Halo, Goodbye

Dear friends,

I’m that guy.

Yes, I’m that guy who, upon finally getting back to his beloved Xbox 360 with his brand-spanking-new copy of Halo 3, put the disc in the machine and…the Xbox 360 died.

Yes, friends, it was the Red Ring of Death (little brother to Microsoft’s infamous Blue Screen of Death). It took one look at Halo 3, said, “Nope, not gonna happen,” and went belly-up.

OK, that’s not entirely true. It did struggle repeatedly to play the game, making it a wee bit further every time, but it was clear the console was deceased. This was actually my second Xbox 360; my first one died right out of the box back on my birthday. Since it was a gift from my parents, we took it back to Sam’s Club and swapped it out.

When that first, brand-spanking-new Xbox 360 died on my birthday, I didn’t take it well. There was some yelling and frustration involved, I won’t lie. But that didn’t happen this time. My Xbox had been acting wiggy for about a month and, being the imaginative type, I had already envisioned the sitcom-like possibility of my console crashing as soon as I popped the game in. So I took it all very calmly.

But that’s not to say I was going to take it lying down.

Fortunately, we got the year-long warranty plan. It’s 6:30 at night, and I’ve already taken the next day off just to play Halo 3 (before you laugh too hard, you should know I had a comp day anyway; I have to work three Saturdays a semester). I check the Web; Sam’s Club closes at 8:30. It’s approximately one hour from my apartment to the Sam’s Club near my parents’ house.

So I went.

(On a side note, kudos must be offered to DG; as I walked out the door I said, “Is it OK if I do this crazy thing?” to which she said, “Sure.”)

I made it to Plymouth in record time, too, arriving at the store around 7:45. But halfway there, I look over at my boxed-up console, and it occurs to me: did I remember to bring the receipt, which I had specifically pulled out to check the warranty?

No. No I hadn’t.

At that point, I decided my only hope was to rely on my native charm and charisma–and the blessed the-customer-is-always-right mindset of the Wal-Mart corporation.

My mother, whose praises I will never be able to adequately sing, met me at the store with the club card. It’s there that I met my guardian angels, Eva and Howie. Eva, the customer clerk, was understandably skeptical about the exchange, particularly since it turned out that some of the parts I was returning were from the first exchange (which is another long story). But, despite my lack of a warranty and, at that point, a person with a club card, she agreed to start the process.

As we waited for my mom to show up with the club card, Howie, the stock employee, went on a quest to find the particular Xbox 360 bundle my parents had bought eight months ago (it turned out there were only five left in the store).

In the end, I got my new Xbox 360, which, yes, worked like a charm. I was home by 9:45 and played until about 2 AM. I finished the single-player campaign today; I’ll post my thoughts on a later day, once I’ve played through the game a second (or third) time.

So that’s my story. Yes, I was that guy. And now you can tell people you know someone who’s Xbox 360 died as soon as he put in Halo 3.

(P.S. You know, this crap never happened with the old 8-bit Nintendo. Heck, half the time you had to slam that thing around to get it to work right, but it almost always did. Oh, and on a related note, we’ve packed up and lugged our Wii around on two occasions so far without the slightest problem.)

  1. For those keeping count…

    You’re on your 3rd.
    I’m on my 3rd.
    Sean’s on his 2nd.

    And the one guy who keeps his on constantly while he’s not playing (for hours at a time) and rests it on a shag carpet – I speak of Mookie – has his year old box working just fine. And he happens to be the only 360 owner who will never own Halo. If Microsoft is looking to cater to the casual Wii audience, there are much better ways to do it.

    You aren’t kidding about the NES. I discovered one in the basement of my former house (the one I bought from my Dad) in the original packaging. He probably bought it sometime in the late 80’s and boxed it up when he tired of it. Anyway, it’s now attached to my Mantown TV – more as a curiosity – yet it works like new. The thing has to be 20 years old now and it still runs flawlessly.

    There must be something to the fact that Nintendo begin life as a maker of pachinko machines and Microsoft is a software company reliant upon bug squashing releases.

    As for finishing the game, what difficulty did yu start on?

  2. I went Normal. It’s similar to the Potter syndrome–with as much as I surf the Web, I would have accidentally been spoiled if I took my time (plus I was trying to keep up with my friend Tom). I’ll play it through again on Heroic next time (preferably with a co-op pal or two).

    I might try Legendary someday, but only with a truly committed co-op partner.

  3. So, that explains why I kept seeing you pop on constantly last night. The funny thing about it was, I had this exact same thought. He’s having trouble with his 360… it is going to Red Ring him. But, then, later on that night you were on for a while, so I figured that wasn’t it. Now, it is just too funny to have it be true!

    As for playing thru on Normal, you are a [inappropriate word]! You wait for three long years and you play it on Normal? (The last question stolen from Ed’s reply to an XBL message I sent him ridiculing you for beating it on Normal.) For this you take a day off? (Okay, that one too.) Why not just Easy? Surely that would have been faster Mr. Potter! Real men start on Heroic. (The rest was all me.)

    I kid, but fear that was a waste of your time. In about six hours time, I am halfway done on Heroic. Heroic seems easier this go-round. Oh, when we (you, me, Ed and a 4th) play co-op, it will be Legendary or not at all. Why bother on anything lower? It would be a cakewalk.

    Back to the original topic, I’m sorry that your box died when it did, but jealous you could exchange it so fast. I guess sometimes those plans aren’t a waste of money. I guess I was lucky to get mine back in time to play and shouldn’t be challenging the gods with my taunts! So, what’s your new one’s born on date? Hopefully it has the new heat sink.

  4. As someone who used to shill those Extended Warranties for a living (or at least for extra X-Mas scratch – at EB Games), I can say that they usually are a colossal waste of cash. It’s practically free money for the store as for every 1,000 we sold – maybe one would come back for a system replacement. Of course, that was back in the day when consumer electronics actually worked for more than a year.

    Sean – an Extended Warranty wouldn’t have saved you. They are usually good for only 1 year and yours died after 1 year. You would have had the same MS experience regardless.

    I’m happy to see that it worked out for Jason although sad that it’s becoming such a fact of life that these warranties are almost required purchases when buying a 360. Hey, I love the machine, but man is this one big cluster f!!!

  5. Oh – and thanks for tossing me under the bus, Sean. Jason and I have been on nice, solid footing over the past several months (truth told – it has usually been me that has rocked the biggerboat in the past but that’s all behind me now that I’ve found my Zen.)

    Anyway, you bait me with a question and then go and toss my one sentence answer here on the ‘boat. The thing is – I get why he would rush through it. It’s not my approach but I get it, all the same. Hence, I didn’t feel the need to beat anyone into submission over what difficulty level they’re playing on.

    Sean’s right though. We should do a 4-player Co-Op Legendary tour (once I’m done with my first run through). Everything I’ve read says the difficulty doesn’t scale to the number of players so I’m sure it would be manageable.

    Jason – you should know that after that one sentence response, I went on to rib Mook for being the apparent sole 360 owner who was gaming the night away to ETERNAL SONATA!!! while the rest of us were scouring New Mombosa for those damned skulls. I swear to God his Box is the most high-powered Bejeweled machine going.

    Oh, and this is the second time in a week that Sean has tossed a pal under the bus. Earlier this week in our Fantasy Baseball league, he let slip in a heated exchange with another team manager that a 3rd party – our friend Justin and the guy who introduced this controversial manager to our league – anyway, Sean let the guy know in our public message board that he should have been wary of this guy when Justin initially sent him an e-mail and called him a ball buster. Of course, that threw this guy into a rage and I can only imagine the spin doctoring Justin is working on right now.

    So Sean, stop tossing us in front of these buses or we’re going to stop playing in the street with you. : )

  6. Hey, it’s all good. I realize playing through on Normal wasn’t exactly the manliest way to do it.

    To be honest, I probably wasn’t as psyched for this game as I would have been three or four months ago, so part of it was just wanting to get it over with. And I really was curious about the story, too.

    However, I’m totally prepared for a Legendary walkthrough. Just let me know the whens and wheres and I’m there.

  7. Mook left a comment on September 27, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Eternal Sonata is rocking my world. The action.. the excitement.. the CLASSICAL MUSIC!

  8. Hey, I hardly think sharing “You wait for three long years and you play it on Normal? For this you take a day off?” is throwing you under a bus. It’s barely throwing you under a Mini Cooper. I’m glad that Jason takes it for the light-hearted ribbing it was meant to be. We mean no malice. We aren’t talking Mookie here. πŸ˜‰

    The baseball thing is a whole other ball of wax to me and certainly off-topic for this post, but then, that’s part of the problem over there. Suffice it to say, I think Juice is either fine or dead. He hasn’t said a peep about all those goings on. (Tangent over.)

    As for Jason, I’m sorry that your gaming lull has sapped your excitement for playing Halo 3. It’s too bad it didn’t drop right when you were in your Gears of War and Crackdown glow.

  9. Besides, you get 125 points for beating it on Normal (as well as another 125 for Heroic), so I would have had to do it at some point.

  10. Nope, says right on there you get previous skill points if you don’t already have them. So, beating on Heroic first will net Ed and I the full 250 points.

    My question on that, however, is if we all beat it on Legendary while playing co-op, will we still get the achievement?

  11. Search me. I was really up on this stuff three months ago, but now I’m pretty much out of it (aside from the toy angle, obviously).

  12. Somebody get this guy an IV of Halo themed Mountain Dew Game Fuel stat! We’re losing him… Beeeeep…


  13. BTW Jason, I do get why you played thru on Normal. I remember how interested you were in how the story was going to turn out (back a few months ago), so it is a total Potter thing. I was just surprised that a Halo pro such as yourself played it thru on Normal and not Heroic the first time thru, but again, I didn’t have the reason.

    Anyway, I’m just having some fun with you because you boasted you’d pwn me when we played MP. πŸ™‚

  14. Anyway, I?m just having some fun with you because you boasted you?d pwn me when we played MP.

    Um, yeah–in complete sarcasm. I suck at multiplayer. Though actually I did okay in my first few games yesterday–even got MVP one game. But that may have been because we ended up playing Shotty/Snipers three games in a row.

  15. Look – we’ll settle this like men. I’ll go into Forge – mock up a little Thunderdome – and then we can finish the fight.

    “Two Men Enter. One Man leave.”

    Seriosuly though, I just read that on bungie.net, they have made available empty canvas versions of each MP map which people can set to have their Box download for the purpose of designing Forge levels. Apparently, under the current arrangement, you have to empty out the levels yourself if you are looking to replace things wholesale so they’ve done that work for you. Anyway, in the article, they said that through Forge you can literally construct some crazy variants (for example – they’ve seen people create racing games as a game variant). Apparently, the sky is the limit.

    Once I dive into it, I’m gonna throw down 5 Warthogs, 3 grav hammers and a few grav Lifts and create Halo Tee-Ball. Launch a warthog and it’s batter up.

  16. @JFCC: Well then, if you suck at it, then I am probably worse than suck, so whether it was a sarcastic boast or not, it was/is probably true!

    @Ed: Okay, that’s the last time I quote you without confirming (beforehand!) it is all good with the source. πŸ˜‰

    I’d say our good natured messaging last night lost that fun tone we had with it. If it was lost on you, then I can see why you were quick to damage control it. I need to do a better job with communicating subtle humor on these here interwebs. More πŸ˜‰ I think.

    As for Thunderdome, I’m down, but only if you can substitute Tina Turner with Cortana. And of course, the T-ball sounds fun. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with the Forge stuff.

  17. Pope left a comment on September 27, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    I’m not sure what is up with everyone else, but I’m still on my first X-Box 360. I also had an original PS2 that worked perfectly for years until I finally traded it in.

    surely I’m not more lucky than others, and surely I don’t take worse or better care… whatever it is, I’m happy I’ve never had a hiccup with my systems.

  18. RYAN left a comment on September 28, 2007 at 4:18 am

    See, this is what happens when you support a dodgy system with crap hardware. PS3 FTW!!


    8:45am – Kmart. Buy Xbox 360.

    8:55am – McDonalds DriveThru. McDonalds Breakfast (3 x Sausage McMuffins)

    9:10am – Install Xbox 360. Has not bricked yet. Looks great projected through the HD projector onto wall, sounds great through 5.1DTS sound.

    9:30am – Video Ezy. Halo 3 rental.

    9:36am – Eat McDonalds Breakfast while watching Halo 3 opening cinematics, projected onto entire wall, with 5.1DTS sound.

    9:40am – Halo 3

    11:07am – Halo 3. Holy shit. Scaled a Scarab and blew it up. Projected onto an ENTIRE FUCKING WALL in FUCKING SURROUND SOUND HOLY FUCK. The ground SHAKES. I am NOT JOKING.

    11:11am – The neighbours come over to complain. I do not hear them because of the FUCKING SURROUND SOUND. They give up and leave a note. (See: 2:10pm) The Xbox 360 has still NOT BRICKED.

    2:03pm – Lunchtime. Eat chilli pizza. (Chilli, chicken, beef, tomato, onion, pepperoni, more chilli.) Eat home made chocolate cake. (About a quarter of it.) Miraculaously remain relatively thin.

    2:10pm – Check mailbox. Contains gas bill. Also contains note from neighbours. Go and apologise to neighbours. Tell them it wont happen again. This is a lie.

    2:15pm – Have a bath. Listen to Michael Mann’s commentary on Collateral DVD. He is a genius. 360 still not bricked.

    3:00pm – Halo 3

    6:30pm – HALO FUCKING 3

    8:37pm – Halo 3 has been completed. (ON A FUCKING HD PROJECTOR ONTO ENTIRE WALL IN SURROUND SOUND FUCK) Xbox 360 has still NOT BRICKED. It is a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

    8:55pm – Dinner. Noodles. Replay Halo 3 ending. (Still not bricked!!)

    9:01pm – Realise I have no idea how to turn off the Xbox 360, not having read the manual or anything. Call up friend to ask how to turn off console. Am called a jackass and hunt up on. I consult with other, nicer online friends. (Jason, this is you!!) They inform me on how to turn off console.


  19. mumma left a comment on October 1, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Don’t know wnything about Halo3 ( or 1 or 2, for that matter) except what I read in Toyfare, just wanted to throw out…LOVE THE HALLOWEEN DESIGN!!

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