E3 2009 Assessment: Microsoft Conference

June 5, 2009

The future of gaming?

In my pre-E3 assessment for the 360 I broke the console’s strengths and weaknesses down into three categories: Hardware, Software (Hardcore) and Software (Casual).  With their press conference out of the way (which should cover all their significant announcements) I’m going to take a look at each of those categories again and see how Microsoft fared (in my opinion).  After that is an assessment of each individual item revealed/shown, and my verdict on the conference as a whole.  Click through for details.

Read the rest of this entry »


Pre-E3 assessment: 360

May 29, 2009

As mentioned in the PS3 post, I’m taking a look at each of the consoles ahead of the E3 event next week and discussing what I perceive to be their weaknesses, and what they could announce at E3 to improve things.

As before, each console will broken down into three categories: hardware (concerning the actual console itself), hardcore software (with “hardcore” being shorthand for the dedicated gamers who read video game news sites and are part of gaming communities) and casual software (with “casual” being used to describe both the gamers who enjoy the hobby but don’t immerse themselves in it, and the expanded audience that has been attracted to gaming by the Wii).

Xbox 360



Current Problems: The 360 is still selling quite well despite an absence of major software releases.  In the April NPD the 360 saw its first year-on-year decline in its US sales since the price cut, but it was a minor one in a month that saw larger declines for the Wii and PS3.  The 360’s main hardware problem is its horrendous failure rate in early models, which will serve as a major deterrence for those gamers yet to purchase the console.

Read the rest of this entry »

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

April 10, 2009



Released on: Xbox 360 (spin-off on Nintendo DS, original game also on PC).

Developed By: Rare

Who Also Developed: Donkey King Country, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie.

Published By: Microsoft Game Studios

Players: One mainly, but a second player can join in to assist.

Demo Available: Yes

Demo a Good Example of Game: Undetermined (demo not played).

Additional Content: Not really, though Rare do release additional Piñata Vision Cards for piñata variations.

Ben’s Progress: Game played extensively, both solo and with a second player. Reached Gardener level 119, with 22 of 50 achievements earned.

Read the rest of this entry »