Technically, this is a poster for one episode of Power On: The Story of Xbox, the warts-and-all documentary of Microsoft’s 20-year video game console history, which dedicated a chapter to the Xbox 360’s Red Ring of Death era. But, yeah, Microsoft really is selling a RROD poster, if you really want to ritualize the bad ol’ days of cardboard coffins.
The 18-by-24-inch poster is $24.99, and one in a series of seven prints. The Red Ring of Death is chapter five in Power On. The other chapters are “The Renegades,” “The Valentine’s Day Massacre,” “And It Didn’t Turn On,” “Cool … Now What?” and “TV … Or Not TV.” The key art for most of the episodes is similar: black background with a radioactive green icon.
It’s not actually a Red Ring of Death, then. But it is three of four quadrants lit up, which from 2007 to 2008 was the international signal of gamer distress. A motherboard design flaw was apparently responsible for stratospheric failure rates, which led Microsoft to extend the Xbox 360’s warranty to three years, and spend more than $1 billion repairing, replacing, and shipping new consoles to pissed-off buyers. It was not uncommon to go through multiple Xbox 360s on the same warranty. I had four, and in some social circles that was a low figure.
So, if your holiday shopping list includes a college freshman who just discovered irony, perhaps this is the gift for you. Me, I think there are better ways to nostalgify Xbox history — starting with The Duke’s reboot controller (hint hint).