Shacknews remembers the original Xbox

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the original Xbox. While team Microsoft celebrates by giving you discounts on Black Eyed Peas music videos, the Shacknews team decided to take a look back at our favorite Xbox moments.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the original Xbox. While team Microsoft celebrates by offering discounted Black Eyed Peas music videos, the Shacknews team decided to take a look back at our favorite Xbox moments. Garnett Lee I wasn't completely sure what to make of the Xbox when it launched. I was still lamenting the fate of the Dreamcast, and wondered how the odd black box with its ridiculous looking controller would fare any better. Yet, there was Dead or Alive 3, and I wanted to believe. Not that it was easy early on. There was Azurik--so bad, and not the sort of go back and chuckle at it bad but outright bad, the tech demo-tuned-fighting game Kakuto Chojin (later to also be the subject of controversy), and Microsoft's lackluster attempts at sports games. Halo's role in anchoring the Xbox so it could weather this swirling mess almost cannot be overstated. Not only for its single-player, but for the shift it started in multiplayer. I remember the first time I packed up my Xbox, a TV, and CAT-5 cables to head to my buddy's place for Halo. A couple cases of beer later it was sunrise and the eight or so of us who played had been trading off on the four linked consoles all night.

The redesigned Xbox 'S' controller

It was enough to carry the Xbox over until studios could catch up, which they eventually did. Before I knew it my imported 'S' controller was collecting dust because Microsoft came to its senses and made that the default controller, and I had a stack of good Xbox games to play--and Live. Steve Watts I never actually owned an OG Xbox personally; I was in college and as the provider of both the PS2 and GameCube, Xbox duties belonged to my roommate. My strongest memory comes from the winter of KOTOR, when the five of us sharing an apartment all created our own Jedi (with varying degrees of evil) and spent a month swapping stories about our adventures. That was the first time I really took notice of the Xbox, and Crimson Skies helped the system continue to impress me. For whatever reason, I missed the Halo boat by a few years.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Alice O'Connor Given all the wonderful things that were happening on PC around that time, and my perpetual penniless state, I never actually played the original Xbox. In fact, I'm not certain I've even seen one in person. However, for better and for worse, it brought PC and console development closer together, helping shape the past decade of the industry. So that's a thing that happened. Andrew Yoon I was a huge Gamecube fanboy back when the original Xbox had launched. I remembered looking at Microsoft's machine, scoffing at its size, telling myself that the diminutive Gamecube was just as powerful, and had better games. The console was a monstrosity--but even funnier was its controller, which was better served as a tool to bludgeon people with, not play games on.

Penny Arcade's take on the original Xbox controller

Honestly, I wasn't swept away by Halo. Moving through the same corridor over and over again got tiresome, and the Xbox wasn't going to take me away from the likes of Unreal Tournament on PC. I had written off the Xbox entirely, until a system seller came along: Otogi 2 was unlike any game I had seen--it was a beautiful, quirky brawler with destructive sensibilities that no game since has matched. Sega decided to bring the game over to the States--an odd decision because its niche appeal guaranteed lackluster sales. With Otogi 2 in hand, I could enjoy some of Xbox's lesser-sung titles: Jet Set Radio Future and Panzer Dragoon Orta, to name a few. In the end, these sadly-forgotten classics have made Xbox one of my most beloved consoles.

Jet Set Radio Future

Xav de Matos Working at retail for Halo 2 was a strange experience that really shifted the way video games were released. I had never seen such a craze for midnight launches to grab Bungie's second installment in the franchise. I remember people clamoring for the game's 'Limited Edition,' which--unlike today--was rarely ever seen at retail. As a gamer, I remember being disappointed by Halo 2's infamous campaign ending. Online multiplayer dulled the pain, though, as Halo 2's implementation and circumvention of Xbox Live features (like 'fake' clans) was amazing. Between online marathons of Halo 2 and Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War, I'm not entirely sure how I made it out of school.
Peter Moore supposedly gets a tattoo for Halo 2

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

From The Chatty
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    November 15, 2011 12:45 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Shacknews remembers the original Xbox.

    Today marks the 10th anniversary of the original Xbox. While team Microsoft celebrates by giving you discounts on Black Eyed Peas music videos, the Shacknews team decided to take a look back at our favorite Xbox moments.

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      November 15, 2011 12:53 PM

      I'm celebrating the release of DirectX 8.1 (also 10 years old) instead

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      November 15, 2011 12:58 PM

      I remember when I had access to my Live Account.

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        November 15, 2011 12:59 PM

        It's been about 2 months since they began their investigation for me. I need to call them up and see if I can get an update.

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          November 15, 2011 1:00 PM

          You'll get no new information and they'll tell you they're working on it.

          I'm slightly ahead of you. Around 72 days now.

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      November 15, 2011 1:06 PM

      A Shacknews look-back without a single mention of Midtown Madness 3 is a travesty. You guys are all fired.

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        November 15, 2011 1:13 PM

        Oh man, memory sparked! Damn, totally forgot cruising around in that.

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        November 15, 2011 1:15 PM

        I still hate the Chrysler Crossfire because of that game

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          November 15, 2011 3:49 PM

          We need to find some way to play that again. I still have my Xbox hooked up.

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        November 15, 2011 8:24 PM

        I remember some pretty bad ass games with shackers on Project Gotham Racing 2.
        I can't remember who I used to play with but they were regular shackers.

        cat & mouse was pretty cool.

        also owning Genjuro on SF3:third strike was pretty rad

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      November 15, 2011 1:12 PM

      that xbox picture is huge

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      November 15, 2011 1:19 PM

      I understand I'm not the target market here, but what in gods name would motivate you to purchase BEP videos ever when you can watch them online?

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      November 15, 2011 1:34 PM

      The original XBox controller was the perfect size for my hands. The buttons didn't feel that good, and analog button combos in DoA3 were confusing. The PS3 and 360 controllers cramp my hands after about 10 minutes of solid gameplay.

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        November 15, 2011 2:02 PM

        They were the perfect size, although the black/white buttons were useless.

        And the original Halo wasn't actually that good of a game. It was short, repetitive (remember going BACK through half the levels?) and ended with essentially "space zombies". But, it was the best shooter on any console at the time. It has, unfortunately, set the mediocre console FPS standards we're all buried in these days.

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          November 15, 2011 6:17 PM

          lol...troll much? I will agree, though, that the Duke controller was awesome.

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          November 15, 2011 6:24 PM

          i like how they are sitting on the xbox

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      November 15, 2011 2:46 PM


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      November 15, 2011 2:47 PM


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      November 15, 2011 2:50 PM

      sigh. the console that brought us KOTOR. and none will be released on the 360 :( :( :(

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      November 15, 2011 2:59 PM

      I hated how small the screen was on the original XBOX:

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      November 15, 2011 3:04 PM

      The Xbox Live Arcade team cellebration cake:

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      November 15, 2011 3:15 PM

      I still play xbox over xlink kai or xbconnect, the only thing that gets me is that
      everybody just wants to play halo2.

      But I still preffer the original xbox over the 360. It seemed to have a more diverse library
      than the 360's standard FPS fare.

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        November 15, 2011 7:58 PM

        Yeah, there were more interesting retail games back then. I think the 360 has a lot of good downloadable games though.

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      November 15, 2011 4:00 PM

      wow, it's been 10 years already? as in 2001? I can't believe it

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      November 15, 2011 5:37 PM


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      November 15, 2011 5:55 PM

      I was at the launch event in Manhattan ten years ago. Doesn't seem like that long ago.

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      November 15, 2011 6:19 PM

      Good times. The controller and console was a bit big but the first few years of Xbox Live were pure sex.

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      November 15, 2011 6:31 PM

      I think Top Spin and Crimson Skies were my two most played Xbox games outside of the usual suspects. Great console, even if it was lolhuge. Also, XBMC! I still maintain a XBMC box, so that's something!

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        November 16, 2011 12:15 AM

        hmmm...was just checking out XBMC's website. I'd heard of this but never really looked into it, and I've had an XBOX kicking around from an old roommate for a couple years now. What are some of XBMC's uses?

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      November 15, 2011 6:35 PM

      A moment of silence for Phantom Dust.

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      November 15, 2011 7:02 PM

      it wasnt easy getting that controller inserted in my ass but once i could, it was WORTH IT

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      November 15, 2011 8:03 PM

      Jade Empire, Fable 1, XBMC, N64 emulation, Forza 1 - the machine was under rated :( RIP XOXO

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        November 15, 2011 9:26 PM

        U could run n64 emulator? That's sick. I heard of ppl saving movies and games on the hard drive but that's something else

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      November 15, 2011 11:27 PM

      Crimson Skies, Rallisport Challenge 2, and ESPN NFL 2K5 were the highlights of my Xbox gaming days.

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      November 21, 2011 10:58 PM


Hello, Meet Lola