11: Gaming System of Choice?

You might be surprised by this one….

30 Day challenge 11

Did you think I was going to pick a Sega console? The Mega Drive and Master System are up there, as is the Gamecube. However, my favourite system of all time is the Xbox 360.

Why you ask? I think it’s down to three things.

  1. The Xbox 360 was the best we’ve got in terms of ‘modern console’ attributes.
  2. The Xbox 360 had an amazing library of games, both modern and retro
  3. It was the most invested I’ve been in a console.

Let me clarify…

The Xbox 360 was the machine that popularized many of the things we take for granted in this generation and I would argue it did them better. Online gaming? Superb – great chat functions, easy to use, fantastic games to use online. Wireless pads? The Xbox 360 was the first machine to really make them a regular thing. They were damn fine pads too – I’d argue only the PS4 pad is better. Online shop? Xbox Live Arcade was perfect, things were easy to find and there was a great selection of games.

Speaking of games, the Xbox 360 had a great library…let’s break down a potential Xbox 360 library

  • Xbox Originals – so that’s Halo, Halo 2, Buffy, Burnout 1,2 and 3, Max Payne, GTA3/Vice City/San Andreas, Panza Dragoon Orta and Outrun 2, to name a few
  • Xbox Live Arcade games – the varied likes of Paperboy, Double Dragon, Burnout 3, Castlevania; Symphony Of The Night, Street Fighter 2, Call Of Duty 1, Garou: Mark Of The Wolves plus things we never though we would see again like Simpsons Arcade and TMNT.
  • Great compilations – the brilliant Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, Konami Classics 1 & 2, Capcom Digital Collection, Namco Museum…
  • Great games that were hits – Gears of War and Halo 3, if you like those games. Call of Duty 2 and 4 (the peak of the series, IMO), GTA IV, Fallout 3, Oblivion, The Darkness, Alan Wake, Stranglehold, Viva Pinata, Batman: Arkham Asylum…
  • Sports games – you had the amazing Fight Night Round 4, NHL12 (a game so good, it gets remade every year) a Pro Evo or FIFA (depending on your tastes) WWE 12, Brian Lara Cricket, the UFC games…
  • Racing games – Burnout Paradise, Project Gotham, Test Drive, Forza…..
  • Others – I could be here for hours…..Command & Conquer 3, Civilization Revolutions, Amped, Dead or Alive, WET, Perfect Dark Zero, Virtua Fighter 5…

I’m sure I’ve missed loads out – I know nothing about RPGs for example. There are some great games there though!

Finally, the Xbox 360 was a big console purchase for me. It’s the first and only console I ever bought on launch. I sold my PS2, Xbox and Gamecube and got a preorder via a friend who worked at Dixons. I just had a feeling that the XBox 360 was going to be special – gaming had consumed me at this point and I didn’t want to be left behind…I wanted to ride the wave! I still remember the day I got it, over twelve years ago. I asked my friend to come with me as I had heard the machine was heavy (it was!) and we spent an afternoon struggling to get the wireless pads working and pretending to like Kameo. Subsequent months were spent learning how to play first person shooters (thanks to Perfect Dark Zero) and getting use to having just one console with a few launch games on….I miss those days. There was an innocence about them. It was next gen gaming without the negatives, like DLC, loot boxes, Ultimate Team and constant releases of remastered games.

A lot happened to me too during this time…I grew up with the console. I was 21 when I got my Xbox 360. I was single, had spare money/time and was dedicated to gaming, playing the likes of Dead Rising, Burnout Revenge, Dead or Alive 4 and Amped. I moved to Didsbury in South Manchester and played a lot of NHL 2K7, Fight Night Round 3 and Pro Evolution Soccer 6 to acclimatize. When I got a place of my own in Hulme a few months later, the Xbox 360 was crucial in helping me cope with such a big adjustment. The first night, I felt very alone and scared. The second night I simply manned up and got Pro Evo 6 up and running. I never looked back. I got myself online and got dragged into the world of Call of Duty 2 and Command & Conquer. I spent my call centre wages on new games like Viva Pinata, The Darkness and Stranglehold (the game where I learned that special editions are NOT valuable collectors items.) My first Christmas back at home was spent playing Sega Rally in the corner of the living room.

I met someone…and met more games too. NHL09 had come out and I was obsessed with it, often playing it until 4am on the weekends. I was still addicted to Pro Evo and had to find time to fit Call of Duty 4 in too. When I moved back to Didsbury, I started actively collecting games now I had space, with around 32 Xbox 360 games. I discovered Fallout 3 in Didsbury, as well as trying to make sense of Call of Juraez and lots of other rental games from Lovefilm. I had to get a new Xbox, as the new telly had broken the Xbox’s TV receptor, so ‘treated’ myself to Bullet Witch and Dark Sector to soften the blow. I soon upgraded to the slinky Elite model and enjoyed Batman: Arkham Asylum. I moved again and got married in 2011, but was still hitting the Xbox hard. NHL12, Rage (remember that game? I was so disappointed…) and WWE 12 were getting lots of play.

I sold my XBox 360 at the start of 2012. I had a child on the way and felt I was losing my way with gaming…too many games, not enough time. I thought that was the end for me. However, messing around on my laptop got old and I ended up buying a PS3 in Summer 2013…which was the start of the journey to Retro Redress.

Anyway, apologies, this post ended up being 700 words longer than I intended! It’s made me miss my Xbox 360…looking back, they were some great days.