Standing your console on its side so it can inevitably be knocked over by your drunken roommate at four in the morning? Another Sony innovation ripped off by Microsoft.One year it was Tickle Me Elmo. Another year it was Beanie Babies. During yet another year it was the long-anticipated Doom House DVD now on sale from Awful Video. In fact Doom House was in such high demand that the United States Postal Service was so overwhelmed with shipments they decided to only deliver it to one person and chuck the rest in a dumpster somewhere. It seems that every year there is a hot toy that people just can't live without.
This year it's the Microsoft Xbox 360. You may have heard rumors about how hard it is to get your hands on one of these things. Let me tell you folks, everything you heard is true. There is an age old question that man often asks, "Could God create a consumer electronics product so in demand that not even he could buy it?" The answer is yes and that product is the Xbox 360. Trying to find the new Xbox has become a 24 hour a day job. Hopeful customers must stalk Internet forums, constantly call retailers, and perform complex differential equations to figure out who has units in stock.
In order to control crowds and keep order most retailers have enacted special procedures for buying an Xbox 360. The first thing you have to do is file an intent to purchase application with the state you are going to buy the console in. This takes 5-7 days and is generally trouble free. On the day of the sale you must drive to the store seven hours before opening just to get on a waiting list. Some parents have put their newborn children on waiting lists so that some day they may own an Xbox 360.
The best place to find a 360 is Best Buy. Apparently their policy of not letting you leave their stores until you have been offered a warranty on the package of batteries you just bought has impressed Microsoft so much that they are practically the only retailer being shipped units. On the day we bought our review unit there were one hundred people in line for only two systems. Despite being 85th in line, we had a Louisville Slugger.
Once inside they made us go through the line of accessory and warranty horror. There we were bombarded with high pressure warranty pitches. One associate told me that he could look into my soul and tell me my destiny. Apparently my destiny is a 2 year extended warranty and a blowjob administered from the Geek Squad should my Xbox 360 malfunction, no questions asked. From there we entered the gauntlet of pain where Best Buy associates paddled our asses while we grabbed for games and accessories. By the end of the line my ass was a healthy cherry red.
Then, the final step! We finally handed around 400 dollars in cash and purchased an Xbox 360. Unfortunately we couldn't afford a game because my buddy Jerry is the biggest fuckup on the planet. More on that later. On the way back to the truck we ended up getting mugged by those in the line who came too late to get an Xbox 360. Luckily Best Buy had another line set up for mugging victims to pre-order a system for the next shipment twenty years from now.
Six weeks later we struck gold. We finally got our Xbox 360 and the first thing we did was take it home and rip it open to show you it's shiny innards. The sight of electronic circuitry and wires just turns us on so much. Plus we look pretty bad ass opening up a brand new console system and showing our readers the inside. I mean, we can actually point out to you where the CPU and the graphics chip is. Can IGN give you that? No. Can AnandTech give you that? Well yes, but we delve even deeper into the hardware. We're going to break the 360's hymen like horseback riding. And then when the Xbox 360 explains to her first boyfriend why she doesn't have a hymen but that she's still a virgin he'll wonder until the day he dies if she really told him the truth...
The box is what you would expect in a box. There are colors, words, and probably many germs on it. The words on the box signify that something may be inside, which is a good trait for a box to have. That is, unless you are shipping embarrassing goods to your house like edible underwear or Veronica Mars Season 1 on DVD.
Opening the box is simple unless cardboard is your one weakness. If so call 911 and they will arrive shortly to open the box for you. However, it is impossible to figure out how to close the goddamn thing once you open it. I mean, I have no clue which flaps go where or how you are supposed to fold them. Can someone help me out with this so I can put it in the closet?
The Xbox 360 comes in two flavors. There is the core system, which comes with the console itself and a letter that says, "FUCK YOU". We opted for the premium bundle which comes with a wireless controller, a remote control, an Ethernet cable, all the cables needed to hook the system up, and the system itself, sometimes.
If there is a cat inside instead of an Xbox don't worry. This is a known issue. Simply call 1-800-4-MY-XBOX and Microsoft will replace your system at no cost to you. We had to go through this three times before we got a working unit.
Much has been said about the size of the Xbox 360 power source but we just aren't seeing it. Once again the Internet has proven itself to take little things way out of proportion. What we didn't like, however, was that some jerk stuffed a wad of paper in the battery holder for the Xbox 360 controller. I had a hell of a time getting it out. After getting through the accessories it was time to take a look under the hood instead of, you know, actually playing it.
DISCLAIMER: OPENING YOUR XBOX 360 WILL VOID THE INCREDIBLY GENEROUS 90 DAY WARRANTY DESPITE THE FACT VIDEO GAME CONSOLES ARE DESIGNED TO EXPLODE AND STOP READING DISCS EXACTLY 1 MINUTE AFTER THE WARRANTY EXPIRES. SO OPEN THE FUCKER UP AND KEEP A SPARE OF CAR KEYS IN IT.
As you can see the Xbox 360 is a vastly different beast compared to the original Xbox. The 360 boasts an incredible triple core CPU that can handle two threads each. That means the Xbox 360 can do an astonishing six things at once. I don't know what the big deal is though. I often play six porno video files at a time on my computer but usually many more. Sometimes I just can't decide between transgender cosplay horse fucking and naked school girls stomping on baby hamsters.
It must be noted however that none of the current Xbox 360 games take advantage of this feature. Despite this, running games that utilize only a single core allow the system to assign tasks to the unused cores. For example, while one core could be running say, Kameo, another may stream music and yet another could send the upskirt pictures you just took of Kasumi in Dead or Alive 4 to grandma's email address (Update: she thinks they are hot).
CPU power isn't all it takes to render sweaty black men in unfinished EA sports games. This bad boy comes equipped with a custom made ATI Radeon graphics processor running at 550 mhz. This allows the 360 to render 40 gazillion gigaflops of polygons per second. The 360 also boasts an impressive 48 level shader pipeline. The 360 is so powerful in fact that MSNBC uses its shader capabilities to make Rita Cosby look presentable for television.
Look at these pictures of the inside of an Xbox 360. My dick is so hard right now. We opened you up baby. We split you open like a 5 dollar whore. Let me see that memory card port you slut. Ah yeah, your wires are so big. Let me cum all over that heat sink. Wrap that SATA cable tightly around my balls until they turn blue and fuck my ass with a Army camo faceplate.
Now that we have looked at the hardware let's take a look at what really matters to everyone but Electronic Arts, the games.
Is it Doom 3 or is it Condemned? The answer just might surprise you! Condemned: Criminal Origins - Oh Lord do I hate this game. It's not because it was poorly made. From a technical standpoint Condemned is quite good. I mean, who knew anyone could do dark boring hallways better than id Software. And when you thought there was nothing left to collect in a video game, Sega taught us that rotting dead birds are more fun than gold rings.
No, I hate the game because of its horrendous portrayal of subterranean-dwelling drug addicts. As someone who spent two homeless years in New York I can tell you with the utmost authority that the finest coke fiends and heroin addicts in the world would never stoop so low as to attack someone for no good reason. There is an unwritten code of laws that subway drug addicts follow. We never attack gruff looking detectives out on a mission to clear their good name and catch the real killer for drugs. That would only perpetuate the stereotype of the angry coked up homeless guy who attacks gruff looking detectives who engage in simple forensic sequences where arrows tell you where to point your seminal fluid detector.
The time I spent in New York's underground utopia were two of the most enlightening years of my life. There I was, a lonely 20-something in New York freshly laid off from a cushy web marketing job. I owned a million shares of stock in my old company and all of it worthless. I used it to start garbage can fires those first few rough nights.
It was then that I trekked into the subway system. I was not met with pipe-wielding maniacs as the conspirators at Sega, Warner Bros., and Microsoft would like you to believe. I was met with the kindest, most gentle group of men I have ever been privileged to meet. Though I was bitter and mad at the world, these bums taught me how to love again. With every pass of the heroin needle I learned what sharing with your fellow man was all about.
During the course of Condemned's story there is no real explanation as to why bums attack your character at random. It's only assumed that they want drugs and think you have it. Have you ever stopped to think that there could be another reason they are attacking you? Maybe they think you have candy. Wanting candy so bad you turn bloodthirsty isn't as bad as wanting drugs. Maybe these homeless guys are just misunderstood. Sega never gives us the benefit of the doubt.
This is why I am starting a web petition to get this hateful game pulled from the shelves and I urge Sega to issue an apology immediately. I could overlook their anti-Semitic remarks in Vectorman and their pro-Marxist stance in Comix Zone, but Condemned: Criminal Origins is the last straw. Rather than actually start a web petition I am going to sit here on my ass and look up videos of girls dancing in their pajamas on Google Video. It pretty much accomplishes the same thing.When you little babies are done with Dead or Alive come play with the big boys. Dead or Alive 4 - Fighting games are for faggots and if you play this game you are a faggot.
Perfect Dark Zero - I apologize in advance but it really needs to be said. They just keep doing it. At this point I don't think they will ever stop.
One minute into Perfect Dark Zero you encounter a crate. A whole goddamn room of them.
Here we have a next-generation system with three CPUs, some kind of graphics processor, and a power source that has it's own zip code. Despite this giant leap in technology developers are still putting crates all over their first person shooters!
We are now in the HD-era of video games and these bastards can't think of anything else to put in a level but texture mapped cubes? How about a rocking chair? Can we replace all crates with rocking chairs? Because I would love that. It'd be lovely to play a first person shooter AND SEE ROCKING CHAIRS EVERYWHERE. No matter how bad that game is I will buy it.
Microsoft's acquisition of Rare from Nintendo has proved to be a foolish one. Has Rare released a single thing on the Xbox or the Xbox 360 that could even compare to Rare's Nintendo offerings? Grabbed by the Ghoulies? What the hell is that? If I were Microsoft I would have sued the hell out of them for Grabbed by the Ghoulies. I'd say, "YOU PEOPLE CREATED DONKEY KONG COUNTRY AND YOU GIVE US THIS SHIT?!" Microsoft's purchase of Rare is like buying the Yankees at the height of their success and during their first few Major League games they pull down their pants and just start shitting right there on the field in front of a sell out crowd. They'd still be better than the Mets though.As a special treat Bizarre Creations included the ambiguously gay duo car as an easter egg. Project Gotham Racing 3 - Let me tell you about my friend Jerry. He is the kind of guy who doesn't think ahead about anything. He thinks a 401k is the record for most strikeouts in a season of baseball. He takes forever to leave the house because he's always forgetting something, be it his car keys, wallet, or a coupon to Bed Bath & Beyond, and has to go all the way back to his apartment and get it. He'll occasionally bring over his Gamecube and forget to bring controllers. One time he brought the cables and controllers, and forgot the Gamecube. Jerry is a nice guy and fun to hang out with but he isn't all there 100 percent of the time. As Hank Hill would say, "That boy ain't right." (LOL I love when he says that)
So I call Jerry on the eve of the Xbox 360 launch day and I say, "Hey, come with me to Best Buy so we can buy the new Xbox." He agrees because like me he has nothing better to do. I pick him up and he gets in the car with a Nintendo DS lodged firmly in his stubby sausage fingers. I insult him and his mother for buying a Nintendo DS and off we go.
We get to Best Buy and there are about 15 people along a wall waiting in line. The first thing I notice is that the people in this line get progressively uglier and fatter the closer you get to the first person in line. Sure, we're hideous at number 16 and 17, but look at number 1, he's a monster! I was genuinely surprised he made it to the store without the aid of a forklift. I tell Jerry to give me his Nintendo DS because I was intensely afraid of making eye contact with anyone there. Turns out, oh nothing, HE FORGOT TO PUT BATTERIES IN IT.
After an ungodly amount of hours of listening to supernerds explain to each other why Arrested Development was funny and how it was criminal of Fox to cancel it Best Buy finally considers selling us an Xbox 360. I put the box and a copy of Project Gotham Racing 3 on the counter. Here was the plan. I was going to buy the system and Jerry was going to buy the game. He owed me money anyway. But when it came time to pay he didn't have it. No, he didn't forget it. It fell out of his fucking pocket. Somehow he managed to lose 60 dollars in cash between his house and the store.
In addition to not getting a game to play on my shiny new Xbox 360 I got to backtrack our steps over and over again for an hour, a futile search that turned up nothing. We ended up going home with no games and took turns playing Hexic all night until I kicked him out for eating all my fruit snacks.
So anyway, this update is getting too long and Lowtax is already yelling at me and threatening to cash in my pension. That's why Microsoft's Xbox 360 gets our highest rating possible!
This is your typical consumer model throne. If you just want a cheap prop, it's fine. If you want to actually sit like a king, pony up the cash and get yourself a prosumer model. This entry level stuff is more for a duke or baron at best.
Do you wish to know what computers will be doing in the year to come? With a sigh I shall exert the minimal effort it takes to reveal all. Feel free to print out these predictions and share them with your friends via fax.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.