Xbox 360 250gb Spring Bundle Unboxing

I’ve never recorded any sort of unboxing or video like these so please excuse the very amateur nature of them. It feels pretty awkward having a one way conversation with a camera / phone. Videos were shot with the iPhone 5 using YouTube Capture, which means as soon as the videos were done they were uploaded (in other words, it’s raw, unedited footage).

It’s nothing special, I just recorded these videos for fun as I’d like to get more into vlogging. Enjoy! Or Don’t!! 🙂

The unboxing:

The Xbox 360 data transfer process:

The $99 subsidized Xbox 360 confusion

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So I’ve had a 360 Elite for 3 years and have been looking to replace it (and give it to my girlfriend so she could use it as a streaming player for Netflix and play games on it every now and then). The $99 subsidized Xbox sounded appealing. If you’re unfamiliar it’s a promotion by Microsoft and GameStop where you can get either a 250gb Xbox 360 or a 4gb Xbox 360 w/ Kinect for $99 if you agree to a 2 year Xbox Live agreement for $14.99/mo.

Now I know $14.99/mo sounds steep especially when at its highest price a year of Xbox Live is $60 (sometimes as low as $40 through Amazon), but this deal offers a low level of entry and the ability to pay for the Xbox over two years while enjoying Xbox Live Gold.

Also you might wonder why anyone would do this when the Xbox One is coming out, but Phil Harrison has confirmed that all current Xbox Live Gold subscriptions will carry over to the Xbox One, therefore you’re paying for something you can still use on the Xbox One and 360.

So here’s where it gets tricky. The deal specifies it’s only available for the specific models shown, which are the plain 250gb Xbox 360 and 4gb with Kinect. The 250gb console is no longer available at any GameStop within 100 miles of me (I checked other cities as well and none have it in stock) and it is no longer for sale online. Why? Because it was replaced by the 250gb Xbox 360 Spring Bundle, which includes 1 month of Xbox Live, Darksiders II and Batman Arkham City all for $299.

This $299 is the same price as the formerly offered 250gb console, and yet this isn’t the model specified in the offer. I contacted Xbox Support via Twitter and they were very helpful addressing my concerns (@XboxSupport is THE best customer support on Twitter, always quick to respond) but in the end they were unsure whether the Spring Bundle would qualify for the deal.

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I walked into my local GameStop this morning and asked them about it and they told me that for awhile they were selling the Spring Bundle with the coupon for $99, but they received a notice from corporate that their POS (point of sale) would no longer accept the coupon for the Spring Bundle. I asked if they could try anyway so I wouldn’t have to cancel my contract, and they were nice enough to try.

Upon scanning my coupon and the Xbox 360 Spring Bundle it turned out that the POS DID in fact accept the coupon and they let me purchase the bundle for $99! I also renewed my PowerUp Rewards card since they were so helpful and worked with me.

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In the end I wish GameStop and Microsoft would be more clear on this matter. Apparently GameStop is not supposed to accept this coupon for the Spring Bundle, and yet they no longer receive regular 250gb consoles. The Spring Bundle replaced those at the $299 price point. It would seem they should indeed accept the coupon for those consoles since they one specified in the offer advertised no longer exists.

Game deals: GRID and Sleeping Dogs

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Yesterday I picked up GRID for $3.74 via GreenManGaming and Amazon’s Sleeping Dogs Bundle for $12.99, both great pick  ups. So far GRID is alright, it certainly looks nice, but coming from a huge Forza fan it just feels silly. The cars control horribly and there’s no feel to the cars at all. The damage effects in GRID are pretty cool, though at one point my windshield shattered and my doors fell off and my spotter told me my car was barely scratched. o.O

Sleeping Dogs is great fun and looks wonderful. There’s a free high res texture pack available through Steam to make the game look even better, but I’m not entirely sure my MacBook would like that 🙂 I’m running it on a sort of medium-high mix and average 20fps which doesn’t bother me.

Buy prepaid Xbox Live subscription and get 800MS points free!

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Amazon is currently running a promotion where if you buy a prepaid Xbox Live subscription card you’ll get a code e-mailed to you worth 800 Microsoft Points! It’s pretty sweet, and a 3-month subscription is just over $22 right now on Amazon (compared to the $25 you’d pay through Microsoft) and you basically get $10 back in MS points. I picked up 3 months for my account and 3 months for my girlfriend’s (it took a day to receive the first code, I’m waiting to see if I’ll be sent another code for 800 more points).

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Now playing: Borderlands 2 and FIFA 13

So as part of the recent Steam sale and current Amazon sale I picked up quite a few games between the two. I got Borderlands 2 for $13.59 on Steam (it’s no longer on sale on Steam but will be that price on Amazon until the 31st!), LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 for $5, Civilization V GOLD, Civilization IV Complete and XCOM: Enemy Unknown for $19.99,  Age of Empires III Complete for $9.99, Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY and Arkham City GOTY for $12 and lastly FIFA 13 for $16 (on Origin).

I’ve played a lot of Borderlands 2 and have enjoyed it immensely. $13 is a steal with as much fun as you can have with this game. I recorded some video of me using my new favorite gun on one of my favorite quests from yesterday:

I have some more video but it hasn’t been processed and uploaded yet, so I might add it later.

FIFA 13 is great, as FIFA always is. I haven’t owned a FIFA game since 11 (I rented 12 but didn’t really like the feel of it) and I’ve never owned a FIFA game on the PC so this is a first for me. $16 was just too good to pass up (the console version is on sale through Gamestop this weekend for $40). It looks nice and plays well with a 360 controller so  I’d definitely recommend you pick it up if you have any interest in FIFA. The only downside to playing on the PC is most of my friends play on the 360, but they’d just slaughter me anyway.

Candy Crush players, save some money

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I started playing Candy Crush yesterday and immediately found out just how frustrating it can be. Every time I’d fail a level I’d instantly hit retry, and soon I ran out of lives. I came so close to beating a level I decided to fork over $0.99 to instantly refill my 5 lives (otherwise you get one life per half hour, or you can get lives from Facebook friends). Before long those five lives were gone as well and a Google search for “how to get Candy Crush lives” brought me across an article that describes an exploit in the game that allows you to refill your lives for free, and without waiting.

All you have to do is go to your device’s date and time setting and advance the time forward a few hours. This tricks the game into refilling your lives and you’re good to go, without waiting and without spending any money. If you reset your device’s time back to the current time, however, the game will still show you need to wait until after that future time to get a refill (so essentially the game will show a wait of several thousand hours before long).

There is a way to avoid this, however. After you change your device’s time setting to a time in the future open Candy Crush. You will show 5 lives, but before you start playing you need to close Candy Crush, set your time back to the current time, and then continue playing. This way when you spend a life you’ll only have to wait 30 minutes from the current time, rather than 30 minutes after the time in the future. You can also uninstall and reinstall the app to reset the wait time if you happen to end up with a thousand hour wait. You will not lose any of your progress if you are synced to Facebook.

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I hope this has helped. I’m sure they will patch this in the future so that you either have to wait or spend money to refill your lives, but for now this will help you play on through the night, because really, who needs sleep?

The Humble Double Fine Bundle

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There’s a new Humble Bundle available for purchase now, this time it’s a Double Fine bundle featuring Costume Quest, Psychonauts, Stacking and Brutal Legend (if you pay more than the average purchase / donation price). A donation of at least $1 will get you a Steam code to download the three primary games, while paying more than $8.06 (as of this posting) will get you Brutal Legend (and its soundtrack). There are two additional payment levels this time, with $35 getting you a pre-order of Broken Age and $70 getting you a t-shirt in addition to the previous items.

I have never played any of the games and figured I’d give them a try. I have to admit, I was a little cheap this time around and only donated $1. I decided to allocate all 100 pennies to Double Fine (you can choose how much goes to charity, the developer(s) and Humble Bundle, Inc.). I look forward to trying out some new games and am especially happy that they’re all available for Mac. My Mac’s Steam Library is pretty empty and I don’t often boot to Windows 8 anymore to access my Windows only Steam games.

To date 33,000 people have raised over $268,000,000 through Humble Double Fine Bundle.

Iron Man 3: IMAX

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The last movie I saw in IMAX was The Amazing Spider-Man last year (it also happened to be my first IMAX experience besides The Hubble IMAX at the Smithsonian). I had never lived close enough to an IMAX theater to justify seeing movies in IMAX until the last year. I enjoyed seeing Spider-Man in IMAX but never felt the need to return to the IMAX theater…that is until now.

Iron Man 3 is getting overwhelmingly good reviews and positive buzz so far with its overseas release and it opens in IMAX at 10pm tomorrow night in Boise. I’m pretty certain we’re going to see it in IMAX 3D tomorrow night, despite the $15.50 per ticket price tag. My girlfriend has never seen a movie in IMAX and I feel like Iron Man 3 will do it justice. Besides, this may well be one of the last times we see Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man (his contract is under negotiation, and there is talk of recasting Iron Man).

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I look forward to the experience, and the official start of the blockbuster summer movie season that Iron Man 3 rings in (following closely behind will be Star Trek, The Hangover III and Man of Steel!). Heck, I’ve even downloaded the official Iron Man 3 mobile game to fool around with in the hours before the movie premieres:

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