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Xbox 360 Review

Like a child on Christmas morning, I greeted the arrival of Xbox 360 in my home as a magical and unforgettable moment. The day was the culmination of 30 years of video gaming, from my earliest experiences with video arcade titles like "Pong" and "Space Invaders" to the recently completed "Quake 4," which I played at 1920 x 1200 resolution on my hopped-up PC gaming rig. Between these events, I've logged uncountable hours gaming. There was my first video game system, the Mattel Intellivision, with its amazing sports titles and quirky controllers, the Commodore 64 with hundreds of arcade, action, and flight simulator games. There was the Apple IIGS, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and, yes, the Amiga, with the majesty of "Shadow of the Beast," "Wings," "Defender of the Crown," and so much more. Id software's "Castle Wolfenstein" proved that PC gaming was viable in the early 1990's, and I've spent much of the time since slogging through id-created and -inspired shooters such as "DOOM," "Quake," "Unreal Tournament," and "Call of Duty." And of course, I've logged numerous hours on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, PSP, and Nintendo GameBoy Advance and DS, as well as various retro game systems like the Atari 2600, 7800, and Jaguar, Nintendo 64, and Sega Dreamcast. If it's a video game, I've probably played it.

But the Xbox 360. My God, the Xbox 360. Let's be frank for a moment, shall we? As good as its predecessor was--and still is--Xbox 360 is the holy grail of video gaming. It supplies HDTV resolutions with video-quality graphics. Surround sound. A triple-core Power PC processor. I mean, seriously: A CPU with three dedicated processing cores. All wrapped up in an elegant white and gray case and accessed via wireless controllers. Nerdvana in a box. That's Xbox 360.

I've spent a good part of this year figuring out how I would cover the Xbox 360. I knew that I could make a logical argument that the device's Media Center Extender (MCX) features would merit at least some coverage on the SuperSite for Windows. But really, the decision to go all out and treat Xbox 360 as an equal to Windows, Windows Server, and Office on this site was an emotional, almost religious decision. Xbox 360 is going to change the world, I think, in the sense that it will legitimize video games as a top-tier entertainment experience. And I can't leave it to the bozo video game sites to communicate why that's the case. Too much of the video game-related content out there reads like it's aimed at children, with annoying pseudo-cool language. I can do video games right, I thought, something that adults would like. So I'm giving it a shot.

And here we are. With the official launch of the Xbox 360 upon us, Microsoft has given me permission to start publishing reviews and other information about the shipping version of Xbox 360, its peripherals, and software. My first major effort is this product review, which primarily covers the Xbox 360 console itself, but also touches on the various accessories and games that are available at launch. In the coming days, I'll have a massive wave of additional content that will delve more deeply into the games and other products that out in support of Xbox 360. But this is my love letter to you, the video game fan. I'm serious about Xbox 360, and will remain so throughout its life time. So grab something hot to drink and settle in, because we have a lot of ground to cover.

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