Last night the Xbox 360 finally managed to get the girlfriend to crack a smile. No big deal, right? Wrong. The longstanding feud between the little lady and the Box began last generation, spurred by my ill choice of words:
Girlfriend: "You gonna bring your game with you to your parents' house this weekend?" ["Game" is her generic term for "Xbox"]
Me: "Nah, I think I'll leave her here."
Relations only grew worse with the recent introduction of the Xbox 360 into the bedroom, its soft white exterior and subtle concave curves beckoning from the corner. My attempts to charm the girlfriend with the ease and accessibility of Xbox Live Arcade fell flat... "I'm going into the other room to read the newspaper." And let's not forget the time I tried to show her how cool it was that I could download the Fight Night demo and play it right then and there... "I don't understand boxing. Why would you want to hit someone like that?" Things finally boiled over when she awoke to find me clutching the controller during an early Saturday morning session. And all hopes for one big happy family ceased to exist.
And then, just last night, a funny thing happened... We were lying in bed when she suggested we put on some music. So, knowing that my iPod was connected to the Box, I grabbed the 360 controller and powered up the system. "Why are you turning that thing on?"
"'Cause the iPod's connected to it."
"Oh, well can't you just hook it up directly to the speakers?"
"Yeah, but look, it's really easy to do it like this..." And I went through the motions, shifting to the Media blade, selecting the Music option, and opening up the iPod's contents.
"It's all there? Everything on your iPod?"
I selected a playlist I'd compiled for her birthday party last summer. "Yeah, check it out."
"And look, I can just turn off the screen and the music will keep playing through the speakers."
I reached for the TV remote. "Hold on. What's that?"
She was pointing at the minimized version of the visualization application, running in the lower left corner. "Oh, that's just the little visualization thingy."
"Like on iTunes?"
"Yeah. You can even make it like full screen and mess with it using the controller."
"Let me see!"
"Okay..." I switched the visualization to full screen mode and twirled the thumbsticks around.
"Woah... that's awesome," she giggled.
"Yeah, give it to me!" She snatched the controller and went to work. Twisting and turning, burrowing through infinite vortexes of swirling lines, seduced by the bright flashes of light. And she sat and she played. And she smiled and she laughed. And I marveled at her newfound acceptance.