Monday, February 9, 2009

A tragic tale of two consoles

This article first appeared on my weekly Game Invader column for the New Indian Express.

I've just had the awesome experience of having to major consoles go on the fritz within the span of one month. I wonder if it's some sort of all-India record?

First, my XBOX 360 went RROD. This, after I had mocked my brother a few weeks earlier when it happened to him. Two in one family in a short period – also an all-India record? Perhaps.

But think about, it, with a rumoured 30% failure rate, even higher than that of an off-form Yuvraj Singh, it was bound to happen. Anyone who's played Fallout 3 and used V.A.T.S will know that a 30% chance headshot is well worth a try.

Damn. Gears of War 2 would have to wait.

Response from Microsoft, however, was exemplary. One call to their call-centre, and a shiny new unit was at my doorstep about seven days later, with a grumpy courier who didn't even bother to check my old unit for damage before replacing it and trotting off. I was left wondering if I could just have easily slipped my old PsOne, or even my toaster for that matter, into the box and packed him off. Lucky for him, and for Microsoft, that I'm a nice guy. Really.

Following a few weeks of much huffery and puffery over PS3 hardware superiority, guess what happens. My shiny black box refuses to eject discs. Some quick research on the Internet, and I managed to get the Disc ( Little Big Planet, for the trivia-fiends) out, by performing the delicate and complex maneouvre of keeping the eject button pressed for a full ten seconds.

My joy at hoodwinking the PS3 was, however, short-lived. The beastly machine staged a stirring comeback by stubbornly refusing to recognize discs altogether. This time, no smart solution from the Internet gurus. PS3 – 1. Frustrated gamer – 0.

Damn. Little Big Planet would have to wait.

For me, it was a little more complicated with the PS3 simply because mine is an old 60GB model. Some inside information (Yeah, baby. It's good to be in the gaming industry!) revealed that , sure enough, SONY would provide me with a replacement, but it would be a new 40 GB unit, since they no longer make the 60GB ones. And, before you think I'm whining about a mere 20 gigs – the 60GB version is fully compatible with PS2 games, and the 40GB is not. I'll explain my problem in four words – Shadow of the Colossus.

Hence, I had to locate a guy in some mall who would repair the thing, and I'm still waiting to get it back. Blast. So much for the PS3's superiority, at least in my book.

And the problem with me is, even though I own every console available (okay, okay – no Gamecube, no Lynx, no Neo-Geo pocket colour and suchlike), I will only want to play on the one that's on the fritz. Fallout 3 sat neglected on the PS3 while I waited sadly for the XBOX to be replaced so I could continue Gears of War 2. Now, Fable 2 lies in the box, while all my thoughts are of Sackboy (okay, okay. SackPERSON) and Solid Snake. Call me an idiot. Louder please. Thank you.

And anyway, the point to all this? Remember folks – no matter what the battle, Nintendo always wins.

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