15 years ago, this beautiful baby was born, weighing in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces, measuring 12.5″ × 4″ × 10.5″ to the proud parents Bill Gates, Seamus Blackley, and countless others. The original Xbox and the brand that it ushered in are a decade and a half old, as is the mega-hit series that launched along side it, Halo: Combat Evolved. Microsoft is celebrating by giving control of the Xbox Snapchat account to marketing boss Aaron Greenberg, while current Halo dev 343 Industries is holding a livestream at 3:43 p.m. PST.
The system had a small list of exclusives. It really only survived because of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Xbox Live, but that’s not all there was to the system. Games like Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Project Gotham Racing 2, and Jet Set Radio Future ensured a pretty wide variety of games. The original Xbox was the birthplace of Forza Motorsport, one of the Xbox brand’s chief franchises, and also marked the first appearance of the infamous Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
In addition to Jet Set Radio Future, the original Xbox was host to a pile of great Sega games, including Shenmue II and Panzer Dragoon Orta.
At the time, it had a clear hardware advantage over its competitors, the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube, and games on Xbox looked better almost without exception. Splinter Cell wasn’t an Xbox exclusive by any means, but the first game saw the brunt of its advertising pointed at the Xbox version.
There was also a game called N.U.D.E.@ Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment, which was just as Japanese as you think and not nearly as nude as some might hope.
I loved the original Xbox thanks to games like Shenmue II
Some of my strongest memories of the system come from Shenmue II, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and countless hours of Top Spin, one of the last fun tennis video games. I worked extra hours to be able to afford Knights of the Old Republic, and was repaid with some of the best time I’ve ever spent with the Star Wars franchise. I was still primarily a console gamer at that point, so that game was also one of my very first experiences with BioWare games, and it was because of Knights of the Old Republic that I looked as forward to Dragon Age and Mass Effect as I did. And while I loved Gran Turismo, it was Forza Motorsport that truly hooked me as it provided more variety in just the first game than Gran Turismo had done in years.
What was your favorite Xbox game? Jump in the comments and let us know, whether it was exclusive or not, online or off, or whatever else.