That Christmas Eve feeling

By Alex Kierkegaard / November 18, 2005

Even though these days it's considered cool to casually dismiss all new and future consoles, I won't try to hide the fact that I've been getting pretty worked up about the new Xbox.

I'll be back in Japan on the 11th of December -- one day after the system's launch there -- and I plan to pick one up soon after. Strangely, the 360 has got me so excited that I've recently been spending a good couple hours every morning checking a dozen gaming sites for news and reviews. I've put aside money for a high-definition display and I've mentally re-arranged my gaming rig to accommodate both the console and the new monitor. You can't fake this sort of excitement.

I am, of course, lucky enough to be able to afford the new system, but, seriously, not being able to afford it was never an issue anyway. If my bank account didn't have a spare 38,800, I would have saddled my credit card with even more high-interest debt, or applied for a new card altogether. Borrowing from friends and family members would be the next resort. Selling off stuff (digital camera, MP3 player, old games, whatever) would be the last.

My feelings for the obscenely powerful 360 (I still find it hard to digest the fact that I am getting three 3.2GHz cores for less than $2,000) bring back many fond memories. The beautiful Amiga, the sexy Mega Drive, my first VGA-equipped 286 PC, the slick Neo Geo. Yes, I am almost as excited today as I was back then. Maybe excited enough to edit out the "almost" from the previous sentence. Or maybe not -- measuring excitement levels over a period of two decades is a tricky business. Either way, it feels good, and that's all that matters.

I realize there's really not much logic behind my enthusiastic embrace of Microsoft's new system. What the hell am I excited about anyway? "Kameo"? No, of course not. I have sealed copies of Shadow of the Colossus and Civilization IV waiting for me back home; compared to those two, the launch games of the new Xbox are almost a joke. But it's important to remember that excitement doesn't always have to be logical; indeed, most times it isn't.

I was thinking about all this earlier today when I came across someone's post on rllmuk. That guy had managed to express my feelings in a couple of very clear and concise sentences:

There's something about new hardware that is just great... It's the closest I get to that Christmas Eve feeling I had as a kid.

To that end, and putting aside for a moment all thoughts regarding financial matters and market realities, I wish consoles launched every year.