So I arrived home from work today to find a large box waiting for in my bedroom. Inside said box was the Xbox 360 prize pack I had been waiting for. It was the premium version of the 360 complete with 20 Gb hard drive, wireless controller, and headset. It also came with PGR 3 and a Forza 2 faceplate. Because Forza 2 has been delayed, the fine people at Pepsi/Doritos will send it to me when it gets released.

It took only a few minutes to set up including connecting it to my router. I tell ya, consoles have come a long way. The last console I owned was a Playstation 1. The 360 impressed me from the second I turned it on. It updated automatically and I didn’t have to do a single thing to setup my network connection. It took less than a minute for me to grab my gamertag (Irv74, add me!).

The 360 dashboard is a slick application. It’s so easy to setup all various parts of the console. I was able to see the various trailers, demos, and content that was available for download. There’s nothing complicated about it at all.

I was having so much fun and I hadn’t even played a single game yet. In preparation of today’s blessed event, I went to the EA store on the 19th floor to purchase a game. Based on gwilli’s recommendation, I got Burnout Revenge. When the game loaded up, it was clear that next-gen graphics do indeed kick ass. Even at a paltry resolution of 1024 x 768, the game looked fantastic. I can’t even imagine what it would look like at 720p on a large widesceen. Without reading the manual, I played through a single track, smashing cars left and right, in general having a great next-gen time.

I’ve had less than two hours with the 360 but I am really impressed with Microsoft’s offering. In 2002, I had some doubts about MS’s ability to make a good console. The original Xbox was a monstrosity. It was a big, heavy machine which looked ugly next to the much slimmer PS2 that you could place vertically. The original Xbox controller was also massive, which had people wondering who it was originally designed for.

Whatever shortcomings the original Xbox had, I think MS has fixed them for the 360. Almost everything about it has been well-designed. I still can’t believe we’re into the era of networked consoles now. Amazing!

Enough talk for now, it’s back to the 360!

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