Today I pondered that if you belong to one cult can you belong to another as well? You see, I’m pretty obviously a mac evangelist but I’m starting to wonder if I’m also turning to the dark side… Microsoft. No not the operating system or word processor, the xbox 360. I have to give Microsoft kudos for creating the ultimate addiction machine. This is how it works.
1. You get achievement points for doing things in a game, like buying all the Ferrari’s in Project Gotham Racing. What do achievement points get you? Nothing except a number next to your gamertag which is instantly recognisable to other gamers. It also lists your achievements on the xbox live website. This turns it into a “must play this game until I get all achievements” type addiction. It’s also smart because it increases the longevity of a game as well as making people use every feature included in a game (why else would anyone watch gotham tv?).
2. So you’ve achieved all the points in the game that you would have gotten rid of ages ago if it weren’t for the points. What next? Well you buy a new game to get more of course! But what game? How bout the one that all your friends on xbox live have because then you can play against them. Because friends don’t let friends game alone. This of course helps boosts the sales of games because if you lend a game to a friend then they can’t play against you. Rentals of games go up too.
3. How do you know when to play your new game against your friends then? Well you could just arrange it offline, or send them an invite when they are online, OR you can create a calendar dictating when the games are on which not only organises things but also makes you realise all the games you DON’T have. Therefore you go and buy more games.
The biggest appeal of the xbox 360 is the online gaming which not only allows you to chat to your friends while gaming but also lets you meet people from all over the world. I’ve recently joined a cool group of gamers over the age of 24 who aren’t kids who spend all night on the machine but people who fit it in around their normal lives. They are a pretty friendly bunch who offer tips and advice while slicing and dicing you to oblivion.
The first time I played against them you go in to a lobby which is where the game is set up and conversations are had. Being new to this I felt like a stranger at a party where nobody knows you. You get all the usual questions but it’s ten times harder because there aren’t any facial clues to indicate whose turn it is to speak. You also have to be really nice to people who you are just about to kill in twelve different ways which is really bizarre. Being someone who is a little uncomfortable in groups bigger than 6 it can be a bit rough in an 8 person game. Plus they seem to spend the whole time apologising that there will be rude words but they don’t yet understand that I have tourettes when I play. I guess I’m using this as a tool to improve my vocal communication since it’s not advantageous to sit and write a message during a car race.
But what was the final straw that made me join the cult and no longer entertain any thoughts of a ps2 or ps3? The huge news (to me) that Guitar Hero II is out for the xbox 360 next month and the next version of Grand Theft Auto will be out simultaneously on both consoles some time this year. ROCK ON!!!