Have you ever gotten the feeling that the end is nigh? That all of a sudden something in your life will come crashing down? Aside from popping Xanax, there’s really nothing you can do about it. So you carry on with life, ignoring the inevitable.
That moment for me began on April 20th 2016, or more accurately, that moment started on November 22nd 2013. This was the day, something cooler, bigger, and more attractive would change the way gaming was introduced to the world. This was the day the Xbox One would officially come into our lives. This also meant that my Xbox 360 was officially on the endangered species list.
To some people this was a joyous occasion, although it was a disastrous introduction to the next-gen Xbox (never forget the Xbox One reveal debacle). Regardless, here was something new! Better graphics! Faster speeds! For me, it was bittersweet, but for the time being, I was able to ignore it. Microsoft did say it would produce games for the 360 for the next five years, and we all know Microsoft would never lie.
On April 20th, 2016, production on the 360 was halted; the console had entered into the retirement home, abandoned by the family that took care of it for over ten years. Games, laughter, anger, frustration, glitches… never to be experienced again. This was also the time I would begin to lose my unknowingly trusted friend, the Xbox 360, whose relationship originally started with me trying to impress a Hollywood producer.
My interaction began with the 360 via a Facebook post of a movie producer who was looking for various people to join him in one of the many WWE wrestling games he’d collected. I was aware of the 360, planned on buying one, just not on its release date. Something about rushing out to the store to engage in a battle of screaming parents, pushy children and a game of “who can snatch the console from the other person’s hand first” was never that appealing. Plus, like every piece of technology there’s bound to be glitches, lost data, and the purchase of a new television. Quite frankly, something about playing on a 19-inch non-flat screen TV didn’t seem that sexy to me. What? Don’t judge me. The struggle bus was real back then and I was the driver. So I waited… and then forgot. Between school, work, and failing computer science (damn you C++), picking up a 360 was far removed from my mind.
But there was something special about this posting. It lit the computer screen and harps started to play. It was simple enough, yet it longed to be read – better yet, it longed for me to take action. So I did, simple as that. Usually the most life changing moments are done in small actions which later result in bigger changes (oh yeah, I just went Oprah on you).
The first game I purchased was WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2008. I brought it home, contacted the guy, and joined him in a battle of one-on-one ass kicking where I was savagely beaten. I sucked. The kind of suckage that I probably shouldn’t be sharing with you now. I was defeated not only in the game but in real life — my ego was bruised. However, I felt the opportunity to say “I’m gamer pals with a Hollywood producer” fade away. Yes, my reasoning for getting the console was in hopes that this would lead to something more: A Hollywood movie. My thinking was this: gaming leads to chatting, chatting leads to auditioning, auditioning leads to me being the black Meryl Streep. Crazy, I know, but at the time I was an actor and playing games with a producer just made sense. The Circle of (Gaming/Auditioning) Life.
Then something happened. No, I never became besties with the producer, he kind of unfriended me after that; but aside from the sucking, I was having fun, something I had almost forgotten how to do. It was in this moment, judgmental producer and all, that I would allow myself to stop caring about impressing someone with gaming. I was a piss-poor gamer, hear me roar! I also hated the wrestling games.
Over the next few months, I spent my time browsing the lower-level floor of Toys R’ Us for games that I thought I would love, not because I was trying to impress someone or make a Hollywood connection.
- Call of Duty: check
- Grand Theft Auto IV: OH HELL YEAH
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: yuppers
- Left 4 Dead: check
- Dead Space: and check
You can either make fun of my initial collection or cheer for it, either way I don’t care. My 360 made me happy, my games made me happy, the apps that were later added made me happy.
As the years progressed and my gaming skills went from “piss-poor” to “that’s cute” I felt like a gamer. Yes, I’ve had consoles in the past but this was my very first purchase. I didn’t have to beg or kindly suggest someone buy me one because it was cool or it was a way to keep an only child preoccupied; this was my first grown-up console purchase.
Now, I know what you must be thinking: this is not the path of a gamer — falling into gaming in the hopes of a Hollywood audition is sacrilegious. But you have to understand that there are many paths to the glory hole. Some are born with a console in their hands while others use it as a form of escapism; it can be used to help battle their depression or even grieve.
For me, my 360 is filled with both good and bad memories.
I remember growing frustrated with my shooting skills and having to hand the controller to a friend in order to take out a squad in Battlefield. I remember being in NYC and using my headphones to race my niece in Washington, DC in Doritos Crash Course. Do you know how hard it is to get a teenager to bond with you? Our 360s solved that. She opened up to me while kicking my ass in the game. I remember threatening to snatch the life out of a friend after he spilled beer on my console while playing Destiny. I remember catching a heart attack when the disk tray wouldn’t open. Netflix was even purchased just so I could watch it on my 360.
My 360 saw me though a lot things. My first serious breakup where I grieved, not for the loss of the asshole boyfriend, but the loss of someone helping me with the electric batarang in Batman: Arkham City. Graduating school, illnesses, Ramen noodle days, unemployment, and even a family death… the Xbox 360 saw me through all of that and more. This is why the Xbox 360 is so important to me, and even though others have moved on the lands of the Xbox One, I’ve still remained loyal to the 360.
It’s been over two years now since the devastating news.
Yes, there will come a time when my 360 will reach its end. I will have to pack it up and store it away alongside my PS2, Wii, Gameboy and Sega Genesis, but that day isn’t today. The graphics are old, the tray door doesn’t behave, it’s frozen more times than I can count, but the joy hasn’t faded away. The games are still playable, the TV (while now larger and backless) still works and my passion is as strong as ever.
And as for me, I’m still manning the Xbox 360 island all by myself. Still happy as the day I strolled the lower-level floor aisle of Toys R’ Us in Times Square (which also no longer exists).