Last week, Microsoft decided that they would cease production of Xbox 360 consoles, bringing to an end a ten year run which often led the way for the evolution of the games industry. There were a number of very notable lows, but we’re looking back on some of the highlights of the generation.
It’s good to remember that the Xbox 360 is far from dead, though. It’s more that it’s been sent into retirement, having mentored the younger Xbox One over the last few years. Still, there’s a lot to celebrate from its time at the forefront of gaming.
Dave’s response centred around how the Xbox 360 really brought digital gaming and console multiplayer to the mass market, as Microsoft built on the foundations of the original Xbox. “It began with Halo 3 multiplayer for me,” he said, “as well as every other instalment in the franchise to come to the platform. The most fun I had with a Halo game was Halo: Reach. I played the beta, but in the main game I also had fond memories of messing around with the Forge Mode to create gauntlets or silly game types.
“But of course we can’t forget about the significance of the digital only games that paved the way for indie developers to thrive and flourish. While retail games did arrive later in the console’s lifespan, I still remember playing Geometry Wars among the other classics that were part of the Xbox Live Arcade line-up.”
Dom’s memories centred around being one of the system’s early adopters:
I went to the midnight launch at our local Gamestation to pick up my Xbox 360. I’d loved the original Xbox and its ability to rip CD’s to the hard drive and listen to them as I played Project Gotham Racing, so more of the same and Project Gotham Racing 3 utterly sold 360 to me, and I wasn’t disappointed. I made the classic mistake of picking up too many launch games, and found myself swamped by PGR 3, Quake 4, Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero, Call Of Duty 2 and Amped 3. A Gamestation staff discount helped out here!
When the Elite came out, I traded up to the new model and it was here that I experienced my solitary RROD. In fairness, the customer service response was outstanding, and they picked it up, repaired it, and returned it about a week later, after which I never had any problems again. Some of my best moments in gaming came with the 360, from the co-op action of Gears Of War, to the discovery of videogame gems in Xbox Live Arcade, as well as the amazing multiplayer sessions and addiction of Rock Band and Halo 3.
I sometimes looked longingly at the PS3 exclusives, but for many years I was a committed Xbox gamer, and it was only in the latter years when the Metro UI filled my homepage with advertising that I decamped to Sony’s side of the fence. Despite this, the 360 will remain one of my all-time favourite consoles.
By contrast, Jim went in the other direction. PlayStations through his childhood saw him stick with the PlayStation 3, but he eventually picked up an Xbox 360 out of curiosity.
“It was a second-hand arcade model that, within an afternoon, had already succumbed to the notorious Red Ring of Death,” he recalls. “Luckily, it wasn’t the console-bricking kind of error, and after a few minutes of tinkering, I found myself playing Halo 3 and a small stack of 360 exclusives I had been eager to play.
“My brief affair with the console reached new heights upon buying a copy of Mass Effect. This was before the sequel went multiplatform and, at the time, it offered a combination of my two all-time favourite genres. As the PS3’s library started to expand, I gradually peeled away from my 360, returning occasionally for big releases like Gears of War 3 and Halo 4.”
Finally, we turn to Kris, for whom the Xbox 360 was his first self-bought owned console – his actual first console was a ZX Spectrum. Buying it second hand from his boss, he got it with Rainbow Six: Vegas and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, which were two games he played an awful lot of while a stereotypically poor student.
“However, what the 360 was really responsible for is my love of Halo,” Kris continued. “Strangely I actually came into the series at the third entry, although I had played bits and pieces of the first two with friends. It was my brother who decided to give me a copy of Halo 3 for Christmas that year, utilizing his staff discount at Gamestation. I rapidly fell in love, going out of my way to explore the lore and series’ history. Although Sonic is my favourite title, it’d be fair to say that Halo is my favourite series, and I’ve got the 360 and my brother to thank for that.
“It’s probably the original Assassin’s Creed that shines brightest in my memory. When you look back on it now it really doesn’t leave up to either its promise or what the series went onto achieve in the Ezio trilogy, but when I picked up a battered, second hand copy in my local CEX I was blown away. I literally played it till my eyes hurt, eating chips that had gone cold while I was engrossed in the 12th century world in front of me. While I fell away from the series as a whole after a while, my time with the first game still feels truly special.”
So now it’s over to you. What were your lasting memories and highlights from the Xbox 360’s decade and change of gaming?