Later that month, or maybe it was March (details), I walked into a Best Buy store in Janesville, WI and find the treasure that I have been seeking for months, the coveted XBox 360. They were impossible to get a hold of since their release the previous fall. But the Gen 2 models were finally released in mass quantities. I had two choices at that time, the Core model, or the Pro model. I of course opt for the pro edition...wireless controllers, hard drive, basically every feature that you would eventually have to get for the Core anyways.
I walked into my gigantically enormous living room of a bedroom, opened it up, sat on my sofa and played away. I think my first game was Ghost Recon - Advanced Warrior.
My XBox was there for me when I finally moved out of Whitewater and moved into Cottage Grove, it came with me when I became homeless for a few months and stayed with Guss at his Grandma's place by Pretty Lake, and it of course has been hanging true with me in Waukesha, it has been by my side (or rather by my TV's side) for almost 3 full years, until recently, when it took a turn for the worse.
There were initially rumors, ones I knew of when I first purchased the unit, that XBox's were failing do to overheating, they said though, the problems were resolved with the Gen 2 units, so no worries I figure. Rumors persisted that Microsoft had knowingly released the gaming console with a defect. They finall did fess up to it and created a 3 year warranty for any console that experienced this unique problem.
What was happening, from what I read somewhere and I don't feel like citing, is that components were to big to fit into the footprint, and the heat sink over the GPU (Graphic Processor Unit, I think) was shrunk in size. This decrease in size can allow too much heat to get to the GPU and along with natural vibrations, the GPU's glue gives way. This might not be what really happens, but was the jist of what I read. Anyhoo, when this happens, you get what is commonly referred to as the "Red Ring of Death". The XBox power button has 4 lights surrounding it, lit normally to show what controllers are on. But when 1,2,3, or 4 of them are red instead, this means there is a problem. Three of the lights are fairly simple fixes, but when you see 3 red rings (oddly 3 worse than 4).
I figured I received a good console, even though some like 5-30% are expected to fail. My friend Guss got the dreaded rings a couple years ago, and late last year Mark also experienced this. I was one of the first of my friend's to get a unit, and mine was still ticking I thought.
February 14, 2009 - Three years and 1 day since its birth. I was playing some Call of Duty - World at War online, waiting for my buddy Peter to show up. We were going to just stay in and drink in an attempt to save money, and if you notice the day, my intent was also to boycott the holiday as my initial plans fell through and I didn't feel much like going out. I was going to give my attention to the thing that was always there for me the last 3 years (Yes, I am purposely trying to make myself sound super-lame and pathetic, haha). We were going to kill some Covenant and Flood, maybe destroy some Halo's while we were at it. The game loads, it tells me there is an update available, for I haven't played the game for quite some time. I mean to hit the button to accept the update, but missed and continued. I wanted to update, so I shut the system down, with the thought to reboot and install the update.
I turn the unit back on, and I see red...."no, no no" Try again, and again, same result. I let it sit for a while, take the hard drive out and it turns back on, ok, good sign. Put the hard drive back in, RED. Take the hard drive back out, turns on, we play a mission. I try the hard drive again, red, red, red, ever since, red. It was official.
I slept on it, but of course it was broken. So, I called Microsoft to see if I was within the 3-year warranty, as I knew I as close and wasn't sure when exactly I purchased it. The dude, who talked way too fucking fast and sounded Aussie, told me it was all good, (I think he said something along those lines). Monday I printed off the shipping label that Microsoft sent to me and after work removed my XBox from its home and took it to the UPS store for its journey.
Monday, February 16 5:25 PM - Elm Grove, WI (C'mon, just say Brookfield)
I officially leave the XBox in the care of some punk ass looking kid at the UPS store. I make him scan me the tracking #, so I know he takes care of this and doesn't steal it.
10:48 PM - Elm Grove, WI
It hops aboard a truck, bound for somewhere great, I hope it takes pictures for me to look at
11:14 PM - Oak Creek, WI
Umm, well, tomorrow it will go somewhere great, it must have wanted to say hi to Mike & Andrea before it took off.
Tuesday, February 17 6:55 AM - Oak Creek, WI
Godspeed, my the brave UPS men and women handle you with care little buddy.
There is silence, I begin to worry, did weather cause an accident spilling packages all over the road? Then did a deer in, let's say, Arkansas, stomp on it. Birds then began to grab the shreds of plastic and use it for their nests? The suspense was killing me, not really, but if you haven't noticed, I am overdramatizing just a little bit.
Wednesday, February 18 4:47 PM
Whew, it has arrived in Mesquite, TX...bring me back some barbecue please.
I guess it was loaded on a truck, not sure why the scan.
Thursday, February 19 9:20 AM
It has arrived to the repair center. Here, finely skilled techinicians, who were probably trained for, minutes, maybe even hours, will try to coax my buddy back to life. For now I wait, it is out of my hands...probably in the hands of an illegal immigrant or some white trash dude, but, the point here is, it is out of my hands.
I receive an e-mail that the service center has received my buddy, an e-mail will follow when the unit is repaired and sent back to me.
Saturday, February 21 5:50 AM
Excellent news, I receive an e-mail fro Microsoft saying that my XBox was repaired and being prepared to ship. Another e-mail was to follow the tracking #.
No tracking number shows up in my inbox. Panic sets in, worry consumes me. I log into the XBox website to track the status. Good news, it did ship, it was currently in Hodgkins, IL on that following Wednesday.
I arrive home from work to see a note on my door, it is from UPS...my package was in the apartment front office....I hop in the car, and the first thing I do is....go to Taco Bell, Iwas hungry and in need of tacos. Yeah, so, I picked it up, hooked it up, downloaded GTA IV Lost and the Damned, play for like 10 minutes, and, yeah, that is about it, been busy ok.
Tuesday, March 3
After warmly welcoming home the XBox by playing several times with a smile, I decided it was now time to punish it for breaking down and running away. I went to Best Buy to purchase my brand new Blu-Ray player, which took the form of a Playstation 3. Truly, all it is meant to be is a Blu-Ray player, but a new baseball game was out, The Show, and it looked so much better than what XBox had to offer. I have been playing that since. But, no worries, when I get bored with that, I shall return.