When Microsoft announced they were ceasing production of any new Xbox 360 consoles I could almost hear the scramble of writers rushing to keyboards eager to recount their memories of some wonderful, and woeful, times with the machine. And, not being one for originality I thought, “Screw it, I’ll join the flock.”
So here goes.
In all honesty I feel I should write this. For me the last generation of consoles was the fabled, “Golden Age” we all reminisce over down the pub. We all hold differing views of course about when exactly the shiny times begun and ended, but for me it kicked off right there, and was headed by the mighty Xbox 360.
Having said that I was actually a year late to the party. I remember the deep hit of envy that punched the wind out of me as I had to endure some flash twat banging on about how amazing Call of Duty 2 was online, as I contemplated going home with nursed resentment to the original big black square of Xbox that awaited me.
I watched from the side lines as the famous ‘Mad World’ Gears of War advert ran over and over, enticing me to a game I was still a few months from being able to get my mitts on.
Then one Christmas, after all presents had been opened, my wife appeared from the kitchen with an extra, let’s say Xbox 360 box sized, gift for me. And the rest is history.
The original Xbox had reignited a flame in my belly for video games. Not that I’d ever stopped playing, but the Microsoft machine was special. When the 360 landed it brandished a flamethrower and threw a Molotov on top for good measure! The graphical power, the slick dashboard, a controller that fit in my hands, and most importantly, the blossoming of Xbox LIVE changed my life as a gamer forever.
I can still remember vividly my first foray online. PGR3 was the game, someone told me to, “Ready the fuck up!” I didn’t know how to, “Ready the fuck up!” and beat a hasty retreat. But I returned a short time later and in all honesty have never really left since.
The Xbox 360 had offered me some sort of online stargate into a whole new universe of gaming. It gave me playable demos I could download instead of buying on the front of some overpriced magazine, it gave me a constantly shifting friends list, it placed me upon real time leaderboards, and it threw out some true classics of the gaming world. When I think about the games that I first played upon this great console it’s quite some list; Bioshock, Red Dead Redemption, GTA IV, Gears of War, Rainbow Six Vegas, Rock Band, Mass Effect 2, Skyrim, the phenomenal Ghillies in the Mist mission from Call of Duty 4, and Viva ‘Motherfuckin’ Pinata! What a list! And that’s only the tiniest tip of a huge bloody iceberg!
Apologies for that disgraceful language. Let myself down there, but god, the 360 had some games!
Not that it was all party poppers and sunset walks along the beach with the console. Far from it. I’ve always fancied a trip to Germany, so it was with a little burning jealousy that four times I watched my curvy white console jet off to that part of Europe for another repair on the infamous three red lights issue. Never once did I get a postcard.
Then there were the times the Xbox LIVE hamsters went on strike, stopped running in their wheels and my whole online gaming universe ground to a frustrating halt.
But, in comparison with the good times, these blips on the landscape are easily forgiven. The Xbox 360 reshaped my own landscape as a gamer and made it a much richer and fulfilling place to play. It brought new likeminded friends into my living room despite them often living on the other side of the world, it brought new challenges against real opponents and, most importantly of all, it delivered the greatest games I’ve ever experienced.
For me the 360 generation eclipsed all that had gone before and has yet to be matched by what has arrived since. As gamers we all seek out our own golden generation, for many it happened a long time ago, for others it’s still to come, but for me the Xbox 360 was my Holy Grail of games machines.
Thanks for the memories.