Halo 3

Yesterday, Raymond brought you the verdict in the murder trial of Daniel Petric, who was found guilty of murdering his mother and shooting his father over Halo 3. In the decision, Judge James Burge decided to drop the gavel on video games and how much it totally messes up your mind.

It's also great because he starts by saying that he and the court doesn't "know enough about these video games," but then follows that up by affirming "the same physiological responses occur [Ed: when play video games] that occur in the ingestion of some drugs."

So what is it, Judge? Do you need to know more about "these video games" or are you ready to write a scientific journal on your "firm belief" that gaming has physiological effects on brain chemistry?

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Remember that trial involving a teenager that murdered his mother and shot his father because he wasn't allowed to play Halo 3? The defendant, Daniel Petric, has been convicted. Thankfully, the judge thought the notion of blaming the tragedy on a video game was ridiculous. The Associated Press reported:

"Defense attorneys for 17-year-old Daniel Petric didn't contest that Petric shot his parents in October 2007. But they insisted that the boy's youth and video game addiction made him less responsible. But Lorain County Common Pleas Judge JamesBurge said Monday that is not a defense and there was evidence of prior calculation and planning."

While it's immensely sad that Petric's mother died for a senseless reason, I'm pleased to see that gaming won't be blamed for the murder. I'm grateful that the judge was wise enough to see that the kid is just damaged and his gaming addiction is not a reasonable excuse to kill someone.

Anyone disagree with me? Do you think addiction or any sorts makes someone "less responsible" for their actions? Speak up!


A New Year brings us many things; resolutions you will never keep, sales that don't really save you any money, and predictions for the next year that hardly ever come true. Enter Adam Sessler!

Joining in with the rest of the games journalism community, Adam has decided to dig deep into that giant brain of his and predict what he thinks will happen for the major consoles and publishers in the next year. After such an amazing year for us gamers, could 2009 possibly top 2008? Will we see the return of some major franchises or the beginning of new ones? Will the Wii continue to sell so much? Are soy beans a safe stock investment opportunity?

No one knows what the future brings, but it sure is fun to speculate! Check out this week's Soapbox to see what The Sess sees in his magic crystal ball. Do you think Adam has hit the nail on the head? Or is he totally off-base?


Sessler's Soapbox: Adam Sessler's Crystal Ball »

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Microsoft's Captain Marketing Major Nelson has released a trio of "top 20" lists for the year of 2008. The categories are top Xbox 360 Live titles (based on unique users), top Xbox Live Arcade games (based on full purchases), and the top (original) Xbox Live (based on unique users). Here are the lists!

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles

  1. Halo 3
  2. Call of Duty 4
  3. GTA IV
  4. Gears of War 2
  5. Gears of War
  6. CoD: World at War
  7. Guitar Hero III
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company Demo
  9. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Demo
  10. Rock Band
  11. Fable II
  12. Mirror's Edge Demo
  13. Madden NFL 09
  14. BF: Bad Company
  15. Rainbow Six Vegas 2
  16. UNO
  17. Castle Crashers
  18. COD: World at War Multiplayer Beta
  19. Forza Motorsport 2
  20. Too Human -- Demo

Read More »

X-Play's 2009 Preview Show


Posted December 23, 2008 - By Mike D'Alonzo

UPDATE: Witness the future, today.
X-PLAY's 2009 Preview Show videos are now live! 

Tonight on X-Play, we're not content to wait until January 1st to tell you what games you should be looking forward to in 2009. Nope, we're already on it, and you're going to be happy that we are, as X-Play's 2009 Preview Show gives you all the games you need to know about for next year from A to Z(ombie), as well as a discussion with representatives of both 1up and IGN to find out what they think is worthwhile in the next year, as well.

It's going to be informative, so you might want to take notes. Just sit back, relax, and get ready for the first look at what is sure to be a landmark year in gaming...2009!


Well looks like you've made the nice list for this year's early Christmas presents. Bungie has decided that you... the Halo 3 buff that you are... deserves a small stocking stuffer with a batch of (mostly) new screens from the upcoming Mythic Map Pack expansion. Included in the image gallery are 2 out of the projected 3 maps: the Assembly and Orbital maps which will be included in the March 3rd release of the Halo Wars Limited Collector's Edition for the Xbox 360.

Keep your eyes peeled this Friday for even more holiday Bungie love.

Read More »

It seems like every time video games make significant progress towards complete mainstream acceptance, some idiot kid sets the effort back ten years (not a scientific estimate). That's exactly what's going on in Elyria, Ohio. A little over a year ago, the son of a pastor threw a fit, murdered his mother, and shot his father. That's a terrible and tragic thing. Unfortunately, the whole ordeal is blamed on Halo 3. According to Cleveland.com:

"Daniel Petric was so angry that his father would not allow him to play the violent video game Halo 3 that he killed his mother and shot his father, then tried to make it appear to be a murder-suicide, prosecutors told a Lorain County judge this morning in the boy's murder trial."

It's extremely annoying that one of the first things people will see when they read the sourced article is the phrase "violent video game Halo 3". A lot of people are going to make the ridiculous assumption that Halo 3 made Petric kill his parents. The article later states that Petric was frustrated at being stuck at home with a severe staph infection, but that's at the very end of the story. The article fails to mention that staph infections can spread and affect the brain. Just a theory here, but perhaps that had more to do with the kid's behavior than Halo 3?!? Or maybe the kid was just a complete nutter. I mean...look at him. Either way, Michael Sangiacomo's article is crap.

via Kotaku

Halo Wars, the real-time strategy game from Ensemble Studios and Microsoft, will be hitting the Xbox 360 on March 3, 2009. The game, which Ensemble believes will exemplify console RTS controls, will be available in both a standard edition and collector's edition.

The $80 collector's edition will feature bonus content for Halo 3 in the form of three new multiplayer maps. Furthermore, the game will apparently never be coming to the PC so you'll have to get all your Halo RTS action in on the Xbox 360.

Where do you stand on Halo Wars? Are you buying it and will you be going in for the collector's edition? I'm definitely going to play it, but it's still just a rental for me. Ensemble has done some great things with RTS games on the console, but I still prefer a mouse & keyboard for my strategy titles. Also, if the StarCraft II beta starts up before then I'll be playing that pretty much exclusively.

Halo Wars Gameplay Walkthrough

Halo Wars Gameplay Walkthrough »

Throughout the month of December, Microsoft will unleash a weekly deal on content from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. First up is the Halo 3 Legendary Map Pack, which will sell for 400 MS Points (down from 600).

The sale runs for one week only.

It does require Xbox LIVE Gold, but would you really be buying additional multiplayer maps for Halo 3 if you didn't have access to the multiplayer? I don't think so.

Tune in next week for another deal from Microsoft.

Did you already buy the map pack? Plan on picking it up now? I kind of feel like everyone that was going to buy the pack has already done so...


Without much warning, Bungie has renamed Halo 3: Recon. It is now known as Halo 3: ODST. The reason?

"This new title is a more straightforward account of the experience that awaits and the role you will assume as you explore the streets of New Mombasa... 'ODST' (literally pronounced 'Oh-Dee-Ess-Tee' and not 'ohdst') is the acronym for 'Orbital Drop Shock Trooper.' This special forces branch of the UNSC military force is called into action for highly specialized, small scale operations.

If you're worried about the status of the previously promised Recon armor, which will be unlockable in the game... "don't worry, you can still has Recon. (the armor that is, it's still tied to the Vidmaster achievements and will be accessible via the final retail release next Fall)."


7-Eleven To Continue Selling Games


Posted November 22, 2008 - By r_pad

The king of convenience stores, 7-Eleven, recently experimented with selling high-profile games in its stores. In addition to getting a Slurpee and a Big Bite, consumers could also pick up World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Gears of War 2, and others. The experiment has been a success, as 7-Eleven is now claiming that it wasn't an experiment at all, but rather the start of a new initiative. GameSpot quotes company category manager for gaming and electronics Michael Jester as saying:

"This is not just a holiday promotion for us,but a brand-new product line-up that will be available year-round. We may not be a total entertainment destination...yet, but we're hoping to expand our selection beyond the high-dollar, hot-selling games to include options for all budgets, like value-priced video games as well as DVD movies."

This is great news for the gaming business. A huge chain of stores like 7-Eleven gives publishers access to millions and millions of customers. While retail shops like GameStop, Wal-Mart, and Target aren't exactly quaking in their boots, there is cause for concern. The reach of the chain can't be denied.

What do you guys think? Could you see yourself making an impulse gaming purchase along with your Big Gulp? Or are Slurpees and Madden akin to oil and water?



One of my favorite features of the New Xbox Experience is the ability to install games on the Xbox 360 hard drive. It greatly cuts down on the ridiculous noise the console produces and improves load times...in most cases. One of the exceptions is Halo 3. As Brian reported earlier, installing Halo 3 on the Xbox 360 hard drive actually increases load times. Bungie's Mat Noguchi gives a lengthy technical explanation of why this is the case. He sums it up by saying:

"So in conclusion, please be aware that installing Halo 3 to your HDD will actually result in longer load times and thus a less optimal experience than if you run the game from the disc drive. This happens due to the way Halo 3 already uses a HDD to cache data and once you do an install, you are copying between two different areas of the same drive as you are loading a map."

That's cool that Bungie took the time to explain why installing Halo 3 on your hard drive isn't necessarily a good thing. It would be even cooler if the company released an update that allowed the game to take full advantage of hard drive installs. Keep your fingers crossed!


Some more Halo 3: Recon details have slipped online from the upcoming issue of Game Informer and it looks like Bungie is trying something new with their gameplay formula. The player will assume the role of a silent member of an ODST drop squad sent into New Mombasa during the Halo 2 storyline.

At some point, the player will be separated from his squad members and have to search for them in an open world. The player will discover clues "such as a sniper rifle hanging from a street light," which will trigger a "Lost-style flashback” in which the player takes control of the missing squad mate.

During these flashbacks, the gameplay will be the classic Halo gameplay we know and love, but will unfold in 30-minute episodes. This ties into the shorter planned length for the game as a whole.

Read More »

Ensemble's Graeme Devine insists emphatically that Halo Wars is not going to be released on PC.

"Zero. Never. I'm going to go on the record and say never ever! Microsoft may go and announce it, but I'll say never."

OK, we heard it from the horse's mouth.  "Halo Wars is a console game, and it was designed to work on a console. So let's keep it on a console." he added.

But then again, we've heard this before, too. If there's money to be made with a PC version, we could see Microsoft ordering up a PC port pretty quickly."


In the latest issue of Game Informer, you'll be able to read all about Halo 3: Recon, the upcoming expansion pack from Bungie that will follow an ODST drop soldier in a prequel to Halo 3.

Some gems of information from the magazine have leaked to the internet and we've got some juicy new details straight from Bungie.

The game will be "a three to five-hour expansion pack" that they do not view as being priced at $60. Furthermore, players will be able to finally get a set of Recon armor by completing Vidmaster Challenge achievements included in the new game.

Halo 3: Recon is set to be released in late 2009 and will be published by Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for the Xbox 360.


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