Got a new video game. Put it in the PlayStation game hole. (Didn’t Homer Simpson call his garage a car hole?) A message appears:
The system software of your PS3 system is version 3.60. To start, you must update to version 3.70 or later. Do you want to update now?
Well, not really, but since the game will be unplayable if I don’t, it might be wise to click yes.
Then comes a wall of text that only the insane would read, let alone understand. It’s not unlike Apple’s wall of text that arrives every other time I try to use iTunes. Goody, a new version – 10.5.2.3.7.b.
In Sony’s case, there’s something about your first-born being the chattel of Sony from now to the end of days. The upshot is, Sony (Apple) is not responsible for anything, at any time, anywhere, and they have the lawyers to prove it.
All right then. Downloading new system software, a 45 minute exercise, check; downloading game data and patches, a mere three minutes, check; can’t proceed until signed into PS network, check; downloading 676MB game add-on, 64 minutes, check.
And now it might be time to actually fire up the game. So here goes.
The TV screen goes black. The TV screen stays black. A red light is blinking on the PlayStation. Multiple efforts fail to turn the red light into a happy green light. Thirty seconds worth of research on the worldwide web reveal this syndrome to be the blinking red light of death (BRLOD), not to be confused with the blinking yellow light of death (BYLOD). Either way, red or yellow, the prognosis is as follows: Your game console is now a doorstop.
Super. And there’s a brand new game disc trapped inside, alone and frightened. Surgery will be required. Removal of seven screws, including one tamper-proof screw exposes the innards. Disconnecting two cables allows the removal of the Blu-ray drive. Removal of seven more screws allows the drive’s innards to be exposed. And there is the disc.
What to do? I decide to exchange the game for the Xbox version of the same game, proving the maxim, if one gaming system is good, two must be twice as good. Of course, the disc is no longer new and can only be traded in, not exchanged.
Back at home base, I insert the new disc into the Xbox, which appears to be alive and well. No blinking red lights, no funny noises. What’s this? A message appears:
A system update is available from Xbox Live. Do you want to apply the update now?
Michael Gillgannon is the former news editor of The Western Producer and managing editor of Western People. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org