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When I first saw the headline of this story – Microsoft Erases Gamers Memories – I figured some kid drew a picture of his favorite My Little Pony on the side of his 360 case and Microsoft erased it. That would be a shame, but less crappy than what actually happened. The more accurate story (minus the ponies) – A guy has a 360 since launch, brings it with him everywhere he goes and accumulates a variety of signatures from Microsoft, Bungie and other companies. There is even a large drawing of Master Chief on the system.

So he calls Microsoft after his system inevitably breaks. They assure him that they will send back the same console he is sending in. Just to be safe, he also sends in a chapter of the Bible with Moses crossed out and his name inserted, and “XBox 360” replacing all references to “God”. He thinks the call and the letter asking them not to throw out his case will do the trick, and of course he is wrong. He gets the case back scrubbed clean of all signatures and art. The case numbers match so there’s no chance they still have his signed case still in a warehouse – he is screwed.

Your first reaction may be apathy. That’s acceptable, I’m also used to not feeling much. But if instead of sympathy or apathy, you felt anger towards the guy, I hate you. As this story has broken across the nets, about half of all peoples comments on it were some variant of “this guy’s a total douche for sending it in, he deserved it and I hope his whole family is hit by a drunk driving a wheat thresher.” Yes, this no longer has to do with video games and will be solely about my social outrage for the remainder of the article… unless I decide to drop in my exclusive Halo 4 information here… we’ll have to wait and see.

I like to think I am cynical and bitter because it doesn’t seem to make any sense not to be. People who are not are likely fixated on their own lives and haven’t looked up in a decade or two. The number of people dying from disease and famine, the number of horrible and abusive leaders, and now the study that in a billion years all of the water on Earth will boil just doesn’t sit right with me. Still, it seems that to call yourself a “realist”, which is the flag most uncaring assholes like to fly, means you need to nurture an empty cynicism.

Think back – we are cynical because people screw each other constantly and the net result is an absurd amount of injustice. Yet the modern realist seems to have lost their primate sense of justice altogether. There was a time in your formative years when you saw terrible things happening to people and you felt for them, yet now it is easier to simply blame the victim. This guy sent in his 360 to a corporation and it serves him well to get fucked, you think. But without having those pangs of injustice, your realism is actually just social Darwinism. The powerful get what they want and you merely nod approvingly.

Some people leveled even more insults at the 360 guy. He should’ve known that “Mexicans who don’t speak or read English” would be repairing his system. If anything, the argument that Microsoft doesn’t do their own repairs and leaves it to untrained employees only helps the victim’s case.

“Microsoft screwed a customer.”
“No way. How is it their fault they contract work out to crappy vendors? Why should their own customers satisfaction have anything to do with them?”

If humanity is beyond saving, as some cynics think, how is choosing sides done in cases like this? Realism that seems fixated on individuals as guilty and giant corporations as blameless actually seems like fascism to me. And so fascist readers, stop and rethink your realism. If you became a cynic it is because you were offended by what was happening in the world. Rekindle that sense of humanity in yourself that was capable of feeling sympathy for other humans and join me in idealistic realism.

And now for my exclusive scoop – Halo 4 will be the sequel to Halo 3.

1 Comments

  1. Christian said on March 3, 2008:

    this is all part of an encompassing culture where companies have convinced us that we are merely consumers, not customers. Customers still exist however, and if you treated them like this they would be mighty pissed off at it. Of course, said customers almost only exist once you get into the corporate world.

    Of course Microsoft should worry about crappy vendors. If they aren’t doing the work properly it causes issues for both MS and the people who buy MS products. I can understand how corps persuade us to feel like we are worthless, but I don’t know how they got people to withhold any and all accountability.

    And for goodness sake, its signed by MS and Bungie employees.

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