Monday, March 9, 2009

Microsoft XBOX

I think we have all appreciated a Microsoft product at one point or another. Of course, by "appreciate" I mean "became ridiculously, rainbow-punching frustrated with" and by "product" I mean "worthless piece of obscenely priced 1986 Johnny 5 technology." Not even mentioning the absurd operating system they call "Vista" (which I'm 90% certain was designed by Mavis Beacon) or MSN (their "search engine" that works about as well as "no" at a frat party), Microsoft has quite the track record for terrible.

But believe it or not, none of the aforementioned technological gems produced the spark to this stick of TNT. The site of it still haunts my dreams. The Red Ring of Death. In plain terms, this XBOX ailment is when, at any given moment, the green ring on the front of an XBOX that means "everything ok" turns red like the fires of hell, indicating a very real hardware failure.

Actual picture I took with my camera phone.

Basically, imagine someone playing a video game that they just quit work to beat on a 23 hour marathon of Hot Pockets and Yoohoo (because that's what they eat) in the hopes of being the first to gain an arbitrary video game award and probably become a professional video gamer where everyone (especially real live girls) chant their alias in unison above uproarious applause. Or at least that's how I imagine it. Now, imagine that same person coming to the final stretch of that long imaginary road when suddenly, the system freezes and a brick comes flying through their window with a picture of a middle finger taped to the top facing up amid shattered glass and dreams. Ok, I made up the last part about the brick and the middle finger, but they might as well have done that, right?

The problem with the Red Ring is that Microsoft has known about it for years and, generally speaking, it's not a matter of if it will happen to yours, it's when. So how do I personally know so much about it you ask? Because it's happened to me. Twice.

Now I know what you're thinking: "Why did you go back after the first time? If you knew it was going to happen, wouldn't you just avoid it altogether?" Well first of all, no.

Now that that's settled, let me try to re-count how it all happened. It was a cold, dark night (I was trying to save on heat) and I was kind of tired (probably from volunteering or mentoring kids...I can't remember which one, it was honestly so long ago) and all I wanted to do was sit down for a nice relaxing night of video games with my friends. When, KAZAAM!, Red Ring of Death.

Unrelated picture.

To most gamers, finding out that an XBOX has the Red Ring of Death is almost as devastating as finding out that Star Wars isn't real. But I played it cool and called Microsoft, naively thinking they would apologize and offer me a new XBOX and maybe some pie. But what I got instead was a person I could hardly understand telling me that I needed to ship my XBOX off to what they were making sound like some kind of "happy" factory for XBOXs. When I expressed my anger at the situation, I was offered a game that was literally made for eight year olds and another XBOX. Notice I didn't say a new XBOX.

"Hi, I'm Microsoft customer can I help you?"

Not three months later, after weeks of anger management training, I thought I would pop in the complimenatry children's game so I could, you know, test it for children...and before I even get near the damn thing...RED RING OF DEATH.

I wish there was a word for angry about being angry. Hell, maybe there is...I'm not a doctor. Subtracting all of the expletives that came out of my mouth that day with customer support, the conversation literally would have been shortened to "XBOX broken". Needless to say, once again I was forced to send the box off to the "happy" factory and was offered nothing in return. And by nothing I mean the box they sent back to me was filthy and smelled like Otto's jacket. Awesome.

Sparing all of the gruesome details, I now have an XBOX that kind of works and a hatred for the company that "let me" buy it from them. Here's the moral: if you or your friends have an XBOX right now, strike first by chucking it through the front window at Microsoft headquarters. It might be hard getting all the way to Mordor, but trust's better than the Red Ring of Death. You got a lot of growing up to do Microsoft.

*Picture Source: