Slave to the Game

Filling you in on the oddball gaming news

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Condemned. Project Gotham Racing 3. Forza Motorsport 2. Dead or Alive 4. Viva Pinata. Prey. Skate. Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter 2. Eternal Sonata. Stranglehold. Blue Dragon. Skate. Dead Rising. Elder Scrolls IV: The Oblivion. Assassin's Creed. Army of Two. Gears of War. The Orange Box. Bioshock. Mass Effect. Call of Duty 4. Rock Band. Devil May Cry 4. Ninja Gaiden 2. Grand Theft Auto 4. Halo 3.

At the very least, these games represent a great gaming experience. At best, genius. And strangely enough, it won't matter if you don’t have a console to play them on. That’s the shame of a Microsoft Xbox 360 console.

I remember sitting on line in front of a Target back on November 22, 2006, freezing my ass off. I was waiting to buy my first HD console. It turned out that all the Premium systems had been picked off and I could only pick up a Core unit. "Screw it:, I said to myself. I picked up the Core unite along with a 100$ hard drive, Call of Duty 2, Perfect Dark Zero, and Condemned. A week later the console was up on Ebay.

It wasn't that I didn't like the games. It wasn't that I didn't appreciate the HD graphics. And it wasn't the fact that I distrust Microsoft. It was something else. These little murmurs that the consoles were crapping out appearing on CNN. "The price early adopters pay", I thought to myself and deciding that I didn't want to pay that price, I ditched my system. Who would have thought that nearly two years later people would still be paying the price?

At the start Microsoft refused to acknowledge that anything was every wrong with the console. The only thing they would have good old Peter Moore admit was, "Things break." It was a douchebag answer and everyone knew it.

But the 360 owners stuck with him. They rationalized that the broken 360 consoles were a result of poor management of the system. This kept up for a year. Then something else happened. Media outlets, IGN and Kotaku (among numerous others) started reporting that their own 360 consoles were dying en masse. This wasn't something that 360 fanboys could play off as just some fool who didn't know to take care of a system. This was the hardcore media.

Still, Microsoft turned a blind eye. They opted to concentrate on the games rather than the hardware and still managed to draw hardcore gamers to take the plunge. Gears of War pulled that off quite expertly last Christmas. However, after the news reached the mainstream media and several law firms looked to file a class action lawsuit against the company, Microsoft finally introduced a 3 year warranty last July. Too little, too late though...

A month ago the Nintendo Wii surpassed the 360 in total worldwide sales. This is the price Microsoft paid for their indulgence. Just as Tony Montana was his own worst enemy, the Xbox 360 is the Scarface of this console generation, the red rings of death glowing brightly on its face. This was Microsoft's race to win and they threw it away by refusing to accept fault with their hardware. Now it's commonplace knowledge amongst the mainstream that 360 is prone to hardware failures. It's commonplace knowledge amongst the hardcore that it'll be nearly a month to get their console back if it does die.

"What's the point of all those great games if your console is always in the shop?" That's the question I asked myself early this summer when looking through the fall/winter release schedule for the 360 and I've decided that once again, I will pass on picking up a Microsoft 360. I mean why go through that hassle? The fact is that it's not worth it. Had Microsoft respected the consumer, they would have solved these issues a month after launch. Instead they pretended that no such issues existed until their actions almost led them to the court. I won't support a company like that. Neither should you. Still... looking back at the list of games I typed up... I still have thoughts of picking up the console. It's like a little whisper in the back of my mind that calls to me. But the truth is, all those thoughts and whispers remind me of is how Microsoft threw it all away and how much of a shame that really, really is.

Scarface indeed.