Hello hello, again, Retronauts. How are we? I know the past week has been rough for a lot of people across the plain, but we are back to rejuvenate your nostalgia and make you happy again! And what a week to return, because on November 15th, it just happened to be the 15th Birthday of the first Xbox edition! Let’s take a look back on what was such a revolutionary piece of hardware.
The Xbox was Microsoft’s answer to the 6th Gen wars between Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s Gamecube, and Sega’s recently defunct Dreamcast. Although a big, clunky sized console as opposed to the smallish size of the Gamecube and the sleekness of the PS2, it was a powerhouse ready to be unleashed.
A year following its release, it debuted it’s now worldwide and well known service, Xbox Live, which enabled players to connect online through a subscription service with or without a broadband connection (so dated!). It rivaled that of PS2’s online functionality, where its only gripe with players was that they had to pay for it. But it was met with much praise, for having a friends-list as well as stable and overall better servers.
Aside from the Online functionality, the Xbox was also considered a giant, at-home iPod. I had tons of friends with Xbox’s who had hours upon hours of music stored on theirs for times where they wanted to just kick back and relax. It seemed perfect, and the home-screen wasn’t too bad on the eyes, either!
With the Xbox’s release, came a slew of videogame titles that would shape the original console forever. The Halo series, especially Halo 2, would become its best selling title and most popular online game well through 7th Gen. But there were plenty of other titles that were worthy of attention, and go down in history as innovative Xbox exclusives.
Tecmo’s Xbox exclusive title “Ninja Gaiden” is a favorite among original Xbox-ers. Following the story of Ryu Hayabusa, this action-adventure game featured more hack and slash than anyone could ask for. With a playable character that could run up walls, perform sick acrobatic feats, and had a huge arsenal of weapons at their disposal, Ninja Gaiden was a fantastic remake that allowed players to release their true inner ninja.
THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: ESCAPE FROM BUTCHER BAY
As a prequel to the action packed film “The Chronicles of Riddick,” this critically acclaimed release for the Xbox and Windows follows protagonist Richard Riddick on a wild adventure to escape a maximum-security prison named Butcher Bay. Full of action and stealth mechanics, quests for information and rewards, this first-person perspective gave bashing your inmate enemies a much more intimate feel. You were Riddick, and you were badass. This game was so good, it went on to win an accolade of awards — now that’s a legacy.
DEF JAM: FIGHT FOR NY
I know you’re thinking “wait, what? Def Jam in the same list as Riddick and Gaiden?” That’s right, Retronauts. Although not solely an Xbox exclusive (it was also released for the Sony PS2 and the Nintendo Gamecube), it was a sequel to the popular title Def Jam Vendetta, and EA Sport’s attempts at making a different yet successful type of wrestling game. In Fight For NY however, the realm of wrestling was explored and expanded upon, offering new types of wrestling styles that varied from Martial Arts to Submissions. It featured some of people’s favorite hip-hop artists and hip-hop culture representatives, such as DMX, Method Man, Joe Budden, and a plethora of other notable names. With a story mode that is similar to any underdog story, it’s a new twist on an old favorite, and worthy of a mention on this 15th Anniversary.
There are tons of more titles that deserve an honorable mention, such as the Fight Night series, Psychonauts, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and more. And although most games were cross-platformed between Generation 6, it still doesn’t mean the Xbox was slacking. It was revolutionary for online play, and has only since gotten better.
We hope Xbox sticks around for another 15 years! Have a favorite game we didn’t mention? Let us know, and have a wonderful Throwback Thursday!