Xbox live was born November 2002. This online multiplayer and digital media service was created by Microsoft. I remember being dragged to my local gamestop by a very close friend and he was going to purchase a xbl membership. Money was tight at the time but he basically forced me to buy a 1 year membership. We both rushed home and opened up our package that included a 1 year membership card along with a mic so that I could chat with other gamers while playing some of my favorite games online. The first step was trying to read the most impossible code ever and entering in a credit card number. I didn’t have a credit card at the time so I had to con my girlfriend to use her card. Then the hard part came up and I had to come up with a name. I am so glad I took my time because that is where the classic name Robowski.

At this time the xbox was pretty fresh and there weren’t a ton of games. I had Crimson Sky, Unreal Championship and MechAssault . I loved Halo CE but it wasn’t a xbl game at the time so I had to find a good multi player. Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell came out and I finally found some games I really enjoyed. I would get on every night, controller in hand with my headset attached and talk smack while having a good time. Those games kept me going until the release of Halo 2 on November 9, 2004. That is the moment where I (along with hundreds of thousands of other people) became a xbl junkie. I played every night, ignoring my girlfriend. She didn’t understand why it made me so happy. I would get complaints about staying up late, being loud and the occasional temper tantrum. I remember having conversations about xbox live with my older brother and he just couldn’t fathom that I had the technology to play and talk to people from other states and even places like the UK and Australia.

Nobody ever expected video games to take a turn like this. We had the chance to meet up with friends, co-workers, and random people online while playing our favorite games in the comfort of our couch in our basement. It was so convenient and a dream come true. I will never forget the match on Halo 2 where I met two cool guys by the name of Big Heeb and SK1LLA4ED. I was teamed up with these guys on Colossus and we communicated well while having a good time. We sent each other friend requests and continue to play to this day. I would go as far as saying they are the best friends I have never met. Halo 2 took xbl to a whole new level of communication, teamwork, fun filled conversations and even some long winded smack talking after a match. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the gamer I am today if it wasn’t for xbl and it’s online features.

Things were going well for Microsoft. They released the Xbox 360 in November 22, 2005. It could only get better….right? The 360 was a remarkable system (minus the rrod) and it could do so many things. Goodbye ugly Green dashboard with limited functionality and hello sleek looking blades with limitless possibilities. We were introduced to private chatting with another person while playing two separate games. This was a great feature that allowed me and long time friend BCK to find matches on Gears of War. Life was great, new games were being made, and I would come across new friends from time to time. I will admit there were moments where you would come accross a trashy racist, loud obnoxious kids who like to sing and all other types of annoying people but that’s life.

The xbox 360 had not seen it’s true potential. We were introduced to new things like video chat, downloadable content, netflix, youtube, and so many other features. The 360 introduced Party Chat. This gave us the capability to talk to multiple people at any given time. This was a really big deal at this time. Private chat was annoying and party chat was the next big thing. I’ll admit that I can be a d-bag from time to time I’m sure that you have had some shining moments too. Times have changed and technology has advanced to the point where you can do all sorts of things that we would never imagined. Online functionality is now taken for granted and the social aspect has come and gone. I have a term for the majority on online players and I like to call them “Silent Bob’s” based off a character in the movie Clerks. These players never plug in their mics and casually play games and you never hear them utter a single word. Then you have the inner circle people that are always in chat. They could be talking to 8 people while playing their own separate games. I could never understand this but maybe it’s because I turn into a handicapped zombie when I play video games. I can not carry on a conversation while playing a campaign or multiplayer but I have the gift of yelling out weapon locations, enemies, strategies, and lots of broken sentences that even the most intelligent people would have trouble deciphering.

Blow the dust off of your headset and put it on for once. Leave the party chat and communicate with your new teammates. Is someone annoying? Muting people takes a total of 3-10 seconds to do. Xbox live has given us the tools to have a fun experience and for some reason we have lost our way. Everyone likes to win and I promise you will win a few more games and have a ton of fun doing it. PGCR would of never existed if it wasn’t for a chatty gaming session. Who knows, maybe you will meet the best friend you have never met.