X marks the box

Not content with owning the world of the operating system, Microsoft has now decided to take a shot at the world of Donkey Kong.

There’s nothing better than spending a wet weekend playing a video game. But if your present collection of Nintendo 64, Playstations 1 and 2 and Dreamcast consoles just don’t cut the mustard anymore, then check out the new Microsoft X Box.

That’s right. Not content with owning the world of the operating system, Microsoft has now decided to take a shot at the world of Donkey Kong.

It was, in fact, at last weeks Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, that Bill Gates himself revealed the new product to the world. As the finale of his keynote speech at the show, Gates showed off the Xbox console and game controller and demonstrated two exclusive Xbox games that highlighted the console’s graphics capabilities.

Because it is called the Xbox, it comes as no surprise that the Xbox console is emblazoned with a large ‘X’ and a signature green Xbox ‘jewel’ positioned in its centre. The Xbox console also includes four game controller ports that allow multiplayer gaming and other peripherals, such as game pads and voice-activated headsets to be added.

It also has a front-loading DVD tray, a multisignal audio-video connector that allows for hookup to televisions, an Ethernet port for online gaming, a graphics processing unit (GPU), an Intel 733MHz processor as well as an 8GB hard drive.

The Xbox game controller, on the other hand, features an eight-way directional pad (D-pad); left and right analog sticks; left and right shoulder triggers; six pressure-sensitive multicoloured analog buttons; dual slots for memory cards and other peripherals; and a built-in ‘rumble’ feature.

Best of all, the controller also features a cord over 9.5 feet long to give gamers the freedom to sit anywhere they want during gameplay, so your kids no longer have to sit huddled six inches from the TV for hours while you spend Saturday morning in bed.

Microsoft also showcased prerelease versions of two Xbox games: ‘Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee,’ published by Microsoft as an exclusive Xbox game, and ‘Malice,’ developed by Argonaut Games (developer of ‘Croc’ and ‘Croc 2’).

During his keynote, Gates confirmed that future versions of two of the world’s most popular video game franchises will be optimised for Xbox: ‘WWF Raw is War,’ published by THQ with JAKKS Pacific, and ‘Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2x,’ published by Activision.

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