Each console that I’ve owned comes with a story.
Obviously not a story about how the console was born, weaned from its mother at 8 weeks and sold into captivity, ending up in the hands of some rich spoilt kid. No, I mean the story of how I ended up acquiring said console.
Due to being a complete games addict, each console purchase contributes a small addition to my life. There’s probably some corny metaphor here about how it’s part of the weaving of the tapestry of my life, but we’ll skip that.
This tale is about one of the more recent consoles I’ve purchased: the Xbox 360. Also the console that practically wrenched my shoulder from its socket.
It took me nearly a year to get an Xbox 360. When it came out in 2005 I was busy trying to hold a failing long distance relationship together. This took up my time and money far too easily, especially considering I was in my final year of University at the time. After I graduated in July 2006 and the boyfriend was well and truly gone from the picture, I moved to Stafford for the year to undertake an Msc in Computer Games Design (a mistake in the long run but that’s a story for another day). I’d spent the summer working hard in Carphone Warehouse which paid great at the time thanks to the amount of commission I was raking in. Due to the way commission was paid my last payment was in October. I’d only been in Stafford a few weeks and it was my 22nd birthday. I managed to drag my birthday out into a full week.
First of all I went home for the weekend and had a great time with my parents. On my actual birthday, a Monday, I took the train back to Stafford with a plan to go out that night. Got back about 5pm with the knowledge that a friend would come over after work and we’d head out from there. I was tired so I figured the best way to keep going was to drink the left over Strongbow that was in the house. Wise move. It made for an excellent night though. A very subdued Tuesday too.
By the Wednesday I’d fully recovered. This was when I decided to get the Xbox 360. It’s a scary proposition to me now that I just walked into Gamestation, handed over my debit card to pay £300 and left with a console, 2 controllers and 2 games. Having money was nice back then. The package came with Project Gotham Racing 3 and any game of my choice. I went for Dead Rising (the swanky collector’s steelbook version too). Then I had the quandry of getting it back to my house.
I’d taken the bus in and hadn’t anticipated just how heavy the 360 actually was. I’m a weedy person at the best of times but back then I also had a shoulder injury that made things very awkward. Although Stafford town centre is hardly very big, Gamestation was on one side of the high street and the bus stop was down the other side. Bugger.
I managed to do it of course but I must have looked a right sight. I kept having to stop every few minutes and switch arm, the problem was my other arm was pretty pathetic too. It took seemingly forever but I got to the bus stop and happily collapsed in my seat.
The walk from the bus stop to my house was nearly as bad but at least it was downhill. By the time I got into my room (on the ground floor luckily), I simply dumped the bag on the ground and had a sit down. Eventually I mustered the energy to actually unpack the thing and hook it up to my meagre 21″ SDTV. It looked amazing and was quite exciting once I regained my stamina.
I spent a fair amount of time exploring the Marketplace first off, making a few purchases. Guess what were the two games that hooked me the most that first day? Bejewelled 2 and Doom. Yup, PGR3 and Dead Rising didn’t get a look in. It took a couple of days until I became addicted to PGR3 and, most crucially, achievements. Dead Rising, poor Dead Rising. It never got the respect from me that it deserved. I didn’t have the patience plus the dodgy text on an SDTV didn’t help matters. I’ve never sold it though as I can appreciate that it’s a classic that shouldn’t be sold on, even if it is residing with a fool like me.
A few days later I went shopping at the Bullring in Birmingham with a friend. I spent £45 on a top and £50 on a pair of jeans.
Jesus what was I thinking?
I could have bought Condemned and Need for Speed: Most Wanted for that.