A few months before the release of Eternal Sonata in 2007, I originally purchased the Xbox 360. Up to that point I had been console-less for years and had borrowed a friend’s PS2 so I could play Final Fantasy XII. At work, a few friends and I had begun discussing Gears of War and Lost Planet and how awesome those games looked. Because it doesn’t take me much to be talked into anything video game related, I soon went out and bought the 360. Less than a year later, I had sold the system to buy a PlayStation 3 because of Metal Gear Solid 4. There weren’t many games on the 360 that I wanted to play and I thought the PS3 would provide me with all my gaming needs as well as a Blu-ray player. That all changed about a year ago when Horrible Night came into my life and the fact that I really, really, really, wanted to play Shadow Complex. It was more than a need than a want. How could I confidently write about video games if I didn’t own the most popular hardcore gaming console? At last year’s E3, Microsoft unveiled the new slimmer model of the Xbox 360. Smaller and quieter by design, the new 360 had a 250GB hard drive built in along with a special new port for the upcoming Kinect peripheral. Needless to say, I was hooked as soon as I saw the device and ordered one on Amazon by the end of the week. Well, it’s been a year to the day that I received my 360 from Amazon and I’d like to recap some of the best and worst moments I’ve had this time around.
Well Worth It
It has been a year since I finally got the chance to play Shadow Complex and I still feel the same way about it as I did last year. Along with Shadow Complex, I bought Trials HD and Mass Effect. Purchased from the Xbox Live Marketplace, as it was a few months until I actually bought a retail boxed copy of a game. Not really having done that on the PS3, at one time I thought about not buying any boxed copies of games just to see how far I could get by going purely digital. I had such a huge backlog of games I missed out on in the 2+ years I wasn’t a 360 owner that most of the games were now available on the Marketplace. However, that dream quickly died. I realized that if I wanted to play new games, I would have to buy a physical copy. Maybe the next Microsoft console will allow me to no longer own the disc, but we will see.
The Xbox 360 platform has given me some of the best gaming experiences I’ve had since I was a kid. Even though Mass Effect had its share of problems, the story immediately sucked me in and propelled me head first into Mass Effect 2, which I had purchased long before I was done with the first game. I used to be a huge Square Enix RPG fan and dismissed the Western style of RPG. Mass Effect changed all of that for me and absolutely is my favorite franchise right now. I realize that Mass Effect 2 is now available on the PS3, but the original isn’t (PC doesn’t count for me) and in my opinion you can’t just play the sequel without going through the first. Not that you physically can’t, but you shouldn’t want to. Like Aerosmith said in that crappy Armageddon song “(you) don’t want to miss a thing.”
I consider myself somewhat of an evil genius for one reason. The person I sold my 360 to, I ended up living with immediately after the transaction. So, if I wanted to play any games on the Xbox, I could have. Other than playing a ton of Modern Warfare, I really didn’t take advantage of the situation like an evil genius would have. Not too long after we moved in together, the system red ringed. It was an easy and painless fix (luckily) and the 360 was back in a little over a week.
When I bought the new model, I was hoping that the problems the Xbox had in its original run were alleviated. While the risk of the red ring of death is physically much more unlikely, error messages that make your system inoperable still happen. After I moved from CA and into my parents house for a couple of months, the first thing I hooked up was the 360. After installing an update, my system flashed the error message and I was devastated. My heart started racing, a growing pit in my stomach started to form, and the type of anger only reserved for inconsequential first world problems started bubbling to the surface. I restarted the system and had to re-download the update. Same result. At this point, a curse word might have been uttered or even yelled. But my wife, ever the voice of reason when I’m irrationally angry, said “try it again.” I don’t know who invented the phrase “3rd time’s a charm” but that person knew what the hell he/she was talking about. And the 360 has been working ever since without any problems.
When I fired up the 360 this morning, I saw that my Gold membership had expired. I used to have it on auto renewal but why spend the full amount when you can go on Amazon and get it for $11 cheaper? At this point, the justification of paying for the membership far outweighs any excuses not to have it. We use the 360 as our main hub for movie watching (Netflix), exercise (Dance Central), and gaming (too many to list). Besides our computers, it has become the most important electronic device in our household. And to think I gave it up for the PS3 at one point. It’s been a year since I rejoined the best gaming community of the three major consoles. The Xbox 360 has far and away become one of my favorite consoles ever created. I’m not exactly sure what the future holds, but I hope Microsoft has learned what to do and not do as it moves forward in developing the next version of the Xbox.