I’ve been fighting the console wars for the past 25 years. I started out a Nintendo kid, a child soldier fighting in a war I didn’t even know existed at the time. The Sega marketing machine changed my allegiance in the early 90s and I was the proud owner of a Genesis, Mortal Kombat blood was red not grey (well after the blood code was entered anyways) and Sega was doing what Nintendon’t. Then the era of N64 brought me back home, all on the promise of a game called Super Mario 64, but I dabbled with the new kid on the block , the Sony Playstation, the first time the zombie dog jumped through the window one felt something new and exciting that one didn’t usually feel when playing a video game. Then I went to college and was poor and had no money so most of the time I was pirating PC games. The rise of the shooter, Half Life, Unreal, this was really the only time I ever got into that genre at all. I experienced the revolution when the Wii released and brought gaming back to the family, and then I finally got a PS3 when Street Fighter IV was announced, by this time I had outgrown the wars as had most of the gamers with my pedigree, yet there was one system that I had always steered clear of, enter Xbox One.
I remember the first time I played Xbox, there was a Halo tournament in a neighboring dorm and I signed up without ever touching the system before. I got smoked mostly because I hadn’t played a shooter with twin sticks before, the closet was Goldeneye using the camera buttons a few years before that, but the speed and precision of the twin sticks was something I never really took the time to learn. I played a lot of Unreal with mouse and keyboard, I played some Counterstrike and my share of the classics such as Doom and Half Life, but console shooters, blah. Now here was a system that seemed purely designed around and for the console shooter. By the time its big brother launched and the Call of Duty machine started rolling out their perennial blockbuster to an outsider it really did look like Xbox was the home for games that I don’t really play. And I was okay with that. After college you don’t have the free time to game like you once did and I was plenty happy playing the odd game on PS3 or the newest Nintendo release, but I slowly watched all my close friends jump on the Xbox brand and not look back.
When next gen started with the Wii U, I picked one up at launch, mostly for the promise of next gen Nintendo IPs, this is obviously Nintendo’s strength and sadly also their weakness. I told myself a Nintendo and a PS4 would make perfect companions for the next 7 or 8 years and fulfill my gaming needs. The Wii U had a slow start and a rough first year, but after playing Super Mario 3D World, its clear Nintendo is still as relevant as they’ve ever been in the console space when it comes to games. They are still 2nd to none when they are doing what they do best but that isn’t always everything you want. I would also need another machine to fill in the rest of the console space.
Dew and Doritos, if there was every a stereotype for gamer food, these two hit the nail on the head, maybe a close third would be pizza rolls. Pepsico decided to give away about 5000 or so Xboxes with a promotion they deemed every2minutes. Basically buying their products awarded the buyer with points they could use to bid on prizes including an Xbox One which MSRP’d at $499.99 at launch. The points were obtained by entering codes found on the packaging of Dew and Doritos, including caps to 20oz. bottles of Dew. I’m fortunate enough to work at a Fortune 500 with a lot of employees, a lot of engineers and a lot of people who do the Dew. I got this crazy idea to raise a dew army that would funnel all their caps to me for weeks on end and maybe I would gain enough to win a national promotion for a free Xbox One though Pepsico. Well after 405 caps and 3 bags of Doritos it worked. I received a free Xbox One along with Forza.
The weird thing was I wasn’t super jazzed about it. I had always said that PS4 was the route I was going to go, but then I looked at the backlog of PS3 games I have sitting on my shelf, and the shiny Xbox One already in hand and the knowledge that most of the people I know in real life are buying Xbox Ones (or getting them for free from Pepsico) and I decided to make the ultimate allegiance swap. I’m joining the bros this generation and going with Microsoft. Will I regret it? Probably, but I’m excited to take a chance and gamble on something new to me. I think it will be good to get out of my comfort zone a little and play some stuff I usually don’t touch. Maybe I’ll find something new to love or maybe I’ll reaffirm everything I knew all along, either way it will be an adventure in gaming, and I’m all for that.