Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spin The Red Circle

I lost a friend today. My faithful companion, slayer of goblins, killer of Nazis, adventurer, hero, and occasional eater of DVDs.

My XBox 360 has died.

It lasted a long time for a 360. I've read countless horror stories of owners having to send theirs in to be fixed three, four, twelve times. Type "red ring of death" into Bing and it returns 74,700,000 results. For once, I am not making a large number up. Try it if you don't believe me.

I got the 360 after my original XBox died in 2006. It was a shiny white monstrosity, so much bigger than a PS3 yet so much more fragile. I remember the first night I brought it home. It didn't work then, either. I spent two hours on the phone with tech support trying to figure out why the controller wouldn't sync with the console. Finally, having exhausted the Level 1 support guy's Binder of Useless Ideas, I exchanged the controller at Best Buy and I was up and running.

The first game I ever played was The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, a D&D-type game with an open-ended world to explore and Captain Picard doing the voice of the king. 360 and I killed thousands of creatures in that world, turning the fields and woods and rivers red with the blood of our enemies.

Other games would follow: F.E.A.R. Gears of War. Bioshock. Silent Hill 4. We reduced Hitler's army to dust in Call of Duty 2. We reduced what I assume was Zombie Hitler's zombie army to dust in Call of Duty 3. We blasted Stormtroopers in Star Wars: Battlefront. We defeated the Covenant on Halo and Earth not once, not twice, but thrice. I chased the cake and fought GLADos in Portal (spoiler alert: the cake was a lie).

And all throughout our adventures, 360 wheezed and chugged and made noises like an asthmatic steamboat. The DVD tray spun continuously until I thought the disc was going to fly out and decapitate me. It would occasionally freeze, forcing me to restart it. Looking back, I should have been suspicious when the I brought it home and took it out of the box. It was wrapped in what I now realize was a smallpox-infested blanket from the colonial era.

So, it's back to square one. I pulled the hard drive off ol' 360 in hopes of salvaging my saved games. And my new 360 and I will have new adventures. There will always be more Nazis to kill, stormtroopers to annhilate, and unicorns to molest. Maybe this time I'll be able to hear their anguished cries instead of that teeth-scraping grinding noise.

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