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APRIL 15, 2010: The END DAY (Well, at least for your old Xbox Live games)


So the Crystalis developers weren't exactly Nostradamus.

The fifteenth day of April, the fourth month of the year Twenty-Ten, Anno Domini. A day that will go down in infamy? Nope. This is a day that will be forgotten a few years from now by most people. To most Americans, the significance of this date is that if they haven't mailed their tax return by now, they better hurry up and find a post office.

To those who play video games? Even still, not all of us will care about this day. It will, however, be a day remembered by those who have fond memories of the Xbox Live service at its beginning. Those of us who accepted online gaming on consoles as the wave of the future. Or perhaps, those of us who just happened to have a friend in a different location, but wanted to play Halo with him or her all the same.

For me, this day has stirred a rather interesting feeling inside of me. Xbox Live has had a fairly large place in my life for the past five (almost six) years. I originally signed up for the service not too long before the release of Halo 2 in 2004 so I could play with my friends without having to haul televisions around and worrying about someone stepping over a cable causing us all to disconnect.

Shepard. I was just waxing goddamn nostalgic. - Zaeed Massani (This line just doesn't work as well without Zaeed's awesome articulation of "goddamn")

Just like anyone else, I had bad experiences joining random games and playing with people who seemingly couldn't keep their mouths shut. However, I also had a forum account at Gamespot at the time, and a fresh copy of Burnout 3 that I was dying to play. A random post from a user I had heard of invited anyone to play with him, so I did. I was introduced to a smaller community on the site (Gamespot allowed their premium users to create their own board for purposes beyond the official forums), and while we're not on Gamespot anymore, I still talk to those guys to this day. Some of them have gotten married in that time, some had kids. All of us have had our ups and downs.

It's a very small, tight-knit, private community. It started off with frequent games of Burnout 3, then turned into Halo 2 games, and whatever other flavor of the month games seemed like fun to play at the time (a somewhat obscure game called Phantom Dust was very popular for a long time there). Eventually, I played World of Warcraft with some of them.

It's weird, then, to think that on April 15, 2010, the servers for all of the original Xbox games are going to be taken offline forever. Hopefully it will lead to positive gains for the current generation of systems - I know I'm tired of the limit to my friends list. Supposedly the original Xbox was holding back some features for the Xbox 360. I don't know if any changes have been made official, but I hope this does turn into something good.

Perhaps some doomsayers will talk about how this is the problem with a service like Xbox Live, that a game will never be supported forever. It'd be better if clients could host their own games on dedicated servers. They're probably right, but Xbox Live certainly does add an ease of use, at least to me. Finding an enjoyable server on Team Fortress 2 has always seemed like a chore, especially since I don't play the game heavily.

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. - Rick Blaine, Casablanca

It doesn't matter, though. What matters is that this is the end of a chapter in the life of online console gaming. Certainly, this was an important chapter, too. I'm probably going to hop online and play some Burnout 3 today, and if you enjoy playing those rusty old games online, I'd recommend all of you do the same. That random online session nearly six years ago introduced me to a lot of cool people (some of whom I met face-to-face for the first time in my life at GDC and PAX East), and I think a day of nostalgic gaming is in order.

My gamertag is also my username on this site. If you find yourself wanting to play Burnout 3, feel free to add me today. I likely won't be on XBL until this evening (probably around 6 PM or so? Maybe a bit later.), but I'd love to play with any of you. I might also be coerced into playing a round or two of Halo 2, but that'll take a fight.
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About Alakaiserone of us since 1:32 PM on 03.15.2010

The name's Tom. I used to work as an industry guy, and am currently on the hunt for my next paying gig. In the meantime, I'm working on a bunch of different projects that don't help me pay my bills. I write a lot. I'm a musician, although certainly not of the professional variety. I like trying new things and meeting new people. I'm still somewhat new around Destructoid, so sorry in advance if I don't know something I probably should.

About my blog:

I update daily (not really, but I like to pretend). Generally, my updates get pretty long-winded, but hopefully not to the point where they're unreadable. I'll wax poetic about whatever's on my mind, like current events in my life, things that are happening in the video games I like, or whatever happens to pop in my head that day. With a few exceptions, I write my entries the same day I publish them, so they're pretty fresh content-wise. It also might help explain the occasional typos. I do my best to avoid any errors, though.

About my work:

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems as a tester on a year's worth of DLC, The Beatles: Rock Band, Lego Rock Band, and Rock Band Network. Feel free to ask me questions about it, but remember: I'm still under NDA. Also, if you know of a job opening, please tell me about it. I'm flexible.

About my contact info:

Want to collaborate with me on something, big or small, related to the site or not? I'd love to. I like working on any project that I'm even remotely capable of working on, and would love to help you in whatever way I can. Feel free to PM me here, or otherwise send me an email at alakaiser(at)gmail(period)com. Even if you don't want to work with me on something, I'd love to just chat. I'm a pretty friendly guy!

What happened to that thing you did? You know, that one thing?:

I wrote an article that ended up getting promoted to the front page of the site, which is pretty damn cool. It removes it from my cblog archive, though, so I'm throwing a link in this here sidebar for the sake of an archive (and in case I lose the link myself).

The Great Escape: One Foot in Reality