Monday, November 15, 2010

A lament for a missing gamer

(Sung to the tune of "Oh Where, Oh Where has my little dog gone")

Oh where, oh where has our Genghis Khan gone
Oh where, oh where can he be?
With his 360 dead and his Gears game broke
Oh where, oh where can he be?

You've all been wondering. Now we know, a little bit anyway. Genghis is still alive . . . but his Xbox 360 is not. Nor is his Gears of War 2 game disk. He popped on to someone's computer last night and sent me a quick message to say he was still alive but that his 360 crashed and ate up his Gears 2 disk in the process. (And I thought the stuffed suits at Microsoft were the only hungry bastards in the company.) I don't know any more than that, so don't ask.

Once he can find a lending/buying solution to his Xbox 360 woes he'll be back. Don't know when. Don't know with what games (if any) either. If there ever was a time to pass around a collection plate, now would be the time. I'm thinking about it, but I'll let you know.

So, let us all bow our heads at the passing of yet another Xbox 360. I don't know how much the rights are to the song, but I think Microsoft needs to hire Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" song as their anthem. I think these parts are particularly poignant:

There are plenty of ways you can hurt a man
And bring him to the ground
You can beat him
You can cheat him
You can treat him bad and leave him
When he's down


Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Investing in the life span of Fruit Flies

So, let me sum up my gaming experience for the past 12 months:

a) got all my game stuff stolen (Nov)
b) replaced my 360 with an elite (Nov)
c) sent my elite back for repairs for not reading disks (Feb)
d) received a brand new replacement elite (March)
e) sent new replacement in for repairs for not reading disks (June)
f) bought a new backup Arcade while waiting for my replacement (June)
g) received a new replacement elite straight from the manufacturing plant (June)
h) gave my backup Arcade to dain so he could play (June)
i) sent my new new replacement elite in for repairs for not reading disks (Oct)
j) borrowed back my new Arcade from dain (Oct/Nov)
k) while waiting for my new, new, new replacement console to be shipped back started having problems with my Arcade not reading disks (Nov)
l) will make arrangements to send my new backup Arcade in for repairs once my new, new, new elite replacement arrives (Nov)

Notice a pattern?

Since when does Xbox 360s have a 3-4 month life span? I think this is just ridiculous. If the place I worked had such a low standard for the products we put out we would be out of business within a year. Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to be above all that. "If you want to play our games you'll just buy another system" seems to be their company motto. Over the course of my Xbox 360 playing days I've purchased 4 separate 360s (including replacing what got stolen). In that same amount of time and longer I've used the same refurbished original Xbox, GameCube and Super Nintendo. I did have to replace my fat PS2 with a slim PS2 after the break in. My Super Nintendo is still going strong today. Why can't Microsoft make a product that last half as long as that?

When I bought the backup Arcade console this past summer I swore that that would be the last time I bought a system in this generation. That was before the new "slim" versions came out and I was tempted. But I figured Microsoft has received enough of my money for the last 5-6 years that I wouldn't be feeding the hog anymore. Unfortunately I'm tempted again to look into getting a "slim". If it was a guarantee that I wouldn't have any of the problems I've been having I would do it in a heart beat, but it's Microsoft and the only guarantee from them is that they think their customers are suckers.

I use to think that it was great that certain games were exclusive to one system or another. I had all the systems so it didn't matter to me. Besides, it was nice rubbing it into the faces of my friends that I owned a game that they didn't just because they didn't have the system for it. When Final Fantasy XIII was first announced it was only going to be for the PS3. Dain and I both said we wouldn't get a PS3 until then. When the announcement was made that Final Fantasy XIII was going to be released on the 360 at the same time (instead of months or years later) I had no real reason to go out and get the system (other than the fact that I just wanted it).

Microsoft seems to think that gamers are so hooked into playing the games that they can only get on their system that if those systems fail those gamers will not wait for repairs and go out and buy another one. Red Ring of Death? Buy a replacement. E4 error? Replacement. Failure to read disks? Replacement. You want to play games like Halo, Fable and Gears right? Well there's only one console to play those on and if it breaks, oh well. Buy another one.

I remember when the RRoD was in full swing. A couple of kids from Texas started a class action suit against Microsoft because of the problem. I don't think the lawsuit is over yet but if/when it is it won't mean much to everybody. So Microsoft gets fined? So what? They've got money coming out of their asses. I was angry then because a couple of punk kids could have really messed things up for the rest of us (and I don't like someone else telling me how to feel about something). If that all happened now with the way that I feel I would say "burn them all to the ground". I'm tired of being used, mistreated and cheated. This debacle of a manufacturing and quality assurance system has got to change. If it doesn't then I might have to.

And I don't want to.

Xbox Live did one thing right. It helped me meet some great friends. If I walked away from my 360 and said "never again" I would be walking away from people I've come to know and love (or at least pleasantly tolerate). Maybe some of my friendships would still survive if one or both of us give up the 360 habit and turned to other forms or entertainment. I suspect most of them wouldn't. And that makes me sad. As great as those friendships are they might not last as long as the life span my 360 seem to have lately. But then again, it might get to the point were fruit flies live longer than 360 consoles. I just hope I'm not still buying them then.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wham Bam! Thank you ma'am

So yesterday I got this message on Xbox Live:

"Do you want to get married in Fable III and have a kid?"

With a romantic proposition like that how could a girl refuse? If it would have come from a stranger I would have deleted it right away. But it came from a friend. They also mentioned that 2 achievements were involved just in case I didn't know.

Even before Fable III came out, as soon as I learned that you could marry/have sex/have a child with your friends (and I guess total strangers) on Xbox Live I wondered when someone would ask me. And I also wondered how you started that conversation. I also wondered who the first person would be to proposition me.

The first person to mention anything was Pogue who promptly put a question up on Facebook about what the first person gets for sleeping with me. I didn't want to encourage him (give Pogue and inch and he will go a mile) so I let his comment slide.

I thought for sure that some of my friends would try to marry others and leave me out of it, but apparently there are no gay marriages in the land of Albion. So I wasn't surprised at who sent the message (I'll call him ALPHA to protect his [somewhat] innocence). And I wasn't surprised at someone else who wanted to "marry" me first (I'll call him BRAVO).

When I turned on my 360 last night it was, once again, having problems reading disks. This would be the fourth machine (3 elites, 1 arcade) that is having the same problem ALL WITHIN A YEAR. (I'll say more on that in a later post.) I called dain over to see if we can figure out why all my systems are failing with the same problem. This led to a lot of log in/log out moments for me. BRAVO sent me a message asking if I wanted to play Fable III. No proposal. No proposition. Just a simple message for a game invite. I explained to him that I was having problems and that I'd let him know when I was able to play.

About 45 minutes later I finally was able to get online and play. I jumped in a party with ALPHA and gave him a hard time about his message. What? No wining or dining? At least he could play a song on the Lute for me first. The funny part was Evil jumped into our party in the middle of our conversation and heard ALPHA say "we'll have sex and have a child, what do you say to that?" Evil's response was a befuddled "um, okay there". I left ALPHA to explain to him what was going on and I jumped into a party with BRAVO to tell him I was ready to play. A little while later ALPHA jumped in with us and all hell broke loss.

ALPHA thought he was going to wed and bed me first, but I had promised BRAVO over an hour ago that I'd play with him (although no mention of marriage was involved). ALPHA made a comment about "sloppy seconds" that almost jeopardized his chance of getting lucky at all that night. (Who you calling sloppy?) But in the end we worked it out. I invited BRAVO in, we got married, had sex, and had a child. Then he stepped out of my game and I invited ALPHA in. That's when the groping began.

Yes, Fable has expressions where you can hug, kiss and dance with someone, among other things. I guess it was ALPHA's form of foreplay, and sometimes "thanks" afterwards. But come on. A girl's got a game to play. ALPHA and I eventually got married, had sex, had a child, then some more groping before I finally took him around the town so he could buy legendary weapons from my game. We joined in a partnership and he bought a few property then finally left my game (after another round of horizontal hokey-pokey).

BRAVO came back into my game and we spent the rest of the night playing some side missions, shopping for property/weapons and shooting gnomes. The villager that I created online finally showed up in the game so I introduced the two. We rolled around in the sack a couple more times before we finally went to bed . . . in the real world.

As an added treat for both guys before each wedding I went back to my sanctuary and took off all my clothes . . . at least the ones the game lets me. I think they really enjoyed that (BRAVO had seen me 'naked' before). I guess I'll have to do the same thing for any other friend that wants to marry me and have a kid in the game for a couple of achievements. It would have been funny if gay marriage was allowed. Then ALPHA and BRAVO would have invited me to their wedding as a guest and not a participant. Which would have been interesting if you could get an orgy going with your friends. (I don't think my friends would let me play anything else if that was the case.)

After a stressful, frustrating beginning to the night trying to get my 360 working properly it was a great relief and one hell of a good time to play with, marry, have sex with, have a child with a couple of friends in Fable III. I needed that, in more ways than one. I just hope I don't become a two-bit floozy with them thinking they can meet me any time for a booty call in the game. I'll be happy to oblige, but I don't want to be yelled at for not finishing another game because my friends won't let me out of the bedroom.