StarForce is great

Helped a friend today who had some trouble with his computer. Whenever one interacted with “My computer”, right clicking or viewing didn’t matter, the computer completely froze for a few minutes. After I had looked through the list of running processes not finding anything really suspicious I checked on a hunch if he had the StarForce drivers installed. They were installed, so I used the StarForce Cleaner Utility to remove it. And to my surprise, or maybe not, all his troubles went away. Or at least, the computer stopped freezing every now and then.

Switching to PAL-60 wasn’t very difficult after all

I thought that I had to get some other output from the Xbox 360 to my TV to be able to set it to non-hdtv out. But it was just a small switch on the cord I was already using.

So now that I’ve switched to non-hdtv, changed to PAL-60, and then switched the cord back to hdtv out I can try all the new demos I previously complained that I couldn’t test. AstroPop seems like fun, but I’m not so sure if Feeding Frenzy can capture my attention for very long. Especially now that I’m planning on buying Oblivion tomorrow. Can’t wait to try it 😀

Still somewhat annoyed though that I had to change to PAL-60 when that setting isn’t used at all when using a hdtv.

Crappy code now available on Live Arcade!

Wanted to try the The Outfit demo and the Feeding Frenzy demo but ran into a little problem. These two Xbox 360 games only work using PAL-60 when using the standard definition output, so if the Xbox 360 is set to PAL-50 the two games refuse to start. When using the high definition output, as I am, the Xbox detects this and do not allow changing from PAL-50 to PAL-60. So it looks like I wont be able to try these two games for now. Don’t know if it is an error in the Xbox 360 or these two games, but I hope it is fixed soon!

Looks like I’m not the only one using the high definition output, schrankmonster wrote about exactly the same issue a few days ago.

Update: The new game AstroPop has the same annoying problem.

Xbox 360 crash

My Xbox 360 crashed for the first time yesterday. Or more accurately, the game I was playing froze. On some level it is understandable since I was playing a original Xbox game, Halo 2, but still very annoying. Apparently Halo 2 only saves to the harddrive when you “quit and save” the game so all my progress made during that session was lost. Argh!

Luckily the second time through the same part of the game it worked just fine. So it looks like I’ll finally be able to finish Halo 2 and get to see the ending everyone has been complaining about. 🙂

Apart from yesterdays crash the only noticeable difference when playing Halo 2 on the Xbox 360 are some graphical glitches, the background gets stuck and is overlayed over the foreground in some areas of the game. So overall I’m quite impressed by the backwards compatibility of at least this title.

Two months of xbox 360

I ment to write some short blurb here about getting a xbox 360 and what my impressions has been so far. But instead, I haven’t written a thing here for a long time. Wonder if it’ll change or if this is one of those rare events on my blog.

Anyways, there are plenty of things about the xbox 360 to like. It was a breeze to setup, even the wlan worked instantly without a hitch although it was a pain to enter the encryption key. The image quality on my 32″ LCD TV is great, although sometimes I wish I could’ve afforded an even bigger TV. 😉 Connecting it to my computer to stream my music from it to the better speakers hooked up to my TV works great, but I do wish they added the ability to stream video as well in the future. It is possible today, but getting Windows Media Center just for that feature does not sound very appealing to me.

A somewhat meaningless but still fun addition to the new xbox is the achievement-system. You get awarded a little image as well as points, called gamerscore, that everyone online can view and compare themselves with. For some of the games it really feels like it has added to the replayability of the titles. Not that I have made much progress in unlocking achievements for my games. And I guess it could be fun competing with friends in unlocking difficult achievements but my friends list on xbox live is incredibly empty so far 🙂

I’ve bought four games and one live arcade game and I think they’ve been good choices.

Call of Duty 2

Essentially a simple linear FPS game, but with great environments and some interesting twists. Fun enough for me to play all the way through it. Haven’t tried it online at all though, read to much about how horrendous it is. But with the rumored patch that’ll fix most of the issues people have maybe I’ll try it some time.

Project Gotham Racing 3

Cool cars, environments where you can recognize most buildings from real life and a great sense of speed. Only thing missing is some more game modes for playing multiplayer locally. I mean, playing with brittish kids who scream profanities or racing alone is only fun for so long. It’s playing with friends where the fun is I think.


Somewhat enjoyable singleplayer RPG-light. The action sequences where you use the different characters are fun, and it looks good. But it’s probably the game I’ve enjoyed the least of the ones I’ve bought so far.

Dead or Alive 4

Lots of fun, but as with Project Gotham 3 really needs some more game modes when playing locally with friends. Still fun both singleplayer and multiplayer though. I really do suck at it though, and regularely get my ass handed to me by both the computer and online opponents.


The only live arcade game I have so far and it’s a great time-consumer. Simple and fun. I think Microsoft has a real winner with xbox live arcade. Downloading games like Zuma for a small amount of money is a great idea. It’ll be interesting to see how Sony and Nintendo respond to all the xbox live goodness 🙂

Civilization 4 startup speed

While trying to get a Civilization 4 pbem (play by e-mail) game going I got really annoyed by the amount of time it takes for the game to startup. Turning off the in-game movies by setting

NoMovies = 1

in CivilizationIV.ini helps a bit though. Haven’t checked what other movies besides the startup once gets disabled by that option, hopefully nothing too interesting.

CivilizationIV.ini can be found in the My Documents\My Games\civ4 folder or something similar.

Update: It would seem the folder under My Games is named after the folder Civilization 4 is installed into.

Gaming nostalgia

When I was a kid I used to play a lot of adventure games, the point-and-click variety. Like

  • Space Quest
  • The Secret of Monkey Island
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Day of the Tentacle
  • Simon the Sorcerer
  • and many more..

Haven’t played that kind of games for quite some time now though, even though there has been some notable additions lately. The last one I played was The Dig I think, and it is not exactly new.

Anyways, after reading an article about the history of adventure games I felt like trying out some of them again. So I downloaded ScummVM, which lets you run old games based on LucasArts’ SCUMM on a modern computer, and pointed it to the data files for Beneath a Steel Sky and Day of the Tentacle. I must say that both games have ages very well. I’ve had plenty of fun playing through them, although I remember it taking a lot longer the first time through. Maybe it’s just because I still remember a lot of it?

Wonder what game I should try next. Something more modern that I haven’t played, like Grim Fandango, or even newer, like The Longest Journey. Playing through The Dig again would be fun too I think, it was so well done, with great art, story and music. At least, that is how I remember it. 🙂