If you grew up in the haze of Planet Hollywood and 00s MTV, there’s a chance you may have spent some time with the original Xbox. Microsoft’s first gaming console, it’s a monolithic beast that isn’t all that well-remembered compared to some of its peers, but still delivered some of the most fascinating games of the past few decades. Inarguably, many of the original Xbox games deserve to be brought back so a new generation can enjoy them.
Speaking of which, the original Xbox turns 20 this month, which is why we want to spend some time showing the black box some love. Read on as we acknowledge the games that defined its era.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo was the ultimate original Xbox game; the bottle of champagne that launched the good ship Xbox on November 15, 2001. A deeply-influential space shooter widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, Microsoft is still trying to capture its brilliance decades later. Games like 343 Industries’ Halo Infinite are dying to evoke some of the series’ riveting roots. Who can forget the Assault on the Control Room, or that riveting escape in the warthog during the game’s finale?
Conker: Live & Reloaded
One of the best N64 games came to the original Xbox in style in 2005 after Microsoft bought British studio Rare. This is a beautiful relationship that has blossomed in the decades since, bringing us games like Viva Pinata and Sea of Thieves. Conker: Live and Reloaded remastered a superb single-player adventure with such strong art direction that it still holds up today via backwards compatibility on the Xbox Series X. And who can forget that manic, gore-covered World War 2 multiplayer mode in the early days of Xbox Live!
Double Fine made its debut on the Xbox with Psychonauts; a fascinating, highly-ambitious 3D platformer about exploring the “mental worlds” of the afflicted and soothing their problems. A brave and hilarious cult classic about the power of empathy, Psychonauts resonated so much with fans in 2005 that it warranted a sequel, Psychonauts 2, more than 15 years later. If you want to relive the fun, you can grab it for PC below!
Jet Set Radio Future
Objectively one of the most stylish games ever made, Jet Set Radio Future offered superb soundscapes and slick soulful graffiti gameplay when it launched in 2002 and let players inline skate around a dystopian Tokyo. No game has managed to properly capture its cell-shaded style since, and without a remake or remaster for modern consoles, it has been left to flounder on the original Xbox for decades. If Microsoft was going to bring any game back for the 20th anniversary, it should be this one!
Otogi: Myth of Demons
Before Dark Souls, Japanese video games company FromSoftware delivered a gorgeous duo of third-person action-adventure games on the original Xbox; the Otogi series. With an inspired story, gorgeous vistas, stunning set pieces and (most importantly) fun combat, Otogi: Myth of Demons was a sign of things to come from the now legendary studio. Another game lost in time, so here’s hoping Otogi gets brought to modern consoles in the near future
What were your favourite games for the original Xbox? Let us know over at our Community Forum!