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Stuck in a Box
Posted on Thursday, November 5 2009 @ 17:11:10 PST

To start, I have to note that I don’t remember the beginning of this story. The story concerns my relationship with video games in the home, the kind that I’m currently without, at least the current kinds. Of course I still have those old systems of minor league graphics and complexity that still run beautifully and effectively, even those purchased before I was cognizant and could create conscious memories of them being brought home. They can, as of this writing, still beep and boop like wonderful robots straight from their common era of the eighties, even if nobody wants to play with them (or watch them in a sports montage.) The relationship with these eight and below bit beasts was never a certain one, and was often downright tumultuous. As I grew and let my wiring combine and connect in aggressive ways, I let my frustrations out on those cleanly-circuited consoles, once even culminating in the kicking of a Super Nintendo that didn’t feel so super at the time I did it. After it flew across the room, however, I realized that it had survived this harsh beating with only cosmetic damage in the form of the entire side having gone missing somewhere along the seemingly doomed trajectory that was attempted. Even without its cape, it can still save the day of a damsel seeking nostalgia as a means of whatever trappings currently bind them. That is, of course, not the only system which still works despite the years and yanks it’s taken. Before I knew I had even been doing it, I had chewed through the new cables of the controllers for that system with my new teeth and required those to be replaced, just as I later required those of my first generation Playstations 1 & 2 to be replaced after taking out my past’s frequent frustrations on them.

There is no such case of personal fault concerning my fated-to-be-broken Xbox 360, however. As I had spent months accumulating enough surplus wealth to purchase it, I knew its new value to me and never knew any frustration concerning it, until now, and I have decided to vent it through grown up words rather than the violence of an eight year old. There was never any instance beyond simple flickering frustration that I could be considered at fault for its destruction either. Always it was placed in a cool and well ventilated area where I did not even let dust encroach and accumulate upon it out of respect for the system and under fear of damaging it. My devotion to protection continued through any protective minutiae that could be allowed, even the plastic cover stickers over the sensor and disc drive remained intact and ever remained clean and shiny, even as I shipped the system off.

The part of the tale that informs why this is of greater importance than simply the loss of a product began, in all actuality, due to my tail. To put it more simply, I got sick and realized that I couldn’t avoid bleeding everyday in a manner that I found most horrific and terrifying at the time, and being able to start up and play meant that this console managed to console and distract me while I continued to be stripped and prodded embarrassingly. It felt like the reinvention of an old sport that I was already good at, but which held new meaning now that I felt like I was being given a magnanimous pay check for fun after cashing in a number of my own literal ones. Now having it taken away from me through no fault of my own, as if it is just a part of nature’s natural system of ramming foreign objects up my rear end, as the consumer this time, it completely backs up and turns around what I thought was an endless season with a recurrence of red.

Earlier this year during another deceptively sunny season, in preparation for a procedure, I had to clean out the entirety of my digestive system, I let the pain pass through me by placing it upon hordes of vaguely alien enemies with a once close friend who was, at the time, in Russia and playing Gears of War on Expert with me. (Albeit with many pauses, which broke up the moments layered with too much tensing.)


To explain this situation with my friend, I must further note that I once lived and went to school on a military base overseas, during which time, many of my best friends were in more frequent line up alterations than a popular baseball team dealing strictly with serious steroid scandals by spanking supremely supped up superstar starters. Sometimes a friend could only remain in place for a few months before being shipped off with their parent’s occupation, and other times, when lucky, it was years before that occurred. The friend that was with me in school longest, I always considered my best of the best friend. Yet, when he moved, at first to California, then Oregon, then Colorado, and then Russia before returning to California (Where, I was informed to note, he went to a gay supermarket, in which they sold only lisps. Yes, my friend is an idiot, but he’s thuper too.), before where he is now, in Oregon, I didn’t even get to say goodbye and without planned consideration, we simply do as old friends do and lost touch and became distant geographically, emotionally, and socially.

This was saved automatically; however, by that purchase of the system I could truly call mine which seemed so fortuitous already by simply having it at a time when I needed it. It turns out that as I distracted myself on Xbox Live, messing about inquisitively as I explored, I found that my old friend had been playing and achieving on the system for years already, and soon enough, upon adding him as a contact, I realized that we could re-achieve the bonds and joys of that old friendship which were apparently less ephemeral than whatever the games were that we played at the time.

When it was finally my turn, I also gladly moved from the base that felt so isolated. As often it goes though, it was apparent that I couldn’t escape old feelings. Where I ended up was a small town with an unconsciously honest name, Littlestown. I had barely lived here before in less than happy times, and it wasn’t seeming any better now as the only little change I found was that my best friend of that time had gone to jail due to his own particular character flaws. This news left me secluded, him once being my literal neighbor only furthered that sense as I waited for my internet to be hooked up in order to manage a reconstitution of a barely lapsed connection to the world that shared more similar interests with myself than theft from nearby places that my face was familiar.

So, this system became not only a lightly lit friend, but also something of a portal through which old friends not caged could pass through and become new shining sources of some kind of happiness. When those lights turned red though, my heart sank. Once again a friend was going to be leaving because of something beyond its control, but simply because it was decided by higher ups that it sadly couldn’t last. My heart did not sink too far, because I still had those other friends, once again, even if it was difficult to actually manage to talk and giggle and scream at each other without that tool of a friend that I had been using up to that point.

Then it sank again, for after a few new fleeting moments of joy upon receiving my console back from ordinate repairs, I realized that it wasn’t even the same friend as before. It was simply a replacement that I hadn’t spend any time with, and I was reminded what it was like to be on that lonely base, realizing that I would have to make this friend all over again, which always seems difficult enough. This hard task was more evidently made difficult when I began to reconstruct what made my old friend so friendly as I began a game with my actual friend, now in Oregon, and this new one bailed almost immediately with an entirely new character flaw, and right off the bat.

This game, I suspect, won’t end in anymore happiness soon, even after repeated shipping of what I hoped to be a friend, I have doubts as to whether it will ever come back to me whole and worthwhile. The game that Microsoft seems to be playing doesn’t seem to be going well either, as I feel as if I’m the badly beaten ball, and when I get a message stating that my console was shipped a week before I get a message that states my console was repaired, I expect no return to friendship, but another inning in which I expect my rear end to only end up beaten.

I would simply quit and buy a new system with which to bat back with, but that only seems to incur the feeling that I’m only hitting myself, especially since I’m forced to play this game that concerns rules that make no sense and is taking far too long for me to become any good at. The quality of the product always seemed like a given matter of importance between company and consumer, and I knew this in some form even when I tested products thoroughly with my feet and teeth.

It does not feel like a worthwhile game anymore, especially when it took me a quarter of a year to accumulate enough to spend in order to buy it in the first place, as I did not knowingly only purchase far-fetched and fleeting joys for a few facile moments. So, instead of playing it, while I wait to see the score, I’m hitting my words out of the park in the hopes that those in the ancillary parking lot that is the internet will pick it up and realize perhaps that they’re the same in some way. When it broke this time, Microsoft seemed to be the friend prone to theft with a customer that knows the monopoly is familiar everywhere and even this issue and complaint is an old ally of numerous individuals connected by rejection rather than the life of Live-ing that they might have hoped. Wherever they’re getting balled over in the world, I’m sure it hurts just the same to have their inanimate friend, or their overly animated ones screaming as they strike little crimson horrific, terrific, and fantastic nemeses together, simply taken away.

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