I’m Addicted To Halo 3

I’ve been playing a lot of Halo 3 lately. I have yet to finish the campaign on Heroic or Legendary, but I have completed the campaign on normal. I’d say it took me roughly 8 hours of playing to finish on normal, but I did a lot of exploring around the levels.

After I beat the campaign on normal, I started in on multiplayer on Xbox Live. That may have been a mistake, multiplayer on Xbox Live is horribly addictive. It’s not just the online gameplay that’s addictive though, the ability to watch movies of yourself playing is equally, if not more addicting.

Halo 3 records video of all the games you play, weather it’s an online multiplayer game or a single player campaign. You can watch all your videos and choose which ones to save in the Theater, the place in Halo 3 where you can access all sorts of Halo 3 media.

Death on SnowboundOne really neat feature is the ability to take screenshots from your movies. So, if you had an awesome looking kill or something else that you want to remember forever, you can take a screenshot of it and it’ll be sent to your Bungie.net profile for you to download and save later. I’ve been saving all my screenshots and uploading them to Flickr for permanent storage. You can have a look at them here, under my Halo 3 tag at Flickr. The quality of the screenshots is pretty good, they’ve all got a resolution of 1536 x 1152.

My Spartan As Of 10/11/2007Another cool new feature is custom armor for your Spartan or Elite multiplayer character. You can choose from roughly seven different armor styles. You can set different styles for your helmet, left shoulder, right shoulder, and chest plate. The Halo 3 Player Model Generator site lets you see what your Spartan or Elite would look like with all the available types of armor. According to that site, there’s 187,947,000 different armor combinations possible in Halo 3. Some of the Armor styles on that site are available only to Bungie employees, such as the “Flaming helmet” chest plate. Supposedly, using this chest plate makes the players helmet appear to be engulfed in flames. Seems like it’d make a nice sniper target to me…

Xbox 360: 3 Year Warranty

Xbox 360: 3 Red LightsMicrosoft has made a good decision here, they’ve extended the warranty on the Xbox 360 to 3 years. It was just recently bumped up to a 1 year warranty from a piddly 90 day warranty. Peter Moore issued an open letter to the community, some good info in there:

If a customer has an issue indicated by the three flashing red lights, Microsoft will repair the console free of charge-including shipping-for three years from the console’s purchase date. We will also retroactively reimburse any of you who paid for repairs related to problems indicated by this error message in the past. In doing so, Microsoft stands behind its products and takes responsibility to ensure that every Xbox 360 console owner continues to have a fantastic gaming experience.


The entire text of the letter is below:

To our Xbox Community:

You’ve spoken, and we’ve heard you. Good service and a good customer experience are areas of the business that we care deeply about. And frankly, we’ve not been doing a good enough job.

Some of you have expressed frustration with the customer experiences you have had with Xbox 360; frustration with having to return your console for service after receiving the general hardware error message on the console.

The majority of customers who own Xbox 360 consoles have had a terrific experience from their first day, and continue to, day in and day out. But when anyone questions the reliability of our product, or our commitment to our customers, it’s something I take very seriously.

We have been following this issue closely, and with on-going testing have identified several factors that can cause a general hardware failure indicated by three flashing red lights on the console. To address this issue, and as part of our ongoing work, we have already made certain improvements to the console.

We are also implementing some important policy changes intended to keep you in the game, worry-free.

As of today, all Xbox 360 consoles are covered by an enhanced warranty program to address specifically the general hardware failures indicated by the three flashing red lights on the console. This applies to new and previously-sold consoles. While we will still have a general one year console warranty (two years in some countries), we are announcing today a three-year warranty that covers any console that displays a three flashing red lights error message. If a customer has an issue indicated by the three flashing red lights, Microsoft will repair the console free of charge—including shipping—for three years from the console’s purchase date. We will also retroactively reimburse any of you who paid for repairs related to problems indicated by this error message in the past. In doing so, Microsoft stands behind its products and takes responsibility to ensure that every Xbox 360 console owner continues to have a fantastic gaming experience.

If we have let any of you down in the experience you have had with your Xbox 360, we sincerely apologize. We are taking responsibility and are making these changes to ensure that every Xbox 360 owner continues to have a great experience.

This will take a few days to roll out globally, and I appreciate your continued patience as we launch this program. I’ve posted an FAQ that should address some additional questions, and we’ll update it over the next few days.

I want to thank you, on behalf of all us at Microsoft, for your loyalty.


Xbox 360 Fanboy asks if the extended 3 year warranty is enough. I think this is more than enough, it more than doubles the previous warranty. It also refunds money to people who had to pay to get their Xbox 360 repaired/replaced. This should make most Xbox 360 owners pretty happy.

You can read the press release over at the Gamerscore blog. Also, check out the official Expanded Xbox 360 Warranty Coverage FAQ for answers to some of your questions.

I think Microsoft is taking the right steps here. Well, they’re trying at least.

Xbox 360: Returning Your Xbox 360 For Repair

Lots of people have been coming here searching for information about sending their Xbox 360 in to Microsoft for repair. My Xbox 360 is on it’s way back to me from being repaired, so I figured I’d post my experience with the repair process.

On March 24th, 2007 I contacted Microsoft Xbox customer support and was able to get the repair process started. My Xbox 360 was still suffering from the dreaded 3 red lights on the Ring Of Light at that time.

Upon initiatiating the repair process, I received an email from Microsoft confirming the repair process had begun. The email stated that I would receive another email once the next step in the repair process begins:

Dear Xbox Customer:

Thank you for contacting Xbox Customer Care. We have received your request for service. Please prepare your console and follow the instructions provided by our customer service department. You will receive an e-mail as soon as the next step in the process has begun.

Thank you,
Xbox Customer Care


The support agent I spoke with gave detailed instructions on what information to include in the box I returned my Xbox 360 in. I typed all the information out, printed it, and put it right on top of my Xbox 360 inside the box I shipped it in. Include this information when returning your Xbox 360 for repair:

  1. Support Reference # (provided by Xbox support agent).
  2. Xbox 360 serial number (from the back of your console).
  3. Your name.
  4. Your return shipping address.

It’s important that you DO NOT SEND YOUR HARD DRIVE, CONTROLLERS, OR MEMORY CARDS! If you send them in with your console you will probably never see them again. Make sure there’s not a game in the DVD drive. Take your hard drive off and make sure all memory cards are out before packing your Xbox 360 up. All you want to send in is your bare Xbox 360 console.

Once you have your Xbox 360 all packaged up along with the necessary information, you’re ready to ship. There seems to be quite a bit of confusion exactly where to send your Xbox 360 for repair. There’s lots of confusion because many of the Xbox support agents don’t speak english as their native language. It’s hard to understand a mailing address from someone with a thick Spanish accent. Now, I’m sure Microsoft has more than one repair center, so make sure to pay close attention when the agent gives you the address to send your Xbox 360 to. I was told to send my Xbox 360 to the following address, your support agent may provide you with a different address:

Repair Center
5700 South International Parkway
Door #18
McAllen, TX 78503

I just took my box to my local post office to ship. I shipped it using the Priority Mail service and purchased $200 worth of insurance coverage for $3.35. Total came to be about $18. Only took 4 days to get there, and that’s counting the weekend. Once they received the package at the repair center I got the following email:

Dear Customer,

We have received your Xbox at our service center. It is our priority to process your Xbox in a timely manner and to get it back to you as good as new. We will contact you as soon as we are finished so you can get ready to get back into the game!

Thanks,
Xbox Customer Care

Exactly two hours later, I got another email stating that my Xbox 360 had been fixed and was on it’s way home. The email said my Xbox 360 should be here in 2 to 5 days, it’d be great to have it before this weekend. They even gave me a UPS tracking number, but there’s nothing there other than a confirmation that the return shipping has been paid for. Hopefully some real tracking data will show up on it tomorrow.

Xbox 360 Elite Has Arrived

Xbox 360 EliteAfter months of speculation, Microsoft has finally announced the Xbox 360 Elite. Everything included with the Xbox 360 Elite is black instead of white, like the initial Xbox 360. One of the major additions to the Xbox 360 Elite is full HDMI support. There’s also a 120GB hard drive, much larger than the 20GB that came with my Xbox 360 Premium package.

I won’t be purchasing an Xbox 360 Elite. I would like to have a 120GB hard drive, but I can buy one for my premium system later on. I can’t justify paying $479.99 for a 120GB drive, I couldn’t even use the HDMI support. I do like the black though, very sleek looking.

The Xbox Domain has some more specs on the Xbox 360 Elite. They also have some prices for the new accessories.

  • 120GB hard drive (black)
  • HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port
  • Wireless controller (black)
  • Xbox LIVE headset (black)
  • HDMI cable
  • Component/SD cable
  • One month subscription to Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson has an interview with Albert on the new Xbox 360 Elite. He’s also got a Flickr photoset containing a bunch of pictures of the new Xbox 360 Elite and the new accessories. Pretty neat.

Xbox 360 Fanboy has a large post highlighting all the new features and accessories for the Xbox 360 Elite. Joystiq has pretty much the same info, but with more pictures.

Xbox 360: Some Fixes For Freezing and 3 Red Lights

I’ve made quite a few posts about the problems I’ve had with my Xbox 360. You can take a look at the Xbox 360 tag archive for the entire list of posts. I’d like to highlight a few comments in those posts from readers. There’s been some great comments by readers, some go into pretty good detail.

All of the comments on all those posts in the Xbox 360 tag archive add up to a very valuable resource for gamers experiencing problems with their Xbox 360. You may have to do a little reading, but there’s some great comments there. Now, here’s some of my favorites.
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