Grandma Touches XBox 360, Bursts Into Flames
Here's how it went down. We had to leave the house for a couple hours while the realtors showed our magnificent suburban palace to potential suburbanites (we're selling the house to buy another.) Grandma asked if we were all hungry, to which responded "fuck YES." We drove to Steak and Shake in Streetsboro and proceeded to all make highly specialized paper airplanes out of our nifty placemats and (accidentally) dogfight with the staff of the restaurant. We tipped well.
With still an hour to go, we schlepped our way across the street to WalMart so Grandma could play the new 360 kiosk demo. Across the customer service desk at the entrance was a dry erase board with some photos attached which was titled, I shit you not, "Costum Juding." One of the awards was for "Most Scariest." It was then we came to our senses and realized that indeed, we were in a WalMart. We stood by the board and laughed a long and hearty laugh, not unlike pirates answering the question "...so, will the Captain show me mercy?"
The five of us ran as though the Higbees Santa awaited our arrival in the electronics department to find a flat screen panel deliver the most horrible message in digital floating dialogue box form: "Signal Not Found | Check Connection." There it was, the XBox 360 gathering dust in the glass cabinet; the controller jutting out of the cabinet eager to be used, and a black television screen above declaring its impotence for all to see.
We asked the employees in a calm and rational way indicative of the very word 'civility' why the 360 was not operational. "HEY! Why doesn't this work?? I want it to WORK! Can you make it work? PLEASE?! Grandma must PLAY!!" The lady looked at us with the eyes of a hardened warrior; she had answered this many times before.
"I'm sorry, the rep didn't give us the right cables, we have to wait."
We all reacted as kids do when they discover that no, they can NOT go to Kevin's party, they're grades were not sufficient. If there had been a rock on the ground in the path between the exit and our van, we would have kicked it with a strong "Shucks" or "Jeez" to alleviate the pain.
Then Grandma told us her idea. "Look, this was just one WalMart that had the cable thing screwed up. Let's go to the Aurora WalMart and play THAT one."
And so drive we did. Streetsboro and Aurora are right next to each other in the grand scheme of things. Who cares that gas prices force the stockpile of Ramen Noodle soup in the cupboard to slowly disappear, one brick at a time?
Grandma must play.
The Aurora WalMart is positioned across the street from a large amusement park, formerly a SixFlags / Sea World combo happy fun world, now closed for winter. Nothing in that huge monstrosity of a park interests Grandma in the least. The multicolored steel roller coasters make an impressive skyline of artificial mountains under a grey November sky, but Grandma only wants that which rests across the street.
The ADVERTISING KIOSK.
This WalMart had a fully operational 360 tucked away in the a corner of it's electronics department, and Grandma immediately went to work, judging everything. Most impressive to Grandma was King Kong, the two playable demos provided by Ubisoft were fantastic, although it just isn't the same without surround sound when the T-Rex turns a corner to find your sorry ass with a film crew.
Grandma then played Kameo, which looked like Jax and Daxter 3 with graphics so crisp, you'd swear someone had slipped LCD into your Cherry Coke Slurpee. The controls were smooth and easy to learn, the story had a touch of humor and a hint of evil that just BECKONS Grandma. It was then Grandma submitted her proposed business arrangement with Satan. She would HAVE to own one of these.
She watched Bobby play some Kameo, me play some GhostRecon, all the while Kenny lost his dignity hammering away at Mario Baseball on the GameCube next to us; the crowd completely ignoring his ineptitude. Then we watched some videos, most impressive was Project Gotham Racing 3.
Grandma was astounded. It may seem strange or naive to see her looking up at the screen as though watching the announcement that an end to all war had been successfully negotiated, but this is what Grandma does. This is to what Grandma looks forward. This is Grandma doing what she loves.
One day, she will have one. Oh yes.