January: Unlock all the Achievements
When the Xbox 360 launched in November 2005, it introduced the love-or-hate-it Achievements feature which rewards gamers with points for completing in-game tasks. It took over a year, but in January 2007, the first widely used fake Achievement generator appeared on the blog Technology-Ninja. And then the flood was upon us.
July 5: The Red Ring of Death
OK, so the Red Ring of Death, which represented a fatal hardware error in early Xbox 360s, existed before July 5, 2007. But that’s the day that Microsoft announced that it was extending the existing warranty on the console to three years to deal with the problem. But the Internet had already been hard at work for at least a year.
July 11: Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime provides a status report
Nintendo introduced the Wii Balance Board at its E3 2007 press briefing, and it fell upon Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime to demo it onstage. When told he was about to go through a “body check” in Wii Fit, Fils-Aime announced his preparedness with a slightly awkward “My body is ready.” Much like it did when he first said it, the line just kind of sat there for a while. But almost three years later, in June 2010, people apparently decided it was worth a few hundred pictures.
Oct. 1: Nintendo wants your Wii to be safe
After we lost all those TVs to Wii Fever — not to mention teeth, lamps, and friendships — Nintendo responded by offering a more durable wrist strap for its Wii controllers. But apparently, this wasn’t quite enough safety, so in October 2007, it rolled out the Wii Remote Jacket: a rubbery protective cover that would hopefully make any remotes with aspirations of flight bounce off of any expensive electronics or faces it might meet along its trajectory. But the Internet had an idea of what else that sounded like.
Oct. 9: The day that cast doubt upon dessert
When developer Valve released its Orange Box — a collection of five games running on its Source graphics engine — the title that generated the least interest before release was Portal. Try to remember what that was like: We lived in a world in which nobody was excited about Portal. As it turned out, however, the bite-sized puzzle game was probably the most popular thing in The Orange Box, and its villain, the evil A.I. GLaDOS, instilled in us a strange fascination with cake and the authenticity thereof.
PS3 has no games
The console war between the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 included arguments about online functionality, controllers, graphics, and comparisons between each system’s library of exclusive games. Two years after the PlayStation 3’s release, 4chan decided that its catalog, which was smaller than the Xbox 360’s and the Wii’s, meant that the system had no games at all, and the idea spread from there because that’s how the Internet works.
Sept. 25: The Florida Supreme Court disbars Jack Thompson
You’d be hard-pressed to find a gamer who sympathizes with Jack Thompson. The Florida lawyer became the face of reactionary antigaming when he regularly spoke out against home consoles, which he called “murder simulators” and “dangerous physical appliances that teach a kid how to kill efficiently and to love it.” He was particularly not a fan of developer Rockstar Games and its publisher Take-Two Interactive; he filed suits to keep titles like Grand Theft Auto IV, Bully, and Manhunt 2 out of stores, specifically citing what he called Bully’s “gay sexual content” (main character Jimmy Hopkins can kiss boys in the game). On Sept. 25, 2008, after months of proceedings, the Florida Supreme Court approved Thompson’s disbarment based on complaints of harassment and making defamatory statements. The gaming community was not too sad to hear the news.