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How to improve Xbox 360 Avatars

12:00 PM on 05.16.2009 // Jim Sterling

When Microsoft revealed the New Xbox Experience, an unwitting world found itself stunned by the revelation of Avatars. This unique and original phenomenon turned the world of gaming on its head, introducing a new social element to home console games that has revolutionized the industry and ensured that rivals will be meekly following in the Xbox 360's massive footprints for many years to come.

Of course, nothing is perfect, not even Microsoft products, and that's why we've put our thinking caps on and come up with a number of suggestions that might improve or enhance the already amazing experience of Avatars. Microsoft doesn't even need to pay me if it decides to do these ideas, thanks. Simply knowing that the world of Xbox Live has been made a better place shall be my just reward. 

Read on to see how Microsoft can improve Xbox 360 Avatars.

1. More Complex Moral Choice:

Videogames are all about deep and complicated moral dilemmas these days. We intellectual, high-brow gaming types always want a videogame that makes us think, makes us feel and makes us agonize over the consequences of our actions. Unfortunately, Avatars have been a big let-down in this area. Maybe it's just me, but I feel that there are no consequences over whether I want to wear the baseball cap or the cowboy hat. Decisions seem arbitrary and pointless, therefore having no impact on me as a New Xbox Experiencer. 

We need something that lets us become morally invested in Avatars. Perhaps make it so that if I wear the pastel blue tuxedo, a kitten's front legs are broken in front of its horrified six-year-old owner. Maybe choosing to put white gloves on will result in terrorists doing some Nine Elevenings again. I think we'd all really get behind Avatars if there was that kind of risk and reward. 

2. Allow Us To Kill Them:

People love to murder other people if they can get away with it, which is why Grand Theft Auto is so popular. Something also tells me that Avatars would just be particularly satisfying to torture and kill and make bleed and have their heads all crushed up and that. They should scream while it's happening, and say things like "Stop it, stop doing this to me" and "It hurts so much, I am choking on my own blood."

There could be a variety of fun deaths, from being hung, drawn and quartered to the old pirate method of execution, where Avatars would get strung up by their testicles and then skewered through the heart by a cutlass. The female ones can obviously have smoking hot tar splashed all over their groins until they die of shock. 

Player satisfaction will be guaranteed. 

3. Maybe Put Them On The Wii:

The Avatars have already brought a fantastic sense of player identity to Xbox Live, but imagine how amazing the Wii experience would be if Nintendo brought something similar to the table. Obviously there would be less customization options because the Wii cannot handle the hi-def Avatar action of the New Xbox Experience, but I think Wii fans would enjoy having a similar, albeit less interactive, feature on their little white waggle boxes. 

Titles such as Wii Sports and Wii Play could really benefit from allowing users to put Avatars into them. You could also have a little Avatar parade and even send them to other players on your friends list. Wii owners love all that stupid shit. It's just a shame MS came up with the idea of Avatars first, so we'll probably never see Nintendo make the bold move and port them over.

4. Pay Us $10,000 To Like Them:

Despite their brilliance, Avatars are yet to truly resonate with a considerable amount of Xbox 360 owners. I've noticed nothing but cynicism and even sarcasm when people talk about Avatars, and that sort of nonsense just won't do. People need to be glad of possessing their very own Avatars, and I think the best way to get fans excited is for Microsoft to offer $10,000 to everybody who is genuinely thrilled by them.

It's not like Microsoft can't afford it, either. If it can spend $682,000,000,000,000,000,000 on Grand Theft Auto IV DLC, it can toss ten grand to anybody who truly gets excited about Avatars. Surely it can stand to lose $50,000.

5. Make Them GoldenEye 007 On XBLA:

People don't love Avatars. People do love GoldenEye 007. What better way to make people transfer the love from one thing to another by simply turning Avatars into GoldenEye for Xbox Live Arcade? Quite why Microsoft hasn't done this already is beyond me. So many people are crying out for this classic FPS game, even though most of them would probably play it these days and think it was a bit shit. 

It would be simply enchanting if Avatars were just ... something better. I think if they became something completely different, they'd be a lot more popular. Pay close attention, Microsoft, because these ideas are dynamite!

6. Don't Have Them:

Another terrific option to enhance the Avatar experience is to just scrap them altogether. Some would argue that something is better than nothing, but I would argue that if it was breakfast time and there was just a big lump of poo in the Corn Flakes box, I'm not going to eat the poo. I could probably just go out and buy some fresh Corn Flakes actually. Unfortunately Avatars are not Corn Flakes. They are Avatars, which makes them closer to poo than any corn-based cereal product. 

The popularity of Avatars would soar through the roof if they were dismantled, packed away and never spoke of again. Don't believe me? Do it, Microsoft, and we shall see who is right. 

7. They Can Fly:

Things become infinitely better if they fly. The power of flight is one of mankind's greatest accomplishments, and it would be criminal for Microsoft to not harness this power to enhance the Avatar experience. The very idea of Avatars should be that they represent our wildest dreams, which is something I've just decided, and since everybody wants to fly, we should be allowed to do it. 

Flying improves everything. Without the power of flight, Falkor the Luckdragon out of Neverending Story would just be a big weird giraffe dog. In fact, if Avatars were Luckdragons, that would be pretty awesome. 

8. Turn Them Into Luckdragons:

"If Avatars were Luckdragons," I have been quoted as once saying, "that would be pretty awesome." I make a very fair point and must say that I completely agree with my views on the subject. Luckdragons are the luckiest creatures alive, able to accomplish seemingly impossible feats through their charmed existences. Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful to have a Luckdragon of your very own? Unfortunately, they only live in parts of South America these days, so you can't keep one as a pet. Plus they're really big. The next best thing would be to have a virtual Luckdragon on your Xbox 360. 

Did you know that Luckdragons are made of air and fire, allowing them to fly somehow? They constantly take air in through their bodies so they don't need to eat, but it does mean they'll drown if they get stuck in water for a few minutes, like a baby left unattended in the bath. Still, they're proper lucky and stuff so it probably won't happen. Anyway, I want Avatars to be Luckdragons, please thank you. 

9. Give Them Some Sort Of Home:

One problem with Avatars is that they don't have some sort of "Home" to walk around in, where they can go bowling, play rubbish arcade games and look at loads of inFAMOUS posters that are plastered on the walls. Hardcore gamers love steering their twee little cherubs around a poor man's MMO in which the main objective is to sit through five loading screens in a row. Microsoft needs to have something like this. 

The best part about Xbox Home would be that Microsoft could charge money for imaginary T-shirts that Avatars could wear. Since the rudderless masses enjoy shelling out vast quantities of cash for things that don't exist, The 'Soft would rake it in. Just look at how rich evangelists can get. Imagine spending a dollar on a pair of underpants with Master Chief's face on it. Now pick your jaw up off the floor. I know it's the most amazing thing you've ever considered, but pull yourself together and make sure you inundated Major Nelson with letters until he personally makes it happen.

Let those executives know that we expect, nay DEMAND to be able to pay for pretend clothes that our pretend people can pretend to wear. 

10: Make Them Fuck:


Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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