bit of regret. I’ll explain why in a bit.

I won’t go into a long history about the genre as there’s much better places for such things, but here goes. Light gun games were all the rage during the 8 and 16-bit eras. Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, Lethal Enforcers, those American Laser Games that practically show up on every system like Doom or Resident Evil 4 does these days… They were fairly popular.

Then, oddly, it slowed down. At least, on home consoles. They still got light gun games, but at a much reduced rate. Some cases like Area 51 on the PlayStation didn’t even support a light gun, opting for PS Mouse support instead, which completely ruins the fun.

It was still thriving in arcades thanks to Time Crisis and later stuff by Raw Thrills like the infamous Target: Terror. But short of Namco bringing out the GunCon 2 for a Time Crisis II port and support for games like Capcom’s Resident Evil: Dead Aim, it was practically a ghost town for light gun games during the PS2/Xbox era. Until the Wii briefly brought the genre back into the spotlight for a brief moment.

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I Bought Stuff! 11/7/2018: Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2018 (and more!)

Alright, finally got to this. A few weeks late, but I was never known to be prompt on things like these.

So a while back, the Portland Retro Gaming Expo happened. On its twelfth year, it’s a convention that has retro arcade games, pinball machines, loads of booths to buy merchandise of various kinds, and panels about retro video games in some fashion.

Regrettably the past few years I’ve missed out on a handful of panels, but I’m grateful for at least checking out the Nintendo History Museum by the cool peeps at the Video Game History Foundation. I also bumped into my friends Weasel and Cass while during my roaming of the show floor, while also spotting a fair share of notable personalities here and there. (Weasel told me I was “right next to The Gaming Historian” at one point and I didn’t even notice.)

I’m at that point where I don’t really need many video games at this point, considering my burgeoning backlog. Yet against my better judgment, I did buy games for super cheap, trying to fill up my original Xbox collection and snagging a few cheap deals. But I also grabbed a few tech-based things during and after the expo, so let’s get to recapping.


$15:

  • – A component video cable for an original Xbox ($10)

  • – Xbox: Medal of Honor: European Assault ($5)

Okay, these were after the expo. On Sunday I had put a goal to find some video cables for some of my consoles because I felt they needed an upgrade. I didn’t find one of them, so I had eventually went to Video Game Wizards (the closest mom’n’pop game shop to me) and snagged some cables, as well as an Xbox game for good measure.

At this point, now I am able to play all of the early-to-mid 2000s game consoles in component video quality. I have component cables for the PS2 and Xbox, and I have a Wii with Gamecube backwards compatibility, which I also run through component.

I know there’s solutions now to get those systems to output in HDMI, but I feel that’s a bit excessive. Though, EON had a booth for an HDMI adapter for the Gamecube, which might be cheaper than trying to get the very expensive component cables for the system. If you’re going that route, check them out here, perhaps that’s a better option for those who have more recent TVs where it’s HDMI only with no other video inputs.

As for Medal of Honor: European Assault? Well, we’ll get back to that one in a bit.

UPDATE 11/8/2018: The cables in question refused to show any video on my television regardless of resolution, so I exchanged them for different cables. While those actually showed video in component, the signal occasionally flickers out and doesn’t work in 720p. Sadly, I think my TV is slowly dying, which I’m not surprise, considering it’s a Toshiba TV I got about several years ago. I should probably get a new TV at some point.

$10: Xbox: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x

Now to cover stuff I actually got at the expo, starting with probably the most expensive thing I bought.

The Tony Hawk games were a franchise that passed me by. I played the first two, but tapped out not long after. I snagged Pro Skater 3 on disc for PS2 a long while back, and I thought now’s the time to start getting into the series proper while they’re still easy to get.

A launch title for the original Xbox, this was a spit-shine “HD” version of Pro Skater 2 by Treyarch, before they became 1/3rd of the Call of Duty Cerberus. In addition to prettifying the original game’s levels, there’s a few levels exclusive to this port as well as the original Pro Skater stuff in there.

In my head, this is probably a better way to start playing the franchise in order than hunting down fairly pricey copies of Pro Skater and Pro Skater 2 for older systems. Though, I wouldn’t mind finding any of the Pro Skater games for the Nintendo 64, as those are interesting technical marvels. Well, that and the N64 version of Pro Skater is how I got introduced to the franchise back in the day.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the chopped up music loops they used because of cartridge space limitations, and Pro Skater 3‘s soundtrack pretty much makes them outright remixes.

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Mountain Dew Game Fuel: DRM-free Xbox One Edition.

Guess what’s back? I’ll give you three guesses, first two don’t count.

This time we’re doubling up on the special promotions!

Yes, returning for the fifth time, Mountain Dew and Doritos collaborate with a video game company for a limited edition soda. This time around, Microsoft comes back to the well for the third time, advertising the forthcoming Xbox One with Mountain Dew Game Fuel. This time, we’re given not one, but two flavors of the wonderful special edition drink. This is the third year in a row that the specialty drink has been available, which quashes my previous theory that they’d only push this out every other year, as they did in the past. Looks like this might be a yearly thing now.

While I was at PAX, Mountain Dew was fairly prominent at the show. Spread around the convention hall were QR codes that you could scan in to redeem points, either for small prizes like Game Fuel or to win a chance to get an Xbox One early. Alas, while I did scan codes like a goof, I did not redeem a single point, which probably screwed me out of getting Game Fuel three months early. So I got this stuff at a 7-Eleven like an ordinary person who buys promotional drinks advertising video games.

The two flavors are both infused with Dew, one with a burst of Citrus Cherry, the other with a charge of Electrifying Berry. These nicknames are so extreme that I wonder if I’ve jumped back into the ’90s. On each bottle is a promotion for a forthcoming Xbox One game (Forza Motorsport 5 on the Citrus Cherry, Kinect Sports Rivals on the Electrifying Berry), and have codes to enter at every2minutes.com for a chance to win various Mountain Dew and Xbox One prizes. Including a tacky-looking Mountain Dew-branded One.

Citrus Cherry is a repeat of last year’s flavor, so I didn’t do a taste test this time. For those who are curious how I thought about it, here’s the link to last year’s entry. The short version is that it tasted like Mountain Dew with a tinge of cherry and a punchy citrus aftertaste that I wasn’t expecting. So this time around we’re just gonna try the new Electrifying Berry flavor.

This looks like the kind of stuff you would mix cough syrup in to make purple drank.

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Music from the Xbox video game NHL Rivals 2004: A soundtrack review.

It’s really fascinating how popular licensed music in sports video games have become. For a good while in the 2000s, there was a sense of hype if your song got into the next Madden NFL or NBA 2K title. Nowadays we tend to gloss over it, being just another thing about these games that exist. They’re not particularly exciting these days, unless you’re like me and like cataloging every time Snoop Dogg’s been in something.

While EA and 2K Sports have become the big-name players for sports games these days, there are many companies willing to throw their hat in the ring and try to carve their own niche. For example: Sony with their MLB The Show series are considered by many to be the gold standard for baseball video games. Other times, some of this competition falls flat and ends up in the annals of obscurity, like the many times Midway tried to re-invent the wheel by making stuff like NHL Hitz. This time, we’re gonna briefly talk about Microsoft’s failed attempt at a sports video game brand called “XSN Sports.”

In 2003, Microsoft tried to make their own sports brand to rival then-competitors EA and Sega. They introduced XSN Sports as their flagship sports game brand, to make sports games for their exclusive Xbox console, much akin to what their competitors were doing. Under the XSN Sports banner, Microsoft’s sport-focused games featured tournaments and leagues that players could make in-game to share on the respective XSNSports.com website.

Microsoft’s sports games debut included XSN Sports titles like NFL Fever 2004, Links 2004, and Rallisport Challenge 2. Sadly, they couldn’t make a dent in the competition, and the XSN Sports brand was folded one year later, with only Amped and Rallisport Challenge lasting beyond the brand. The XSN service itself was later shut down in 2006, presumably to shift focus onto the then-new Xbox 360.

As a promotional tie-in for these games, they released a soundtrack, under the “XSN Sports Soundtrack CD Series,” featuring various songs that come from the game’s soundtrack. NHL Rivals 2004 was the featured soundtrack for Volume 1, and what turns out to be the only volume, as there was no Volume 2 that I could find online.

The soundtrack CD also comes with a bonus DVD, featuring some NHL highlights from the 2002-03 NHL season, some Wayne Gretzky promo videos, and some DVD-ROM exclusive features. Not much to say about all this, as my experience with hockey games begin and end at Blades of Steel.

I guess this looked good for 2003. The expression on his face is quite off-putting, though…

The main reason I’m covering this is primarily because of the track listing. Outside of two tracks, the rest of the album is… rather off-putting. Stuff like Boston’s “Long Time” (apparently the “Foreplay” half wasn’t available despite being the better part of the two), Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way,” REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You.”

As someone who has only been to one or two hockey games ever in their life, these songs seem rather out of place for a hockey game. Most of them are too slow, not evoking the fast-paced nature of ice hockey, or missing the sort of jock jam enthusiasm that you kind of need at a sporting event.

But what about those two interesting songs, you may ask? Well, they may not be that interesting, but they are to me, at least.

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A look back at Xbox: The Next Generation Revealed.

It’s 2013 as of this writing, which means it’s time for the next Xbox to be revealed. The third generation of Xbox is a rather confusing name: It’s called the Xbox One, it’s heavy on TV, media features, and Kinect stuff. It plays games too.

But let’s go back, shall we? Before the Xbox One, there was the Xbox 360. Eight years and one week ago, Microsoft used MTV to announce the unveiling of the new Xbox with a TV special titled Xbox: The Next Generation Revealed. Which later gets changed to Xbox 360 Revealed partway through the broadcast, but that title isn’t nearly as catchy.

Our host for this evening is Elijah Wood, which you may know from some series of movies about Hobbits. Along with Wood, our co-host is MTV2’s Jim Scherer joining along in the festivities, being the primary interviewer for most of the special.

Before they show off what the new Xbox looks like, they start out with the typical “video game history” video that talks about what’s happened in gaming. Goes through all the common beats: Video games weren’t a thing until people got crazy for Pong, then Nintendo came around and made video games relevant in America again, and then a bunch of other stuff up to now. The competition isn’t nearly mentioned as much directly, which is probably a good idea since they didn’t want people to get hyped for the next PlayStation or the Nintendo Revolution.

It seems every major video game-related TV special has to mention the history of video games, and it’s always hackneyed every time I see it. I mention this because me and friend of the site Bobinator watched Cybermania ’94 a while back before writing this, and even though it’s almost 20 years old as of this writing, it’s just as ridiculous as this event. Even Cybermania said Pong was the first video game, which I guess is a bit more punchy to say compared to SpaceWar.

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