Life After the Red Ring of Death: A Story of Survival

red-ring-of-death

10/19/07

9:03 pm – I just got home from a pleasant dinner with my lady, and we decided to watch a DVD to polish off the evening. Usually, I don’t use my 360 to watch movies, but my DVD player had just gone on the fritz a few days before. I popped the movie into my beloved Xbox 360, and it loaded to the menu screen of the DVD and froze. With nary a care in the world, I rebooted my 360 to try again. Nothing happened. Slightly more concerned I rebooted again. Then the unthinkable happened. With a loud mechanical beep sounding straight from bowels of technology hell my Xbox blinked back at my unbelieving eyes the three red bars of death. Oh the humanity! My 360 isn’t stored under a pile of wool sweaters. My house is kept at a reasonable 73 degrees. It was the first time I turned the system on all day! After several more unsuccessful reboots, I fell to my knees and cried out to the video game gods in vain, “This is my darkest hour! How could you betray me?”

9:10 pm – After seven minutes of weeping in the fetal position, I managed to scrape myself off the floor enough to call the Xbox customer support line. To my delight, the representative spoke clear English and appeared to be generally concerned for my predicament. Mr. Helpful told me that my Xbox 360 coffin would arrive in the mail in approximated 3-4 business days.

10:37 pm – After an hour or so of VH1’s celeb-reality, I was ready to stick a spoon into my ear and start scooping my brain out bit by bit. I closed my eyes and envisioned the dark days ahead of me. Days with no Halo. I would not wish this torture on my worst enemy.

3:28 am – I awoke in a cold sweat. Master Chief was haunting me in my nightmares. He was screaming “See you in 6 to 8 weeks sucker!” Suddenly, my heart leapt with hope that this had all been a very bad dream. I sprang from my bed, ran to my 360 and turned it on. Alas, this was no nightmare. The red ring of death was chillingly real.

Day 2
5:00 pm – As the clock struck five, I sprang from my work desk hoping against hope that by some rip in the space-time continuum my 360 coffin would arrive early. Sadly, my hopes were quickly dashed on the cliffs of despair as I arrived at my mailbox only to find it barren.

Day 3
7:14 pm – I have definitively concluded that Wii Bowling is not as satisfying as fighting the Flood. Perhaps a rousing round of Wii Tennis will lift my spirits. No word from the men in brown who are delivering my coffin.

Day 4
5:42 pm – At Last! My cardboard coffin had arrived! Not wanting to waste a moment, I hurried upstairs and feverishly packed my dead 360 into its deathbed. I inscribed my reference number on the box 23 times to ensure its proper path upon delivery. I dashed to the nearest UPS store and set the coffin on the counter. After crossing myself and sprinkling holy water on the coffin I handed it to the UPS employee. “Godspeed my dear friend, Godspeed.”

Day 7
9:10 pm – The empty space that was once filled by my 360 taunts me. It howls into the abyss of my mind. It speaks of missed multiplayer matches and unfulfilled achievement points. These will truly be dark and trying days ahead. I must soldier bravely into the void. My spirit cannot be broken.

12:51 am – After hours of research online, I can confirm with all due certainty that there is absolutely no way to modify a Wii to play 360 games. It’s time to rest my weary eyes.

Day 11
1:17 pm – I journeyed to a local video store to rent a game to get me through these lean times. I needed sustenance in the form of pixilated animations. As I approached the video game section, I saw out of the corner of my eye the Xbox 360 aisle. I know I could not venture down it. It would only intensify the void. I must be strong! Clutching my chest, I arrived at the Wii aisle. Curses! They were out of Metroid Prime! Cooking Mama be damned! Only Samus could have pulled me through these dark days! As I left the store empty handed, I saw a man holding a copy of Bioshock to rent. One lonely tear streamed down my cheek.

Day 15
3:42 pm – I can sense my sanity is slipping. Much like an amputee, I am having phantom pains. An hour ago I walked over to the empty space where my 360 was, and I tried to insert Gears of War into thin air. I have to get a grip on myself. I have heard many a tale of gamers who didn’t survive these 6 to 8 weeks of gaming hell. Where is my bottle of Mountain Dew Gaming Fuel?

Day 17
2:24 am – I have begun construction on my own Xbox 360. After analyzing schematics online, I believe all I need is some cardboard, duct tape, cotton swabs, and a portable cassette player. Beware gamers on Halo 3 multiplayer! I will be fragging you soon!

4:52 am – I awake in a daze. Why is there duct tape on my face? So many questions, and so few answers.

Day 19
7:00 pm – I have grown weak. My sanity is escaping me. I have spent the last 6 hours using my 360 controller to try to play television shows. No matter how hard I try, I cannot kill the woman from “The View.” Where are wretches when you really need them? All I can do now is pray to the video game gods.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the red ring of death
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me
My Wii and my TV they comfort me

Day 20
11:14 am – I must be dreaming! I received word by carrier pigeon that my refurbished 360 will be arriving in my anxious arms tomorrow! The video game gods have heard my cries! This time was not spent in vain! I must prepare my abode for its arrival. To think I considered placing a lucky bamboo plant in the place of my Xbox! Bill Gates, you and your billion dollar extended warranty are my heroes!

Day 21
2:15 pm – It has finally arrived. My precious! My trembling fingers fumbled with the packing tape as I tore open the cardboard lid. A golden glow of light burst forth as I opened the package. I realized my whole life had been building toward this moment! I ran to the shelf to plug in my 360. I became confused by a pile of cardboard, duct tape, and small electronic parts that sat in a lifeless mound on the shelf. I swept the mess aside and put my 360 in its proper resting place. The anticipation was building. My heart felt as it was going to leap from my chest as I turned the machine on. SUCCESS! I grabbed my controller and settled in to my “gaming spot” on my couch. At last, the balance of the universe has been restored.

Contact this writer at: jeremy@thegamereviews.com

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