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Entries in Billy Keenly (3)


I Have To Explain XBox 360 to My Grandmother, Who is Asleep

By: Billy Keenly

Nan? Nan, are you awake?

Wake up, nana.

There you are. Hi Memaw.

Yes, I know it's late.

No, don't worry - you're safe. I have to talk to you about something, though.

Gram, back in the mid 1980's Nintendo had a real strangle hold on the home video game market. Their original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System moved almost 62 million units worldwide, which was an unheard of number back then.

Water? Yeah there's some leftover from dinner. Hold on.

Here. Anyway, Sega made a nice splash during the next hardware generation with their Genesis system. They didn't sell as many units as Nintendo but they came a lot closer than anyone would have thought possible the previous decade. Their success basically paved the way for Sony Corporation to launch their PlayStation brand in the mid-nineties, a platform which would go on to dominate the next two hardware generations and sell close to 200 million units worldwide.

Nan, wake up. You're spilling your water.

No - we shouldn't turn the lights on. Then we might wake up Grandad. He needs to get up in a few hours.

I'm sorry Grandad, I didn't realize. Go back to sleep - I'll be done with Nan in a minute.

I love you too, but let me finish.

Gram? Give me the glass, Gram. Let me put it on the nightstand.

Thanks. So in 2000, Microsoft decided to toss their hat into the home console ring. They announced XBox, Gram. Sony kind of went out and proved it was no longer a two-horse race. Bill Gates put on a leather jacket and sunglasses and presented it at the Game Developers Conference. It all seemed like bullshit to me at the time, PS2 had been out for a few months and was the main focus of people who followed the industry. The scary thing about Microsoft though was that in 2000 they had a nearly endless revenue stream from their software and PC divisions. They could easily afford to let XBox flail around in the marketplace and hemorrhage money, all in the name of establishing themselves for the subsequent hardware generation. That way people would be ready to accept the XBox, and by extension Microsoft, as a legit player in the video game world. So basically, even though the original XBox was a borderline flop, the groundwork was in place for them to make a move the next go 'round.

That's what the 360 is, Memaw. It's the culmination of that strategy. Now you can actually make the case that the best home console of this generation was made by Microsoft. Isn't that mind-blowing? I know the Wii has sold like 20 million more units worldwide, and it's great to see Nintendo leading a new wave of innovation, but it would be hard to make a case for Wii being the better overall console. Wii might have better individual games, and appeal more to the casual gamer, but the width and breath of the 360's software library is staggering. You couple that enormous library with the XBox's far superior DLC capabilities and it's really not even close. Fuck, Grandma, I can watch like a thousand movies from my Netflix queue instantly! They stream right through the console, if you subscribe to XBox Live!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love you and I'm glad you're living with us again. Video games aren't the same without you.

Remember when we played Wii Bowling for the first time on Thanksgiving? Nan?

Okay, the rest can wait until breakfast. Get some rest. Love you.

Love you too, Pee-paw. Don't knock that glass over when you wake up.

Okay, I'll just take it now.


The Honey Shot - Stampede

Billy Keenly and John Milhiser

  • THE PLUG: Don't miss "Stampede" (feat. Starlee Kine, Brent Sullivan, Rob O'Reilly, Barry Rothbar, Leslie Meisel, Illana Glazer, Thomas LaRochelle and a sketch by the Dan Ryan), happening TONIGHT @ 7PM at The Cove (108 N. 6th Street, Brooklyn) | Free

Wanna plug? E-mail me photo & credit. And join our flickr group. Send 10 days in advance.


Ask For It By Name: Powerball Lottery Tickets

Serious Lunch's Billy Keenly leaps, paddles, and splashes in an infinite ball pit to the smooth sounds of Boston in the the New York Lottery's new Powerball commercial.

Wow, look how much fun he's having with all these balls! Time to load up on tickies!