Guide Button – June

posted on June 15th, 2006 by Anthony

I haven’t written anything about gaming for a long time, and with a lot of new happenings I thought it was about time I caught up with stuff.

360 Voice

I’ve been meaning to post about this for ages. Did you know your 360 can write it’s own blog?

For instance here is mine: Mr Chiquita’s 360

The 360 can blog - but  thankfully not like a 13 year old MySpacer

Now don’t freak out, the 360 isn’t sentient enough to pen it’s own angst ridden ‘prose’ on MySpace just yet – these blogs are the brain child of Trapper Markelz and Stephen Sopp.

A few months ago Trapper heard a speech given at the O’Rielly Emerging Technologies shindig about ‘blogjects’ – objects that can blog.

Steve is an MS Xbox MVP who has access to all the xml streams (the stuff that creates the gamercard) that the 360 emits every time you turn it on.

The rest is history!

When you sign up at 360voice.com the site starts scanning your 360 xml streams and builds up a picture of your gaming habits. From there they add some funny stock phrases, mix them together and build up the daily blog. The site also tracks your gamerscore, catalogues your games and generally does some cool stuff.

All of this is produced by the guys in their spare time (Tuesday evening mostly).

It’s a fantastic project, and it’s generated a huge amount of buzz. They’ve been Nelsoned, Dugg, Slashdotted, Joystiqed, Kotakued and now Crated

Like all good new web apps there is even an API of feeds to muck about with. There are a lot of things I’d like to try and do, it’s just a shame I don’t know my way around coding better…

It’s certainly the kind of project I’d love to be involved in. (Yes Rich – If I wasn’t already involved in UKfpl. ;o) )

Keep track of their latest developments via their excellent dev blog.

Sensible Soccer

Yai Yai Yai!! No 360 BC?!

I’d love to be writing a review of this re-invention of my all time fave game – but alas Microsoft haven’t seen fit to release a backwards compatibility patch yet.

My PS2 is long since mothballed, and I don’t really want to play it on my PC… so that’s it really.

From what I have played on other peoples copies it does seem great. Eurogamer certainly like it..

Football Manager 2006

Now I know our American brothers simply won’t get this game, and would probably see it as a waste of all that 360 power.

I mean FM is basically a spread sheet with a pretty interface – surely? Well, yeah, essentially – but it’s in the subtlety where the secret of it success lies.

You see FM is like a good book. Using pages and pages of text (and admittedly a few illustrations) it provides you with a solid framework of real world data and stats. Then it leaves your imagination muscles to do the ink and colour of a hugely believable world of professional football management.

Football Manager 2006

Other management sims go down the big budget blockbuster route. Thrusting flashy 3D matches, blaring music and all other forms of glitz down your throat. All can be very entertaining – but as we all know, the film is rarely better than the book.

I’ve mentioned in the past how this game sucks you in on the PC, swallowing chunks of you spare time like some sort of crazed blue whale. Now it’s in your living room – with a comfy sofa!

It works surprisingly well given the lack of a mouse and the tiny pixel real estate. The control system has been worked quite nicely to work with the 360 pad, and the text is pretty readable – as long you’re on the closest couch to the TV.

Overall the fact that this game has practically taken up residence in my DVD tray over the last 6 weeks is the highest accolade I can give it, and I haven’t even ventured onto Live yet. I’ve just been slowly guiding the mighty Rochdale from Division 2 into Division 1.

Uno

Uno!

All through our years at uni many a lecture was skipped in favour of heading down to the canteen for a game of Shithead.

Shithead is a game played using a standard deck of playing cards where the aim is to lose all the cards dealt to you.

Uno is basically the exact same game, but with a nicer name. Therefore I’ve been hammering this little Live Arcade title like I’m back in 2000!

It’s been so long since I played that I have admit to forgetting the finer rules of Shithead (some the ones mentioned on Wikipedia only vaguely ring bells), but that’s Ok because Uno is a simplified and much more brightly coloured affair.

For all it’s primary coloured shininess the game of Uno is actually far more strategic and deeper than it first looks. It’s certainly one of those “Easy to play, hard to master” games that we keep hearing about.

Playing against the AI is fairly fun, even if they do forget to call Uno far too regularly, but it’s on Live where the game really excels. It’s fast paced and offers a good quick gaming fix, while also producing some pretty tense match ups.

Overall for the cost of about £3 this is a little cracker of a game that I know I’m going to keep coming back to.