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Found an Xbox kiosk today...


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#1 of 50 OFFLINE   Dean Cooper

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Posted November 03 2001 - 09:51 AM

I was doing a little Christmas shopping this afternoon and decided to drop by the malls game shop. To my pleasant surprise I found a nice shiny new Xbox kiosk sitting there, just begging me to come try it out:

The Unit itself was quite impressive, the best thing about it is the sound system including a sub. The TV definitely left something to be desired (using the composite inputs) but I think this is a good thing seeing that the average household TV is pretty similar. Its not as "cool" as the PS2 LCD screen, but the picture was crisper and performed better with motion.

The console is nicely displayed in its case so that you can get a good look at it. It wasn't my first time seeing one but I'd just like to say again that its not as big as what people make it out to be. Not that I give a rats ass anyway Posted Image

The controllers are held firmly to the unit and should withstand the beating that these things usually get. The controller is really comfortable to me and I had no problems with pushing any of the buttons on it. The analog joysticks on the controller are a bit firmer than the PS2 controller but not as firm as the N64. While I was watching the non-interactive demos, I realized that I had gathered a small crowd around me. One of the spectators ( I'm guessing that he was around 10 or so) grabbed the second controller and started playing with the controls, I asked him what he thought of the controller and if it was too big for him. He quickly replied back to me that it wasn't and proceeded to show me that he could work everything. The only thing I noticed that he had to stretch to reach were the black and white buttons.

The playable demo on it was a really short Oddworld demo. The controls were a lot like Mario 64 and the demo really didn't provide much challenge as I expected. Oddworld looks neat, if you liked the other games of this franchise you'll love this game.

I counted at least 6 "Wow look its an Xbox!" during the 5 minutes I was at the thing and by the time I finished the Oddworld demo and let someone else have a try I had about 10 people watching. Sure made my day...

Dean


#2 of 50 OFFLINE   Camp

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Posted November 03 2001 - 10:59 AM

Dean,

Glad you got a little taste of what's only 12 days away.

I wonder if the Xbox is really rendering the non-interactive demos on that demo disc. I have an Xbox demo unit at my store and have spent a lot of time with it. I really think the non-interactive demos are pre-recorded and that the Xbox is just playing video off the disc.

I'm certainly not implying that the Xbox isn't capable of those games. Rather, the video quality on many of the movies is really poor. It can't simply be the crappy television and composite connection. Compare the image quality of the interactive Oddworld demo to the "movies" and you'll see a distinct difference.

I wonder if, for the sake of immediacy, Microsoft used movies rather than actual game code for those segments? They needed these units in-stores right away and got the images to disc as quickly as possible.

I have no problem with using video. I just expect better image quality than I'm seeing on this demo disc.

#3 of 50 OFFLINE   AndyVX

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Posted November 03 2001 - 11:21 AM

Hey, I found an Xbox kiosk yesterday as well. It was in the Compucentre in the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto.

So, I was playing Munch's, and to tell you the truth I was a little let down. Not by the gameplay(I've never been a fan of these games anyways), but by the graphics. I was expecting a lot more for some reason. Oh well, for a 1st generation Xbox game, I don't really have anything to complain about. What the game really does a good job at showcasing though is what we will be in store for after the launch games.

Things will only get better.

Hmm, about the controller. The only thing I can say is this. Never judge a book by it's cover!! I was expecting the Xbox controller to be an utter mess and hardship to use. And it turns out it's a very nicely designed controller. At first it feels a little awkward(obviously because it's new), but once you start playing it feels very natural.

I will say though I'd still rather have the Japanese Xbox controller though. The North American version(which turned out better then I would have thought), still feels a tiny bit too big for my tastes. The Japanese version is just a little bit smaller which may please me a little more. I just hope they are backwards compatible like most other controllers are on every other system.


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#4 of 50 OFFLINE   Graeme Clark

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Posted November 03 2001 - 03:01 PM

Found one today too at my local EB. Had Cel Damage playing in it, which looked nice. Didn't get my hands on a controller though, as there were too many kids trying to get on, and I didn't feel like being mean. I'll just go back during a weekday when the mall is less busy.

I also recently got to see Halo and DOA3 on a big screen RP TV. Both looked good, DOA3 especially.

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#5 of 50 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted November 03 2001 - 04:26 PM

Taking all the info I have found, this is what I'm seeing:

The X-Box is great. Big, and heavy, but the quality of it and its games will outweigh any negatives. Munch is OK, but disappointing graphically, mainly because of its game engine, not because of anything wrong with the X-Box. DoA3 is excellent, but plays the same as the last game, with an adding feature or two, new characters, and new levels. Halo is fun and looks great, it will be THE launch game. The controller is not perfect, but is well designed with the only real problem being that you might need to get used to it and the black and white buttons are a little awkward. Some people with big fingers might hit more than one button at once.

So are my impressions right or wrong? I'm getting more interested in the XB because I've been watching more videos and reading more, plus all the good impressions. I still won't get it for a while, but I want to know what its like.

#6 of 50 OFFLINE   Paul S Gregory

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Posted November 04 2001 - 02:14 AM

Christmas shopping on November 3?
I'm still eating Halloween candy! Posted Image
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#7 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave F

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Posted November 04 2001 - 04:04 AM

Quote:
The controller is not perfect, but is well designed with the only real problem being that you might need to get used to it and the black and white buttons are a little awkward. Some people with big fingers might hit more than one button at once

This sums it up perfectly, IMO.

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#8 of 50 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted November 04 2001 - 06:22 AM

I could just buy a licensed third party controller with a better design (or one I like better) and make that my primary controller, so the controller thing is officially not an issue. Now the only thing is making space for the X-Box...but I don't have to worry.

Overall, what would you say is the quality of the games (price, gameplay, graphics, etc. all put together)?

#9 of 50 OFFLINE   Mike_G

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Posted November 04 2001 - 09:46 AM

I'd say the quality of the games gets a nudge over all the other consoles since the XBox renders the audio in real-time Dolby Digital. No other system is capable of doing that so already you get an advantage with the XBox. With the GameCube, you're paying more for that silly new disc format so I'd have to knock the value of the GC's games down. Developers are finally taking advantage of the PS2's hardware, and I'm sure we'll get better games once the hard drive is released.

Best value - XBox and PS2.

Mike


#10 of 50 OFFLINE   JohnE

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Posted November 04 2001 - 11:19 AM

Quote:
I could just buy a licensed third party controller with a better design (or one I like better) and make that my primary controller, so the controller thing is officially not an issue.

Yeah, it looks like there will be a number of them available at launch, or soon after. I personally like the XBox standard controller, at least after the small amount of time I've spent with it, but I have to admit I'm intrigued by the Thrustmaster controller. I can't remember the name of it, but it's shaped sorta like a "U". Looks like it could be comfy.

#11 of 50 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted November 04 2001 - 11:41 AM

My worry with the X-Box controller will be that I will hit the black and white buttons or more than one button at once. This doesn't happen on the PS2, and I haven't heard of it on the GCN.

Mike-

I don't see how Dolby really improves the quality of the games that much. Yes, it improves the experience, but a bad game is a bad game, even if it has Dolby. And since when have we been paying more for the new disc format? We are paying $50 per game, just like the PS2 and XB, and we pay less for the console itself. A GCN with a memory card, second controller, and a game is less than a PS2 or XB, so I really see that as a benefit that the GCN has over the XB and PS2.

Actually, the PS2 will be able to do DTS in real-time. Might not be as good, but its up there, and its better than what it has now.

#12 of 50 OFFLINE   Mike_G

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Posted November 04 2001 - 11:45 AM

Quote:
Actually, the PS2 will be able to do DTS in real-time.

Are there any games that are rendering any kind of 5.1 audio in real-time (read: NOT cut scenes) on the PS2? I haven't heard of any.

Mike


#13 of 50 OFFLINE   Shawn O

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Posted November 04 2001 - 12:30 PM

I'm pretty sure that NHL2002 for the PS2 does just that,in DTS.

#14 of 50 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted November 04 2001 - 12:57 PM

Yes, that and SSX Tricky. EA, who are masters of developing, created the ability to do DTS 5.1 in real-time. I hope they share it with other companies or someone else does it, too.

#15 of 50 OFFLINE   Camp

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Posted November 04 2001 - 05:31 PM

Quote:
With the GameCube, you're paying more for that silly new disc format so I'd have to knock the value of the GC's games down

Paying more? The games are the same average price as PS2 & Xbox.

Now, if you mean the discs are smaller and you'll keep loosing them (thus, having to buy multiple copies of the same game) I can see where you're coming from. Posted Image

#16 of 50 OFFLINE   Brad Grenz

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Posted November 04 2001 - 07:21 PM

Quote:
was a little let down. Not by the gameplay(I've never been a fan of these games anyways), but by the graphics. I was expecting a lot more for some reason.

They should have picked a different game for the interactive demo. Munch is graphically underwhelming, to say the least. I doubt I was the only person who stood at the kiosk thinking, "wtf?" The only thing in the demo that looked any better than what can be done on my PCI Banshee was the water (no bump mapping for me!), which looked really fake.

I suspect the game was probably chosen because it was the most code complete and least violent game they had to chose from. The last thing they need is a Congressional hearing!

The noninteractive demo of DOA 3 looked pretty bad too. It must have been a compressed video, based on the lack of detail and the fact that there was no load time (Munch took forever to load). But that's not the way to win people over. The movie didn't make the game look any better than Virtua Fighter 4, Tekken 4 or Soul Calibur 2 running on PS2 hardware.

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#17 of 50 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted November 04 2001 - 08:10 PM

I actually found "Blood Wake" to be the most graphically impressive game on display at the local X-kiosk.

The water looked very cool, Similar to the 'pixel shading' test in "3D Mark 2001"

The water had some cool reactive effects to various explosions as well.



#18 of 50 OFFLINE   Joe Rigali

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Posted November 05 2001 - 02:07 AM

My local Gamestop has Halo in its Kiosk. My only initial gripe was that the levels were too dark. - I thought the brightness needed to turned up, then I realized that your character was equipped with a flashlight. Its pretty cool. I like the first level (running through your ship with explosions and fire fights all around you. My only gripe was the design of the aliens. But I think this game rocks! The frame rate was solid and smooth and the lighting were very well done. Hope I can snag this on the 15th! Posted Image

#19 of 50 OFFLINE   Peter Rohlfs

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Posted November 05 2001 - 03:17 AM

I've now seen 3 x-box kisoks. I think MS is making a mistake not equipping them with a better tv. Everything looks a little out of focus. I'm sure the xbox outputs a better looking picture.

I also played with a gamecube kisok, though the screen was smaller the picture was much sharper.

Peter

#20 of 50 OFFLINE   John Kilroy

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Posted November 05 2001 - 07:30 AM

I also find the video display on the Xbox units to be underwhelming. I think most of us are suffering from a skewed perspective, though.

Do you have nice video display at home?

Have you tweaked it to perfection?

When you go to A/V stores, do you look at televisions and think how much nicer they would look if the sharpness was turned down?

Can I get an "Amen"?

To Joe Six Pack, though, the television looks fine. Ignorance is bliss. I did notice that the menu and adjustment controls on the televisions have been disabled, so I presume that Microsoft has these sets tweaked to where they want them for Xbox purposes. I'll do my own tweaking at home using the Avia or Video Essentials DVD with the Xbox. I'll connect the Xbox to my 6800 watts of DD5.1 thunder, and Bill Gates can come over and see what a real Xbox demo looks like.

John Kilroy
(who's looking forward to getting an Xbox ensconced in the middle of his home theater.)

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