Let's rewind the clock about, oh, ten and a half years ago. A six-year old boy, typical of those growing up in the early-2000s, awakes on Christmas morning. He rushes over to the Christmas tree to find a pile of wrapped presents with his name on them. He tears into them. Some action figures, some clothes, some books......blah blah blah, been there, done that.
He's nearly through opening his presents when, all of a sudden, his father hands him a large cardboard box with something fairly heavy inside of it. "You're gonna love this one!", he remarks, with a twinkle in his eyes. The boy rips back the cardboard flaps. Inside of the box lies a gaming console. But not just any gaming console, mind you. It's an Xbox. A REAL Xbox. The boy never really had a brand new gaming system like this before! So high-tech! So hip! So next-generation! He jumps up, all excited, hugs his father and shouts,"This is the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!!".
That boy was, of course, me. Over the years, I played that old Xbox constantly. After school. On weekends. With friends. With family. By myself. After a while, it wasn't so high-tech anymore. I played it until it literally broke down. Then, after that happened, I naturally upgraded to the Xbox 360.
Oh, it was a fine system, to be sure. It upgraded various things from the first Xbox console and added plenty of new features as well. The graphics were better. Online play wasn't nearly as patchy, and the controllers were *gulp* WIRELESS! How could it not affect me in the same way as the previous Xbox had?
Well, perhaps because I had gotten a little older. By the time I got the Xbox 360, it was already a three-year old console. I was well into my preteen years. Perhaps the fun of gaming had been lost in the complexity of the new system...........? But how could that be? Bigger is better, right?
Not necessarily. Xbox 360 was, technically, a much better gaming system than the original Xbox, but, and maybe this is my damned nostalgia speaking, it lost a bit of the fun. Xbox had always been a simple pick-up-and-play expierence for me growing up, and the 360 seemed a bit too lost in it's upgrades to really care if I was having FUN. Was it still a good gaming system? Damn right it was. But............maybe it was a little too good. Maybe it was a little too refined for that young, admittedly ignorant gamer who perferred splitscreen to online, the first three Call of Duty's to the Modern Warfare's, and playing with friends to playing with a headset.
With the Xbox One on the horizon, now nearly 17 year-old me is a bit worried. But I'm hopeful. I'm excited. As a lifelong Xbox defender, I'm confident Mircrosoft will release another commendable gaming system.
As long as they don't leave out the most important part- the fun