I had some great times with my Xbox 360, and then the one I bought to replace it when it broke, and the one to replace that one. Just kidding - everybody knows they usually broke fast enough that they were still covered by the warranty. Xbox 360 was one of the best consoles of all time and remains home to some of our generation's fondest gaming memories as well as our most migraine-inducing dilemmas. This article is all about the latter, but we only mock because we love (and because we already wrote about the best Xbox 360 games).
The utter panic from your first Red Ring of Death
If you were lucky, you enjoyed many happy hours of gaming with your Xbox 360 before its glowing green circle turned into a terrifying red ring. But it was likely to happen at some point, especially with earlier models. Commence frantic Googling and sitting on hold with the support line, eventually arriving at one strange piece of advice…
Wrapping your Xbox in a towel
Three flashing red lights? Swaddle that sucker in towels or blankets then turn it on for a while so it can get nice and toasty. The weird thing about this ‘technique’ is that it actually worked… sometimes. If the solder that's supposed to connect your Xbox 360's internal components is faulty, heating things up could melt it down and get it working again. Of course, it could also melt a bunch of other stuff that wasn't broken and make things even worse.
Wishing they'd bring back the blades
Xbox 360's ‘Blade’ interface was made to match the concave original hardware, and is so mid-2000s in both name and appearance it hurts. But it was only the first of three major user interface paradigms for Xbox 360. Each successive update was supposed to make your system easier to use, but they were also a bit of a Trojan horse to shove more slow-loading ads in front of your eyeballs and generally mess up your muscle memory. It wasn't long before we started pining for the old fast-moving, well-organized, Wesley-Snipes-evoking days of Blade.
Finally becoming The One in 1 vs. 100 and totally blowing it
If you never played 1 vs. 100 during its two short seasons on Xbox Live, you missed out on the most surefire way to look like an idiot in front of thousands of internet strangers. With a regular schedule of live-hosted ‘episodes’ and real prizes like Microsoft Points and free games, there's still nothing like it. Nothing like waiting in The Crowd for months, then finally making your way to the 100-player Mob, then getting eliminated on your first question as The One, I mean.
Convincing your friends that, no, achievements are actually cool
Remember the dark ages before video games awarded you with a little "ding" and made-up points for slapping somebody with a fish? Xbox 360 introduced to the world the idea of a persistent, account-wide system for celebrating in-game accomplishments. It sounded unnecessary and mercilessly Pavlovian at the time but now everybody does it. So I guess we know who rings the bell around here.
Waiting for Rare's grand comeback
First things first: yes, Viva Pinata is terribly underrated, and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts 'n Bolts was clever even if it wasn't what most people wanted. But it's still easy to see why Rare fans remember Xbox 360 as a dark time for the celebrated studio: starting off with the lackluster Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero, and whimpering to a conclusion with the forgettable Kinect Sports and Kinect Sports Season 2, it was the deepest of doldrums.
Being watched by your Kinect
Sure, you used your Kinect sensor maybe three times after you bought it, and it was then relegated to occasional entertainment for visiting family members. But it's still so tough to unplug. I mean, the little bow it does when it's calibrating is super cute, obviously, and… What if it heard your plans and is watching you reach for the cord right now?
Trying to use that awful D-Pad for platforming
The Xbox 360 controller deserves endless praise for helping to finally standardize control inputs across the gaming industry with its sleek, ergonomic design. But sweet merciful Meat Boy does that D-Pad suck if you need any kind of precision. It's good for switching weapons in Gears of War and operating your phone in GTA 4 and that's about it.
Running out of room but not wanting to buy an expensive new hard drive
Xbox 360's storage capacity is really easy to upgrade, physically speaking, thanks to its specially made external attachment system. Financially speaking, an upgrade is doable if you have good credit and don't mind taking out a second mortgage; all to pay for an ungodly expensive hard drive that is relatively tiny and can't be used anywhere else. God help you if you bought one of those 4GB consoles and want to play a modern game with modern-game-sized updates.
Putting away one of the best consoles ever
All of its quirks aside, Xbox 360 remains one of the most successful, influential, and long-lived consoles of all time. As the backwards compatible library for Xbox One continues to grow, there's less and less reason to keep your old 360 plugged in. But that doesn't make it any easier to pack up such a cherished old friend. Maybe a few months more in the ‘HDMI 2’ input won't hurt.