Gadget Addiction Update

I, along with everyone else, have heard great things about Microsoft’s XBOX 360. By all accounts it is a great gaming system but there have been several things preventing me from taking the plunge.

Initially it was simple. There were no 360s available and so it was quite easy to avoid temptation. Though as winter gave way to spring, it was easy enough to find one so long as you were willing to accept a bundle for upwards of $1000. As I was typically only mildly interested in one or two of the four or five games in theses bundles, it was still easy to resist.

In March(ish?), Microsoft finally worked out their supply problems and for the first time I happened past inventory available in stores. Still, there was no particular game that I just had to have.

When Bethesda released Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion my resolve was seriously weakened. Oblivion game looked gorgeous and was getting stellar reviews. After a long debate I decided to buy Oblivion… for my PC. I managed to give the original XBOX a miss and intended to miss the 360 too and hold out for the Wii. As a side note, I didn’t really care for Oblivion that much. Although it does look phenomenal.

E3 came and went. And while I was disappointed that Nintendo didn’t announce the release date for the Wii, there wasn’t really any news from the XBOX camp that piqued my interest. Still, I would occasionally hear or read about people who, though not your traditional XBOX / Microsoft fans, couldn’t say enough good things about how well the 360, in particular XBOX Live, was put together. Kevin Rose on diggnation comes to mind. But there were certainly others. And there was all this talk of something called Geometry Wars. I didn’t really know what Geometry Wars was, but whatever it was, it sure seemed to be turning up in a lot of conversations.

And so we arrived at Tuesday morning and I see this blog entry by Steven Frank over at Panic Software: Why I Bought an XBOX 360. Here again was a gamer whose sensibilities reflected my own. Yet he had danced with the devil… and liked it… a lot.

It was purely coincidence that my son’s birthday was two days away (today) and yet it gave me an excuse. And so, armed only with my debit card, I made the trek to my local mega-consumer-electronics-retailer. A couple of hours later, my journey towards the dark side was complete:

I have to say, I have no regrets. My 360 experience has been a blast. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few quirks. There are. I think the GUI is a bit byzantine, but overall it works very well and the upcoming dashboard update should only help.

My first evening was spent playing mostly Project Gotham Racing 3 or watching my wife turn PGR into an off-road game. It doesn’t look as good as I was hoping though. That doesn’t mean that it looks bad, far from it, but it seems the edges of some objects could stand more anti aliasing. Perhaps this was because I was playing at 1080i. I haven’t played it at 720p yet.

I also played Ghost Recon Advanced Warfigher. I didn’t spend enough time playing to get a good handle on the controls so it’s still a bit awkward to play but it certainly looks great and seems to have a lot of potential. I figured I’d play more on Wednesday.

Yesterday I figured I would see what all the fuss was about with this Geometry Wars game before getting back into Ghost Recon. For those that have played Geometry Wars, perhaps it will come as no surprise that I didn’t get around to playing Ghost Recon last night. Geometry Wars is extremely addicting. Not helping matters is seeing a coworker with a high score just a few thousand above mine. We’ll have to remedy that.

So, long story short. I’m digging my 360. If you’ve decided that $600 for Sony’s yet to be released PS3 is not for you and you just can’t wait for Nintendo to finish up the Wii this fall/winter, take a look at the XBOX 360.