For My Entertainment: an Xbox One Review

My TV talks to me.  Well, it’s more like it texts me, actually.  I walk into the living room and up pops a message on the screen: ‘hi, Mel!’ complete with exclamation point.

It’s not a space-aged invention (although it probably is something a boomer would consider very techy), it’s my Xbox One.

We bought an Xbox One, but it’s a secret.  On a students’ salary, struggling with one whole paycheque going to rent each month and the other going to my extreme restaurant addiction, I’m not in the habit of dropping close to $600 in one go.  But my boyfriend and I did just that this past Christmas holiday and we haven’t told anyone… until now.

The Xbox One is a technological marvel.  Not only does it recognize your face when you walk into a room, but it is voice activated, so give it a command like “Xbox, go to Netflix,” and it fully understands and does just that.  Plus, it’s easier than using your hands.  “You have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!” – little boy in Back to the Future Part II.

Yes, gone are the baby toys and handheld controllers in my house.  My Xbox connects to my home computer using microwaves (or something like that), so I can drag and drop any show I have on my hardrive into cyberspace and voila, it appears onscreen.  It also connects to the “internet” so I can browse without hooking up a CP to my TV – and I can use my own hand to operate it.  Yes, this means using my hands, but it means that the camera connected to the Xbox picks up my palm and allows me to control the screen by waving my hand freely in the air.

It’s magic.

 

I never played video games as a kid.  Although I always thought I wanted one, I never got one and so having my first ‘video game’ system is both strange and amazing.  We bought a new game using the Xbox store (yes, it’s all available through the system) and played this game called Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, for a good 72 hours.  I was hooked.  Fantabulous graphics, unbelievable stories, problem solving challenges that often left us stuck for a good 20-30 minutes before cracking it…  All of it is such entertainment.

In fact, for the past two weeks I’ve had Adam Lambert’s ‘For Your Entertainment‘ in my head just because the phrase won’t escape my mesmerized brain.  The Xbox One is pure entertainment.

The other day, my sister called me while my boyfriend Brad and I were sprawled on our couches watching Netflix on the Xbox.  The phone rang and instinctively I reached for the Xbox controller to pause but realized the controller wouldn’t do any good because it was powered off.  I had to use the power of my voice.

“Hello,” I said to my sister when I answered.  Then, telling her to hold on, lowered the phone and started yelling, “Xbox, Pause!”

It took a few seconds for the Xbox to respond, and it went into listen mode, having not obeyed my pause command.  With the phone still close to my face and my sister listening on the other end I continued with my command, “Xbox… pause!”  Apparently I didn’t have to repeat the word ‘Xbox’.  It went into menu mode, but the show was still playing.

Having the Xbox was a secret, something I explained at the beginning of this post.  And my sister is one of the people in my life who is telling me and my boyfriend to quit spending money on restaurants, let alone buying Xboxes.  Brad jumped in… “Xbox, Go Home.”  “Xbox! Pause!” he was now shouting.  We carried on like a bunch of quacking parrots.

Realizing we sounded like we were in a mental institution and I might have blown it, I returned to my sister’s conversation, “sorry bout that.”

“What was that you were saying?” She asked, in between confused laughs.  “What’s going on there?” She was demanding and suspicious.  Uh Oh.

“We were just joking around,” I fibbed.  She wasn’t totally convinced but didn’t press it.  Phew, safe for now.

Aside from some glitches with voice commands and it recognizing me when I’m walking from the bedroom to the shower in a towel, the Xbox is f#@%ing awesome and I highly recommend you pick one up.

Do you have an Xbox One?  Or do you prefer another system? Comment below or tweet to @MelanieReiff!

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