How Five Xbox 360 Owners Kept Their Launch-Day Consoles Alive

Remember the Red Ring of Death? Though today it's more meme than catastrophe, there was once a time when that terrifying symbol of hardware failure seemed to strike every Xbox 360 on the planet, morphing them all into useless bricks.

But what about the ones that lasted? What about the launch-day Xbox 360s that still work in 2012? How did their lucky owners dodge that menacing red ring? Kotaku has rounded up five of these Xbox Survivors, each of whom told us his own unique ritual for keeping the volatile console alive.

"I just did what everyone should do," said Mark Lane, who bought his 360 on November 22, 2005 — launch day. "Kept it cool, off when I wasn't using it, and I always kept it laying flat. But once the whole three red lights fiasco happened, it did make me personally feel better to cross my fingers whenever I booted it up. Call it crazy, but it seemed to have worked."

"I'm not really worried that it'll red ring at some point. I'm almost certain that it will."

Although Lane's console still functions, he doesn't have to cross his fingers much anymore — he shelved his launch-day unit for the 250 gigabyte Slim model that came out last year. But some other Xbox Survivors still haven't upgraded.

"I'm not really worried that it'll red ring at some point," said John Phillips, who says he still uses his original 360, but not for more than 4-5 hours at a time. "I'm almost certain that it will."

Phillips insists on keeping the system horizontal, and he always makes sure to keep it running in open space. He says he's always been lucky with hardware, so he doesn't feel the need to keep a rabbit's foot in his pocket. Plus, he just knows his Xbox will brick at some point or another.

"I've certainly got my moneys worth out of the system by now so it won't be a complete tragedy that came out of nowhere," he said. "I know it's like a glass balanced on the edge of a counter. It's more a question of when than if at this point."

Then there are the magical, Lazarus-like cases. Erwin Ocampo, who says he hasn't followed any strange rituals or habits, says his console just somehow keeps chugging along.

"Fortunately I haven't had to do much," he said. "There are times where it hangs and a simple power cycle does the trick. When it got the [Red Ring of Death] a year back, we left it alone for a few weeks and then it magically started working again.

"I guess just keeping it in a ventilated place helps. Plus the Bay Area doesn't get too hot."

Launch-day buyer Cooper Bibaud, whose 360 is pictured above, calls his system the "I Am Legend of Xbox 360s."

"I've actually always been crazy lucky with every console, and electronics in general," Bibaud said. "I take great care of everything, and even though I'm a pretty heavy gamer I've never had any issues with it."

Jesse Gouldsbury had his launch-day Xbox 360 signed by staff members of Bungie, the development studio behind Halo. It still works.

Bibaud says he has his own set of rituals that he uses to ensure that his 360 won't tank. He won't touch the hard drive, for example, pointing out that many of his friends have received red rings after swapping their hardware around.

"It was a quirk I developed out of paranoia after seeing theirs all die multiple times," he said. "I felt if I did remove the hard drive ever, I'd be cursed like them too haha."

Like most of the Xbox Survivors I spoke to, Bibaud says he's always kept his 360 horizontal. But that common practice might not be necessary. Launch-day owner Jesse Gouldsbury says he's moved his all over the place, even lugging it around New York City back in 2010, when he took it to get signed by the developers behind Halo: Reach at a launch event.

"I'm still impressed it hasn't red ringed considering how much time I spent playing it [and] bringing it different places," Gouldsbury said. "That's probably the coolest part about it."

Microsoft has never released official statistics for Xbox red rings, but one study indicated a whopping 54% hardware failure rate. I asked Microsoft this week if it had any data on just how many launch-day Xbox 360s are still working, but if anybody in the company does know, he or she isn't sharing. Red Rings of Death don't seem to be prevalent in any newer models of the gaming console, and I'm sure it's an issue that most of Microsoft would like to bury.

As for the Xbox Survivors? All they can do is cross their fingers — and pray they won't see red.

Top photo: Cooper Bibaud shows us his working launch-day Xbox 360.

Comments

    My launch console is still alive, though its been sitting in the wardrobe since the Xbox S came out.

    I actually still have a first generation Xbox 360 to this day and yes it's still running, has all the updates and it still plays all the games that are released today

      I have a launch day console, too. I call him ol' faithful. he RROD'd in a storm one night when the power went out mid-update, but I turned him off and back on again and he was fine. :D

    My original xbox i still alive although now days i use my slim halo reach xbox :P my original works fine and never red ringed i did burn down its graphics chip once but thats the worst.

    i had no issues with 360 since it has launched. i had maybe 10 of 360s since then but non of them ever had rrod issue. MS released many versions with different chips xbox 360 since original launch models , and i used to get the latest all the time. i have spent hours playing with each of them. now i have s model with 250 gb and i love it. maybe i just got lucky with them

      You have bought 10 360's? What.

    I have a 2006 console that RROD'd in 2010 0r 2009. I repaired it and it is working to this day. Unfortunately the disc drive is now stuffed so its still dead, but my RROD repair got me another 3 years!!!

    I got 2 X slims now so never use it, but have about 5 more fat consoles that have RROD that I've collected from mates.. so year, failure rate is pretty bad. Slim is awesome now as I don't have that worry anymore.

    I have a first gen, not a launch day. I nearly made it to this day sans red-ring, but I got nailed by the broken firmware update that happened a few years ago that broke most first gens. Fortunately, the red-ring warranty extension applied, and it got fixed... but not before I bought a newer (HDMI equipped) model to replace it with. :)

    MINE JUST DIED2 DAYS AGO :(

    my 2006 model is still functioning also. I gets used everyday and has all of the update, Kinect etc. Maybe I should retire it to the collectionas a functioning 2006 model is bound to be wortha few $$ in 15 years!!

      I doubt it. Without scarcity (42% work) and no appreciable benefits other than the fact it could break at any time I think the star wars 360 will be a better bet.

        Only if you kept it in its original packaging!

    My original model (without the hdmi) port is still running.. Just picked up another one but no HD.. anyone know of a cheap place to get an old 360 HD around melbourne. Or anyone got one spare?

    My launch 20GB is also still running, it is set up in our second lounge and gets a fair bit of use. I have had problems with my Elite one but the original is still gaming great. My 2 launch controllers are also still operating as well.

    NES still working fine 25 years later, no one cares.. XB360 older than 5 years still working its a bloody miracle :-/

      Progress!

        I still got my 05 launch console!
        Works perfect to this day.
        Kinect inc
        JTAG'd too!!

      Oh my god! That's SO true!

      I'm not sure where my NES or SEGA is, but i still have a virtually mint condition SNES that's older than me! My brother got it in '91 and I was born in '92, he gave it to me for my 5th birthday and it still runs like new. (21 year old console)

      my Sega master system 2 (of course not as old) still works. though its a pain connecting it to modern TVs especially once they kill off VCRs. will have to find an adapter system for the future.

    Haha, great article.

    Thankfully, when i bought my X-Box 360 it was "the second batch". Got a 'GREAT' deal at an EB-Games store in Parramatta-Sydney; got a massive stack of games, a guitar hero band pack, controllers, recharge-packs and a couple more accessories (everything 'new') it was literally a massive discount with no sales on o_0 love those guys.

    Oh! and a X-Box Live 60 day pass - Needless to say; I didn't leave my apartment for a while after that ;p

    2 red rings since launch.

    My first generation xbox 360 is still running fine and i left it on for one whole week once

    I've still got a working US launch day 360. Never played it longer than 2-3 hours at a stretch. I also always had it laying horizontal, but only because I was afraid of it falling over.

    Launch day console still alive today.
    All four controllers, all 4 battery packs, every new-release game, all working great... sounds like a rocket-ship these days though.
    EB tells me it's worth $20 to them...
    Quietly dying for a HDMI equipt silent box... but can't justify getting rid of the battler!

    My buddy has a Gen 1 XBOX 360 that still works to this day. Some of my mates haven't been so lucky though. Good read.

    I almost traded my launch 360 in for the new sleek black ones.. It chose that day to die, "Oh, you don't want me anymore.. cough cough, splutter, fine! I can play that game too.. cough cough splutter.. gurgle."
    Needless to say, the nice folks at the store wouldn't take it. :)

    Still have my halo 3 launch 360, no rrod however the disk tray jams

    On my third X360; and I'm a moderate user.

    Well cooled room, console laid flat, no dust, and I don't leave it on.

    My console was picked up at the 360 midnight launch and still to this day runs perfectly. It red ringed about 3 years ago and was fixed, and has been running 100% since then. I love it. Take care of it and it will give you no problems. I also have a Jasper Elite console as well, they both run just as well as each other.

    I purchased my Xbox around mid-2009 and twice ever year, I go back to Thailand to visit my family. My xbox would always come with me since it can get pretty boring where I live so I would play nearly 4-6 hours a day.

    Additionally, I'd pack it up and carry it with me on the plane at all times. Even despite the travel and all those hours, my xbox worked just fine. But around December last year, my Xbox decided to go 'red ring' on me.

    I left it alone for a few days and plugged it back in. It was as if nothing ever happened. To this day, I still carry it back and forth and it still works perfectly.

    A few tips I would give to people is install any current game you play to the hard disk, store it in a carrying case when not used, and clean up any dust that may settled within the console. So far, I've completed 60+ games in nearly 3 years and I hope the good times will continue to roll :).

    Before I picked up a 360 (my first was a black elite) I heard stories from friends who repaired their red-ringed consoles by running them while the consoles were wrapped in towels and overheating them.
    Not sure how it worked but they usually got a few more months out of the system with occasional towel systems until the whole thing failed.

    I have a AU/NZ launch console, and it still goes swimmingly.

    Had it RROD twice, but the fix is free, same console came back both times. The original one doesn't get much gaming time anymore as it is used as the tv streaming box, but it still chugs along.

    Have two launch model 360's.
    Both red ring from GPU overheating.

    I just re-flowed the soldier and modified the cooling system.
    Never failed since then!

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