Xbox One Love and Hate

One of the free stuffs Marcus brought with him from our Christmas vacation is an Xbox One. It was something he has been asking for for since he heard about its existence even if he still has the older Xbox 360. When he showed me YouTube videos of what this Microsoft game console can do I too secretly wished that his dream to own one would come true or at least he gets to play with it someday even just temporarily. And it was granted. Less than 24 hours after we set foot in the US he played with the one installed in our bedroom and when I saw the graphics the stronger I fell in love with it. Unknown to us, there’s already one packed and waiting to be opened on Christmas day. It’s a pre-owned unit from his cousin’s boyfriend but it made his day like he won a lottery.

Similar to his routine in the Philippines, most days he would just play Xbox games but only this time the experience was way better. My in-law’s AV setup complemented the gaming console. Their big flat screen TV plus the hi-fi sound system provided Marcus his own mini arcade. It was all his for the entire three weeks stay. Although I knew that we’d have a simpler version when we return home, my expectations with the Xbox One alone remained high. It was one of the very few reasons that made me excited to go back home.

Setting up the Xbox One was among the top priority when we finally arrived in our humble red house. I tried to ignore the urge to catch some sleep, I set aside sorting the chocolates and other free stuffs and left wifey to get things in order. It was then when we discovered that our new game console has lots of downside. Getting it to work was a challenge.

All in a day’s work.

Missing the original manual was a trivial issue as Microsoft’s website provides the needed details. Sadly, among these info reveal the cons of a seemingly flawless game console. First discovery is that  the Xbox One cannot be installed in a vertical orientation unlike the Xbox 360. Based on forum threads, the only way to make it work is to place it flat. It’s the only position in which it would read its game CDs.

Backwards compatibility is the next problem and maybe the one that I hate the most. The Xbox One does not play old games or at least in our case, almost all of the Xbox 360 games that Marcus loves to play. Xbox 360 Call of Duty, Minecraft, Lego games and Halo series cannot be used on the Xbox One. It was a big disappointment. Not to mention that I cannot sell the old console. My evil enterprising plan foiled.

Another issue that hounds us to this day is the Xbox One’s network dependency. We brought several Xbox One games–Fallout 4, Destiny, Forza 5, Call of Duty Ghosts, Assassins Creed Black Flag, and Halo Master Chief collection–just to realize that each game would undergo an installation and/or update process each time before it can be played. Sometimes in a few minutes, sometimes it takes forever. Given our country’s poor internet service, this would require much patience, patience that Marcus and I normally lack. The workaround to this is to set the console’s network into offline mode.

Last but not the very least of the woes is its controllers. My in-law purchased two brand new Xbox One controllers as the pre-owned console did not include any and one of which we tested immediately after Amazon delivered it after a day it was ordered online. Since then Marcus started using his own controller to make sure it works while the other unit was kept in the box after a quick check for physical defects. Six thousand miles and a short Forza 5 game later, the other unit conked out. We now have a brand new Microsoft Xbox One paper weight. Online sources show that this problem affects others worldwide.

Mods are easy on Xbox One. This is a Fallout 4 mod that Marcus installed himself.

All is not lost however. Again, graphics is the selling point of the Xbox One. Once the games start playing,  the characters and stuffs just appear life-like beating whatever the 360 has to offer. The quality of colors and textures are more vibrant and defined than the old games. Cars run faster and smoother. The bloodshed in the war games are gorier. Oops, one of my parenting lapses. But yes, the overall gaming pleasure compensates for this console’s limitations.

Maybe it is true after all that we cannot have everything. It may even be true that while the best things are free, it does not apply to the Xbox One. We love it but it could have been better if only our network runs like the one in the US and if we can claim warranty for the second controller unit without questions asked. Or maybe even better if we could return to the land of milk and honey for good which by the way is Marcus’ other wish that the three of us mutually share.

Another Fallout 4 mod that allows Marcus to insert Darth Vader and change Dogmeat’s appearance.


Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Had Marcus take an afternoon stroll and it appears my left leg is healing.)


House For Sale?


No I’m not selling our house, yet. Lately though, I’ve been scanning and mentally tagging—with or without approval from my wife—some items that I might sell online. Signs of the times? Maybe, maybe not. But don’t be alarmed as we’re not at that level of need, at least for now; I’m just following one of my golden rules that says “Practice makes perfect.” In this case, selling.

In the past I’ve sold items that I know got wifey’s disapproval, not to mention irritation. A few years back I sold my mountain bike for only PhP 2500, which I initially got for around PhP 17000, just after three years of having it. What followed next was my 1-year old Playstation 2 for only PhP 5000 over the original price of around Php 15000. The last one was our old car. I sold it for only PhP 50000 (in my defense, the Kia’s resale value is really low) just almost after 4 years with us. We got it for PhP 128000.

Frankly speaking, I felt a bit sad having to let go of those items. But then, selling and getting a payment every time for each transaction gave me some sense of accomplishment; of course, not until I later get to tell my wife about each sale. Every time I tell her “The buyers were so happy, I had a good deal”, her raised eyebrow tells me she couldn’t agree more—that’s agreeing with the buyers being happy but disagreeing with me having a good deal. I wonder when she’d get a court hold order for me to stop selling.

In my quest to perfect the trade, I started asking some friends around while embarrassingly telling the stories of my recent non-profitable activities-–their shaking heads and looks of disbelief and regret (for not buying it instead) confirm my wife’s opinion. I likewise checked the web for some tips and eventually re-activated my ebay account (like a cocked gun ready to be used). Luckily, I also reached the site that has an item depreciation guide which could help me about estimating an item’s selling price. The list made me realize that not all items have 10% depreciation over a 10 year period. I must have been busy pestering my seat mate during our 4th year high school accounting class. Ti abi.

My eagerness to start selling some petty items started again when we bought a multi-function printer. This item immediately made our existing scanner obsolete. Just the perfect reason—an item for disposal which is still too good for freecycle. And so just a couple of days after I posted the item in ebay, I got a deal with someone. He bid for half the price which is not bad for electronic gadgets. A few emails and SMS later, I received the payment (thru GCash) and I shipped the scanner in return. It was an exciting experience, my first ebay sale and my first time to receive payment thru GCash. Now, I’m really selling. Happy buyer + Happy seller = Happy wife.

How long will it take me to take our room TV out of its mounting? Now I wonder.