Mistakes = Learning Opportunities

Last night was an excellent night in the Versatile household.  Here I was in the basement with my brother, and there we were drooling over the computer screen.  What did we see?  Before us, we had ourselves a fully flashed Lite-On DVD drive from our Elite Xbox 360.  Significance?  The flashed drive will now let our XBOX 360 play all of our backed up, retail bought games.

Why is this significant?  Xbox 360 games can range as high as $60 dollars. I know some people who are hardcore gamers, and nothing is worse than having your favorite game that you play daily suddenly crap out on you due to scratches or other scenarios that cause the game to be malfunctioning.

To combat this, users can make copies of their own XBOX 360 games (remember, owning a backed up copy of a game that you do not own is illegal) to preserve the original state of their retail purchase.  It was surely a joyous occasion.  How could it get any worse?

Now fast forward 2 hours later:

There I was on my couch just lamenting over the stupid task I just had done, and my brother was there just mocking me.  “You going to continue to sit there and think, or are you going to do something?”  I looked at him and let out a sigh of pain.  He was right.  I really messed up this time, and in retrospect, it was foolish of me to do what I had done.  It was just one of those “blank” moments where you act before you think, and you suffer the consequences later.

What was I feeling?  A deep pit in the bottom of my soul, similar to those times when you lied about something to your mom and she finds out and really chews you apart.  It felt like that, except I never had to experience that for years until last night.:/

Spill it. What did you do?!!

For those who follow me on Twitter, you may have already figured out what happened last night. >_>

After dinner, I turned on the Xbox 360, and inserted a retail copy of my brother’s friends game, Gears of War.  The game is awesome, and I am so close to beating it.  At that point in time, I had the Xbox 360 laying horizontally on our cabinet.  After I had inserted the game, I was waiting for it to load to the main menu.  My brother who was in the room on his computer had said, “Hey, why don’t you make the Xbox vertical?  It is a better way of dissipating the heat.”  (actually, this is true, you want your Xbox 360 to stand vertically so the hot air can rise out of the side vents).

I thought it over and I said, “Yea, you are right. I’ll do that.”  So as stupid as I was, I went up to the console, and proceeded to turn it from horizontal to vertical alignment.  Half-way through the process, I heard a grinding noise, and I instantly thought “OH CRAP!”.  I put the Xbox back on the horizontal position, and ejected the disc, but the damage was done.

There were at least 3 or 4 circular scratches on the Gears of War disc. I cleaned the disc with water and a light lintless cloth (similar that is used for eyeglasses) and the game said it could not play. Too heavily scratched.

If it was my game, OK fine, but this was my brother’s friends game, and I knew he was going to be pissed given the fact he let us borrow it so he could sell it later (as if that could really happen if it wasn’t scratched but thats besides the point here). Let’s call this friend “Richard”.

Our last hope in short of buying a new used copy of the game is we went to Family Video near our house, as they had a CD/DVD cleaning kit machine.  The employee took our game and cleaned it twice and wished us luck. We drove home, and tried the game in the Xbox 360 again. No dice, still unreadable.  Now what I am going to do?

Wow, you really screwed up.

Yes, it truly is my fault and I’m willing to take the hit.  We called a few game stores around to check out prices on their used copy of Gears of War, and the cheapest we could find was $16.99. Frys.com supposedly had it for $10 bucks, but I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions yet.

In the end, one of my other brother’s friends (“Jake”) had a retail copy and a backed up copy of the original Gears of War.  We are going to copy Jake’s backup, and then give that to Richard and explain what happened.

I am 99% sure that Richard is not going to play Gears of War, as he is currently playing Gears of War 2 and Resident Evil 5 on his Xbox 360.  We did in fact mod Richard’s Xbox for free anyway, so I may have some leverage here in terms of forgiveness.  I may have to compensate like 10 bucks or so, but we’ll see what happens.

I knew if one of my friends screwed up one of my games, I’d be pissed too.  I really screwed up this time, and of course its logical that you would NEVER move a game system while a disc is still spinning.  I don’t know what I was thinking. The DVD drive is not like the laptop drive or PS2 slim where the disc is mounted onto a spinning motor so it is prevented from falling out of the drive.  This has been definitely the worst day of the year so far.

Well, it could be worse I suppose.  Getting in a car crash and turning crippled would really suck, so I’ll take this hit gracefully.  God have mercy on my soul. >_>

Below is a picture of the game.  There you can see some of the scratches.  A radial scratch is fine, but the ones that are circular are the ones you have to watch out for as they will make your game unreadable, even if you do use third party cleaners like Game Doctor.

Scratched Xbox 360 Game

So how does it tie in to this week’s theme?

Simple.  Because Richard’s Xbox 360 has been modified to play backed up games (and in this case, a soon to be backed up copy of Gears of War), he has no real reason to be pissed forever.  He can play Gears of War again if he ever needs to.  The only caveat here is that he won’t be able to sell his original game because of the scratches, but then this brings another point. To sell the game only to keep a backed up copy of a game you do not own anymore is technically illegal. >_>  This is another discussion so let’s hope he keeps his game to make this article legally safe. ;0

After pouting all of last night and today, I have decided that exploiting your game console does have its merits.  In this case, modding your Xbox 360 will let you play backed up copies of your games so you have no fear in destroying your original.  Microsoft and the DMCA may think otherwise, but in the grand scheme of things, it points down to fair use.

Thus, I decided why not have a theme for this week just related to exploits?  It can be stuff related to electronics, house improvements, lifehacks, or whatever. We will keep it clean, and make sure we are not violating the TOS of WordPress. I am not looking for suspension #4 or worse at all.

Because I screwed up bad in my personal digital life doesn’t mean that you have to also.  By sharing my personal experience, you can benefit and become your own digital guru so you can help your friends and family become their own gurus and so forth.

Each day starting tomorrow, the Underground staff will try to have some kind of article, summary, reflection, tutorial, or whatever posted to keep the theme alive.  If there is something that is very questionable, it will have to be posted on http://tug.cjb.net and a summary of the article will be here (maybe).

Likewise, if you want to write an article and contribute this week, by all means go ahead. Just email Versatile or Voltaire and we will make your dream come true.  Here is my story.  Take pity on me, I deserve it.  I’ll make it up through my digital karma though, I’m sure of it.

Note:  Making backups of a game that you own is fine.  Selling those backups is not.  Creating backups of games you do not own is not legal either.  Follow the rules, stick with the law.  Next time you advertise those Xbox modding services on craigslist, be careful.  The teenager girl that comes up to your door maybe an undercover cop. :0

Posted on June 21, 2009, in Advice, News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I wouldn’t worry about it. You are not the first to have a scratched disc. Read this article:


  2. Daveeeeeeeeee

    Hello Kitty 360 > All (except my PC)

  3. we should play on xbox live someday, see ya!

  4. Great post. this is what I looking for, thanks

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