Goodbye Old Friend

January 8, 2015

As I dropped my Xbox 360 into a storage box, it dawned on me that I may never find myself pulling it out. I may be saying goodbye to what is quite possibly my favorite video game console of all time. Sure, I had an Xbox One to look forward to. The broken party system, confusing interface, and broken Halo games were just a button-press away. The excitement for a new system, however, could not overpower the somber feeling of packing away my 360. I was saying goodbye to a dear, dear friend.

Why was I packing away my 360 to begin with? Why not leave it plugged into one of my other HDMI ports, collecting dust in my entertainment center? Well, as the proud owner of a one-bedroom apartment in New York City, my entertainment center resides in my living room. In order to keep everything as organized and minimal as possible, I came to the hard conclusion that I could only have one system hooked up at a time. Plus, new console owners lie to themselves, saying they will eventually go back and beat certain games for their old system. Yes, you will turn those games on from time to time. But let’s face it…you will never go back and beat all those games you swore you would.

So my Xbox One sat packed away while I finished my final two 360 games. Once I had turned the final environment in Fez, I thought I would experience closure. It was the opposite; after playing two of my favorite 360 games ever in Fallout 3 and Fez, I realized that the “older” console was still holding its own. Just try and fix your party chat on an Xbox One. If you haven’t “snapped” the party screen, it’s a 4-5 step process to simply troubleshoot your headset. With the 360, a simple middle-button press and a scroll down brought you to your party screen. Your first few days with an Xbox One can be very frustrating. However, once you have altered settings, updated your controller’s firmware, and installed a day-one patch, you can finally enjoy next-gen gaming.

The simplicity of the 360 was one of the characteristics that made me love it so much. The interface was so easy yet intuitive. The menu was divided into gaming, tv/movies, and music. It allowed for all the bells and whistles of premier online options without overcomplicating the process. As a technical person, I could get the most out of the 360. However, a spouse or parent who wasn’t familiar with gaming could also navigate the system and utilize it for movie watching or a puzzle game. Now, trying to explain how to get around on a next-gen interface is like writing a textbook. Similarly to Windows 8, overcomplicating the approach tends to alienate the casual fans from your product.

If I was being sent to a desert island and had to choose one video game console, it would not be the Xbox360; I still believe that the Super Nintendo and Playstation 2 have the more complete gaming libraries. The combination of the amazing games, online access, and entertainment streaming is what makes 360 my favorite console of all time. Since it isn’t my favorite gaming platform, should I call it my favorite entertainment box? Is it like the difference between wrestling and sports entertainment? However my love for the 360 should be classified, it brought me everything I thought I could want in a gaming console.

Microsoft continued to tell me that the Xbox One was the bigger, better 360. I could “snap” tv while I play games, or multitask in and out of anything I was doing. My biggest complaint with the 360 was how long apps like HBO Go and Netflix took to initially load. I imagined a day when my apps would open instantly, and I could be watching an episode of Veep within 30 seconds of me thinking of it. Yes, things load much faster on the Xbox One. But now I can’t share my Windows Media Player with my Xbox 360. I have to physically get off my couch and select a movie to share, while crossing my fingers that some strange error won’t occur, or my codecs won’t match up.

I purchased my 360 in late 2006. I replaced it in late 2014. That was eight years of entertainment! The lifespan of the console was ridiculous, practically doubling the years I got out of my Playstation 2. I greatly hope that I can get the same time from my Xbox One. The fact that my television now runs through my console, resulting in a much higher amount of usage, has me skeptical that the system will break down before I am able to replace it. I ended up buying a new Xbox360 about four years after my initial purchase, partially because of wear and tear (had trouble reading disks), but also for expanded memory. Now, with digital games and expandable memory, the hardware has a greater chance of survival. However, as a result of my console now being responsible for every piece of media and gaming I will consume, I am quite skeptical of the physical lifespan of Xbox One.

This article is meant to be more of a somber goodbye to my 360 rather than a bashing of my Xbox One. So far, I have had a lot of fun with my new console, while gaming on Destiny or streaming HBO during Wire marathons. As a gamer, I was completely spoiled by the previous generation of gaming, and I understand that. That damn wonderful system has set such large expectations for any future Microsoft incarnations. The Xbox360 went to med school, and is now some fancy hot-shot doctor who moved away. The Xbox One is the younger brother, who hasn’t quite found his way, yet won’t stop being reminded of how successful his older brother is.

I fear that I come off as an old geezer, standing on his lawn while yelling at all the young consoles that walk by, screaming “the old days were better!” In part, I am. My 360 created an all-in-one entertainment box that was like no other system before it. Thank you Xbox360, for providing eight years of stellar service. You get a sticker and a star.

Thank you,

Best Regards,

Hugs and kisses,
360fan360xoxo (Actual Gamertag)

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