Tech thoughts: Anthony gets an Xbox 360

Xbox 360While my Twitter and Facebook followers already know about this, I thought it’d write about it here, as well. On “Black Friday” last week, I bought an Xbox 360 from Newegg.com, which had a cheap Black Friday-only deal on the 250GB “Holiday Bundle” package. I managed to buy mine before they (rather quickly) sold out. The Xbox arrived a few nights ago, but I didn’t get to fully play it until last night.

The Xbox 360 250GB “Holiday Bundle” comes with a headset (for chatting online with other online “gamers”), two games (“Halo: Reach” and “Fable III”), one wireless controller, and a three-month subscription to Xbox Live, the online game-playing service for the Xbox platform.

My thoughts on each of these components so far:

Fable III and Halo: Reach

Fable III has been enjoyable so far, more than I thought it might be for such a game (of the kind that takes much longer than “Mario Kart” to play). An adventure game with magic plus early Industrial Revolution-era weaponry (swords, flintlock pistols, etc.). It’s rated “M,” presumably for the violence plus the sexual aspects the manual mentions (including same-sex relationships being possible, a positive aspect).

Unlike Fable, Halo: Reach has to be downloaded. At approximately 6.5GB, it’ll take awhile for me to download it on my DSL connection (overnight or while I’m at work).

Xbox Live and the headphones

Xbox Live is the online service for the Xbox platform. Unlike the online services for the Wii and Playstation 3, Microsoft charges for this service, though there seem to be some specials/sales offered (including the free three months I got with this bundle). I haven’t tried it out much yet, besides setting up the account, as well as an avatar (that vaguely looks like myself). Not sure if I’ll bother using the headphones. I don’t think I need to converse verbally with others while playing video games, plus my brother warned me about some less-than-mature things others say on such venues (I assume it’s 15-year-olds throwing homophobic/racist slurs around like they’re prepositions).

Media support

The Xbox also supports playing media, including DVDs and streaming of media, with support for Netflix, etc. Streaming videos from one’s computer is also possible, as well as playing videos from a USB thumb drive. This was part of what made me interested in the Xbox.

Playing videos from a USB drive (videos I created from DVDs using Handbrake) worked fine. The Xbox supports the most common playback formats (if it’ll play natively on an iPod or iPad, it should play fine on the Xbox). Still, I have to wonder why copying said videos to the Xbox’s 250GB hard drive isn’t an option, though I suspect reasons include: DRM; keeping the space cleared for buying videos, games, etc., through Xbox Live, etc.; or the emphasis these days on streaming videos from online or one’s own computer.

As for streaming one’s own videos, I haven’t had much luck in setting that up with my Linux-based laptop, though it should work fine from a Windows or Mac OS X based computer. (Linux instructions that I followed for setting this up can be found here.)

Sure I’ll have more to write about the Xbox in the future (thus my creating a “Video games” category).

 

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