360 Second Impressions
I’ve been heavy into the vids since getting the 360 a few weeks ago, so there are many more games posts on the way. Anyway, this is some further thoughts about aspects of the 360.
First, achievements. That is a very clever idea. In a nutshell, accomplishing certain goals in a game (clear level 3, survive one minute without dying, etc.) earn you “achievements”, which have different point values; these points accrue in your “gamerscore”, a number on your “gamercard”:
which basically measures how much of a nerd you are. Now it’s not so much for the gamerscore, I don’t think, but I find these achievements damned addicting. (As if the games themselves weren’t bad enough.) Perhaps it is the score, in that it tricks me into thinking playing games is adding to my value.
But one of the nicest details of this system is that the achievements you earn are tracked by the system and are added to your profile. So you can look at anyone’s profile and see in alarming detail what games they have been playing, how recently, and how far they have gotten in them. I was playing Gears with a friend of a friend and he said “I see you’re in the thieves’ guild in Oblivion,” because yeah, he can see that. So we chatted about how to do a particular mission, etc. This is a good thing, in that the image of one’s self is primarily constituted by one’s achievements, unlike say MySpace, where it is made up of one’s spam image of one’s self.
Fucking A! Not to argue that Microsoft’s version of the downloadable vintage/casual game marketplace is any better than, say, Nintendo’s, but that the overall service is something very nice to have. You can now get Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the equivalent of $10. That’s sweet; apparently it’s one of the best games ever made. I’ve never played it. I am able to fill in the gaps in my knowledge of the canon, I get games far below the typical $70 CDN new game price, and it doesn’t even require my lazy ass to pop in a disc, it’s right on the HD. I can see why some people wouldn’t be happy paying money for 25-year old arcade games that they had poured all their hard-earned quarters into as kids, but it really all comes down to pricing. Frankly, Microsoft should include more free Live Arcade games on the system, since it sounds like a lot of people don’t even think of downloading them at all. Worth it though!