The Xbox 360 Changed My Life

Since the launch of the Next Gen, now This Gen, consoles, I had been saving towards a Playstation 4. Many months later and I am now the owner of a PS4 (and an addiction to Don’t Starve). My trusty, old Xbox 360 is yet to gather dust, thanks to regular GTAV nights with friends but I feel like my Last Gen console of choice deserves an eulogy.

 

All gamers gain something in life from this hobby, whether it’s escapism, enjoying a challenge or simply killing time in a fun fashion, but I can genuinely say the Xbox 360 changed my life. Before exploring what Microsoft had to offer in a console I had firmly been in the Sony camp. I’d while away hungover hours on Tenchu or Worms Armageddon on the Playstation 1 then made the upgrade to Playstation 2. I was planning on getting the third generation as a Christmas gift for my myself and my husband but couldn’t rustle up enough pennies so figured I’d take a punt on the 360 which was considerably cheaper. It would also give me the opportunity to dabble with Halo and Gears of War, so I picked up the on-offer 60gb version despite thinking we’d only require an Arcade because heaven forbid I have any interest in gaming online with complete strangers!

 

Setting up the Xbox lead to a curiosity of this online world so I joined a couple of message boards and popped my online multiplayer cherry with a night of Left 4 Dead. I recall being incredibly nervous going into a party chat full of strange men I’d met through the internet but it was a fantastic evening. That lead to regular Left 4 Dead Wednesdays alongside playing Halo, Gears of War, Burnout Paradise and a Monday GTA IV night with the same bunch of gamertags. Over time these play sessions slowly started to turn into online friendships and some nights became more of a chat than just gaming as I learned about these gamers lives, jobs, other halves and not just their preferred Call of Duty class or method of teabagging. Online friendships then turned into ‘real life’ meets and these Xbox voices began morphing into proper offline friends.

 

Without wanting to evoke the sound of tiny violins, I had spent a long period of time being very lonely. I was a young(ish) mum with two young daughters, living in the wilds of Wiltshire, feeling isolated and depressed. The local women were farmers wives and I struggled to be interested in their playground banter of Eastenders and horse riding when I secretly wanted to discuss the latest game releases or the best way of massacring innocents in Liberty City. The companionship, both online and off, of my new gamer pals helped give me the confidence to leave a marriage that sadly wasn’t working and I moved to the buzzing metropolis (well, compared to Wiltshire) of Bournemouth. I knew that as long as I had my little white Xbox, I had company, fun and friendship on hand 24/7 so I wasn’t alone.

 

To further keep in contact with everyone, I revived my Twitter account and through that I started meeting an assortment of Bournemouth-based geeks and gamers. Some of those tweets lead to forming Game Club Bournemouth, a small group of Bournemouth and Poole residents who meet up every so often in somebody’s lounge to talk games and eat huge amounts of Iced Gems while messing about on Mario Kart, N+ and other local multiplayer titles. This then lead to starting an RPG night where I can transform into the likes of Veyda Steel – Dark Heresy Scum and roller of cool purple dice. All that has happened to me these past few years – my home, my job, relationships, all the amazing people that are now in my life, can be traced back to the day I purchased the Xbox 360.

 

Non-gamers sometimes scoff at us and our video games thinking it’s a waste of time or childish. I know better and without the 360 I may still be sat in my lonely Wiltshire bubble trying to befriend people who would never understand me and my hobby. No other console has had such a radical impact on my life but I look forward to seeing what experiences my Playstation 4 era will offer and will always look back on the Last Gen with genuine affection. Thank you Xbox 360.

 

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