Sunday, March 15, 2009
Annual vacation Xbox crash
One year ago, as my family began our spring break vacation, my son and I were looking forward to a week of relaxation and video gaming. Then, on the first day, I got the Three Rings of Death.
Knowing that our vacation would pass with no Xbox, my beautiful and thoughtful wife surprised us by buying us a new Xbox. We sent the Red Ring box off to be fixed, and when it was returned, I gave it to my brother jRySix for his birthday. Everyone was happy.
Now, one year later, on the first day of this year's spring break, our black Xbox 360 Elite has gone belly-up, too! Is Microsoft determined to sabotage my spring vacation? To say I am outraged is a thunderous understatement.
We turned the 360 off for a while to watch a movie yesterday, and when we turned it back on a few hours later, the red light in the 5 o'clock quadrant was flashing, and we got this error message: E 73. After some Googling, I found that this indicates a hardware problem with the Ethernet port. WTF? I thought the expensive Elite model was supposed to be built like a truck and immune to this nonsense.
I called the support line, and guess what I got? A robot phone tree with a dead-end, and NO option for talking to a human being. It told me to go to xbox.com, and basically kiss off. Thanks Mr. Gates! Congratulations for your recent return to the top of the Forbes list of the richest men in the universe. I guess you saved up a few billion by firing the human beings who answered the phones.
Despite my preference to speak to a person, I ordered the repair box on xbox.com. The registration on my Elite said I had only two more days on the one-year warranty! The red light happened on March 14, I reported it March 15, and it says the warranty expires March 17. Can you believe it? Talk about "planned obsolescence."
So now here we are again, on the horns of a dilemma in our love-hate relationship with the Xbox 360. Do we use some vacation money to buy another one, as a backup? We could network it and use it for system-link games after the Elite is repaired. Or, my son and I can play at the same time online, if my recently-upgraded Charter cable connection has enough bandwidth.
As much as it irks me, there are advantages to having an extra machine, so I'm leaning toward that option. My son and I are already going crazy without our Xbox Live, and we're only two days into our vacation. Nevertheless, it blows my mind that the top-of-the-line Xbox crapped out at the START of vacation after 1 year, only three days short of running out the 1-year warranty.
I know some of my online friends have gone through several machines. Does anyone have a repair story to commiserate with me and help ease my anguish?