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I’m talking about Microsoft’s (somewhat) new entry in to the next generation of video game platforms, the Xbox 360. Forgive me for sounding like Bill Gates’ personal spin master, but to say the least, this thing is incredible. The graphics are amazing, the sound amazing, exactly what you would expect from a next generation platform. But those features are only the beginning.
One of the things I miss about leaving North Carolina was the all-too-often marathons of video game competitions with a group of friends. We played for years until I left a few years ago. It’s one of the things I look forward to most whenever I go home on vacation. Now, it’s like the good old days.
Not only is the two-player game perfectly synchronized over 2,500 miles, but the headset more clear than a telephone and allows that extra personal trash-talking that’s a must when going for it on fourth down or setting up a high, inside fastball for strike three. This past weekend, I can honestly say I spent 36 hours working on my golf character, trying to build his attributes up for some competitive (in my favor) play.
I didn’t realize there would be different physical demands associated with this new game system. Anyone who grew up in the eighties and can remember the hey day of Mario or Zelda marathons can attest to the crooked, arthritic hands that would arise from playing the traditional rectangle-shaped Nintendo controllers. Things have improved through the years to where the only pain from a long Playstation 2 session was a callous thumb. Well, on Sunday, I developed spasms in my arms. Within ten minutes of each other, both arms started to spasm about an hour after I finally stopped playing (and only to watch the Sopranos).
That’s an odd pain- suddenly my arm locks up and becomes painful to stretch, then it goes away and comes back then the other arm does the same thing. My only theory was that the entire time I was playing, my arms were locked in 90 degree right angles while my hands did all the work.
I recovered within minutes and challenged Tiger Woods to quick round at Pebble Beach. I won. Suddenly, the arm pain isn’t so bad.
Thanks, Microsoft. I can connect to my buddies on the east coast. I can trash talk in perfect clarity. I can get arm spasms. But I can also teach Tiger Woods a thing or two about Pebble Beach.