Xbox 360 Fall 2007 Dashboard Update Now Available

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Right on schedule, Microsoft has greeted Xbox 360 owners this morning with the 2007 Fall Dashboard Update. As has already been announced and discussed, the dashboard update brings 360 users a wide variety of exciting new features and services, including the Xbox Originals download service, discounted Xbox Live Arcade Hits titles, a Family Timer parental control feature, an Inside Xbox news feed, expanded Friends List options, added video codec support (including DivX and XviD) and a host of interface enhancements. The update launches as soon as you power on the system and downloads and installs in a matter of seconds. I’m not sure how much I like some of the Marketplace menu changes, but that’s probably because I was so used to how it was before and haven’t had much chance to get fully acclimated with the new setup (although I’ve noticed some of the menus loading noticeably slower than before…). Definitely an excellent update all around. Hit the official update page for further details.

Coinciding with today’s dashboard update and the launch of the Xbox Live Arcade Hits, Microsoft has also bumped up its XBLA Wednesday game update a day early. Now, I don’t believe any brand new XBLA titles have been released (at least none that I saw), but the first selection of Xbox Live Arcade Hits have now become available while Microsoft has also provided a rundown of the new titles due out over the coming weeks. Full lists below.

First Xbox Live Arcade Hits Titles:

· “Bankshot Billiards 2” (PixelStorm). “Bankshot Billiards 2” improves on the original with nine game styles: classic 8-Ball, 9-Ball, Cutthroat, Euro 8-Ball, 14.1 Continuous, 3-Ball, Trick Shots, Time Trial and Golf. The game will be available for 800 Microsoft Points.

· “Lumines LIVE!” (Q Entertainment Inc.). “Lumines LIVE!” is a deep and entertaining game experience, enhanced with vibrant music and newly designed skins that players can custom-select in Skin Edit mode. The game will be available for 800 Microsoft Points.

· “Marble Blast Ultra” (Garage Games). In “Marble Blast Ultra,” players compete against each other by navigating marbles through moving platforms and dangerous hazards, while collecting rare gems and power-up enhancements, in an effort to complete each course in record time. The game is available for 400 Microsoft Points.

· “Small Arms” (Gastronaut Studios). Easy to pick up but hard to put down, “Small Arms” is a frantic multiplayer action game with the feel of an arcade shooter. The game is available at 400 Microsoft Points.

· “Zuma Deluxe” (Oberon Media). Gamers can explore more than 20 realms in Adventure mode and put their skills to the test in this fast-paced puzzle game. The game is available at 400 Microsoft Points.

Upcoming XBLA Lineup:

· “Arkadian Warriors” (Sierra Online). Gamers can play as one of three heroic shape-shifting warriors embarking on a trek of epic proportions to release the Land of Arkadia from the evil Gorgon’s stony gaze. An original title on Xbox LIVE Arcade, “Arkadian Warriors” features treacherous dungeons where cooperative hack-and-slash role-playing action enhances a deep single-player storyline. The game includes a robust LIVE-enabled cooperative multiplayer mode for two players online or on the same console.

· “Brain Challenge” (Gameloft). An entertaining brain training program, “Brain Challenge” boosts brain activity and helps players develop stress-management skills thanks to a wide variety of games. A personal coach helps players develop their abilities in several areas of cognitive function, including logic, math, memory and visual thinking, in a fun and entertaining way.

· “GripShift®” (Sidhe Interactive). Through a mix of sky-high platforming and stunt driving, “GripShift” combines automotive and puzzle-solving skills across 120 challenge levels, 25 rubber-burning racetracks and 20 deadly Deathmatch arenas. Gamers can zoom to victory with four players over Xbox LIVE or race solo, all while enjoying a customizable music experience.

· “N+” (Slick Entertainment and Metanet Software Inc.). Gamers can play as an acrobatic ninja in this addictive action-puzzle platformer. “N+” features inadvertently homicidal robots, stylish graphics, a level editor and intense multiplayer awesomeness.

· “Omega Five” (Hudson Entertainment). “Omega Five” is a next-gen, high-definition shooter with awe-inspiring graphics. Gamers can fly through dangerous 3-D environments in this side-scroller and do battle with enemies that come at them from all sides, even the background. “Omega Five” comes to Xbox LIVE Arcade this winter.

· “Poker Smash” (Void Star Creations). Players will experience a whole new puzzle game with a poker twist as “Poker Smash” delivers stunning visuals and radical features such as super-slow motion and card-blasting bombs. Gamers should get ready for a fast-paced innovative game with amazing HD graphics and a custom soundtrack that will blow them away!

· “Rez HD” (Q Entertainment). The psychedelic, cult-classic shooter created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, “Rez HD” makes its way onto Xbox LIVE Arcade early next year. A frenetic, wire-frame adventure backed by industrial beats, the story of “Rez HD” takes players deep into the world’s computer network, where they must hack the system, alter the visual output and take over the music, creating their own rhythms and eye candy as they dig deeper into the cyberworld.

· “Sensible World of Soccer” (Codemasters). The game that inspired a generation, “Sensible World of Soccer” lets players experience both the classic and modern HD version. With multiple play modes, they can play a quick game, start a career mode, manage a team or take part in their own Champions league.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!