A Disturbance in the Force

There’s something not quite right about today, there’s an eerie silence in the air. The virtual streets of Xbox Live lie still and empty,  as if the battle is over but there were no survivors. Disconnected from each other, we are alone, lost in world where we are misunderstood and our hand-eye co-ordination skills are left unappreciated. Gone are the bodies that once littered the ground and not even an echo of gunfire remains in the blank wilderness that is the 24 hours of Xbox Live downtime.

Apparently though it’s great news! According to Xbox.com anyway, because of course they are purposely putting us through this separation anxiety cause they are soon going to make everything more super awesome than ever before by softening up the 360’s image and saying “Hey, everyone can play on this console you know!” After all it’s a multimedia machine suitable for all the family, yes it’s true, but most people already knew that didn’t they?! It’s taken for granted now that consoles will play DVDs which is why some people that purchase a Wii will try to return it as faulty when it won’t play them.

The new range of 360 T.V. ads are cool, I suppose, if not slightly creepy, ok completely creepy. See for yourself – Warning, 30 seconds of cringe!  Including twinkly “It’s coming up to Christmas” music (Ker-ching) and weirdly smiley happy people who seem rather amused by the fact that the back of their heads have fallen off, who gaze with wonder and awe at the magical fluffy world of the New Xbox experience. I can’t help but wonder though if there’s anyone out there who didn’t know that you can get Rock Band and the Lego games for the 360.

These things happen though, most music genres started out dark and scary to the majority until some big corporation threw money at bunch of pretty people to sing it, toning it down just enough but still keeping a precise amount of edge so it could be introduced to the masses as the next big thing. Enabling teenagers to declare that they are serious punk fans cause they listen to Emo and wear black nail varnish and allowing anyone who has danced to McFly’s sacrilegious cover of Don’t Stop Me Now down the boozer on a Friday night a Queen fan.

That’s sort of what’s happening to gaming, we’re now having to label ourselves as certain types of gamers cause the term is becoming too broad and general, allowing for anyone who owns Wii Play  or a dancemat to think that they are one of us when their consoles are just used as glorified karaoke machines. I know I’m probably being childish but I don’t care. I am going to moan and stamp my feet and throw my teddy bear out of the cot if my third most favourite thing to do (after sex and sleep) goes all different and yukky!

Maybe the new dash will be so fantastically awesome I will take back any negative words I have ever said about my 360 being generalised and maybe I will end up abusing my credit card to death buying MS points to accessorise my brand new avatar. I’m an open minded person, never say never and all that but I trust my instincts and all this just feels wrong. Of course where I’m from we’re barely out of the coal mines and choosing a gamertag is cheesy enough without having virtual dress up dolls prancing around our screens. I personally don’t spend more than maybe 2% of my 360 activity time in the dashboard and I’m perfectly aware that I never ever have to change the way it looks if I don’t want to but… I will still know it is there. I will sense it, like a soaking wet puppy silently huddling in the corner of the room behind me, covered in God knows what crap but so insidiously cute it wont be long before I feel the need to gather it up in my arms and love it.






7 responses to “A Disturbance in the Force”

  1. Lorna avatar

    I’m with you all the way on this one. I don’t want it. At all. I don’t want some naff Avatar replacing my Gamertag/box and stars thing and pic or some Sony-esque shiny interface with a page of adverts to be flipped through rather than a box somewhere on one of the blades. It looks shite and I loathe that it isn’t optional.

    Why does it have to be more accessable? The category of gamers who will go creamy over avatars probably already have a Wii and the high techies will already have dropped a bundle on Sony’s bread bin, so let us game Microsoft. I have a DVD player for those discs and rely on you for games FFS. Like those god awful mobiles with built in cameras, voice recorders, games and optional toaster…I just want a phone. And now…I just want a games machine.

    To use the war analogy it’s like the sudden lack of incoming fire…the troops look up to survey the skies, unease settles and fear builds…and you just know that somewhere the enemy has pressed a big fat red button that is about to launch somehting to really screw up your day…

  2. James avatar

    Im looking forward to the changes myself. Im just hoping though that Microsoft leave a way to revert back to the old design if you do wish to.

  3. Tony avatar

    Lorna said:

    “Sony-esque shiny interface with a page of adverts to be flipped through”

    Eh? The 360 blades as they are now are covered with adverts for games out now, download these extra levels, etc.

    In contrast there is nothing like that on the PS3 at all unless you choose to go into the store.

  4. Tim avatar

    They’ve actually said that the adverts on the new marketplace will be a lot less in your face than the previous version.

    If you don’t like the avatars you’re not forced to use them, and all of the same functionality of the old Dashboard is still there if you want to avoid the new front end.

    From what I’ve seen so far I think it looks great, I’m not completly sold on the avatars but all the other stuff is looking excellent. Just improving the Arcade and Marketplace interface so they don’t take so long to load will be good enough for me.

  5. Lorna avatar

    Tony – I may have phrased it incorrectly – I wasn’t saying the PS3 has pages of ads, rather that the new dash looks Sonyish and also will have a whole ad page from what I have seen as opposed to bits smeared over the current pages. The more flips, the more annoying, personally. *shrugs* To each their own.

  6. Tony avatar

    Fair enough – personally I think the new menus look more borrowed from a certain other popular console, but wii shall see when it lands.

  7. James avatar

    😛 All that waiting aaaand… errr… Nothing happens except a message that Live will be down again tomorrow. Okay then…

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