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XBox 360 Review
I Love My Xbox
An Xbox console (both "original" and 360) has been my gaming companion for the past few years, ever since I finally threw my gaming PC out the window in frustration.
...Well, not literally as my wife and kids still needed to do stuff on it, but you get the idea.
I had so many technical issues trying to get games to run on the PC, that I was spending more time tweaking settings than I was actually playing.
Read on to find out how the Xbox saved me from all that.
The Problem With PCs
My problem with PCs, as gaming machines, is that they are just too temperamental.
Yes, I know that they are potentially the most powerful machines around for games and yes, I have seen some of the amazing graphics on them.
The trouble is, that when I was playing games on PCs, it always took so long to get them running.
I always had to check the game packaging very carefully to make sure I had the juice to get them to run in the first place.
Then I had to install the game, which could take minutes, but often took longer, due to updates being downloaded, before they too had to be installed.
Finally, I would try to play the game and I lost count of the number of times that I saw an awesome introduction movie, only to be dumped back to the desktop with a nasty error message.
Worse still, many games froze completely on me, had to be returned to the shop, and so on.
When I did get a few games to run ok, I would then find that in another year, the latest games would require a better graphics card, or something else to work correctly.
I soon realised that if I wanted to play the best games, at the best screen settings, I would always be on a treadmill of upgrading my kit to work with them.
This was something I had neither the time, money, or inclination to do anymore.
It was all very fine and good when I was a young single man, with lots of time on my hands, but with a wife, family and my own home to look after?
No, thank you.
Xbox "Just Works"
Now I know what you're thinking. "Why is he reviewing a console that is on its way out?"
Well, I'm here to tell you that there is a lot of life in the old dog yet.
When I bought my first Xbox, I plugged it all in to the TV, pressed the button to open the DVD tray, slotted in my first game disk, pressed the button again and grabbed the controller.
I watched with bated breath as the machine chuntered for a few seconds and would you believe it, the game burst into life.
No stress, no fuss and definitely no muss.
Occasionally, I put the disk in and see a prompt to download the latest update.
I simply say "yes" and a minute or so later, I'm back to playing again.
As one of Microsoft's competitors (to be left nameless) is fond of saying, "it just works".
The Xbox 360 comes with a wireless controller, but who wants to play just by themselves?
This controller will let you bring a friend to the party and play from the comfort of your sofa.
And it's been like that ever since: I put a game in the disk drive and a few seconds later I'm away in whatever fantasy (or science fiction) land I want to be in.
When I finish the session I take the disk out, switch the machine off and go to bed - trying not to wake up my wife.
When the time came, I moved over to the 360 and later bought a Kinect sensor and that too has been a good experience from day one.
It hasn't all been plain sailing though: I once got the infamous "red ring of death", indicating a hardware fault on my early model of the console, but one phone call to Microsoft and it was all sorted (Microsoft had extended the warranty automatically due to the number of people experiencing the problem at the time - newer models don't have that issue).
I just had to wait a few days for it to come back through the post, but once it arrived, I was back to untroubled gaming again - much better than my PC woes.
There has been the odd time where a game has frozen on me in the middle of playing, but that was due to the game developers being sloppy with their code, not the fault of the hardware.
All I had to do each time, was to take the disk out, switch the Xbox off and then on again, pop the disk back in, and away we go.
If you want to download games then you will need the storage to put them on. Look no further than this baby, which simply slides into your console - one simple "click" later and you can download as much as you like.
Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
My point is that the Xbox 360 is a gaming workhorse and while there is a newer, more shiny machine available in the form of the Xbox One, it will take them a while to iron out the kinks.
The majority of new releases over the next year or so will be made for both the One and the 360, so the only real difference will be the resolution of the graphics.
Case in point: I am playing Watch Dogs at the moment.
Ironically, Watch Dogs was panned by many gamers on the next gen machines, for graphics not living up to the promise of the original advertising.
Me? I just got it for the 360 and enjoyed the gameplay without really worrying about it.
All of that makes the Xbox 360 the ideal machine to pickup if you're new to gaming or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about without paying a premium price tag.
Maybe I'll move on to the One at some point in the future, or maybe, I'll even defect to the "other side"...
In the meantime, I'm happy for others to be Microsoft's Xbox One Beta testers, while I enjoy picking up cheap games for the 360.
Besides, I've got a whole library of unfinished games to complete (see below)!
My "Currently playing" list (in no particular order of priority): Skyrim, Batman Arkham Origins (again), The Amazing Spiderman and Half Life 2 - all at once (only kidding!)
Ok, so Batman Arkham City is not the Xbox itself, but this is my favourite game on the Xbox so I had to show it here too!
Batman Arkham City
© 2014 Tim Bader