Last week I decided that I had enough problems with my 360 to call them for a repair, so I did.
Talk about bad timing.
I’m convinced that Gears of War is going to be The Game for the 360 this year, much like Halo 2 was The Game for the original Xbox in 94. Sure I’ve got Call of Duty 3. And I borrowed Need for Speed: Carbon and Marvel Ultimate Alliance last week. Even got Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 unopened on the counter. All great games, but GoW adds a bunch of multiplayer extras that most games don’t: co-op play via Xbox Live. That someone as far away as Malaysia can drop into a co-op game is simply amazing. The fact that it’s still in my disc tray speaks to it’s game play.
What does that have to do with my 360 needing some maintenance?
About four months after I got my 360 I noticed that it was running a little hot. Now, I’ve been paranoid about heat ever since I lost a commercial DVD player to it. I had a stereo cabinet that I had a bunch of stuff in – I watched a long movie – *BZZZZT*. Dead DVD player, due to the lack of air circulation. Notebooks? Computers? Same thing. Heat worries me, when it comes to electronics. So when I noticed my 360 getting hot, I said “hey, lemme get something for that.” I ended up getting the Nyko Intercooler cling on thingy. I liked that it had three fans and attached itself to the console. Wasn’t crazy about having to plug the 360 plug into it, but I liked that it would turn off when the 360 did. The fan sound was a bit much, but once a game started up, I forgot about that, too.
After reading posts all over the gaming news about how the Nyko device might catch fire – or at least smoke – I decided that I didn’t like that as an option either. So I took that off about a month ago. Since then, I’ve noticed that a number of my games hang randomly… it doesn’t have anything to do with how long I’ve played. My 360 is vertical – I ran horizontally for a while, but changed that because I wanted it to get more ventilation – and the power supply isn’t smothered. If it was one game I’d say it was a cache problem or bad coding… it’s not tho: it’s been a bunch. That means something is wrong with the hardware, which is still under warranty… I mean, I’m just plain tired of having to explain to people why I left their game mid-play – very annoying.
Why the pout? Well, at the same time that this has been going on, I have to send a Sony receiver back for repair. That’s less than a year old and the center channel and subwoofer keep cutting out – so I’m back on my old Sony receiver… it works fine but has fewer inputs, so I went ahead and got a remote controlled Component/Optical switch box from Pelican. That seems to work fine, but I had to retire my VCR to make room for it. My notebook is running much hotter than I want it to; Vista is driving it harder and I don’t have updated drivers from Lenovo yet.
I also drove to two Fred Meyer stores to see about a Wii but each store only got 90 consoles – mind you they got two PS3 – but came up empty. Redmond had 90+ people by 7pm and Kirkland had about 80 by 9pm – I didn’t bother to check Bellevue. Just a bad night to be a Geek, I guess.
In spite of all of that, I was able to send a message to someone on Xbox Live from my phone in a bar – that’s pretty freakin’ neat.