A true teenage horror story

The simplified image shows the Xbox power button and logo with the red ring error code.

It will come sooner or later. There was no escape.
picture: Microsoft / Evan Amos / Kotaku

Hiding from the bustle of Jamaica Street, down a winding series of stairs looked like a mausoleum, with piles of PS2s, OG Xboxes, and GameCubes lining the walls. This little shop in the Jamaica Colosseum mall was the same place I bought it before splinter cell on PS2, death 3 for Xbox and Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack, among several others. But the dead consoles were a shocking reminder that as much as the vibrant realms those chests produce can feel, sooner or later our dream machines will stop working.

In late 2005, when I was standing on the cusp of a new generation of consoles, I realized intellectually that over time, some of the high-end new Xbox 360 and yet to be released PlayStation 3 consoles would die. Perhaps in another decade, this shop will be filled with white hourglass-shaped monoliths and glossy black Foreman grills. But not yet. It was the beginning of a new era, after all.

At the time, my teenage social circle was busy bickering about silly console wars, arguing at fast food restaurants about whether Killzone 2E3 2005 was real, or our PlayStation Friends assurances that once we saw the next generation SOCOMwe will leave Hello and Xbox forever. But we all agreed on one thing: We were all excited about the new wild possibilities that these new machines promised. HD graphics, better custom music playlists, epilogue (finally!) to Halo 2The promise of real next-generation experiences like war equipment. What a good time to be alive.

And in the age of expensive texting plans and limited social media, the new online HD console functions will soon transform our social lives. In fact, this was the main reason why so many of us searched for broadband internet. United online, our circle will surely remain as shining as the sparkling rings on the Xbox 360 itself.

We all saved enough of whatever random jobs we had at the time to buy 360s and fulfill the escape wish that tempted us after so long. Our afternoons were filled up round after round Halo 2 (In the end Halo 3), trash talk, arguing over whether Korn is better off without Head, and figuring out the best way to apply war equipment Coverage tactics for HelloConvincing someone to give lost planet Try, order Chinese food (leaving one friend in particular stuck on the bill. We’re good now, aren’t we?), trading Incubus and HIM burnt discs for burning to our 360 hard drives, and blowing up Lamb of God Secretand saying things like, “Oh my God, did you see this mass effect graduation game? “”amnesia It looks crazy! and “Would you die kindly so I can take your sniper rifle?” Playing single or multiplayer, you’ve never felt more exciting or promising.

Marcus Phoenix shoots locust soldiers.

Who knew E-day would be the least of our worries?
picture: Alliance

But in between screaming about sudden murder and sawed-out aliens, the conversation occasionally turned to rumors popping up in forums about Xbox 360s suddenly failing. It always went the same way: a black screen, a bunch of red lights around the power button, and silence. This failure soon had a name: the Red Ring of Death, or RRoD for short. I started to doubt and quickly became a denier. I thought “it can’t happen to us”. We’ve all been counting on 360 to stay connected and play together as we drift into adulthood. He. She Not possible happen to us.

The obvious reason has always been varied: different people play different games for different periods of time. In the end the only thing these stories seemed to have in common was that three-quarters of the power button lit up red like a stop sign. I definitely thought that people just need to take better care of their devices. I didn’t feel comfortable. It had no meaning. It wasn’t 360 time to start dying. We all thought he was still on his best days. On our best days even.

We thought wrong.

The first to fall victim was the worst. Over the course of a few years, one friend in particular went through four Xbox 360s. By then, our social circle was in a panic. We tried to become experts on the models that ship when we try to correlate internet tales with what we’ve been hearing from victims we know personally. Which 360s were the most vulnerable? Was the launch of the models OK? The Halo 3 Version? elite? Is horizontal or vertical orientation important? The panic of losing our devices made it hard to ascertain. But it wasn’t just about getting lost Hello Nights. The 360° device has become central to how we are socially formed.

We all started getting physically carried away after high school. Sure, MySpace was a thing, but it was Xbox Live that really kept our social circle intact. This is where we not only played but also talked about music, movies, and life. Entire. Living has become somewhat of a safe digital space where we have faced the challenges of becoming adults.

But the red rings followed us online. When one of us fell for them, part of that social circle, like the bug tag on the device itself, darkened. Microsoft’s repair program was generous, but we also couldn’t shake off the fear of having to spend another three or four hundred dollars. We are concerned about the amount of time we have to spend on the device. How much time should we spend with each other?

We were all afraid we were playing in lost time. Capture the Flag can be interrupted in red. Some, like me, have tried to delve deeper into denial. How could the problem be so widespread? But when someone is a stretch Halo 3 Edition finally got it wrong, the inevitability of death was too bare to be denied. In the end, someone even RRoDed on the Elite, which we were sure was bulletproof. I remember a brief text exchange. “I did everything to keep him safe! I had three feet of space around him and an intercooler! How does this keep happening?”

The repair process took weeks. And in the fuss of moving from high school to college and getting full-time jobs, those weeks made it hard to keep up with each other and keep in touch. 360 degree death means you won’t be talking to someone for weeks. Forget about tours Hello. Not only were we deprived of our favorite game, the red rings separated us from each other.

Spartan stands alone in the empty Halo 3 map.

Grenades were exchanged for weeds when my friends fell into the rings.
screenshot: 343 Industries / Kotaku

The red rings of death became mists that swallowed each one of us one by one. Somehow my console remained exempt, but the fear of it hitting me became too much. Towards the end of the decade I started exploring the PlayStation 3 library, and tried to convince friends to do the same. But the damage was done. Time kept ticking and the Xbox 360, which was once the center of my social circle, never let us down. We killed one by one.

In the mists of years when everyone I knew had suffered from red rings, things were starting to calm down. Newer Xbox models seem to address the underlying problem of overheating, but our online social circle was smaller by then.

However, the 360 ​​generation is not over yet. We’ve been through the worst of it all, and we still have great games to look forward to. One evening, I, the only survivor, sat down to start a new project mass effect By playing to prepare for the sequel.

But it wasn’t to be. A series of eerily familiar lights appeared on the face of my Xbox, preventing me from entering the sci-fi RPG Future World. After ripping off all my friends, the Red Ring of Death finally came to me.

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