With the release of Forza Motorsport and the impending release of the XBOX 360 I can see that the green ‘X’ monster’s time is nearly at hand. But what a ride! The XBOX has produced the most entertaiment value of any medium in my life! Countless hours, good times, good friends, and great moments have been the last 3 and a half years. It may be tough to narrow them down to a handfull of moments or titles, but I will try. So here they are in no particular order:
- SEGA’s 2K football series: The best football franchise to grace gaming consoles (IMO). I spent many an evening of video pigskin on the XBOX. 2K3, ESPN, and the greatest football game of all time ESPN 2K5 were all masterpieces that got better each year. Unfortunatly EA has exclusive NFL rights for several years and SEGA has in turn sold Visual Concepts to Take-Two interacive, so as of the time of this writing the future of the franchise is uncertain. But we still have 2K5 baby! (PS, look for ‘ol SUPERGHOST within ESPN 2K4 on the Challengers. SG is in the game!)
- Project Gothem Racing 2: The game that built a community of friends and stole us away from the real world several nights a week for months on end! Until Forza’s release this was ‘The’ XBOX racing king. I have made a lot of great friends on this game and it will always have a place of distinction whithin my collection. This game still gets some decent play well after its release. A classic.
- LIVE and LIVE 2.0: For most of us this is why we purchased the XBOX, the promise of an online gaming community built around the best possible infrastructure. And we have it, it has changed the way we entertain ourselves, the way we play games, and the way we live our lives. I know if you are like me you plan your scheduale around LIVE. I could go on about why XBOX LIVE is so great, but if you are reading this, you will already know why.
- Phantasy Star Online: As far as gaming addictions go, this one is the crack-cocaine of gaming. What could be better that co-op adventuring, finding rare weapons, converstions, and combat. Between the DC and XBOX, this game would far and away constitute my most played game ever, but this game really excelled on the XBOX. Take me back to Ragol!
- Splinter Cell (All): I bought the first game strictly on its hype. I had never actually played a stealth game before, and now I am hooked. Ubisoft has created the best series in the genre in just a few short years. Graphics, gameplay, and online options make this game an overlooked killer-app! Michael Ironside rules!
- Steel Battalion: Easily the most unique and astounding game in the XBOX library. A mech simulator with a 40 button, 2-stick, three pedal, propriatary controller and later an online component, Line of Contact, was added to the game. This is literally a one of a kind, a once in a lifetime game. This game is for ‘Hardcores’ only due to the cost. But it is definatly worth the $. When my character died in LOC (never to come back) I felt sick. I can laugh now when I look back, but at the time…
- The Cronicles of Ridddick: Escape from Butcher Bay: Never before has a game been so seemlessly integrated in to the storyline of a motion picture franchise. On top of that though is one of the best looking and playing XBOX games ever. Part Splinter Cell and part Halo, Riddick is near the top of the XBOX gaming heap. An absolute must play!
- Halo and Halo 2: These two games speak for themselves and singlehandedly placed XBOX in the minds of the populace at large. A pop-culture phenomenon with an insanely rabid fan base, Halo stands at the pinacle of its genre. Halo 2 upped the ante with its insanly addictive and competative online play. The Halo franchise is why I am here today waxing nostalgic about XBOX with the onset of the 360 this November. That is its power.
- Team Ninja: Has produced some of XBOX greatest gaming moments, graphics, and controversies with there tremendous contributions to the XBOX library. DOA3, DOA: Xtreme Beach Vollyball, Ninja Gaiden, and DOAU are solely responsible for XBOX’s Japanese penetration, but more importantly for gaming excellence on both sides on the ocean. DOAU stand at the top for its seamless online play with no drop in Team Ninja’s signature graphical mastery.
- Tom Clancy Games: Before Halo 2 came to town, Rainbow Six 3 was the online king and for good reason, offering a robust online experience in co-op and adversarial. Ghost Recon rocked LIVE and finally blew us away with the release of Ghost Recon 2. Along with their Splinter Cell brothers, The Clancy games rule the LIVE roost!
Whew! A lot of great gaming above. As I only said a top ten, I want to add some honorable mentions: Amped 2, JSRF, Shenmue II, Panzer Dragoon, Doom 3, RSC2, Whacked!, Forza, etc…
Again I could just keep going. I will expand on some of these games at another time when I do somemore retro writings. Until then keep playing XBOX and keep jonesing for XBOX 360!