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The Fellowship of the (Red) Ring

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X_lI’ve been afflicted with what is commonly known as the “red ring of death.” For you non-gamers out there, I don’t need any kind of salve, but thanks for asking. No, what happened is something that’s happened to far too many owners of the Xbox 360: my $400 next-gen gaming hub has mysteriously become a very expensive paperweight.

Why? Hell if I know. I’ve heard rumblings of phrases like “chip set” and “fragile solders” and “overheating.” (And I don’t care what anyone says, I’m not wrapping my Xbox in a warm blanket as if it were a blown knee.)

Yes, Microsoft is sending me a box — a coffin — so I can return the dead unit to them for repair/replacement. But that whole process will take upwards of a month…a month where games like Halo 3, Bioshock, and Stranglehold are sitting on my shelf, woefully unplayed. (Not to mention upcoming titles like Call of Duty 4, Assassin’s Creed, and Conan that will just wait in their plastic wrappers.) And it’s very possible that my machine, or one like it, won’t make it back to me before Christmas.

Anyone else been hit by the ring? What did you do to pass the time? Did you break down and buy a PlayStation 3 just to get the videogame monkey off your back?