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Aaron's Xbox 360 MTV Special Impressions
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posted by: Aaron Stanton
publisher: Microsoft
date posted: 12:00 AM Thu May 12th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Thu May 12th, 2005

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When you watch something like MTV's 30-minute Xbox 360 special, it's hard to figure out what to say.  I'd guess we saw a total of 2 minutes footage of anything but the outside enclosure of the Xbox system; things like games, graphics, and specifications were distinctly lacking.  Even the 1st ever public Perfect Dark deathmatch? had very little actual deathmatching in it.  There were lots of pictures of people pushing buttons, then a picture of the host declaring a kill, then an interview with people talking about who had the better team.  If you didn't blink, you might have seen a picture or two of what the game looked like - the screens came and went fast enough to trigger seizures.  

There's not a great deal on which to base impressions.  A number of rumors have been confirmed, which I guess is somewhat worth mentioning.  For example, Xbox 360 seems to be the confirmed title now (not that I'm surprised, just a bit disappointed).  The Xbox controllers will be wireless, but they didn't release any details on how they'll be charged, or any of the nifty details that would have made the show enlightening instead of just flashy and obviously petrified of any shots with longer than half a second between cuts.  The white, concave exterior of the Xbox 360 rumors has been confirmed, and apparently it's small enough to fit in a purse? assuming your purse looks like an over-the-shoulder book bag.  The girl bringing in the Xbox 360 and setting the system on the pedestal reminded me of Nokia's E3 2003 press conference, in which they introduced the price of the original N-gage via the bare belly of a model stripping off her shirt.  It's almost as if the entire show were designed to confirm the rumors that we were already pretty sure were true.  Changeable faceplates are a given, and it's interesting to note that at one point a developer mentioned that the download system would be good for downloading content for Perfect Dark and Halo, which seems to suggest that a Halo is on the way (duh).  Whether or not we'll see it at the same time as the PS3 release, which is a popular rumor, who knows?  

Of the information that was presented, by far the one that caught my eye the most was the comment that Perfect Dark will be able to support up to 50 players online simultaneously.  This is huge for me.  25 vs. 25 battles are going to be awesome?  assuming the maps are well done.  The technical ability to do that, though, is really very impressive - I'm uncertain how it's accomplished, but if they can do it? wow.  

A number of us GF writers were watching the special during a pre-E3 meeting, and were saying things like, Perfect Dark is either going to be really cool, or really bad.  Guess we'll see in a second.?  Jokes on us, I guess.  We saw the show and still have no ideas about Perfect Dark.  I'm actually far more excited at this point about Ghost Recon 3, but that's just a personal preference.  I'm a fan of the series.  I'm pretty happy with the white, concave exterior, the glowing Xbox button on the front, and the way the controllers seem to be very similar to the current Xbox S controllers.  I've had a few days to get used to the design, since pictures of the unit showed up just a few days ago online, and that helps.  Basically, though, we still know virtually nothing about the Xbox 360 besides the name.  We'll have to wait until the press conference to see if there will be any more details.