November 22nd, 2005. It seems so long ago. A whole decade ago, but that was the day that the Xbox 360 launched, and boy was it something. While the console will remain notorious for its Red Ring of Death faults, gamers will more fondly remember the epic gaming moments, the selection of games, and the party chats.
Before I owned an Xbox 360, my console at the time was the Nintendo Gamecube. I’d play FIFA 06 religiously, updating the rosters based on transfer market news found in the newspapers. Yep, I didn’t have internet for my Gamecube. What got me interested in the 360 however, was Test Drive Unlimited. I longed for a good driving game and watching countless videos and gameplay footage for it on IGN back then, I couldn’t wait to pick up an Xbox 360 to play it. I bought the console with that game, and on my way home with it, I popped into a local Gamestop and bought Call of Duty 2 and unfortunately, The Outfit. One of the few games I’ve ever traded in on that platform. Ugh… *shivers*.
10 Years ago today we launched Xbox 360. Thank you to the millions of fans around the world for helping us create a great decade of gaming
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) November 22, 2015
With Forza Motorsport 2’s release, I was over the moon, after playing some of the original title that my friend let me try. Forza 2 broke my Xbox 360. I had to send it away. My brother then bought an Xbox 360 as we couldn’t wait those weeks for my one to return. Then came Fight Night Round 3, a series I fell in love with and can’t see how EA can top the magnificent Fight Night Champion. We also saw the release of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Dead Rising, and then Crackdown. Dead Rising had its third release with the Xbox One’s launch, and Crackdown 3 is currently in development, which is a super fun game to be looking forward to.
Xbox wouldn’t be Xbox without Halo, and the wait for Halo 3’s launch in September of 2007 had fans on edge. Eventually it came, and fans could finish the fight. Xbox fans were also treated to Halo ODST, Halo Wars and Halo Reach, before Halo 4 landed in 2012. We also had an Anniversary release of the original Halo, remastered for the current console. Lots of Halo, lots of Forza, but something else needs a mention, and you guessed it, it’s Gears of War.
Celebrating 9 years since its release in 2006 this month, Gears of War was a game changer. Taking traditional first-person shooters, turning it into a third-person shooter and adding a cover system, Gears of War was a gorgeous yet gritty adventure, which introduced the world to fantastic campaign co-op, the Lancer with its chainsaw bayonet, and some wonderful Marcus Fenix grunts. As I’ve talked about in detail before, I’ve met some of my best friends in the lobbies of Gears of War multiplayer, who I still call friends to this day. Something about Gears brought people together, if you got past the loudmouth abusers on the internet.
In 2008, Microsoft update the Xbox 360 with the New Xbox Experience, which may sound familiar to the Xbox One’s recent update, the New Xbox One Experience. Before the NXE, gamers could only communicate via in-game chat, or 1-to-1 private chats. With the launch of NXE came the ability to host a party of up to 8 players at the same time, no matter what game they were playing. It become one of the premier features of Xbox Live, and had not seen a change until only this year, when the Xbox One allowed the party limit to be increased to 12 people.
While I could spent all day listing the various games that released for the Xbox 360, I won’t. We have all had fantastic experiences on the platform, whether on Halo, Gears, Forza, Rock Band, Crackdown, Viva Pinata, Mass Effect and more. Timeless classics in every corner of every genre, friends being made from all corners of the earth, and many memories to fondly remember. Oh yeah, and your now crazy-to-think-of 20GB hard drive you launched with. Times have certainly changed!
Happy 10 year anniversary, Xbox 360, and thank you for the good times!