Twenty years ago, I wasn’t all that hyped for the Xbox. Partly it was because I couldn’t afford or justify having yet another console – I already owned a PS2, a Dreamcast a Game Boy Advance and even a Japanese GameCube, months prior to it releasing in the UK.

I wasn’t all that impressed with the launch line-up for Microsoft’s console debut either; Halo aside, the exclusives felt like off-brand versions of titles already available on other consoles – even Project Gotham Racing was essentially an update of the Dreamcast’s Metropolis Street Racer in all but name. Not that these games were bad of course – they just didn’t have the wow factor I needed to be drawn in.

My friend Brad grabbed a console on day one, however – and Halo did win me over, especially when playing in co-op. It still didn’t justify the cost of the console alone, however.

In fact, I didn’t get my hands on an Xbox until really late in its lifespan (unbeknownst to me, Microsoft would all but ditch the console in favour of its successor, the Xbox 360, just a year later). A colleague of mine at work was looking to sell his console and a fairly comprehensive collection of games; he was only asking £150 for the bundle and I just couldn’t resist.

It came with Halo of course – but I was also pretty enamoured with (non-exclusive) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the aforementioned Project Gotham Racing and – this was the game that sold me on getting the console in general – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Had it not been for Bioware’s incredible Star Wars RPG, I probably would have resisted the Xbox altogether. It was exclusive to Microsoft’s console, though it was also available on PC of course – but it’d be a decade until I managed to get my hands on my first real gaming PC. So the Xbox it was. I was captivated; Knights of the Old Republic probably justified my purchase of the console all by itself, given how much time I sank into it.

Without that, who knows if I would also have succumbed to the Xbox 360, a console which featured games I still play on to this very day? With Microsoft’s latest backwards compatibility update bringing some of the very first games I played on my Xbox 360 back in early 2006, I was amazed to see the dates I unlocked some of my very first achievements on the console – April 24th 2006 was the first achievement unlocked in pool game Bankshot Billiards 2, for example – and I believe I’d only had the console a day or two when I purchased that on the then-very futuristic feeling Xbox Live Arcade.

Though I had years of amazing gaming memories with the Xbox 360 and still have my console hooked up even now, I was completely unimpressed by the reveal of the Xbox One, as well as the anti-consumer, arrogant attitudes of Xbox management at the time. It’d take until Phil Spencer had really turned things around for the brand and the cost of the Xbox One X to drop slightly before I jumped back on board with the brand.

I was extremely lucky to secure an Xbox Series X for launch day and barely a day has gone by since November 2020 in which I haven’t played the console. Thanks to Game Pass, I’ve had a chance to play literally hundreds of games I wouldn’t have been able to try otherwise – and it’s also given me the opportunity to experiment with games I wouldn’t even have been interested in trying before. This has been incredibly beneficial – without Game Pass, I never would have given the Forza Horizon series a chance, for example (I’m generally uninterested in racing/driving games), yet they’re now among my favourite games of all time.

The Xbox brand has arguably never been stronger. With the success of the newly launched Forza Horizon 5 recently and Halo Infinite’s multiplayer just released, with the campaign imminent too, it’s a fantastic time to be an Xbox gamer.

And I’m glad that I’ve been there for quite a few of the past two decades too. Here’s to the next 20 years!

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2 Comments »

  1. If money was no objection, I’d love to get both Xbox and PS5 and compare them by myself… I’ve never been able to buy both consoles and I started with a PS3 that was gifted for Xmas… And I loved it.
    Though Xbox does have a few games I’d love to try. And Game Pass sounds like a very decent service!
    Great post, fun to read a bit about your Xbox history and present. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, Game Pass is absolutely amazing – especially if you can’t afford to buy many games. I certainly can’t, so it’s been a lifesaver!

      Xbox Series S and Game Pass is an incredibly cheap way to get on board with the current generation and I think a lot of people who were previously Playstation only are just finding that out!

      Thanks so much Pixy. Wasn’t sure what to write about today and it just struck me that I hadn’t written about the 20th anniversary this week ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

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