Gaming Thoughts... 8/19/11 - Console Wars - Xbox 360

Here's my runner-up, but just barely. Honestly, I adore my computer much more at this point, but the 360 gets some credit here for a few reasons. First off - it was the earliest console from this generation I acquired, so I have without a doubt played more games on this than any other system over the last four or five years. I was waffling back and forth between this and a Playstation 3 at the time, but the quality of online service coupled with the number of friends I had who had this system (as opposed to only 1 who had a PS3 and 1 who had a Wii at the time) plus the gentler price tag sold it for me.

The library of games is excellent, ranging from Microsoft games to third party ones. Of course they were not all hits, but my earliest titles were excellent ones, ranging from Fear, to Condemned to Gears of War. Then came the sports titles and those mixed with online play had me hooked. Achievements were awesome - some games in the past had sort of mini-achievements, but never something global like this. A sort of virtual badge of honor your friends could see.

I hardly ever use the D-pad, and this system's controller feels great in my hands. I had come from using a Playstation 2 before buying the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 2 controllers broke on me fairly regularly.

I played through about 9/10 of Gears of War, and one of my buddies from work hopped right in to do co-op and we beat the game together one night. I had Saturday afternoons with co-workers where 5-15 of us would get together and play Modern Warfare 2. The collection of downloadable games was awesome - everything from Limbo, to Monday Night Combat, to Castle Crashers...

The hardware proved somewhat suspect after awhile though. I was the last of my friends to get a Red Ring of Death, but got it I did. I sent it into Microsoft and it was fixed for free after I had owned the system for a bit over 2 years, but then another problem presented itself and I was looking at about $150 to fix it. Disappointing.

Also, my friends seemed to be migrating off of the 360 to the PS3. My son wanted to play online games like Castle Crashers or Halo: Reach - but he would need a gold account. The idea of having to spend $50 a month to play online with friends was a bit rough for me, but then I realized how it cramped family play online - if you weren't willing to spend a good chunk of money.

The account management was handled very well. I liked how multiple people could log in with their actual accounts at a time for some local co-op, and how saved data files were kept separate from those of other login accounts.

The lack of wireless internet? That's been a bit more of a hassle - only one of my 360's is online due to this. The newer models are more reliable - but they are also very loud. My wife compares it to a coffee pot brewing - from the other room.

To my mind, there's been more good than bad. I've played a lot of games, and I still have some to go. you won't see Modern Warfare 2 show up on this list, even though some of my best 360 memories are of that game. I now own it for the PS3 - for reasons I will explain in my next and last post on this topic.

Favorite three games from this system:

- Halo: Reach
- Mass Effect
- Gears of War

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- Great audio and video really helped me 'leap' into this generation of games.
- Account management with file saves and local co-op is the best of all systems
- Excellent collection of games & had achievements from the start to go with them


- Hardware certainly had its share of failings
- Online play requires you to pay
- Lack of built-in wireless
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