As we covered top 10 tips and tricks for the PS3, we didn’t want to put Xbox 360 gamers’ noses out of joint. So for your surfing pleasure here are our top ten tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Microsoft games console.
Tip no. 1 – Make the Xbox 360 nearly as quiet as the PS3
With Microsoft’s next generation console the biggest problem (apart from the red ring of death) is that it is incredibly noisy. Not good when a scary game or movie needs to build up atmosphere and it sound more like an airplane taking off. That’s because the console is built to a price and that means cheap fans.
To solve this problem requires you to go out and spend money on a better fan, natch. Also, be prepared to invalidate your warranty (not good if your console suddenly dies). But a replacement fan such as the Talismoon WhisperFan or an entire new box, Lian Li XB-01, can make a load of difference to your gaming experience.
Tip no.2 – Jazz up your gamercard with special characters
Plain old text in you gamecard profile is very tween and unexciting. But with a bit of knowledge and some chinese characters you can make it a bit more flash. This video will show you how.
Tip no.3 – Spring clean your Xbox
No we’re not saying that your console looks a state, but if you download a lot of games and other stuff, you might find that it starts to run like an arthritic snail in molasses.
The way to do this is to clear the cache. This can be done by navigating to the System Blade, choose memory, HD, then select Y.
Then press X, X, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, X then X again. A message about maintenance will appear. This should cure your speed ills and free up hard disk space, but be warned, this will delete game patches as well and these will need to be downloaded again.
Tip no.4 – Update your Xbox with a disc
If you are not online with your Xbox (maybe you’ve baulked at the idea on spending an unreasonable amount of cash on that special wireless adapter) and you want to get the latest update to the console’s dashboard then you can access the XBox 360 System Updates page via your PC and burn the update to a disc and slip the disc into the console. You will then see a message asking you if you want to update the system.
Tip no.5 – Get digital surround sound without an expensive HDMI cable
Once again, the Xbox 360 may seem cheap at the time but the accessories can really start eating into your wallet. One of those accessories is the expensive HDMI cable needed to get both high definition video and quality surround sound. But you can still get the best of both worlds without breaking the bank.
Simply by wedging a screwdriver or knife into the join found on the plastic box at the end of video cable supplied with the Xbox. Take it off, and while it won’t look great, it will allow you to plug in a cheap HDMI cable.
Tip no. 6 – Change the Xbox video settings
As with the PS3 tips and tricks, there is a way to change the video settings if you happen to be heading off to a friend’s house for some gaming fun and they have a bog-standard telly.
Of course, their telly and your Xbox could end up with a flickering screen or worse no picture at all. There is a way around this. Take out any discs and restart the console using the game pad. When it’s booting, hold up the Y key then hold on the right trigger. This sets the disploay back to default and you can see the picture again – w00t!
Tip no.7 – Make wonderful music with your iPod
Yes OK the Redmond giant has its own differently successful media player in the form of the Zune so it doesn’t talk too much about the fact it plays very nicely with iPods. While iPhones are not supported, you can download an application called “optional iPod support”. When that’s downloaded, plug in your iPod and navigate to the Media Blade. The iPod should appear in all its glory and from there you can browse you music by artist, album, song, etc. IT wil also charge up your iPod too.
Tip no.8 – Play Xbox 360 games online without a Live account for free
With the credit crunch, you may not want to keep up with your Live subscription. So what to do about gaming with fellow Xboxers, can you do it for nothing?
The answer is yes. You need to get your hands on an application called XLink Kai. This can be run on your PC (which should be on the same network as the Xbox. This app tricks the Xbox into thinking the internet is a local area network.
This will treat opponents as if they are on the same network without paying the fees. Trouble is the Xbox will kick off anyone with a ping rate of 30ms or more = so best not to try this with gamers in Australia.
Tip no.9 – Play your own music while playing games
If playing Silent Hill gets to scary then at least you can lighten the mood by playing something like the theme tune to Balamory. Of course, everyone knew that about new Xbox games but what to do if you are playing an old Xbox title. Well if you start playing music from your playlist before you start the game then it will play sweet music, although it won’t stop the game’s original music, so best to go into the games settings and silence its music else you might just go mad.
Tip no.10 – Get your Xbox to display on two screens at once
OK you have the Lan party set up. there’s pineapple and cheese hedgehogs and watney’s red barrel on tap but the guest are getting bored because they are not playing anything.
Well why don’t you hook up two screens to the same Xbox so people can get a glimpse of the action.
The trick is to use the component/composite cable. Simply hook up the component cble to one screen and the composite to another. You have to change the cable’s switch to standard definition. That way you will keep a lot of people happy.