September 05, 2007

You Know, For Kids!


Leave it to Microsoft to render my original XBox obsolete, and to make me get a new XBox 360. Leave it to my friends' kids to introduce me to the expensive XBox habit in the first place.

I was first exposed to the XBox years ago, when my friend Juan bought one, ostensibly for his son Carlos. I say "ostensibly" because Carlos was about three at the time, and could no more play XBox than he could drive Juan's car or write Haiku. But I spent many an afternoon at Juan's house, playing Project Gotham Racing and other games, while Carlos held an unplugged controller and thought he was playing along.
By far the most engrossing XBox game was Halo. This is a futuristic "single shooter" game in which the player takes on the role of the Master Chief, a body-armored cyborg who uses special powers and an array of weapons to lead a bunch of soldiers against a cavalcade of intergalactic evil creatures and viruses, to save the world. Putting our heads together, Juan, myself, and, eventually, the fast-learning Carlos become thoroughly absorbed in strategies for the Master Chief to navigate successfully through his harsh, high-tech environment.

I must not have hidden my enthusiasm for Halo and the XBox, because Juan's family bought me one for Christmas that year. Eventually, Halo 2 was released, and it was as much fun as the original Halo. Together, the Halo pair became Microsoft's killer app, selling millions of copies and becoming the benchmark by which all other games of its type are measured.

Then a funny thing happened. My XBox generated great interest among my friends' children. Whenever I told them that I had an XBox, their eyes lit up, especially if they had an inferior game player, or no game player at all, at home. When my friends came to visit with their small children, the XBox became a superb occupier of the kids' attention in my otherwise child-unfriendly home. The machine practically paid for itself when, this past July 4, I was able to lure my friends' kids and their dirty sneakers off of my yellow Rick Lee leather chair for some Amped XBox snowboarding.

The problem is that Microsoft and its game producers keep churning out new games that will only play on the second generation XBox 360, a machine that costs hundreds of dollars even without some of the nifty accessories (such as hard drives and wireless controllers) that many users find necessary. The last straw was when I found out that the long-anticipated Halo 3, which will be released this September 25 (to a consumer frenzy, I assure you), will only be playable on the stunning-looking XBox 360. My plain black original XBox will be officially useless.

So, when I purchase my new XBox 360, as will invariably happen before the 25th, I will probably say what my former girlfriend, a child psychologist whose office was near my home, used to say when she stayed over on weeknights: "it's for the sake of the children."

4 Comments:

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Face it -- you are just a big kid! But then, you could have more expensive hobbies that are bad for your health...

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

I have some adult hobbies too, but fortunately they're not too expensive.

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger lizzie said...

my boyfriend has both an xbox and an xbox 360. the xbox he still plays because he prefers an older version of the College Football game and it only plays on his old xbox. so the older xbox is connected to the tv in our bedroom and the xbox 360 is connected to our tv in the living room. everywhere you go in the condo, there's an xbox! :)

if you think halo is good, you should look into bioshock (when you get your xbox 360). my boyfriend just started playing it and i'm addicted to just watching him play it (and normally, i am adamantly against the xbox). the story is so good! and the graphics are amazing.

 
At 12:48 AM, Blogger media concepts said...

Thanks Lizzie. Great, yet another game to buy. I love the creativity in both the graphics and the scripts of many of these games, and I have a feeling that one day I will be involved in writing one. Meanwhile, I hope you at least have some rules laid down about when it's not ok to use that XBox in the bedroom!

 

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