Monday, February 19, 2007

Thoughts on the original Xbox and the Xbox 360

Despite my previous post I'm not anti-360 in any way. I think the Xbox 360 seems like an awesome machine with a tremendous selection of great games for it. I've tried a few and I was, and still am, really impressed. The online stuff seems cool too. That I have yet to take for a testdrive though. The fairly inexpensive HD-DVD drive for it is a nice addition too, if you're into chasing that perfectly crisp movie experience.

However, at this point in time the 360 is not for me. And the reason is pretty simple - I don't see how it is in reality much better than the original Xbox that I already own.

This has not as much to do with what the original Xbox was once it left the factory as with what a little modchip and a huge harddrive has turned it into.

My Xbox plays DVDs and other digital media (thanks to Xbox Media Center), and not just the Microsoft-approved kinds at that. It is integrated into my home network, has wireless controllers, runs homebrew applications, old-school console emulators and games from any region and thanks to the upgraded harddrive I can store all of my games on the actual machine so that I don't have to have a bunch of game discs floating about the place. None of these are thanks to the creators of the Xbox hardware though.

The rest of the great things about my Xbox I do give the people at Redmond mad props for though, and they are the original and still primary reasons for me wanting to own one ever since I saw it demonstrated at some tech show on TV years ago.

The Xbox too has an awesome array of games available for it, and being the "previous generation" console those games are since the release of the 360 available for as low as $10, sometimes even lower, if you just know where to look (eBay for example). Part of what makes these awesome games possible is the hardware, software and pinch of magic put into the machine, and that's why I really owe Microsoft a huge thanks for finally serving up a quality product after centuries of dishing out sub-standard software. I do at the same time have to flip them the bird though, for fighting the hackers that hacked and improved the machine and made it truly, really and unforgettably awesome.

The original Xbox was a mindblowing machine when it was released and it keeps blowing my mind even today. As I see it the only things the 360 has on the original black monster is better graphics and improved online play (which I don't care much for). It is far from as hacker-friendly and upgradable as its predecessor. It does however have new games coming out for it which the old Xbox doesn't (Or are the studios still developing for it? Enlighten me.), but that's not really a selling point either since there are still myriads of awesome games for the original Xbox that I haven't played.

You could sum it all up by saying that I'm not "done" with the original Xbox yet and the 360 is therefore superfluous to me and in its not-so-hacked state actually has less to offer me. One day that might change, but probably not very soon. Hell, I haven't even tended to "Tenchu, Return to darkness" properly yet!

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