Bully: Update!

Yes! I did it! All achievements! I scored 100% on Bully: Scholarship Edition.

Since there are literally dozens and dozens of comments about the difficulty of scoring 100% in Bully, let me jot down my observations.

First, I had gone over the check lists so many times. I did all the mowing. I bought all the clothing and also earned the gold suit. I triple-checked to make sure I did all the bike races and go-kart races. I was still stuck at 99.94%.

Second, I never got the black cowboy hat. I still don’t have it. And I have 100%. So, for the sake of the Xbox 360 version, it can’t be a requirement as many people are reporting. Is it possible that it gives you points toward completion? Sure! But I also think it’s likely that there is some leeway. Maybe the game allows for 102 or 103%. In other words, you can get the black cowboy hat and hit 100%. Or you can skip it and hit 100%.

Third, the difficulty for me hitting 100% was that I stopped getting errands. All through the game, I was inundated with them. Then when I needed them they dried up. People wrote that you needed to hard reboot the Xbox 360 but nothing ever happened for me when I did that despite numerous attempts.

Then I spotted a post suggesting that clearing the cache would help and — lo-and-behold — after clearing the cache I immediately received 8 new errands! I had only completed 31 but I am now at 39.

This makes me wonder about the people who had success with hard booting. I bet it’s more likely that they gave up on Bully, played other games, and then returned to Bully — because, I believe, the Xbox only retains the last three played games in the cache. At least, with the original Xbox, that was the case since the way to clear the cache was to pop in three other games and then return to the original game.

So is that how you clear the cache on the 360? Maybe, but there’s an easier way. I found it here. But if you are averse to clicking on links here’s the process: on the dashboard, go to your Xbox, then go to the settings. Follow that up by clicking on the memory section. Highlight your HD, and then key in the following sequence: Y, X, X, LB, RB, X, X. You’ll see a prompt asking if you want maintenance performed on your HD. Say yes and it clears your cache. Note: it also wipes out all of your game patches (the latter point makes me think this is the reason the code is “secret”). But I don’t think that’s too major since patching on the Xbox is effortless.

After performing maintenance, I fired up the game, re-patched at the prompt, and then traveled from my save at the comic shop to the greaser hangout. Christie asked me to walk her to the motel in the greaser neighborhood. As soon as we arrived, I completed my 32nd errand and — received my achievement for 100%. Yes! Wish I had figured that out a few days ago, but hopefully this information will help others who are struggling with achieving 100%.

Unified Console?

BioWare’s Dr. Ray Muzyka (my old boss! :)) recently made a comment talking about the future possibility of a single gaming platform. At the BioWare forums, someone shared this Ars Technica article which equates that possibility to a likely monopoly. Most of the forum responses were in agreement. I don’t agree with the concerns and I’m going to share my (slightly edited) response here:

(today’s post: 350 words)

Standards aren’t necessarily bad or representative of monopoly.

We already have DVD standards. It doesn’t mean that one company is creating all the DVD standards, DVDs, and DVD players. It means all the big hardware companies came up with one standard that they can all work with. People can still buy a Toshiba DVD player or a Sony DVD player. They can still buy Warner DVDs or Newline DVDs. Companies don’t need to support alternative formats. Life is easier.

And while it could be argued that competing formats benefit the consumer, I didn’t see much of that with HD versus Blu-Ray. All I saw were confused people not buying either, worrying that they supported the wrong format, or supporting both formats at greater expense.

Likewise…

If there were one standard for games, then Nintendo and EA could make games to spec. Sony and Microsoft could make their own versions of a standards-playing console. Computer makers could tag higher-end PCs specifically for game playing and brand them as such – like “Vista capable” (yeah, yeah – the lack of a standard *there* is not the point).

Things can go on as they are. And we consumers can go on paying $200 for an Xbox, $250 for a Wii, $1000-$2000 for a PC, and $400 for a PS3 so that we can play all the different games, too.

Or…

We can create a standard. And let the big companies compete at that standard. And have amazing competition that leads to better prices or better products for the consumer, and more stable games for the consumer, and easier development for the game makers. And, maybe, get some standardized “achievements”.

Then there is the thin client comment. I’m not going to dwell on that one since I want to wrap this up. I will say I’m not a big fan of the “thin client” idea – as I understand it. But I’m aware that I’m the exception. I think most people would be thrilled if they could pick a game from an all-inclusive, on-line library and play it without ever having to leave the house or pop in a disc.

Console Patching

(today’s post: 245 words)

I spotted the announcement of an upcoming patch for Fable 2 on the Xbox 360 and it got me thinking…

One of the perks of console gaming used to be that games were “finished”. Once the internet became prevalent, games on the PC were often shipped with bugs that were later fixed while console games had to work; there was no way to patch them. It forced console game-developers to have quality standards.

Starting with the original Xbox that shifted. The internet came to consoles.

At first, there was resistance. In fact, I remember working for a particular video game company and us sneaking bug fixes out to consumers, hiding a patch behind bonus content (like slipping dog pills in a piece of bread). I don’t know why it couldn’t just be said, “Hey, we know this is broken. Don’t do [this] to avoid the bug or download this fix.”

Maybe it was because everyone realized it’s a slippery slope.

Fable 2, in PC-like fashion, had a patch available day one (the day the game arrived in stores). There’s a second patch set to arrive in mid-December.

To be fair, the first Fable 2 patch enabled multiplayer. And I like bonus-content patches (even if there are bug fixes hidden in there). I also don’t mind rare issues getting addressed – like the bug on the aforementioned project I was on. But the idea of patches becoming common place is… well, it allows developers to be sloppy.

Where’s the quality assurance?

Friday Obama Crackdown

I’ve recently (re-?) realized that there’s something quite calming about a game like Diablo or Crackdown (don’t laugh) – where you can be swarmed over by enemies (chaos) and then slowly whittle them all away (order).

I felt like playing a game the other night but I wasn’t sure what to play. I popped Burnout into the 360 but it frustrated me pretty quickly. There’s just something irritating about a one-on-one race where you force the other driver to crash five or six times and yet he’s still right on your tail. Then you make one bad decision (i.e. deciding to drive into a pillar) and you’ve lost the race. To be fair, Candice and I had a few marathon sessions with the game some many months back and progressed quite far into the game. Trying to play a more difficult race when I haven’t played in so long was kind of unrealistic, but it still bothered me the way I lost. I hate such blatant catch-up AI.

Anyway. For some reason, I decided to play Crackdown. I think, on a conscious level, it was because I still wanted to play a driving game – I just didn’t want to have to race someone. I’m not sure why I didn’t put GTA in. Maybe I knew I wanted something more mindless?

I pop the game in. I start up a new career. I run out to the street. There are car engines racing loudly all around me. Cars blaring music. People yelling in the streets. Cops standing off against gang members. My mini-map was littered with red dots (highlighting the position of hostiles). Bullets were flying through the air at me, and near me. It was all entirely too much overload. It made me mad (haha – and OCD).

So I beat the snot out of every criminal (and, by accident, the occasional non-criminal – oops), effectively stopping the blaring music, the fighting, removing the red dots and so forth. I created order out of chaos. It felt good. I felt good. I had forgotten what a fun game Crackdown is. I hadn’t played it since I beat it – which was right around the time my Xbox died (October-ish). Now I’m back into it and loving it.

***
We (me, Lisa, and Candice) were out the other day and talking about days off and overtime pay or something, as a result of the upcoming (errr, already here) holiday weekend.

The topic of “Good Friday” came up and Candice asked why it’s called “Good”. “Yeah, it was a sacrifice, but wasn’t it also the day he was tortured, put up on the cross, and killed? So why do they call it *good*?” Good question. In fact, some people even call it “Great Friday” or talk about “celebrating the passion (torture)” of Christ; I guess those are the same Mel Gibson-ites who dug his god-awful snuff film.

Anyway, the reason I post, in part, is because I discovered that “good” and “great” are not universal terms. Some people call it “the Day of Christ’s Suffering”. Others call it “Sad Friday” or “Long Friday”. Hm!

I know I’m not a believer and I know I’ve posted about this topic before, going back and forth on the merits of fixation on such a horrific moment (i.e. the image of Christ’s suffering in every church is both a representation of “the greatest sacrifice” and a disgusting torture/barbaric execution scene). But while I basically agree that nothing could be more powerful than showing what happened to Jesus (errr, what Jesus allowed to happen) as a reminder to every person why they need to be good and walk the straight-and-narrow path of righteousness, I sometimes wonder if people (Mel Gibson-ites) aren’t missing the point just a little.

Bah, it’s probably just me. :p Haha.

***
So much Obama love. I think I like it. It feels unifying. But we’ll see.

Regardless, I keep up with Obama and Clinton (figuring that one of them is getting elected and determining what life will be like for the next four years at least), their platforms and so forth, but I admit I’m not completely certain what life will be like if one or the other wins. Anyone else out there have any thoughts on why they want one or the other (or McCain, or someone else entirely)? Any thoughts on the Obama love?

“CB Box 360″ New Xbox 360 Gamer Profile

My 360 gamer profile is locked in to Canada. I discovered this when, after I tried to download some songs for Rock band and found out that I could not, I contacted Microsoft and they told me I had to create a new, US-based gamer profile. Doesn’t that suck? What the hell, man. What the hell. Why can’t they let me just change the country code from Canada to the US? iTunes let me! So anyway, I am abandoning my “bobisimo” gamer profile. If you have me on your friend list, please delete that contact. And! Please add “cb box 360” to your contacts! This is my new gamer profile. Thanks! :p