I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d loaded up Project Gotham Racing 3, removing Perfect Dark Zero from the shiny chrome disc tray for the very first time. I’d become addicted to Rare’s shooter over the first two days of my Xbox 360′s life, in what would turn out to be the only two days it would ever live.
See, not long after booting up Project Gotham Racing 3 did my Xbox 360 crash, hanging in PGR’s photo mode as I zoomed in on a car model. It must just be a bug I thought, or a memory issue; maybe the Xbox can’t deal with HD so well after all.
So I reset it. Three red lights appeared. I assumed it must have been something to do with the cables, remembering that the original Xbox threw an orange light-frenzied wobbler whenever the AV cable dared to come lose. I pushed them in tighter and tried again. The three red lights reappeared.
I remember panic setting in. What on earth could this mean? I’d never had a console fail on me before. Except maybe that time I had to turn my PSOne on its side to play Gran Turismo. But that was about four years into its life, not two days.
I took it back to the shop – also the place I was working at the time – but they’d sold out. No free stock before Christmas I was told, and back to Microsoft it had to go. My dreams of the next generation lying broken in a cardboard box addressed to Reading.
My first impressions of Xbox 360, then, besides gawping at the uber-shiny textures of Perfect Dark Zero and becoming more addicted to Hexic HD than I really should have been, were that of disappointment. After looking forward to 360 for so long, how could Microsoft’s supposed powerhouse break after only a couple of days play?
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that reports of other people experiencing similar issues really hit the headlines. It became known as the Red Ring of Death, a significant hardware failure downplayed by Microsoft in the hope of it not dousing the launch flames of the world’s first next-gen console.
I’ve since been through three more Xbox 360s, deducting that the average life span of an Xbox 360 is roughly 18 months. I’ve now got two, one Slim and one old 60GB kept as a backup. And with fellow GamerZines colleague Jon telling me only yesterday that his brand new slim started displaying something that looked like it had come straight out of the Matrix, something tells me these won’t be the last.
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