So there is me planning a nice evening with friends to watch a film – I get pizza, some drinks, clean up a little, look at my watch. “Plenty of time still, how about I play a round of Gears of War 2 or do a quick mission on Fable 2? Or I could open the (still sealed) copy of Saints Row 2 I bought this week and have a look at that!”
I decide to put Fable 2 on, I know there is a quick quest I wanted to do, so I put in the disc and begin to play. Interesting quest, finding out what lies in a cave near the graveyard. Well, just a few minutes into the game and this happens:
Just kidding, it did not explode, but it froze mid-game, the sound was still playing, but the screen froze and had tearing, gamepad did not work, it would not eject the disc; nothing else I could do but to restart the console forcefully…So I do the usual, trying the game again, making sure the console is lying down evenly, no dust anywhere, all cables are connected properly, the PSU has enough clearance for air to get to it, etc. I live in a smoke-free home, and I do take great care of all my consoles (of which there are a lot, hey, you’re not a fanboy if you own every one of them, right?!?). Still nothing.
The first call to Microsoft
So I pick up the phone to Microsoft’s UK tech support (contact number can be found here). After a dreadful (through terrible American accent) automated support queue I am finally being routed to a support agent. Very friendly guy, knows his stuff. We try a lot of things from the book, taking all the other equipment off (such as wireless adaptor, HD-DVD drive, hard drive) and testing the game. As it should be, the console works when trying to reproduce the problem, so just before I thank him for his help he suggests clearing the cache of the hard drive just in case.
Lo and behold – the game seems to work fine! So I finish the quest, just in time before the guests arrive. So I think “everything is fine, it was just the cache, happy days!”
The second call to Microsoft
Wrong! The next morning I get up early, leave the girlfriend to sleep and try the console again. This time Gears 2 – multiplayer tutorials, as I don’t have the achievement yet. About 5 minutes into the game the same thing happens again: the screen freezes, once again nothing I could do but force-shutting-down the console and trying again. I go through the cache-clearing procedure again, but it must have been a fluke yesterday, because it did sod-all.
So I ring Microsoft again, this time another nice chap, but unfortunately we told me this:
- The console has a fault, and it is not the equipment nor the hard drive
- My warranty ran out in February, and since it is not the dreaded Red Ring of Death Microsoft’s warranty extension will not cover it
- To get it repaired it would cost me about £60
- The repairs will take around 3 weeks
Okay, so I am thinking “You know, 3 weeks is not too bad, you have a Wii and a PS3 still….but then again, it will be Christmas soon, and you won’t see your 360 for a long time….and all the games you still haven’t played will fetch hardly anything soon on eBay or Trade-in.” I thank the support agent and consider my options.
Fly, Falcon, fly – or shine, Jasper, shine…
My 360 is dead, it is literally the first console I owned that has died on me. Sad day. I am now looking at an Elite, ideally using the Jasper chipset (identifyable through this handy guide), or if worse comes to worst, the Falcon one.
If anyone has spotted a Jasper here in the UK, please give me a shout, either here or on Twitter.
Thanks in advance!