Now the Xbox is gone, replaced on my desk by a Raspberry Pi, another mystery. But this is two stories, not really related. The Xbox went, after 15 months, to my grandson in Seattle, though shipping it up there felt a bit like an old cliché. After Build 2014 I tried to accept the Xbox into my life. I liked the (idea of the) Kinect, and the fact that it seemed to recognize me (though there was no other user to compare). I did have trouble getting over the fact that I had to pay extra for some things (an Xbox Live subscription to watch Netflix, which could already watch on my computers or my Rokus) but the terms changed and I tried it out. Using a controller instead of touch or a keyboard and mouse took some getting used to. In short, the Xbox worked, but it took up space, and I didn’t see the value in it, except for the Kinect, which I liked more in the idea than the application. So I thought I should try using the Xbox for its original purpose so around Christmas time I bought a couple of games at a Microsoft sale, Forza and Call of Duty: Ghosts. That’s what I ended up with. There was a buying frenzy, overwhelming the site, waits of I don’t remember how long when IE seemed to freeze. I wanted Forza because it’s not a shooter, and there weren’t many of those, but the Call of Duty was just what was available when my mouse click actually worked. It’s nice that Forza shows you how banged up your car is at the end, from hitting walls mostly, I didn’t catch up enough to hit other cars. I longed for a steering wheel. The cars were nice, but the goal of not hitting stuff was rough. Call of Duty: Ghosts was a surprise. I felt at home, literally. The scenery, the vegetation, even the houses of the opening sequence (after the story that probably connects somewhere beyond my reach in the game) were familiar San Diego suburban generic. Poway maybe, or Rancho Penasquitos, or possibly the fringes of my home city, Escondido. At first I wondered if there were versions based in different places, to make more users feel at home, and then I wondered if the locale was actually real, not generic, and if so where it was actually set. I liked that, but I had trouble walking with the controller, getting up and running straight, jumping, evading cars fleeing down the Poway-like street. Again I could have used a steering wheel. I didn’t get to a point where I got to shoot. I spent a couple of weekends before my grandson’s birthday trying to bond with the Xbox, then packed it up and sent it on. Even including the Kinect. I hear he likes it.
Setting up the Raspberry Pi was another adventure. The hell of Linux, or Oracle, or anything else that takes more configuration than sense.