Arcade on wheels rolls into Houston

What do two 53-foot semi’s and an inflatable dome have in common with the Xbox, the new video game machine from Microsoft?ANSWER: Xbox Odyssey, a massive, mobile arcade/rave making its way across the country.Since the high-tech game console debuted last November, Xbox Odyssey has been rolling into cities in shiny new black and chrome Peterbuilt tractor/trailers marked with a large green X. The Odyssey started in Microsoft’s hometown of Seattle and has made stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas.Next stop—Houston.According to Microsoft spokeswoman Justyna Liszka, Xbox Odyssey is two tractor/trailers, connected by an inflatable dome, made possible by technology being used for the first time ever in the United States. It features more the 50 Xbox game stations and allows nearly 100 people to play simultaneously.In addition to games like “Halo,” “Dead or Alive 3,” “Madden NFL 2002,” “Tony Hawk’s Proskater 2x” and “NFL Fever 2002,” Microsoft will be unveiling two new games, “Blood Wake” and “NBA Inside Drive,” said Liszka.Xbox Odyssey will be at Houston’s Reliant Park beginning this Friday through Sunday. The fun begins each day at noon and continues through 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday, according to Xbox Odyssey Games Goddess Taylor Darnell. “Admission is free and, we’ll also be passing out coupons for free chalupas from Taco Bell,” said Darnell. People can stay and play games for as long as they like unless it gets overcrowded, where they will then start 30-minute rotations, she said.Darnell, a Houston native, is very exited to be coming back to her hometown while on the tour. “I can’t wait!” she said.Working for a Microsoft media firm, Darnell got picked to go on the Xbox Odyssey tour. “It’s like a dream come true,” she said. “We get to travel all over the country and play video games.”The Xbox retails for $299 and comes with one controller with ports for three more. It features an Intel 733MHz processor, an NVIDIA graphics processing unit and an ethernet port for online gaming via a broadband connection. Multiple Xboxes can also be connected for extended multi-player action.

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