Ask X3F: yet more questions edition

And the Ask X3F questions keep coming. It's okay though. We're here for you, gentle fanboys. This week we take a look at the nefarious problem with using your premium content (i.e. Xbox Live Arcade games) on a replacement 360. We also chat about missing Marketplace ads, N+, MSN Alerts, and how the find bloggers of Xbox 360 Fanboy landed such a sweet gig. Continue on to reload your mental weapon with bullets ... of knowledge.

If you've got a question or just something you'd like to share with the Xbox 360 Fanboy community, send it to: ask [at] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

I have a problem on my dashboard that none of my friends seem to have. When my friends sign onto XBL and they are on the dashboard they get nice little ads in areas on the dashboard. However, on mine, I only see the Xbox Live logo and something about friends and tournaments. It's kind of annoyed me because part of me would like to see those ads and see these potential great deals. Then again, on my computer I do hate ads on webpages, but this is a little different.
Any ideas on why this is?

Gamertag: Jb83

First of all, you're not missing much. For the most part, these ads are for downloadable goodies or the occasional movie ad. We don't know what your problem is specifically, though we do know that our friend David Dreger has a similar problem. It could be that you have a child account migrated from the original Xbox. The bad news is that we don't know how to fix it or if you even can. We'd suggest the old standby: 1-800-4MY-XBOX. If anyone out there can solve James' problem, give us your solution in the comments section.

Hey, guys, hat's off to you on a great site. Here's my question: I am from a very small Xbox News site and you are in a very large one as I'm sure you understand. I'm not too familiar with X3F lore and history, so I was just wondering, how did you you guys hit it big? What got you guys recognized over other folks to work at Joystiq's Xbox 360 Fanboy? I like stories, so go ahead, spill your guts guys!

Thanks, Dean Tripp

Thanks for the kind words, Dean.

Richard's story:
We've answered this on the Fancast before, but it might as well be written for all to see. The long answer: I started my own blog during a stint at a rather dreary manufacturing company. I figured I read Joystiq all day anyway, I might as well try my hand at blogging. After a few months of that, I contacted Chris Grant at Joystiq, asking about how he got into the business and if he had any advice. And then he offered me a job. After a few months of blogging for real money, I became the lead for X3F and the rest is history.

The short (and admittedly trite) answer: determination and luck.

Dustin's story:
How did I get a job at X3F? Well, it was actually quite a straightforward process and is a simple tale to tell. Me getting hired at X3F pretty much boiled down to a crazy amount of love for video games and a never ending (and I'm sure annoying) amount of persistence. I put my Googling abilities to good use and not only got in contact with various Joystiq people over the course of many months, but I constantly and consistently "harassed" them. Bothered them to such an extent that they had to either give me a chance at blogging for X3F or file for a restraining order. And lucky for me, lawyers and court fees were a little too spendy for the Joystiq budget. So, they gave me a shot. Eventually, my superb writing skills, whit, lovable charm and constant bribery (in the form of pastries) finally won them over. Now, after one year of blogging, I've finally upgraded to sleeping on the Fanboy Towers couch instead of the cold concrete floor. Next year, a foldout couch!

[Editor's note: Dustin applied for the job during a blogger cattle call a little over a year ago. He had the right stuff. 'Nuff said.]

Hi X3F, I recently changed consoles after getting a replacement for my RRoD, and now the premium content on my hard drive won't work unless I'm signed into Xbox Live. Is there a solution to this problem? Thanks.

If you listened to the latest edition of the Fancast, you'll know that Alexander Sliwinski just ran into the same problem. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to fix it. Sometimes (sometimes) you can delete certain items (XBLA games, for example) and download them again. Beyond that, you're basically forced to spend some quality time with Microsoft customer support. At one time, it was common practice to have you create a new gamertag which Microsoft would then use to refund your spent MS Points. Said points would then be used to just buy everything again. We're not sure if they still do that, but the long and short of it is that you're going to be on the phone for quite a while.

Back during the original Xbox days, Microsoft tied in Xbox Live with their MSN Alerts system. It was easy to set up a preference that someone would get a text message on their phone if their buddies invited time to a game and they were off line. It worked great for my friends and I since it encouraged unscheduled games (we are busy people, after all). When Microsoft took this ability, they said it would come back eventually. That was years ago. Any word if a similar capability is going to see the light of day?

We asked Major Nelson about this (which is becoming something of a routine as we prepare this column) and we've got good news and bad news. The good news: the Live team still wants to integrate MSN Alerts with Live again. The bad news: there is no timeline for when this will happen (assuming it does actually happen).

Dear X3F?

1) Am I the only one hyped about N+?
2) Any idea when it comes out (last year it was marked to come out in late fall 2007)?
3) How about some Shadowrun news (my favorite game ever)?
4) Does Burnout Paradise have a crash mode [that's as good as in Burnout 3]?
5) How much do you guys bench?

Hey, congrats on using both parentheses and brackets in your email!

1) No.
2) The last we heard of it, it was scheduled to arrive sometime between last month and the end of this month. It's not coming out tomorrow, so you've got two more Wednesdays to keep your eyes open.
3) It didn't do very well. The license has since been transferred to Tinker & Smith, a company formed by Jordan Weisman, creator of the original Shadowrun pen & paper RPG that started it all. Any future iterations of the franchise will come from there.
4) Burnout Paradise doesn't really have any "modes" at all. Basically, you can initiate crash mode any time you crash. There aren't any pre-designed courses like the ones in previous Burnout titles though.
5) As infrequently as possible.

Dear X3F'ers,

Which genre would you happily never play another game of again? For the purposes of this thought experiment, note that Yaris is *not* a genre, despite the incredible degree of its sucknicity.



That's a bit closed-minded, isn't it? Hmmm ... we're tempted to say sports, but we do love tennis. Um ... pet simulations? Does that count? We could probably get by without that. Unless you count the dog in Fable 2 anyway.

Greetings X3F,

I received a Best Buy gift card for Christmas and I'm trying to decide on how to use it. I've heard about the greatness of BioShock and played the demo and very much enjoyed it. I've also heard all the excitement around COD4. Which one in your opinion is a better game?


Gamertag: ObiBen8

As you might expect, this boils down to taste. From a value standpoint, it's hard to argue against COD4, as it has some of the most compelling online play available. If you want a game that you'll be playing for a long time, COD4 is probably the way to go. That said, BioShock sports one of the best single-player stories in recent memory. The downside is you may not feel like playing through the game again just to get a different CG ending cinema. In fact, your best bet is to buy COD4 and rent BioShock. BioShock can easily be beaten in the time you'll have it out for rent. Then, once you've had your fill of Big Daddies, you can enjoy the long lasting fun provided by COD4's multiplayer.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.