I finally bought an Xbox a few months ago. One thing it does right: it has a general console settings screen where I can tell it what my audio and video capabilities are. It’s just silly that I have to tell every Gamecube game “yes, I want surround sound; yes, I want progressive scan”. If I’m going to want those on one game, I’ll always want them.

The controller seems decent; I think I prefer the Gamecube controller, but it’s better than the PS2 controller. (In particular, the PS2 puts the left thumbstick in the wrong place.) If you leave the controller lying around upside down, it takes a while for the thumbsticks to recenter properly, but I can work around that now that I’m aware of the problem.

The machine has a bad optical drive: when I first turn it on, it has a hard time reading the disk. Fortunately, this can be worked around by opening the drive and then closing it. The annoying thing is that, when you open the drive, it kicks you out of the game you’re playing – why can’t it just put up a screen “drive is open, please close” like the Gamecube does? Too bad I threw away the receipt, though.

I’m not sure how many games I’ll play on it. I’ve already talked about the interestingly excellent Shenmue II; I spent about six hours yesterday playing Jade Empire, which is also excellent. Given how good the latter is, maybe I’ll give Knights of the Old Republic a try. Pirates sounds great. The Halo games have gotten good reviews, but I’m not convinced that their single-player modes are so hot, and FPS’s aren’t my favorite genre; given my lack of desire to play online, and my lack of local video game playing friends, I’m not sure I’ll buy them. What else? One of the Burnout series? If so, which? How is Fable? Any other suggestions?

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