Learn about Chevy's new hybrid from AutoblogGreen!

Wireless headset for $45

Here's a reason for genuine holiday cheer: Amazon is letting Xbox 360 Wireless Headsets go for $44.99 with free shipping. Stuff one in your own stocking if nobody else will.

[Thanks Ryan]

The XBLA glitch that stole Christmas?

Reader Mark says an Xbox Live Arcade glitch stole some of his bought and paid for XBLA games?:

Has anyone else had this issue?: Yesterday i turned on my 360 and and had some issues logging into live. After receiving an error message about live being temporarily down, I waited a little bit and was able to log in again. However, when i visited my arcade section, I noticed a bunch of games that i had purchased somehow reverted back to "demo" mode. WTF??!! out of thirty games i had purchased, 8 of them "magically" converted back into the free trial mode. anyone else experience this?

It looks like his games were erased and then replaced with trial versions via auto-download. Presumably, he was able to obtain the full versions again without a problem. Did anybody else see their XBLA games get Grinched??

Noise dampening mod sounds pretty good

If you think a 4 or 5 decibel reduction in Xbox 360 noise pollution is worth voiding your precious warranty, this relatively easy mod (which involves the installation of sound dampening material around the optical drive) might be music to your tender ear drums.

[Via Xboxic]

Experience deja GRAW

OnTheXbox posted some Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 screenshots scanned from the latest issue of GameInformer. Surprise! They look a heck of alot like the original (admittedly awesome) GRAW. What are you expecting from this sequel beyond the usual graphical upgrades?

[Thanks un1qu3 n3wy0rk]

Xbox 360 crime wave hits home

Xbox 360-related crime doesn't really hit home until it happens in your neighborhood. This armed robbery happened just a few miles from my house:

Three black men wearing masks and carrying handguns walked into Funcoland on Concord Pike Saturday night. They held two clerks and a customer at bay and stole 8 XBox gaming systems valued at more than 3 thousand dollars.

They also took cash from the register. No one was hurt.

That buys alot of Similac. Or crack. Hey, if you're risking 25 to life, why not grab a Vision Camera and an extra controller on the way out?

Sing, sing a song for GoW

If you walk around singing that Mad World song because you can't get it out of your head, this "Gears of War Idol" contest, sponsored by Unscripted 360, is for you.

[Thanks DeaconBlade 360]

PS3 not all that upscale after all

I hated to have to break this disappointing news to the shivering PS3 fanboys camped out in the cold and wet at my local Best Buy, but somebody had to do it:

As it turns out, gamers who own older HD sets that feature only 480i, 480p, and 1080i resolution input capabilities will have to settle for the display quality being downsized as the game boots in its 480p mode rather than upscaling the image from its more desirable 720p mode to the TV's 1080i. We tested this development on older HDTV sets with games designed for 720p but not 1080i -- Resistance: Fall of Man, NHL 2K7, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, and Need for Speed Carbon. Sure enough, the system downshifted all four titles to 480p rather than moving up to 1080i.

The PlayStation 3's competitor, Microsoft's Xbox 360, does upscale 720p games to 1080i if the HD set supports the latter resolution but not the in-between and commonly-employed 720p resolution.

One guy countered (illogically) that he didn't care because 360 controllers are too big for Japanese hands. Apparently he still thinks we're wrasslin' with the Duke, although it might have been the hypothermia talking.

[Thanks Nathan]

XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2 released [update 1]

Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2 is now available to the wannabe-developer masses. Download it if you have the talent and the will to create the next homebrew masterpiece. Just make sure to include Vision cam support and 10,000 available GamerScore points. Xboxic has a screen shot.

Update: We have already posted a story on the release of this software. Click here for our original post. We apologize for the error.

Big bucks for 360 power brick

The bulky Xbox 360 power brick (aka El Jefe Grande) is big by any definition. Big enough to make your puny DVD player power supply run and hide. Big enough to club a baby seal to death in a pinch. All that's missing to secure its status as the king of gargantuan AC adaptors is a big stand-alone price tag. Enter the Intec Xbox 360 Power AC Adaptor, which, for the Kong-size cost of $100 ( wall plug not included!) adds an internal cooling fan and a few LED lights to your factory power brick, without shaving an ounce off the original's famous form factor. When I first heard about this thing, I assumed Intec was charging power supply snobs a premium for a sleeker, less obtrusive unit, but who was I kidding? This baby is big 'n' beautiful, and it has a fan that supposedly makes your 360 run better. The only question: Is anyone out there a big enough sucker to actually buy it?

[Thanks Chris]

Fall update curbs GamerScore cheating

GamerScore whore awfullygood, from the appropriately named blog, "Confessions of a GamerScore Whore," describes how the Fall update made life more difficult for achievement cheaters:

With the Fall Update, Microsoft has introduced a hybrid locking mechanism that effectively harms the first method [ for swapping game saves] and squelches the second method. Method 1 has been smacked silly because the vast majority of existing game save files created on the previous update do not work on the Fall update software version. This renders those files useless until unscrupulous members decide to re-upload hundreds of saves based from the new dashboard version. This will most likely take months upon months or possibly never happen for very unpopular games.

Method 2 has been rendered useless as new console specific security is in place. Gamerscore thirsty gamers are taunted with a Corrupt Save message when the bypass method attempts to be used. Obviously, the new security may eventually be cracked by code junkies, but those game saves may also have to be re-uploaded. I'm unsure of any repercussions to method 3. I've always found trading accounts to be supremely idiotic as anyone could keep your account for themselves. Anyway, if anyone has heard if method 3 has been affected, let me know.

Former champ ST TheKing quit the GamerScore race after the upper reaches of the leaderboard became became clogged with fakes, including awfullygood himself (who admits he was cheating just to keep up with the Joneses). Sure Xbox 360 achievements are intangible and useless, but they are fun to earn and these a-hole cheats make a mockery of every pallid kid who spent a three day weekend in the basement going after that final Lumines Live time attack get. For God's sake, if putting endless hours into a crap game like Bomberman gives you a limited sense of accomplishment, stealing a game save must give you even less. Of course, these changes won't stop cheating, just slow it down for a bit. But it does serve as a reminder that you're not entitled to an elite score, unless you're playing that other console.

Sneak King trailer wins Nintendo hearts

Self-admitted Nintendo Fanboy Nmaster64 threw this trailer up on YouTube because he says it inspired him to do what Gears of War could not -- get a 360. Creepy man. Sneak King, which -- despite appearances -- is not a sequel to Fight Night Round 3, serves up the fast food thrills later this month.

Let the Gears begin

Some lucky bastard named lamerla racked up four Gears of War achievements on Thursday according to his profile at Xbox.com. Anybody with a retail copy in hand start spilling your guts -- before we spill yours next week.

[Thanks xBlaCkPlaGuEx]

XNA developer contest blogs

Earlier we mentioned that there are 60 homebrew games already in developement using the XNA Game Studio Express. 53 of those are part of a contest at Mark Coffman's Xbox360Homebrew.com in which developers blog their progress. If you thought these guys were tooling around at Pong level, prepare to be impressed. The blogs offer a detailed look at the creative process, not to mention a tantalizing glimpse of what the XNA community has in store for us. Hint: Ninjas vs. Pirates! Check it out.

X360F Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners

When it comes to the Xbox 360 community, not all fanboys are created equal -- and neither are all pumpkins. We received around 20 entries in our carving contest and all of them (except for the odd photoshop fake) were better than the average jack-o-lantern. Richard and I would like to thank all the contestants for making this a competitive contest that proved Xbox 360 fanboys have Halloween spirit and artistic talent to spare. And special thanks to our prize sponsor RockMeTV.com for providing a copy of Gears of War to give away.

Without further ado, please view the official results of our 1st Annual Xbox 360 Pumpkin Carving Contest after the jump

Continue reading X360F Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners

Fall update won't play nice with Sony 1080p TVs

Angry owners in the AVS forum report that the Fall Update's vaunted 1080p support works as advertised with Samsung HDTVs -- but not with two of Sony's most popular (and expensive) 1080p LCD models XBR2/3:

I just had the time to quickly start poking around with the 360 dashboard update, and I'm sorry to report that 1080p is broken on the XBR2 via both component and VGA. When I select 1080p in VGA, I get a windowboxed picture with tons of info cut off on both sides and a warning from the TV saying "Invalid Signal--Check Your PC Output". Over component, when I select 1080p I get a screen full of static for 10 seconds before the console reverts to 1080i.

Feh. Since the XBR2 is one of the most high-profile, wildely available 1080p displays on the market, you'd think MS' engineers would find a way to get the two to work together, but noooooo...

While it's outrageous to suggest that MS would intentionally blacklist their rival's most popular HDTVs, it is amusingly ironic -- unless you're staring at a $4000 distorted screen right now. Another patch could be imminent. It's worth pointing out that most people on that thread say they're going to return their Sony set, not their Xbox 360. And, as usual, someone comments that an upscaled 1080i signal is indiscernible anyway.

Sidenote: The general public doesn't have a prayer of grasping this stuff.

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