Tag Archive for 'xbox'

Xbox Project

Between yesterday evening and this morning, I finally enacted a plan that’s been niggling at me for months and months now – namely I modded my old Xbox to run XBMC. I did so on the cheap, using a refurbished Linksys gaming adapter ($40) to hook the console up to my wireless network, hacking together an Action Replay device from a female USB dongle ($6) and an Xbox breakaway cable ($3), and buying a used copy of a game I needed ($2). I had a few hiccups along the way, but, all in all, things went smoothly and I felt damn geeky when I got it all up and running. Nothing like starting with a razor blade, wire cutters, and a soldering iron and ending up with a powerful media center set-up.

I haven’t had a chance to play very much with XBMC, but my plans include setting up streaming from my external drives upstairs and perhaps even installing a wake-on-LAN script that will turn on the computer attached to the drives without me having to climb upstairs to do so. The upshot of all this is that I should soon be able to watch any of my videos (including digital media and Region 1 and 2 DVDs) or listen to any of my music from the ease and comfort of my couch. Win.

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

It’s a Monday, and, believe it or not, I’m feeling pretty good about it. (Sadly, others are not feeling so good about it.) But then, I had a pleasant weekend with homework that took much less time than normal, some writing, and a Saturday night that was downright kick-ass. Succumbing to the ultimate in geekish desires, my suitemates and I, along with a friend who lives down the hall, sallied forth Saturday evening and took over the Virtual Worlds Lab. Photos of the lab don’t seem to have materialized, sadly, so I will just have to describe it to you.

We went to the VWL with the sole purpose of using the console room, a long darkened room, one wall of which is a projector screen. Now, I may be slightly off on the hardware here, but the room contains something like: 4 high definition X-Boxes, 3-4 Playstation 2’s, 2 Gamecubes, and 3 digital projectors along with appropriate audio equipment to make the experience just that much more awesome. (Yes, I have become one of those geeks. It’s simply unfair to true gamers to actually call myself a gamer, but our suite does now own an X-box and several games for it.) Needless to say, playing any game in the console room is a lot more fun than playing it on our TV in the suite.

We fired up all three projectors and had two X-boxes and one PS2 running. The games of the evening? Halo 2, Burnout 3, Grand Theft Auto 3, and Soul Calibur 3. The first two I play fairly often at home. I only had a chance to watch Burnout 3, but Mark and I played a bit of Halo 2 on co-op, and that was great. It was very nice to have a set-up where both of us could easily see what was going on. Even on a fairly large TV like the one we have in the suite, it gets difficult to see when the screen gets subdivided.

It was my first time to play Soul Calibur 3, which is pretty much an arcade-style fighting game (i.e. Mortal Kombat with massive graphics advances). Christian gave me a quick primer on how to play and then proceeded to crush me utterly. Mark and I were better matched for each other, but the real entertainment of the evening was when Jessica and I got started on one another. Our mottos: “Buttonmash them to death!” We gave up on that when our hands started hurting. The PS2’s gamepad is really too small for me to hold comfortably for more than a quarter hour or so. That’s what I get for having huge hands, I guess.

All in all, it was a fun party. It’s not something that I’d want to do every weekend, but it was definitely worth it.

In the other reasons to be happy category: the weather is decently warm here; I visit Cornell later this week (!!!); I will definitely get to meet Bill Nye at Cornell; I have no midterms this week; Jon Stewart made the Oscars hilarious; and this is the first time all semester that I’ve had a fluids assignment finished before the night before it’s due. All that’s left is printing out the graph I made. Yes, this is a good Monday.

Gaming Tactics

I tried playing Halo 2 for the second time yesterday. It was a bit bizarre, but I finally seem to be adjusting to the two thumbstick look/move system that the Xbox controller uses. (For reference on my gaming abilities, the last gaming system that I had any control over was the Sega Genesis. Gaming was pretty much forbidden in my house.) I made some discoveries while I was playing, too. The interesting discovery was that I adjusted well enough that I was using the Battle Rifle and the Covenant Carbine for headshots on snipers and distant targets wherever possible. The impressive discovery is that I was actually pretty good at doing this. I was even better with the sniper rifle. We’re talking single-shot headshots most of the time.

All of this sharp-shooting got me thinking about learning to shoot when I was younger. I grew up in Arkansas where guns and hunting were pretty standard fare, and, when I was probably ten or so, my father took me out to the farm and taught me how to shoot my grandfather’s shotgun. Not too long after this, he and I started squirrel hunting together, me with the shotgun and him with a .22. Now, you don’t have to be quite as accurate with a shotgun as you do with a .22, but if you miss the first shot at the squirrel, chances are you won’t get a second shot. As a small target, the squirrel can be tough to hit; if it’s zooming around the branches after a gun shot, it’s a lot harder to hit. Despite this, I was quite good at squirrel hunting in particular and shooting in general.

Strangely enough, after having gone five or more years without firing a gun, I seem to have been able to adapt to a new method of aiming without changing my shooting style much at all. Has anyone else experienced something similar? I suppose another question to consider is how easy it might be to go in the direction opposite of the one I came. Can someone be a good shot in video games and quickly adapt to being a good shooter with an actual gun?