Today marks the sixth birthday for the Xbox 360! Yay! Cake and streamers for everyone! Despite the fact that six years isn't traditionally any sort of milestone like the PS3 and the Wii just had, we're gonna run through some of our favorite parts of the 360 in the spirit of fairness. (Togetherness? Friendship? Something lame like that.) Feel free to comment, agree, or complain in the comments if you think we missed your favorite part of the 360. Make the jump.
1. My god that controller is comfortable. Though it may run on AA batteries, a terrible offense, the rest of the controller just can't be topped. The grips fit easily and comfortably into your hands like a warm cup of hot chocolate, with marshmallows of course, and the buttons provide firm tactile responses with satisfying clicks. The joysticks float smoothly so you can land that headshot like it was nothing. Even the D-pad responds without that gummy crappiness that seems requisite for all other controller's D-pads.
It would be absolutely perfect...except it doesn't have an internal battery. Augh!
2. You can literally carry your gamertag in your pocket. Because the Xbox allows flash drives to be easily plugged in and used as extra storage devices, you can save your gamertag and bring it with you when you play on other Xboxes (you cheating harlot). It's such a simple concept, yet it makes sharing an Xbox or playing with all of your friends so much easier.
3. Kinect proved how stupid we look while playing games, but, in a good way. No matter who you are, at some point, you've fallen prey to the absurd competitiveness that has infested the last ten years of gaming. Gamers these days can barely go five minutes without comparing Gamerscores or kill-to-death ratios. That's not to say that gaming in the 80s or 90s was without competition (the 80s did give us high score charts, after all), but the situation seems a bit out of hand these days.
Thank god Kinect came along to show us just how stupid we look. Once you realize that you've been flailing along to Soulja Boy in Dance Central like a drunk college freshman, except sober, it all suddenly makes sense - this is just a game, and one based on not-too-accurate motion detection, so what point is there to really putting your pride on the line with each game? Take a step back and realize that it's all supposed to be fun, then play Kinectimals: Now with Bears. Consider yourself enlightened.
4. The Xbox is an indie game masterpiece. Indie games have it rough. In an environment that increasingly forsakes all the but best in quality, numerous developers have gone out of business in the last few years dues to the rising cost of game development and consolidation among the biggest developers. Anyone who can pay to devour smaller companies will and do. But somewhere at the bottom of this new food chain, past the social media games and those flash ads advertising free smileys, are the indie games, which have found a new niche thanks to Microsoft establishing a home base.
Thanks to both Xbox Live Arcade and the Xbox Indie Game Marketplaces, plenty of games that would otherwise have been lost to the internet have gained the fame they deserve. Braid, Limbo, Castle Crashers, Splosion Man, Bastion, and countless others have gotten their start thanks to the 'box. Not only has the 360 been instrumental in small developers breaking into the typically big industry dominated console market, but it has actively fostered their growth into larger companies that can compete with the likes of companies like EA and Activision for gamer's attention.
5. We hope those 13-year-olds on Xbox Live never grow up. Seriously, admit it. You may whine and complain in public about all the immature jerks on Xbox Live and tout yourself as being above all those trolling shenanigans, but secretly, you love it. There's a gross sense of pleasure that comes from having something to despise and put down. For gamers, it's the hordes of people trying to bait each other out of comfort zones with personal attacks about each other's mothers and sexual orientations (the polite way of saying yo' momma jokes and fag comments).
We may, and do, disagree with those statements, argue endlessly about their real world repercussions, and write up lengthy forum posts about the nature of gaming as an inclusive place for everyone, but the pleasure of debate would be nonexistent without those kids on Xbox Live. And best of all, sometimes it's just funny to spectate and listen in on a game. Anonymity breeds amazing creativity among insults.