If asked, anyone in my life will tell you that I’m attached at the hip to my Xbox. I’m pretty sure if my console was a sentient being, we’d be married with kids (a boy and a girl — they get along great). If I’m not writing or working my cruddy part-time job, I’m staring at my Xbox dashboard, filled with anxiety about what game I should play.
I’ve been through almost every console imaginable, and, until recently, I’ve continuously owned a large majority of them. NES, Sega, N64, GameCube, PS, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360 — you name it, I’ve owned it. I’ve been into the gaming scene on and off for over 15 years, but it wasn’t until I pawned a first-gen 360 from a college buddy (for a whopping $80 I may add) that I fell in love with gaming all over again — and I fell hard.
It was my freshman year at Georgia Southern, and I had all of 2 friends — and really, they had no choice… they lived with me. I’m sure you can probably imagine the scenario: a new place, a new lifestyle, and an overwhelming homesickness. Between working towards my sociology degree and stuffing my face with the caff’s chinese food, I was in dire need of something more. I could work all I wanted, but I was still feeling… empty? I mean, I don’t want to get too dark here, but it was a rough time for me. That’s when I turned to gaming.
Upon hearing of my friend’s mission to sell his Xbox, I just couldn’t turn away. I had been a fan of my brother’s Xbox for quite a while, and when the odd moments of his selflessness arose, I would play it for hours. Mainly shooters, but I wasn’t complaining — I was young, and killing things seemed kind of cool at the time. After meeting at the desired location, making the exchange, and swiftly walking back to my dorm with a backpack full of loot, I finally began my journey into this generation’s gaming heaven. Noticing the Xbox only came with sports games from the late 17th century, I collected what little money I had and made the pilgrimage to GameStop. 2 hours later, I walked out with a stack of games almost as tall as me.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Emily, this story is supposed to be about a PS3. I know, I know — I’m getting there, okay? It’s my emotion backstory. Let me have my moment.
From there, the rest is history. Gaming became the escape from all the loneliness I had been encountering. The characters became my trusted confidants, and their world’s my home. I played just about anything I could get my hands on: RPGs, FPS’, Action-Adventure, Puzzle, Quicktime. I devoured all of it with such ferocity — one that could only be matched by my love of Mongolian Chicken.
Years later and thousands of dollars well spent, I’m now able to officially be labeled a ‘core’ gamer. I’ve revisited the classics and journeyed into the future, all with my trusty 360 by my side. Friends came and went, relationships started and finished, but I always had gaming as a crutch to catch me when I felt I couldn’t handle anything. All was well in the land of Emily. That is, until disaster struck.
My Xbox was old. I mean, there were layers of dust inside caked on so thick that I’m pretty sure it needed its own identity. The shell was scarred, and it’s once glowing white sheen was reduced to a dull, egg-shell mess. Its time had come. It had lived a long, prosperous (and fairly promiscuous) life. With its impending death, I had to look to other options: buy a new 360, or have an affair with Sony’s PlayStation 3. Because I’m a curious bastard, the siren that is PlayStation was calling my name — until Crystal Dynamics came along with an offer I just couldn’t refuse.
Congrats Emily, they said. Have this new Xbox, they said. Who’s going to say ‘no’ to that? A custom Tomb Raider Xbox and game, a kinect, new controllers, and… free? FREE?! Don’t mind if I do, Crystal Dynamics. After a few weeks and reassurance from the lovely Meagan Marie (shameless name drop), I had my new Xbox, and my console choice was forever immortalized. I hugged the console tight, promising myself I would never again have such blasphemous Sony thoughts.
With the release of Pokemon X & Y, the underdogs of the gaming world once again crawled out of their caves and swarmed every major game retailer, buying up all the 3DS systems they could get their hands on. Hell, some people even bought the 2DS — it was a dark time, indeed. I myself was feeling rather adventurous, as well as slightly left-out, so I got it in my head that I was actually going to buy a 3DS, relive my childhood dream of becoming a Pokemon trainer, and live happily ever after. After trading in some of my old consoles to my local game shop (god rest their electronic souls), I had more than enough money to purchase the beloved handheld. Alas, luck was not in my favor that day. Upon being told they had all of 0 systems in stock, my hope was fleeting. It was in the moment that a woman walked in with a PlayStation 3. Due to my compulsive need to spend every dollar I make, I left the store — not with a 3DS, but a PS3.
Your temptress-like ways were too irresistible. As I arrived back home and quickly set up my new console, I couldn’t help but feel like I was being watched. I looked up, finding my Kinect teetering on the edge of the television. Oh God, I thought. They know. Major Nelson knows. I thought that at any moment my Kinect would turn on, whisper “Hello, Emily,” and a group of secret Microsoft agents would crash through my window and throw a black bag over my head. It’s like Gitmo has a secret sub-level for console traitors. My life was about to become Space Odyssey meets Shawshank Redemption. To make matters worse, I was all out of outlet space. As I unplugged my Xbox and watched the yellow power brick light fade, I swear I heard one last whisper.
After minutes of vocalizing my confusion — “where the shit is the power button?” — I eventually powered on the PlayStation and held the famed DualShock 3 controller in my hands. It had been quite some time since I last held anything other than a 360 controller, so I was instantly offended. My abnormally tiny fetus hands just couldn’t find a comfortable position. And just for the record, I don’t mean tiny like the Burger King tiny hands guy, okay? A Whopper fits just fine.
Regardless of my unfortunate hand situation, I was immediately blown away by the PlayStation 3. The home screen was simple and easy to navigate, and it provided an aesthetically pleasing and streamline look. Along with my console purchase, I also indulged in 3 months of PlayStation Plus — and man, was the the right decision. Compared to Xbox Live, PS Plus is phenomenal. The list of free games you get monthly is off the charts, and the price of membership is cheap… real cheap. When comparing this to Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Sony has the market dominated. The sheer power of the console is outstanding. The PlayStation’s 7 single-thread cores beat out the 360’s 3, and while the 360 has more RAM, the PlayStation’s bandwidth makes it a force to be reckoned with. /nerd speak.
I think the most exciting part about picking up the PS3 was the fact that I was now able to play the ever-growing list of PlayStation exclusives — and my first would be Beyond: Two Souls. My GOD, it was the right choice. Why had I never picked up a PS3 before? I realized in that moment that I had been missing some extremely impressive titles. Titles that had changed the face of gaming. Honestly, I had felt a bit cheated by Microsoft. Yeah, they had some pretty cool exclusives, by nothing that could match the extensive library Sony was bringing to the table.
So now, here I sit. I’ve been playing my PlayStation for the past week, and my Xbox has been doing nothing but collecting dust and looking pretty. I swear to you, one night I’m going to fall asleep and wake up to it sitting on my pillow, somehow holding a knife, ya know? I feel like if any console could hold a grudge, it would be the 360. Remember, we’re supposed to get married and have tons of little Xbox babies. We’ll be like Jake and Lady Rainicorn, except more… electronic, maybe? I don’t know, let’s not think too far into it.
Don’t get me wrong, I owe a lot to Microsoft. The 360 brought me back to the gaming scene and gave me a long-term game plan — and for that, I’ll always be thankful. I don’t see myself ever giving Microsoft the cold shoulder, even if sometimes their PR department is seriously cuckoo. My time, my money, and my Gamerscore is something I’ll never be able to leave behind. But I’m glad I finally got the nerve to take a dive back into Sony’s territory. It’s opened up a brand new way to game, and I can’t see myself ever getting bored again. With the plethora of new and free games, I’m going to have my fetus hands full for quite a while. While my loyalties will never completely sway, I suppose I’ve just moved to a more comfortable spot near the fence.
So yeah, just call me fangirl.