Fearing the Reaper – Gaming's cold hand of death

5 min read

If you’re an Xbox360 user, than you’re probably peering suspiciously at your white box’s power button, chomping away at the bloody stumps that once were your finger tips. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. Fearfully awaiting the day that your green ring of fun turns a darker shade of red and abruptly gives you the proverbial finger. Alas, that day awaits most of us.

Most Xbox360 users have had to face the cold shoulder of the RROD or Red Ring of Death, as they like to call it. Don’t get me wrong, there are still those select few who are joyfully riding along on Lady Luck’s coat tails.

I happen to be one of those blessed few that have yet to look away from my crosshairs, mid Halo, only to realize that my gun reloading issues are not the result of my controller batteries running dry, but a bit more severe. Well, even if you are standing on the edge of Xbox harakiri, watching your machine shallow dive to its ultimate demise, don’t fear! There are now numerous websites available claiming that: “You can fix your RROD in 5 easy steps…FREE!” Do you know what the problem is with these sites? They’re fakes…the elusive pot of gold…The Lochness Monster, and about as helpful as Ronald McDonald in a Fat Camp.

There are about as many fabled solutions for sorting out your troubled console, as there are Xbox fanboys supporting them. From some logical solutions like unplugging the power, to purely ridiculous ones like wrapping it in a warm towel and leaving it on for 30 minutes.

For those of you that are now sprinting towards your microwave at lighting speed, towel in hand, ready to get gaming, I’m sorry to say that it’s a myth. It works, but is only a temporary solution. I had the painful privilege of helping a co-worker cope with the untimely passing of his gaming muse thanks to the RROD, I know how it goes. And trust me, he tried it all! Googled every Xbox self-repair site he could. Bought the bonding gels, replaced the heat syncs and even exchanged the cooling fans.

And yes, if you were wondering, he even tried the fabled towel method. And yes…all of them worked but only temporarily. He would just start getting into a goal scoring run for the ages in a heated round of UEFA 2008 and then just as he hit that B button to go for that winning strike…when RIP Xbox once again. Then he’d move on to the next method, only to be faced with the excitement and ultimate disappointment all over again. 

So Xbox users, I feel sorry for you. I truly do. And this is probably one of those few times when I am allowed to sit back and gloat in the limelight that comes with being a Playstation3 owner, if only it weren’t for another silent assassin that has made its way into the gaming world. And that efficient killer is called the dreaded Orange Light.

Playstation owners are now experiencing the Playstation’s equivalent of the RROD and they have skilfully named it: The PS3 Killer Orange Light. And just as with the Xbox360, there is no cure or website that is going to help you fix it. The only solution at the moment? Send it to Sony and wait for them to email you back telling you it’s going to cost you between R2900 and R3500 to fix it. Wow, thanks for that little nugget of customer satisfaction Sony! So, you swallow your pride, scrape those coins out from in between your couch pillows and shuffle along back to your nearest electronics store only to lose all your save files, trophies and media files. What a great way to spend a Saturday.

But guys, when it comes down to it, you know ultimately we will be back. Standing in line, black box or white stallion in hand, eagerly awaiting our turn to have another go at Gears of War or Killzone 2. It’s what makes us gamers. That persistence to not let anger and emotion cause us to give up. If we get beaten down, be it online or in our living room, we take it on the chest and just keep going. We’re electronic juggernauts. The Conquerors of Worlds.

We are those foot soldiers that run fearlessly through the bullet fire and grenade smoke on a daily basis. We are those muscle monsters that stand toe-to-toe with Mike Tyson without a twinkle of self-doubt in our eyes. We are able to do this, simply because we love it. That’s why you know as well as I do…when the Reaper does come along, we’ll be ready for him, because if he takes my black beauty from me, I’ll be starving for a month maybe, but I’ll be back in line, ready to save the world from the Locust Horde or the fight of the Helghast alliance once again.

That’s just who we are. Gamers till the very end.

Last Updated: April 28, 2009

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