In my ever-increasing efforts to dredge up new and interesting gaming news for you, my dear GWJ readers, I've stumbled upon what I think may be the journalistic coup of the week:
I scored an interview with a Microsoft insider about the Xbox360.
I can't tell you how I met the man I have taken to calling Deep Flak, nor can I reveal his true name. Rest assured though, he is deep inside the machine and the information he has leaked to us is compelling to say the least.
The following is a transcript of our recorded interview.
Fletcher1138: My readers are going to want to know that you're on the level. That is, that you really work for Microsoft. What can you tell us that will eliminate any doubt about this?
Deep Flak: I work in Redmond, Washington.
F: Yes. I kind of assumed that.
DF: That's where Microsoft's secret offices are.
F: They're not secret, Deep Flak. The address in on the website.
DF: Really? Took me half a day to find it my first day.
F: What about what goes on inside the Redmond offices? Can you tell us something about that?
DF: Sure. Okay. There's a lot of people who work there, that's for sure. More than I've ever seen.
F: And Â…
DF: What does that mean when you say Å“ellipsis??
F: I'm waiting for you to tell me more.
DF: Okay. So why didn't you just say that? They make software and stuff.
F: The people who work at Microsoft?
F: Um ... okay. Fair enough.
DF: I can also tell you what BG (Bill Gates "ed.) eats for lunch.
F: Alright, so you're an insider. Let's leave it at that. About the 360: will it or will it not be that beige-ish white color?
DF: Yeah, that's still under discussion. I've seen mock-ups that were magenta and green, blue and red Â… just about every color combination is being examined. Grey and charcoal. Silver and gold.
F: But they said it was finished. I saw a video with a guy in flared jeans talking about inhaling and the soul of the machine and stuff. They had one at E3!
DF: Yeah, that was only a model.
DF: The real thing isn't even finished yet. Smoke and mirrors. I mean, listen, the developers are just guessing that their stuff will work with the new box. I saw a report saying that a prototype hasn't even been fully tested yet. They're not even sure if the thing will power up.
F: This is Â… well, astounding doesn't even begin to cover it.
DF: Yeah. It's a big secret. BG is pretty hot to beat Sony to the punch here, so he's going all Ahab on the deal. Hell, some poor bastard just may end up with a prototype in his retail box on launch day. In fact Â… that's not a camera phone is it?
F: Um Â… No.
DF: Okay. They'd kill my family, you know.
F: Wow. That's um Â… bad Â… So back to the 360: When's it going to be finished?
DF: Remember Windows 98?
DF: Shipped in June of 1998, right?
F: I think. Hey, you'd know better than I would.
DF: It did. I have a file on it.
DF: Did Windows 98 work?
F: Ah. I see your point. No, it did not.
DF: When did the Å“Second Edition? come out?
F: Ah Â… I couldn't tell you.
DF: 1999. Almost a year later.
F: I'll take your word for it.
DF: Good call. Did Win98SE work?
F: Sort of. If you didn't mind never being able to shut down completely.
F: So what you're saying is Â… ?
DF: Don't expect perfection on release day.
F: Gotcha. What about backwards compatibility? We've heard rumors that some Xbox titles will be supported while others are being abandoned. What can you tell us about this?
DF: The Xbox factory in Guadalajara will continue to manufacture Xboxen even after the release of the 360, that's what I can tell you.
DF: Follow the money.
F: Okay. What does that mean exactly?
DF: That's all I can say.
F: Å“Follow the money?? Dude, that doesn't even make sense. What kind of answer is that?
DF: You're not asking the right questions. It's a riddle wrapped in an enigma inside of a fish taco.
F: A fish taco?
DF: Sorry. Freudian slip. Skipped lunch.
F: Okay. Maybe we should cut this short. I think the question of the day has to be: How much is it going to cost?
DF: A fish taco?
F: The 360, man. Focus. Just one more question.
DF: Right. Sorry. I don't know.
F: You don't know?
DF: Yeah. That's a Marketing decision. I don't do that building. I work the hardware complex.
F: So you're in the Hardware division?
F: Facilities? As in Â… ?
DF: I empty trash bins. Clean bathrooms occasionally. When Greg is out sick.
F: Wait, you're a janitor?
DF: Sanitation Facilitation Expert.
F: You told me you were an insider!
DF: I'm THE insider, bucko. Do you have any idea the kinds of things that get tossed in the trash? I know more than BG does about what goes on at Microsoft. Names, dates, tech sheets. I've got three whole file cabinets full of secrets. Indexed, catalogued, and cross-referenced. I even bought a package of those colored thumb tabs at Staples and coded each piece of paper with a tag based on the frequency of eight thousand and eleven key words contained -
F: What about stuff that doesn't get tossed?
F: You're saying that you know everything about everything that gets thrown in the trash at Microsoft, right?
DF: Yes! That's how -
F: But if it doesn't get thrown away, you never see it. Right?
DF: Um Â… where are you going with this?
F: That's all the time we have. Thank you for answering our questions. This is going to be a Â… fantastic article.
DF: But wait! I've got a lot more. A lot more, I tell ya! The next version of Windows is gonna be called Hot Sex in a Box! In Halo 3, the Master Chief goes back in time to the Old West! Bill Gates has hemorrhoids!
So there you have it. All the news that's fit to print from Deep Flak, a Microsoft insider. When it comes to shedding a dim, barely noticeable light on the dark, inner workings of the gaming industry's boss level, no one beats Fletcher1138. Don't you forget it.