I’ve been thinking about getting back into gaming for a while, and over the weekend I decided to bite the bullet and purchase an xBox 360. I went for the full pack, which has a wireless controller, built-in hard drive, and xBox Live goodies. I’m not intending to do internet gaming, and I only realised later how useless the HD is going to be without the net. You can rip your CDs to the hard drive and store your photos. That’s about it. It won’t let you copy your existing MP3 collection, whether obtained legally or not. The HD is capable of storing and playing WMV videos, too, but the only way to get them on there is to download (or buy) them from xBox Live. The xBox even has a USB port, which can support pen drives. It’s just such a shame that a piece of kit, capable of so much more, is held back because of piracy (I presume).
I’m really into online DVD rentals, and when I receive a disc that has four episodes, I usually image it onto my computer and convert it to xVid for watching later (I have a nifty living-room player capable of playing that format). I’m not building up a collection of pirated media; as soon as I watch the files, I delete them. If you want to nit-pick about it, technically it’s breaking the law, but all I’m doing is time-shifting – allowing myself to get the disc returned and another on its way to me while I watch the current stuff. It would have been nice to be able to use the xBox as a buffer for these videos. But it’s not allowed. Had I researched just how restrictive the HD was before purchase, I would have bought the basic Core System and a memory card for game saves.
But no matter. I bought the machine to play games on, and how does it fare? Excellent. I’ve bought Perfect Dark Zero and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. PDZ is a first-person shooter, where you play a sort of female James Bond. Beautiful game, tough learning curve, and difficult controls to master. I really miss the mouse-control of a PC, but I’ll persevere. I think it’s going to be a great game when I get some practice. Oblivion is a massive role-playing game. I was initially a little put-off by all the statistics (you know, health, fatigue, magic, etc., etc.), but once I’d gotten a feel for the game, I fell in love with it. There was one particular breathtaking moment, when I first emerged from the castle and looked around at the stunning landscape, and I realised, “It’s like a whole world, and I can go anywhere.”