It feels. Empty.
The closing of the old Quotes topic, is rather fitting, given another thing that happened today. Had the Quotes topic not closed, I probably wouldn't even have posted this update, due to the CoS that arrived to wreck havoc on the forums. But, in the weird way that the world works, it's best to talk about it.
For those that don't know, today I gave away my Xbox. Not going to say where or to who, because that's irrelevant. The point is that, as fast as things happened, internally it's weirdly been a slow process of adjustment. I think we all remember that time when we had to give up our fondest childhood toy in the process of maturity (I still loved my original PS1, too...).
I think the big thing about giving up this Xbox was all the memories. Life for me, as of recent, has been getting much better. I've become more social, met more people, getting money, learning new skills and generally living much happier than previously. And, I think it's a little weird, but, there seems to be this connection between my switch from console to PC gaming. I'm not here to argue which is better, but rather to say that, I think I used my Xbox a lot more than my PC for gaming, and that might be the reason I have so many fond memories with it.
I remember staring at the Xbox memory screen for twenty minutes before purging it all. Looking at everything that had been done, and would be forgotten. There's so many games I now refuse to play because all my saves have been lost, such as Trainz Simulator, where I lost this amazing world I made over the course of 3 months. It's hard to think that I might never re-experience the games I played that took me through High School, just because I lost the physical memories.
Before Xbox, I had a PS1. That was it. I played some games like Ape Escape, Gran Turismo (demo), Rugrats: Search for Reptar and a few others, but generally I had very little variety. I believe I also got my first computer; an old beige IBM running Windows 98SE, for which I'd play Matchbox: Emergency Patrol and a few other low quality titles. For me, that's a nostalgic time, though. I didn't get the most amazing and brand new stuff out there. I made do with what I had, and I had fun. I think it was because I played such obscure titles that I might be as weird as I am today.
The first time I saw an Xbox...its tough to place times. I think it was some time after I got my PS2, which is my favourite console of all time (we'll talk about it in some other blog entry). My cousin was now a permanent resident in Australia, and his family finally had a home and unpacked. I remember going over there, and just like we had played Ratchet & Clank: Deadlocked at my house, we played Timespliters 2 at his. The Xbox controllers weren't too bad, if a little bulky, and the game was super fun. I remember staying over at his house once, and getting up early just so I could screw around with the map editor.
What really caught my attention, though, was when we played Halo 2 for the first time. I was amazed. I was astounded. We first played Blood Gulch (called Coagulation in H2). The Warthog was my instant love. We played Juggernaut on Containment, and we made a big in-joke about how I would scream "THE JUGGERNAUT IS COMING" in a cowardly voice (a la "GAME OVER MAN!") whenever I thought the Juggernaut was close to the base I kept stalking (for the tank/warthog). We played on Headlong, and I remember forming the Warthog Protection Society, while my brother became a legendary sniper. Those were the days.
Sometime in the future, 2007 came, and my cousin got his Xbox 360 and Halo 3. Holy. I was...it was beautiful. The graphics? The new weapons? The custom gametypes? The player customisation? Up until that point, I had never experienced ANY of that. My Windows XP machine was still too poor to handle the majority of games, and my PS2 hadn't got any new games since LEGO Star Wars II: The Complete Saga. To experience all that for the first time, it was amazing. I remember Sandtrap and just how incredibly expansive it was (and fiddling with the Elephant), before deciding to become a commentator who annoyed other players on the battlefield by asking them questions (because I was losing the game and I decided it would be more fun to act as an obstruction than a target). Hell, just like I had Halo 2, I even got to try some of the campaign out, and while I paid no attention the story, I could tell there was something good go on there.
I can't remember the exact year I got my own Xbox 360. I just remember getting that awesome wireless black controller and Halo 3 Limited Edition (with the steel tin), and being the happiest I've ever been. It was true bliss. Right away I loaded up Halo 3 and put on Sandtrap, and I just lost myself in the game before looking at my Halo 3 Official Strategy Guide, and finally learning what "Equipment" was and how to use it.
This is where there was an explosion of events. Things are a little hazy from here, but I remember the important things.
Sometime down the track, I started to watch the Behind the Scenes videos, and I fell in love with Bungie and their team. That may very well have been the start of my dream to be a game designer (outside of Halo Gilroy which lead to me getting Halo: Custom Edition and starting to make maps). I finished the campaign of Halo 3, slightly confused, and went back to playing Halo: CE and Halo 2 to finally understand the story. I got my Xbox wired up to the net, and for a good deal of time I became one of those annoying kids on XBL. I met some awesome people on XBL, and we made some cool maps, and I also was able to get some cool maps and gametypes in return. My brother and I exploited the Halo 3 campaign, multiple times. I also pissed off my brother because my failure to understand that achievements and armour only unlock for individual accounts lead to me getting a Stepping Razor...for myself. Things went on from there. To keep it brief, I made friends, and I experience things which would change my life. I'm a big believer in the butterfly effect, and the Xbox may very well have been that tiny butterfly which changed everything.
Staring at my Xbox last night, I thought about it all. And I knew that, if that's what the 360 did to my life, the kids who will have it now might too just be able to experience things they never thought possible. And that's what made my decision to wipe that Xbox clean a lot easier.
In one instant, everything was gone. That Xbox didn't recognise me anymore.
Right now, things are changing. I'm becoming more social, financially stable, powerful and happier. And I'd like to think that everything in my life went right because gaming helped me. And I know that, as much as I love my laptop and my old PC and the PS2, the Xbox (and Halo) really did jumpstart everything that's happened so far.
I'm going to miss you, big guy.