Weekend Roundup

Not a bad weekend, all told, even with another of the mood dips threatening to derail me since Thursday morning. The mini barbecue experiment on Friday proved I could still cook without either incinerating the food, or risking food poisoning, which largely set the tone for what followed.

The weather here at Maidment Towers on Saturday was gloomy, to say the least, so Lady M studied most of the day while I started the download of the Gears of War Beta and all the Witcher DLC and spent a good couple of hours reimmersing myself in the Witcher’s gothic fantasy world. Then we headed out to see Lady G and her partner for an evening of food, wine, and chatter. Lady M got delightfully tipsy, while I stayed sober as designated driver, and a great evening was had by all – especially by those who enjoyed linguistic and grammatical banter in several languages simultaneously.

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Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

As I speak no German and limited French, I remained a bit of a lemon on the sidelines for portions of those, so threw hand grenades and skewering comments to bring people back into the room without being overly rude or obnoxious. We eventually crashed home in the early hours and decided to cancel the Sunday game so as not to clash with Father’s Day.

Now, we rarely if ever celebrated this growing up in the vicarage. The important day was Mothering Sunday, while Father’s Day seemed a card company confection. As a result I’m always taken by surprise by it and by how many people do observe it. I got wished a happy father’s day in the coffee shop, and was given a mixture of joke and nice presents by the Charleesi and was hardly tongue-tied at all.

Another quiet afternoon, more Witcher and study, and another play with the barbecue later (minted lamb kebabs, corn on the cob, baked potato, coleslaw, and a salad with honey and mustard dressing for those keeping score), and we’ve settled to rest for the new week. Between that and renewed communications with Lady P, (who is having a horrendous time, and we’re feeling a bit on the sidelines, a bit helpless) its ended the week on quite a higher note than it started.

Let’s see what Monday brings.

Trialling Xbox 360 Games on the XBOne

I’m part of the early access program run for XBox One users to trial new features. It’s not that hard to get into, I just got an invite one day – I suspect because I apply for so many Betas across so many platforms. There’s an app on my dashboard that gives me tasks to perform with various planned features and then I give feedback. In return I get full early access to cool stuff, and occasionally free games or admittance to early closed betas for them.

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At E3 this week, Microsoft announced the upcoming backward compatibility of 360 games on the XBox One, and I’ve been trialling the short collection of titles based on my previous purchases: Mass Effect, Kingdom for Keflings, and Zuma.

How does it work? Well to be blunt, you’re running digital downloads that then run in an XBox360 emulator running under the One. If your original game was a digital download, it just appears under your games, ready for installation. Otherwise you still need to put the original disc in the drive to then prompt the image download.

Once the games have installed to your hard drive, you can then launch them. The 360 launch screen appears, it searches for your cloud saves, and away you go. The good news is that so far they seem to run quickly and effectively, and they run as an XBox app, so you can still snap, cut back to the desktop and do anything else just like any other app.

The disappointment so far is that you are still effectively downloading an image even if you have the disc. I would hope that the equivalent of a no-CD crack would be applied so you don’t effectively need it as a key to launch, or that the emulator would actually be able to play off the disc, but that’s probably a bit much to ask in these DRM days. Instead, expect to be using up your hard drive space at a rate of knots, so invest in an external drive and be ready to uninstall/delete games when you’ve stopped playing them.

There’s still a few months before this feature goes live for everyone, so maybe they’ll iron it out a bit. I’ll try to do some Twitch streaming to really see how good the XBox integration is, and I’ll update it in a few days.