Back in November I got an Xbox 360 Premium Pack, which is a 360 with a 20GB hard drive, a wireless controller, a HDTV cable, wired headset, a pair of ear defenders and some other crap.
The Premium Pack comes in a nice shiny white box (where as a Core System has a green box). It’s a deceptively heavy box, much like lugging round a small PC tower, hmmm… funny that? Upon opening it you’re presented with… a form to buy two years extended warranty, hardly the start you want.
Throw that and the tome like manuals aside and you have a very nicely packed box. Each item is individually packed in plastic, some green, some orange coloured. I’m sure there’s some significance to it, but in my rush to get it set up, I didn’t notice.
Now I don’t have a fancy ass HDTV so just hooked it up to my old style CRT TV on one of it’s AV inputs. The HDTV cable has the plugs for both types of TV (which is good if I upgrade). Like the original Xbox, the power supply is an external lump which is hefty bugger that would be very good for clubbing baby seals with.
Things to note are that you should stand (or sit) the Xbox horizontally and not vertically (why? because stood upright it’ll scratch the disks to buggery. I had to return my first copy of Gears of War because of it. And it’s a common problem (see here, here and here). Plus a friend bought one from Gamestation and they told him the same).
Also if you’re putting it on the floor and it’s carpeted, put it on something. The reason is because this thing runs almost as hot as the sun and having it sat on your shagpile blocks up the lower vents and prematurely turns it into a electric fire.
After avoiding spontaneous combustion I got it all plugged up and turned it on… and realised what the ear defenders were for. Where as the original Xbox was lol huge, the 360 is just laugh out loud. The fans run at full whack when playing any game that requires some graphical oomph.
However on the Dashboard (the name for the 360’s menu system) and playing most Xbox Live Arcade games, it’s pretty quiet. Speaking of which, the Dashboard menu’s aren’t quite as intuitive and clean as on the PSP (and PS3) but it certainly looks nice. The little adverts for Xbox accessories and demos of FIFA 07 are a tad annoying though.
Whilst I’m ranting I should also mention that the wireless controller that came with it had a broken R1 button which means it about as useful as inflatable dart board, so it’s a good job I bought another controller. I did email Xbox support, but the replies have been comical (the first email was just said “Hello Mr. Paul Healey” (for some reason I imagined it a Chinese accent and found it funny), to which I replied “What?”. Then the second email was “Phone us on our premium rate mobile phone number for tech support”. Yeah, right).
I also hooked it to the interweb via it’s ethernet port into my wireless router / hub since I didn’t get a wireless adapter for it. It picked up on the network settings automagically, so one of the first things I did was sign up on Xbox Live. There’s two packages, Silver and Gold. Silver is free and lets you have access to downloads, updates, various demos and wotnot.
Gold includes all that but also allows you to play against other peoples. Which is a good thing because it means you’re less likely to be playing against someone who will be dicking about (plus there’s stuff like gamer’s Rep, more on that later). Anyhoo, there are three different payments for Gold, monthly at £4.99, quarterly at £14.99 and annual at £39.99. I signed up monthly just to see what it was like but will most likely switch to annual (since it saves you 20 quid).
And once I got Xbox Live connected, that’s when the fun started…