Happy 20th anniversary to the Xbox brand and its library of amazing software. It was just twenty years ago this week that the first Xbox console hit retail shelves, forever changing the course of videogame history. In celebration of this milestone, we asked our staffers to name their favorite Xbox games or franchises. From Halo and Crimson Skies to Forza and Fable, there are lots to choose from.
Question: What is your favorite Xbox game or franchise ever?
1 vs. 100 - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Game Show Editor
So how's this for an outside-the-box pick? This isn't to say I haven't gotten joy out of the Xbox. The Halo games have been good, for the most part. Heck, I played a lot of Halo 5 multiplayer. The Gears games have been ok, the Forza games are reliable, and Killer Instinct even grew to be something damn great by the end.
The thing about 1 vs. 100, though, is that there hadn't been anything like it before and we haven't had anything like it since. It was the one video game equivalent to appointment television. People gathered around and logged in to Xbox Live to take part in this game, whether it's as part of the audience, as part of the Mob (which I got to be part of once!), or as the One. There were family nights built around this. And, by the end, people wanted more.
I get that all good things have to come to an end, but what bothered me about 1 vs. 100's closure was that nobody's been able to replicate this phenomenon. This was a force in video games, one I've never forgotten and one I hope to see again in the future. Lord knows Phil Spencer's been teasing it enough times.
Halo - Donovan Erskine, Spartan
I don’t care if it’s the basic answer, Halo is by far my favorite Xbox franchise. Halo 2 was my first FPS, and it’s what set me on the path that led me to where I am today. With Halo Infinite’s multiplayer now available, Halo is proving that it’s still a top dog in the gaming world decades later. Not only is it my favorite Xbox franchise, but Halo is also one of my favorite franchises in all of gaming.
Crackdown - Blake Morse, Co-EIC
Okay, so maybe the Crackdown franchise didn’t end on a high note with 3, but when I first got my Xbox 360 I was all about that green collecting life. I’ve probably sunk more hours into the Crackdown series than any other Xbox exclusive for better or for worse. Heck, I even enjoyed leaping around in 3 more than I probably should’ve. But hey, maybe I’m just basic. I can live with that.
Ninja Gaiden - David L. Craddock, Long Reads Editor
I played the 8-bit Ninja Gaiden games, but little-kid me thought they were too difficult. College-aged me thought Team Ninja’s reboot on OG Xbox was too difficult and loved every second of it. Fighting a tank with arrows, mastering elaborate combos, fighting the final three bosses with no checkpoints… Yeah, that’s the stuff. I never played the second or third games for some reason, but that first Ninja Gaiden was my favorite Xbox exclusive and holds up fairly well.
Forza - Chris Jarrard, Has the best opinions on staff
When I think of my favorite Xbox franchises, a few choices spring to mind, but none so prominent as Forza. While it began life as an attempt to offer Xbox owners an alternative to Sony and Polyphony Digital’s wonderful Gran Tourismo titles, it has since evolved into a series that offers simcade and arcade driving fans some of the fittest games the genre has ever seen. The Horizon spinoff series, produced by Playground Games, has become one of the Xbox brand’s tentpole franchises over the last console generation, and with the release of Forza Horizon 5, seems like the hits will continue coming. Shout out to the OG Fusion Frenzy as well.
Sunset Overdrive - Bill Lavoy, Tank Commander
I know this one is weird but when I was browsing the list of games I have played on Xbox it really stuck out to me. I’ve played other games that are Xbox/PC exclusives on my PC that were great, but Sunset Overdrive is a game I played on my Xbox One back in the day and I absolutely loved it. As soon as it popped up I was immediately flooded with fond memories, so it was a no-brainer for me.
Fable - TJ Denzer, Fancy fantasy news editor of choice
I think the Xbox franchise that has always provided me with the most joy out of anything was the Fable series. It wasn’t without its faults, but dang if the adventure was just a series of amazing ups, downs, and the occasional venereal disease from not using a condom during some of those up-downs. Many adventures come and go, but the journey to become the hero or villain of Albion as I saw fit and the characters I influence or were influenced by along the way will always stay with me as some of my favorite memories of early Xbox.
Jet Set Radio Future - Dennis White, Social Media/Community Manager
There are plenty of games I was close to choosing, Fable, Sea of Thieves, Killer Instinct, and even a portion of Dead or Alive franchise come to mind but JSRF had such a hold on me that I gotta show it some love. The game expanded on everything from the Dreamcast original and had a killer soundtrack and visuals that blew my mind at the time. I’m kind of sad that it wasn’t on the backwards compatibility list that Xbox just rolled out because it seems like this is their last batch of upgrades. So there you have it. An amazing sequel potentially locked to an original Xbox which makes the experience of playing it more rare I suppose. I hope that things change though so more people can experience the game.
Well, there you have it, folks. The Shacknews staff has spoken. Do you agree with their picks? Any hidden gems that deserve some time in the spotlight? Let us know in the comments below.
Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What is your favorite Xbox game or franchise ever?
Geometry Wars, seriously.
Oh, and Crimson Skies.
More like watcherxp skies
GeoWars is legit incredible. I wish Bizarre Creations didn't go kaput.