HISTORY / COLLECTING: Microsoft XBox

HISTORY OF THE XBOX

In 2001 Microsoft made its first move into the console gaming market with the release of its “XBOX” console. It launched at a hefty price tag of $299.99 (which would be $401 today adjusted for inflation). The XBox was a bit more powerful than its peers (PS2 and GameCube), sporting a Pentium processor, hard disk drive and full Dolby Digital sound. Notable launch titles included Halo, Project Gotham Racing and Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee. Halo of course for those of us who remember was a huge hit with the gaming community and is partly responsible for the huge influx of first person shooters on consoles over the next decade and a half. It helped propel the XBox past the GameCube into the #2 spot right behind the PS2, where it stayed for pretty much the entirety of its lifecycle. Over its roughly 8 year lifecycle it sold a respectable 24 million units.

Just as important as the console itself though was Microsoft’s creation of XBox LIVE shortly after the console’s launch. XBox Live is an online gaming service that consumers pay a monthly fee to maintain access to. It allows players to play against and with other Xbox users around the globe, as well as access and buy games, movies, music and more. In modern times this sounds far from a unique service, as we are surrounded by hundreds of them, but at the time XBox Live came out it is a ground breaking move for the console gaming world that would give them a foothold in the competition between the next generation of consoles and forced Sony and Nintendo to create their own online services to have any hope of competing with Microsoft over the long haul.

The XBox’s controller was similar to other button layouts we’ve seen, but added two small white and black buttons that served minimal use in some games. The controller is bigger than most others at the time and featured dual analog sticks as well as a d-pad, with two rows of shoulder buttons, similar to Sony’s DualShock design. While the controller does have room at the top to have a memory card inserted, memory cards were not really necessary for those with a small to moderate collection of games as the XBox’s hard disk drive stored enough memory to support a respectable amount of game saves, one of the few advantages it had over its rival PS2.

PERSONAL HISTORY WITH THE XBOX

During this era of consoles I and most of my friends had a PS2. Hell, everyone had a PS2. It is after all the best selling console of all-time. Earliest recollections I have with the XBox are first at a Wal-Mart demo station I played Oddworld and didn’t care for itsc chaos at all. Not necessarily the system, because the game looked beautiful and the control was pretty similar to the DualShock. I just didn’t care for the gameplay of Oddworld, wasn’t my cup of tea. Months later though a little brother of a friend of my girlfriend and I played through the Halo campaign co-op and that unsurprisingly sold me on the XBox. This thing had beautiful games and Halo was jaw dropping amazing at the time, I HAD to have one. But we could never afford to get a new console and I never ended up owning an original XBox for myself until I was an adult and had started collecting seriously. Still, I had my moments with it at friend’s houses from time to time, particularly Halo, Halo 2, Project Gotham Racing and the Splinter Cell series.

COLLECTING FOR THE XBOX

Collecting the console itself and its games is actually not too difficult or expensive to do. Actually all three of the consoles of that generation are reasonable in price to collect for. The console itself is built like a damn tank (and heavy as one too) and so it tends to hold up well with time, so there’s not much worry of buying dud used XBox’s. Most of the gems for the system are reasonably price ~$20 or less too like the Halo, Splinter Cell, Project Gotham, Oddworld and Grand Theft Auto series. Most game stores, pawn shops and thrift stores that sell used games will have most of what you’re looking for. So if XBox collecting sounds like something you’re interested in then I say dive right in, its cheap and easy. There’s a “yo momma” joke to be made somewhere in there.

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