On September 16th, around 11:45pm, tragedy found me. I had rented Call of Duty: World at War, hoping I could try out the multiplayer with a few college friends. I find shooting your old college room mate in the face with a machine gun is a nice way to stay in touch. I wanted to get some practice in before I faced off with someone I knew. As the game loaded I found my first victim, snuck up behind them and held down the right trigger. Instead of the spray of bullets, a loud grinding noise came from the X-Box and the screen froze. 'Not again. Not like this,' I thought to myself. 'What if the other players leave me negative feedback for quitting early?' 'What does that feedback even do?' 'Do I even have any feedback?
None of those thoughts mattered when I tried to turn the 360 back on. Instead of the welcoming jet engine noise that usually greets me when I turn it on, there was silence. The reason the system froze dawned on me as I lowered my head and waited for them to appear. It seemed that Elitey didn't want to go down for the count yet. It might still have some fight in him. For a moment I was rooting for him. 'You can do it, don't be like all the other 360's I've had. Fight for me Elitey, Fight so we can finish the fight in ODST, live to see the day when they try to pass the Mutant Registration Act in MUA 2, keep on keeping on so we can Rock another day.' Alas, it wasn't meant to be. The three red lights of failure were here and here to stay.
Out of instinct I checked to see if the HDMI cord was plugged all the way to both the TV and Elitey, it was. Then I moved onto the power source, seeing that the light was the right color, I called support to get the ball running. This is the third time I've got the death lights and I'm starting to think it's my fault. Why do I keep killing my system? Or am I that bad a person that it had not other way out. After talking to customer service for awhile they told me to find a box and ship it out. So I did. Lucky I had a box lying around that was the right size. Went to UPS and that was that. Didn't have to pay for anything, which was nice.
A "new" 360 was returned to me today, September 30th. Not a bad turn around I must say. I love Rock Band. That might even be an understatement. So when Elitey died the first thing I thought of was all the downloadable content that I have for it. Microsoft's DRM is a pain in the neck. If file was downloaded on the system you are playing it on you have no problem taking that system offline and playing the song. That works out if you bring your system over to a friend's house for "Friday of friendship Rock out night." But now I have a new system and I will have to switch the license to the new system and re-download all the files.
I thought that was going to take a lot of time. Luckily, I was wrong. Switching the license took just a moment. You can now access your download history online and next to every item you downloaded there is a "add to queue" button. I added 30 items in an instant by clicking the middle mouse button and watching new tab after new tab open in Firefox. Turning on the 360 I was welcomed with 'download complete', one after another. In a way it became a race between the 360 and me. Could it download the file faster then I could middle click on the next song I wanted to add to the queue. It took about an hour to re-download all the game add-ons and arcade titles I wanted to attach to that system. I pulled the network cable and booted up Rock Band and the songs were playable offline.
Although it stinks that 360's get the red lights, it's nice to know that Microsoft streamlined the process of getting back up and running again. Now if they can make it so no one gets the red death lights again, that might be good idea.