me play xbox good one day

Last night, I “finished” the single player campaign in Halo 2. Why the scare quotes, you ask? It’s not because I wasn’t playing Legendary (I was playing Normal). It’s that Halo 2 didn’t have a very satisfying ending. I heard no end of complaining about this in the internets, so I was pretty well prepared.

The thing that got me is this: the ads kept telling me that I’d get to save Earth, but then I only spent about half an hour there before heading out to Halo 2, never to return. The game was better than Halo in quite a few ways, but the ending was a disappointment. I’m joining the club of people who believe that the “real” ending will be downloadable content. We’ll get three or four more chapters that end Halo 2 and set up Halo 3.

I was also disappointed in myself when I gave the first level a go at Legendary. Oof! Maybe I’ll try Heroic. Or, more likely, I’ll get more Live play in. Paul seems to have a good crew put together, and maybe I can get in on some of their games.

I also ended up giving myself a copy of Chessmaster. I’d gotten a copy for my brother, but probing suggested that he wasn’t super interested, and he /finally/ made a wish list, so I got him something I knew he’d want. Chessmaster kept crashing, but now Halo’s done it, and I think I just need to clean the reader in my Xbox. I have really, really mixed feelings about Chessmater.

It has incredible user interface problems. Every game on Xbox seems to use the same text-entry system: it displays a keyboard or alphabet, and you move around and pick the letters you want, then hit A. In Chessmaster, it’s more like an old arcade game. Your cursor has a letter over it, and you can cycle through the available characters with up and down. Deleting and inserting characters is really awkward. Also, I feels like I felt about Chessmaster on the PS/2: It seems like I need to hold the button in for a moment longer than in other games. Maybe it’s just me.

That’s not the big thing, though. The big thing is worse. There are two settings for the AI’s consumption of time: limited and unlimited. When it’s set to limited, each move takes less than a second. When it’s set to unlimited, the AI will never move – or maybe it waits until it’s computed every possible game tree. I keep losing on time. Maybe the AI wouldn’t lose on time anyway, but I’d feel better if it at least used five seconds while I used five minutes. I use sixty times the time and still get trounced.

How trounced? Right now, Chessmaster is ranking me around 350 or so. If you don’t know chess rankings, this is something like, “Well, I know the rules, but I don’t understand strategy.” I must improve my game, I think, before going on line. Last time I complained about chess opportunities, I got a few offers. I will definitely be taking those people up on it.

I’d like to find a nice, relaxing Xbox game, preferably one that can be played Live. I don’t know if such a beast exists, or if it could possibly be relaxing online. I keep imagining playing Animal Crossing online and having someone yell at me: “YOUR FURNITURE IS ASS, FAG!”

Written on December 23, 2004
🎲 games
👾 videogame
🏷 xbox