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Ask X3F: Heart healthy edition


This week on Ask X3F -- our weekly, reader-powered Q&A feature -- we discuss the gravest of matters, the Red Ring of Death. Of course, we can't sour the entire column with the stench of dead consoles, so we also devote some time to FASA, gamesaving cheating and the post-launch fate of Halo Wars. Read on, but be sure to call for help if your left arm goes numb.

Got a question for Ask X3F? Maybe you have a story or some information you'd like to share? Send it all to ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

So, my dad has one of the very first gen Xbox 360's. It has yet to RROD, however I feel it is like a ticking timebomb. I got him hooked on Forza with my original Xbox which, when its hard drive cratered, let forth a blue streak of swearing reminiscent of A Christmas Story. He was so pissed, we marched out to Best Buy and bought a 360 on the spot. I bet we didn't get the extended warranty...

Now he's using the NXE and some other games which are CPU intensive.

Is there something we should do to preventatively get it fixed or prevent it?


PS... he just had heart surgery and uses the Xbox as a hobby to relax... I want it to keep working AND keep is blood pressure in check!

Truly Gregg, the Xbox 360 is a fickle mistress. One moment she's fine, doling out delicious digital delights with a smile. The next, she starts spewing crimson flame and walks out on you. Suffice it to say you can never be sure about your Xbox's fate. First of all, check your date of manufacture (you can find it on the back of your console). Every Xbox 360 has a three year warranty for the Red Ring of Death. From the sound of things, your Xbox might be older, so you might have to shell out some cash if it red rings on you (though considerably less than a brand new console).

As for preventative care, we can only give the basic advice. Make sure it's well ventilated with lots of open space on all sides. You might consider installing your most frequently played games to the hard drive. This will keep the DVD drive from spinning unnecessarily and should help keep the system a little cooler. There are third party cooling solutions out there, but we can't vouch for their quality, and some could even void your warranty. Just know that if you ever crack open your Xbox for any reason, Microsoft will not repair it, not even if you pay for it. It's better to be able to pay a fraction of the cost for an official repair than being forced to buy a brand new console, after all.

Also, might we suggest nurturing a hobby for your father that doesn't require the Xbox? Maybe something like Cat's Cradle or a nice yo-yo?

Dear X3F

Why does the 360 treat a save file from an Arcade game the same as the game itself? I'd like to back up my save files from my Arcade games but there are no files at all, just the game.

Quite honestly, we have no idea. We should point out that there are some Xbox Live Arcade games that have use separate save files (Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Mega Man 9 to name a few). We asked Major Nelson, who told us he didn't know of any technical reason as to why most only use one file. If we had to hazard a guess, and it appears we do, we'd say it's for the sake of simplicity. It's supposed to be easy to transfer XBLA games to a memory unit so they can be played on other consoles. That process gets a little more complicated when there are save files to be copied as well.

Hey everybody at 360 fanboy! Im a first time questioner but long time reader, really long. Anyways I was wondering if you have heard anything about the people who made shadowrun. I know they got cut and what not but then the creators(i think) made a new company and I thought they said they were gonna do something with shadowrun or make a 2nd, Well where is it? Now for the second question. I know that nobody is gonna like what i said or should i say ask, but why is there so much hate towards the people that gamesave? We love to game as well Its just going towards achievements(that get you absolutely nothing). On the original xbox gamesaving was promoted in a way. The OXM would give out discs with saves on it. Theres no official leaderboards just MGC. They could make a seperate leaderboard for gamesavers. Alright no more questions please feature this and give feedback. Thanks for your time. P.S. Please dont post my email or anything, I dont want to be harassed about gamesaving, also dont give out my gamertag.

Jordan Weisman, former head of FASA, went on to help found Smith & Tinker, an electronic entertainment company apparently focused on "transmedia." According to the company website, Smith & Tinker aims to "have a great deal of fun while working hard to reinvent play for the connected generation." Weisman also bought back the rights to many FASA games from Microsoft, including Shadowrun, Mechwarrior and Crimson Skies, so something is definitely in the works. That said, if you're waiting for a direct sequel to the first person shooter version of Shadowrun, we have some advice: don't.

As for why people dislike gamesaving, that one's easy: It's cheating. You say that there's no harm in unlocking achievements that mean nothing, but there are a couple of things worth disputing. First of all, if the achievements mean nothing, then why bother gamesaving to unlock them? It's just a waste of time (if you really believe they're worthless). Also, there are official leaderboards, plenty of them. The majority of Xbox Live games have some form of leaderboard, and the majority of players earn their leaderboard position legitimately. It's not fair to let some cheater claim a spot above any legitimate players. And sure, we guess developers could create some kind of cheater leaderboard, but what's the point if none of the points were actually earned? The only thing you'd be able to determine is who's the best at cheating (or has the most spare time).

A quick analogy, because we love analogies, should serve us well: Let's assume you're playing a little friendly backyard football with some buddies. Sure, it's all in good fun, but chances are you'd be a little angry (and probably a little disturbed) to find out one of your friends was using steroids to get an advantage.

Yo, I was initially very excited about Halo Wars, being made specifically for the 360 (and being Halo related), it seemed perfect seeming as I can't be bothered to keep upgrading my PC anymore, and have always loved a strategy game. With the closure of Ensemble, what kind of effect will this have on game support, patching, balance etc.? Strategy game are always prime targets for patching, even if they are more or less perfectly balanced, there are always some strategies on some maps with some units that, with time, will limit game variation and make for exactly the same multiplayer game scenarios ad nauseum. Even if the game is adequately balanced I'm sure in time there will be room for improvement, and if that is definately not going to happen because of Ensemble disbanding, I will not be wasting my money on it. I'm wondering whether the powers that be have thought about how this may limit market potential and secured some kind of support deal for the game, or whether they know that whatever happens they are going to make crazy sales from the fanboys and general marketing?

Anyway, if you can find any information on this silent game-killer it would be much appreciated, I don't want to waste time on a terminal game when I could be perfecting my sfIV combos!

Thanks, Jamie

According to Microsoft's official statement on the matter, the "leadership team" of Ensemble Studios will remain with Microsoft and will form a new studio. Said studio will handle ongoing support for Halo Wars and will supposedly work on future products for Microsoft Game Studios. Microsoft also stated that it intended to fill as many open positions as it could with the remaining Ensemble staff members. So, we have Microsoft's word that the game will be supported, and considering how important Halo is to the Xbox 360, we'd wager it will be.

All we can say is that someone had better be working on a DLC expansion that makes the Flood a playable race.

That's it for this week, folks. Keep sending your questions to: ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

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