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Xbox: A Nostalgia Thread

10 days away from seeing Microsoft's 8th generation console guys. Let's look back at all the fun it's been in the calm before the storm.


4 engineers from Microsoft's DirectX team, Kevin Bachus, Seamus Blackley, Ted Hase and DirectX team leader Otto Berkes, disassembled some Dell laptop computers to construct a prototype Microsoft Windows-based video game console. The team hoped to create a console to compete with the Sony's upcoming PlayStation 2, which was luring game developers away from the Windows platform. The team approached Ed Fries, the leader of Microsoft's game publishing business at the time, and pitched their "DirectX Box" console.


In 2000, Microsoft set to unveil their next generation gaming platform to the masses. In GDC that year, they had the first showing of what the machine could do via the "Two to Tango" tech demo:

Later at E3, a conspicuous Bill Gates stood in front of a giant 'X' contraption, with Microsoft still keeping the console's design under wraps with more tech demos on the floor.


For the feels, check out this Original Xbox promotional video.


At CES 2001, the Xbox is officially shown to the public for the first time by Bill Gates, assisted by none other than the ROCK.



At E3, Microsoft held its press conference unveiling their first season of games for the Xbox. Some notable mentions include: Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Enclave, Jet Set Radio Future, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Mad Dash, Project Gotham Racing, Project Ego, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Dead or Alive 3, Gunvalkyrie and Halo: Combat Evolved.

E3 2001 Press Conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBAM0vVWziM


The Xbox is launched in the UK and Europe.


Xbox LIVE is officially launched as the first online gaming network. It featured groundbreaking new technology for consoles via it's live online multiplayer and voice chat. Four months after launch, Xbox LIVE already has 350,000 subscribers.


2002 sees excellent and critically acclaimed games released with titles like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Timesplitters 2, Jet Set Radio Future, Shenmue II, Steel Batallion, MechAssault and more.


E3 2003 was host of the infamous Halo 2 demo, which sent fans into a goddamn frenzy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ax1nvd8DF1Q

2003 also sees tons of great games released. Many notable titles include Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic which sold 250,000 units in its first week. Call of Duty: Finest Hour was also released, as well as Project Gotham Racing 2. Others include Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Beyond Good & Evil, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Crimson Skies, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Soul Calibur 2 and more.


Xbox Live is brought to Europe for the first time. It is announced that Xbox LIVE has surpassed 1 million twoops-I mean members.

At E3 2004, media was abuzz with what Microsoft had in store. Microsoft brought Halo 2's multiplayer into the spotlight with the memorable Zanzibar demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br8FdEexJBU&feature=player_embedded

The date was set:


Microsoft ended the conference with a megaton. Robbie Bach’s touting of Xbox Live’s growing audience was interrupted by EA Sports’ distinctive “It’s in the game” pitchman, who revealed that Madden NFL and the company’s other top-selling sports franchises would now be available on Xbox Live. While the announcement was enough to send sports-loving gamers into a craze, the excitement grew when a group of top athletes – including Marshall Faulk, Carmelo Anthony, and the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali – hopped onstage to commemorate the occasion.

Gaming wise, 2004 was golden year for the Xbox: Halo 2, Burnout 3: Takedown, Ninja Gaiden, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, Fable, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and Breakdown were just some of the many stars that year.

But it doesn't end there. This was year Microsoft officially launched Xbox LIVE Arcade. This marked the beginning of digital distribution on consoles. Gamers installed the service via a disc ordered from the Microsoft website or packaged with retail games such as Forza. Early Arcade hits include Bejeweled, Bankshot Billiards and Smash TV.



2005 was a massive year for the Xbox. For one, it hit 5 million units sold in Europe, solidifying it as a serious contender for the European console market. It also was continuing to put out significant quality titles: Psychonauts, Forza Motorsport, Half-Life 2, Indigo Prophecy, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Fight Night Round 2, Jade Empire and some others.

2005 saw the end of major software support for the Xbox from Microsoft however. The Xbox was discontinued in late 2005 in Japan where sales were poor. It was discontinued in late 2006 in Europe and early 2007 in North America. The last Xbox game in Europe was Tony Hawk's Project 8 released in November 2006, and the last game in North America was Madden NFL 09 released in August 2008. Support for out-of-warranty Xbox consoles was discontinued on March 2, 2009, stating that any in-warranty repair now needed will not be undertaken. Xbox access to Xbox Live was stopped on April 15, 2010.

As of May 10th 2006, exactly 7 years ago today, the Xbox was reported to have sold upwards of over 24 million units. Microsoft was officially a viable console maker.


You already know what E3 2005 brought. Yes, Microsoft had a soft unveiling of the Xbox 360 on MTV days before, but E3 is where they brought the rain. Here, the Xbox 360 was shown to the public and all the details spilled.




Watch the E3 2005 unveil in all its glory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZKW3ndZXcs

2005 saw the introduction and conversion of XBLA into the Xbox Live Marketplace. In addition to Xbox Arcade, there is the Video Marketplace where users can download movies, TV shows, game trailers and movie trailers. Game demos and downloadable content such as map packs, dashboard themes and avatars are also available for download.

The Xbox 360 had one of the better launches in console history with a plethora of quality titles to choose from: Call of Duty 2, Kameo: Elements of Power, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Perfect Dark: Zero, Condemned: Criminal Origins, Project Gotham Racing 3, Quake 4 and more.


Again Peter Moore was on state at E3 06' to drop bombs. And just not any bomb, a goddamn nuclear bomb.


This was also gamers' first look at Bungie's next game in the Halo 3 E3 2006 trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsiKUmyL_hY

Being the first to market with a 7th generation console, Microsoft was poised to take advantage of that headstart, and take advantage it did. The Xbox 360 saw a dearth of impressive titles hit the box that year: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Gears of War, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Dead Rising, Viva Pinata, Hitman: Blood Money, F.E.A.R., Call of Duty 3, Fight Night Round 3 and a lot more.


Unfortunately, every console has its hitch, and the Xbox 360 was no exception. This damn thing would overheat faster than a Ford Pinto in the Arizona desert. An overwhelming number of consumers from the previous year well into 2007 were reporting bricked consoles and a ring of red light, later dubbed the deadly "RED RING OF DEATH". This let 360 owners know the damn thing was shot. It took well over a year for Microsoft to finally acknowledge the faulty mess it had created, and on July 5, 2007, the Vice-President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division published an open letter recognizing the console's problems, as well as announcing a massive 3 year warranty from the original date of purchase for every Xbox 360 console that experiences the "general hardware failure" indicated by three flashing red LEDs on the console.


In spite of all this, 2007 was considered one of the golden years of gaming. An outstanding number of games hit the Xbox 360, some of which still considered some of the best games today: BioShock, The Darkness, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Mass Effect, Halo 3, Assassin's Creed, Virtua Fighter 5, Overlord, Forza Motorsport 2, Crackdown, The Orange Box, and tons more.

The Xbox 360 was at full steam ahead.​

A change was in the air for the Xbox 360 dashboard, and Microsoft did quite a facelift. Called "The New Xbox Experience", Microsoft implemented an eye catchy tiles based interface. It was quick and pleasing to the eyes. It included new features like a Party Mode which allowed 8 friends to play games or watch movies together. The NXE also added customizable avatars to Xbox LIVE.


A Tale of Betrayalton
Don't think this year was a slouch. A nifty little announcement reared its head at E3 2008, and spawned one of NeoGAF's most infamous threads. Final Fantasy XIII was confirmed for Xbox 360.

You can watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6JpS-g5B9Y

But enough about that hogwash. What about the GAMES dude!? The 360 in 2008 had plenty of them: Fallout 3, Gears of War 2, Prince of Persia, GTA IV, Call of Duty: World at War, Tales of Vesperia, Dead Space, Burnout Paradise, Mirror's Edge, Left 4 Dead, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Civilization Revolution and more.


For the first time ever in 2009, live TV becomes available on a console as Xbox LIVE launches its Sky Player service in the UK, allowing access to Sky1, Sky Movies, Sky Sports, Disney, MTV and other channels.


This year was again a stellar year for games on the Xbox 360, led by titles like Halo Wars, Halo 3: ODST, Assassin's Creed II, Forza Motorsport 3, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: MW2, Shadow Complex, Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, Need for Speed: Shift, Dragon Age: Origins, GTA IV: Episodes From Liberty City, Left 4 Dead 2 and others.


Say what you want about the Kinect, but there's no doubting Microsoft hit it big with the device. Laggy and obtrusive much of the time, this became a huge seller. The Kinect claimed the Guinness World Record of being the "fastest selling consumer electronics device" after selling a total of 8 million units in its first 60 days. 24 million units of the thing had been shipped as of January 2012. With games like Dance Central and Kinect Sports, it became a home item for casual gamers worldwide.


And much to everyone's pleasurable surprise, Microsoft unveiled their first console redesign in the Xbox 360 S on June 14th 2010. Improved over the original, it featured a 250GB harddrive, actual built in Wi-Fi, and a completely redesigned look. They pulled an Oprah that day, and gave all audience members in the conference room that day a new console, free of charge.


2010 was a damn explosive year when it came to heavy hitters though. Some of these beauties included Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fable III, Bayonetta, Darksiders, Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Metro 2033, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alan Wake, Red Dead Redemption, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Halo: Reach, Dead Rising 2, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Fallout: New Vegas, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit were some of the standouts among others.


In 2011, Microsoft announced it had grown from a meagerly 500,000 Xbox LIVE subscribers in 2002 to over 35 million . It reported that each of these users logs an average of 60 hours of use a month and together, the entire community logs 2.1 billion hours on LIVE.

Also on January 6, Microsoft stated that the Xbox 360 sold over 50 million units worldwide during their CES 2011 conference.


There was nothing too exciting in 11' coming from Microsoft. A somewhat weak 1st party IP year was cushioned by an excellent year for 3rd party titles: Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat, Portal 2, L.A. Noire, DiRT 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dead Island, Gears of War 3, Dark Souls, Batman: Arkham City, Rayman Origins, Forza Motorsport 4, Battlefield 3, Sonic Generations, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: MW3, Saints Row: The Third, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and Halo: CE Anniversary were available throughout the year.


Much to the disappointment of many, right at the start of E3, Microsoft reiterated that this year was all about Xbox 360, and all about 360 it was indeed.

For one, the Zune marketplace is re-launched as Xbox Music and Xbox Video. It offered millions of tracks available for streaming and download as well as the ability to rent or purchase HD movies and TV shows, the service is available on Xbox 360 as well as Windows 8 tablets and PC’s and can by synced to Windows Phones. Also added was Xbox Smartglass. Mobile phones, tablets and PCs can now control the Xbox 360 and allow users to access their movies, TV shows, music etc through those devices.


In other news, the indie hit Minecraft was finally released on Xbox 360 and went on to sell over 1 million copies in a week. By December 2012, it had sold almost 4.5 million units (more than any other XBLA title) and is in the top 10 most played games on LIVE.


But what would the year be without games, games, and more games? The 360 was home to a bunch: Halo 4, Mass Effect 3, Soul Calibur V, The Darkness II, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Max Payne 3, Spec Ops: The Line, Darksiders II, Sleeping Dogs, Borderlands 2, Dishonored, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Forza Horizon, Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Far Cry 3 were some of the big ones.


And here we are.​


See you on the far side peeps.​
Holy Crap! Awesome OP! Nostalgia overload!

I was a heavy Playstation gamer growing up. Me and my brother mocked the Xbox when it was announced. My parents got it for us on Christmas and when I booted up Halo: CE it BLEW ME AWAY.

I remember Splinter Cell on Xbox and thought that game graphics could never get any better. (Still bitter Splinter Cell HD wasn't on 360)

The original Xbox might have been a financial dud, but it had some of the best games ever and set the stage for the 360.


Still got the original Xbox and I remember buying my first Xbox Live Gold package while on vacation in Asia. I got to get online before it were even rolled out in my country.

I'll never forget games like Midtown Madness 3, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and Rainbow Six 3. Wish I tried out Crimson Skies and oh yeah, I had many pleasant hours with Blinx as well as Conker: Live & Reloaded.

Wish True Fantasy Live Online and Before Christ came out - I were so hyped for those. :(


I can almost remember deciding whether to wait for the PS3 (which got released later in Europe) or buying a 360. I remember seeing that Halo 3 E3 trailer that made my decision clear.


2 of the best consoles ever made.

Simple as that


My favorite console of the last two generations has been an Xbox.

Xbox because of KOTOR, Halo, Jade Empire, Fable, etc. Xbox 360 because of XBL, Gears, Mass Effect, Bioshock, Halo, and the dozens of XBLA games.

Great OP!
As a PS2 owner, when I got my Xbox I was blown away, almost as if it was a next gen console in comparison. Halo CE was amazing for a FPS on a console at the time, almost ground breaking. DOA3 was fucking jaw-dropping, JSRF was jaw dropping, Panzer Dragoon Orta was jaw dropping. PC ports were silky smooth. The IQ was also extremely impressive compared to PS2.

It's just a shame it lacked PS2's library. But there were some real gems on the Xbox, making it well worth owning.


Nice OP.

I wasn't a big Xbox gamer during the first half of the previous decade -- spent most of my time with the PS2.

I have definitely enjoyed the 360 though; was my primary console for this gen.


I had the original xbox and the only game I really liked playing was "Crimson Skies" but I played that game A LOT.

Me too my firend... me too.

Really wish the series lived on. Nothing has come close to its exhilarating dog fights since. Maybe that Snoopy game, but not really.


Biggest Xbox 1 memory? Playing that Yakuza Mission game mahthingy and being bummed over the fact that you couldn't just ... drive around - Only do those brutal missions.


Not planning on getting the next Xbox, but you sure as hell brought back some good memories from their first two consoles. Great thread filled with reminders of some great times.
Midtown Madness was the first game that I really loved multiplayer in. Great OP. Dang, Microsoft really changed the business for the better in a lot of ways. Can't wait to see what they bring next.
Great thread. I actually created a new secondary profile on my 360 to replay through the first party games of the 360 from 2005-2007 (Kameo-Mass Effect). It's neat getting the achievements again and seeing the progression of "next-gen" games. I do wish I could go back to the blades to make it more authentic though lol.

I think we an all agree that 2007 was an amazing year for this gen.


Xbox may not have been the best console, or had the best library of games, but damn if I didn't love it at the time.

360 started out pretty good, but it kinda got weird over the last few years.


I absolutely loved the original Xbox. A lot of my favorite games originally came out on that.

360 was for the most part amazing too, before the dark days. Before Kinect.

Can't wait for the 720 reveal!
As a previous (and once again for the most part) Nintendo-only gamer, I bought a 360 exclusively for Rare. I saw a Viva Pinata screenshot on Rare's site with a Fizzlybear wearing Banjo's backpack and realized I just had to have it.

It wasn't long before I jumped on the rest of Rare's Xbox catalog (Kameo, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Conker: Live & Reloaded, and later B-K: Nuts & Bolts), which offered some of my most enjoyable gaming moments ever. I also got exposed to things like Halo, Saints Row: The Third, Bayonetta, and the glorious Sonic Generations (!) which I wouldn't have gotten to play otherwise.

My Xbox days are likely over for the foreseeable future, but it was fun while it lasted.
Beautiful thread, OP. The 360 is my favorite 3D console next to the Gamecube.

2007 was a beast of a year for the console. I bought it that year because of Bioshock and Mass Effect (add Halo 3 to that) Never regret getting the console. My Allard is ready for the nextbox.



I remember that one.

Yeah that one.

It looked so pretty and played nicely but I wanted to free-drive so badly. Can't remember if it was free-roam or just pseudo free-roam, like an illusion. You never really got to explore but the layout / visuals kinda gave the impression of a larger, open city.
Despite breaking down at least twice, I fucking love my 360.
So many memories. Incredible how long this generation has lasted and how good it was. it's been over 7 years.
Thanks for the nostalgia, OP.

Not jumping into Nextgen any time soon though. I'll wait for a price cut or three, especially if there's any kind of used game blocking going on.


Here's what blows my mind is that Xbox 360 is so old, that my son who is going into first grade, was born AFTER the Xbox 360 launch. To him, the 360 is what a 2600 or NES was to me.
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