Behold, the newest addition(s) to the Puddin-family collection of electronic devices. Well, or at least behold as well as you can from the image below, given that it’s shaky-blurry-terrible like it was taken by a toddler in the midst of an F4 tornado:
Now, image quality notwithstanding, I know what you’re thinking: Puddin, that’s an Xbox 360 + Kinect. Those aren’t exactly fancy, new-fangled technology.
Yes, well, I know. In fact, the package I bought yesterday was new something like, um, two calendar years ago. Which, in the particular digital realm of video game consoles, is about as new as your average first-world human finds the concept of human flight, i.e., even the old-timers don’t think it’s a particularly mind-blowing thing. Admittedly, as something of a technophile – especially one with a known affection for video games – this is a decidedly odd way for me to be living my life.
What can I say? I’m not so much the early adopter these days. The rate at which we acquire new gadgets around here is positively glacial.
That wasn’t always the case, of course. Back in The Day*, I picked up new toys that you plugged into wall outlets about as quickly as Lindsey Lohan picks up mandatory court appearances. Afterwards, I’d always just sort of assume the ole’ monthly budget would somehow catch up with the spontaneous allotment of cash.
Once there were children afoot at la casa de Puddin, though, I found that it’s not so much the good idea to press that type expectation on said budget lest the spontaneous allotment of cash for adult toys interfere with things like, you know, diapers and milk. Plus, as I’ve said before, I stopped making time to play video games a long time ago. I may still be a technophile at heart, but as a video game aficionado, I leave a lot to be desired these days.
Case in point: a coworker was telling me he got a Wii-U for Christmas, and the more he talked about it, the more I realized I had no real idea what the Wii-U was intended to accomplish. I mean, sure, I’ve seen commercials where some kid is using a controller with a built-in screen that looks more like a handheld game system circa 1992, but that’s about all I’ve seen.
So how does a newly-proclaimed luddite find himself buying a brand-spanking new Xbox 360+Kinect on the day after Christmas**? I think this tweet, from Tuesday morning (aka, Christmas morning), says it all:
SO glad my @xbox chose Christmas morning to give my son a Red Ring of Death for the first time. Ruining Christmas: Achievement Unlocked
— Jason A. Rust (@jasonarust) December 25, 2012
Yep, that’s right. My (now-former) 1st generation Xbox 360 chose Christmas frakkin’ morning to give us the much-feared Red Ring of Death. And, indeed, Santa had brought Xbox-specific gifts. And if there’s one thing you don’t do as a parent, it’s tell your 10 year-old (who’s just getting used to the idea that Christmas isn’t strictly the purview of jolly, fat elves and magical, flying reindeer) “Sorry, I guess you’ll never get to play that game. Maybe we could return it for a nice sweater.” At least, not when you have the means to avoid it.
In the end, though, it was all worthwhile. The Puddinpop, in the course of his very first game of Madden 13 on the new system, dashed upstairs as I cleaned up after dinner, beaming from ear-to-ear, to tell me that he’d called an verbally audible while playing. That Christmas-morning-style look on his face was worth every penny I spent.
The fact that I can actually change a play in a football video game just by speaking that change out loud is pretty cool, too.
*In this case, The Day being the pre-Puddinette time of my adult life, when much time was spent doing either nothing at all, or entertaining, largely self-destructive things
**Statistically speaking, the second-least likely day to find me near a retail establishment, behind only Black Friday.