Game Diary - August 4, 2008: Strange Way For My Launch 360 To Die

My Xbox 360 Possibly In TwilightI thought it would be a game that would spell the end of my Xbox 360. And I expected it would come suddenly, in the flash of a red ring. I was wrong.

The day that I had expected to arrive at least a year ago appeared to arrive on Saturday morning. That is when my launch Xbox 360, a 20GB machine that has whirred through my complete play-throughs of "King Kong," "Gears of War," "Mass Effect, chunks of so many other games and dozens of Xbox Live Arcade games -- a machine that has been my primary DVD player since 2005 -- did the game console equivalent of a hacking cough, stumble and cold sweat.

My Xbox 360 did not die, but it appears to be on its way.

Shockingly, my Xbox 360 has not red-ringed. It has suffered a stranger, seemingly fatal malady, one that Google has barely begun to catalogue:

As of Saturday morning, my sputtering 360 occasionally renders the visuals it transmits to my TV in a greenish tint, projecting blotchy patches of even more green in seemingly random locations on the screen.

No game did this to my Microsoft gaming machine. Harry Potter did it.

My 360 started projecting the blotchy, splotchy green while I was watching the final minutes of the first Potter movie, "Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone," a refresher since I had just finished the fourth book in the series.

As Harry went green, I re-booted my machine. I heard the proper sounds but saw nothing. My TV showed only black. I re-booted again and everything worked fine. But the problem returned while I played "Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2." I will blame the blotches and splotches for not getting a better tally in Pacifism.

About a year ago I had considered the publication of an Xbox 360 Failure Derby. I sought trusted friends and colleagues who also owned launch Xbox 360s. And since Microsoft wouldn't reveal the failure rate of the console, I thought that at least with 10 trusted souls on board, we could endeavor to report when each of our machines failed, arriving in a year or two at a very rough calculation of the faultiness of the Xbox 360. I couldn't find 10 people who fit the criteria People who committed bowed out before I got started, because their machines were failing as I tarried. I joked to friends that I felt like a documentarian trying to track down World War II veterans for interviews, racing against old age and the Grim Reaper.

I think I'd be out of the derby now. I'm not 100% sure though. The blotches and splotches could be the result of a failure of cabling, if not of the 360. I have a second console at work that I will take home to test. If my 360 is done, then my PS3 will be the remaining launch machine of this generation that has yet to fail me.

I never thought it would end like this.

Next: I will likely have an obsession with "Rhythm Tengoku Gold" to explain, the best game Nintendo will publish this year?