Remembering the Xbox

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ptdebate1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby ptdebate1 » February 1st, 2015, 8:02 pm

I'd just like to remark on just what a great system the original Xbox was, both from a hardware design and software perspective. Constructed from off-the-shelf PC parts, it's probably the smartest console design ever. The fact that PC developers were already automatically familiar with the hardware (Intel CPU and nVidia GPU) meant that even early games were able to make full use of the hardware's power--Dead or Alive 3 (2001), save for its 480p rendering resolution, still looks state-of-the-art today, and Soul Calibur 2 (2002), which actually does display in HD, looks like it could have been released a generation later.

The Xbox is also admirably rugged and well-built. The detachable, generously long cords ensured that you couldn't accidentally pull the console on the floor no matter how far away you sat from the TV. Nowadays, you can easily mod your Xbox to install your games to the internal hard drive (which can be as large as 2 terabytes--yes, you heard me right! That's four times the standard storage of the Xbox One and PS4!) making the already modest load times much, much shorter.

Using the XBMC software, you can turn your Xbox into the cheapest home theater PC ever, streaming both locally-stored and home server based video and audio content. Emulators programmed for PC have also been converted en masse to run on the system. I'm not a big fan of emulation because of the difficulty of achieving perfect equivalence, but I was suprised by how well these applications really do run on the Xbox.

This really is a cool system to play around with. Anyone who likes 6th-generation games should definitely own an Xbox--preferably a modded one!



ActRaiser1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby ActRaiser1 » February 2nd, 2015, 2:43 pm

Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more.

The Xbox gave us some of that generation's best games.

Knights of the Old Republic
Crimson Skies
Halo 1 and 2

And then throw in all the other awesome sauce games

Mech Assault
Project Gotham Racing
Jet Grind Radio Future
Steel Battalion
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Metal Wolf Chaos

It had a ton of variety and lots of slick games.  Great stuff.




Rev1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby Rev1 » February 2nd, 2015, 6:20 pm

Great post, I'd also like to point out that the original Xbox is one of the cheapest consoles to collect for (even if some of the games are inching up in price) and it makes getting a nice collection really easy.

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VideoGameCritic
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby VideoGameCritic » February 2nd, 2015, 7:16 pm

Yeah this is a good thread.  The original Xbox is a great system that doesn't even get enough respect from Microsoft anymore (Xbox One?  Please).  

I actually liked those gigantic original controllers, and yeah, the breakaway cords are a great feature none of the other companies bothered to think of.

The hard drive is a mixed blessing.  Not having to worry about memory cards was fine, but this also opened the doors for the mandatory installations we're seeing with the latest consoles.

Another reason to collect Xbox games is that they all run 480p (progressive mode) which basically means they run just as well on a modern HDTV as they did on old televisions.  A lot of PS2 and GameCube titles run in 480i, which adds input lag when run on HDTVs.  And the games that do support progressive scan on those systems require you to hold in some buttons when starting up, which is a hassle.

When a game was cross-platform between the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox, the Xbox was almost always the superior version.

ptdebate1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby ptdebate1 » February 2nd, 2015, 7:32 pm

[QUOTE=videogamecritic]The original Xbox is a great system that doesn't even get enough respect from Microsoft anymore.[/QUOTE]

This got me thinking. The 360 was PowerPC which made emulation of the Intel Xbox problematic. The Xbox One, however,returned to x86, and (just like the original Xbox) runs on Windows NT framework. I see no reason why Microsoft couldn't soft patch Xbox backwards compatibility into the X1. It would be theoretically similar to running old Windows XP games on a modern Windows 8 PC.

[QUOTE=videogamecritic]I actually liked those gigantic original controllers, and yeah, the breakaway cords are a great feature none of the other companies bothered to think of.[/QUOTE]

Me too! They are great for people with big hands.

[QUOTE=videogamecritic]The hard drive is a mixed blessing.  Not having to worry about memory cards was fine, but this also opened the doors for the mandatory installations we're seeing with the latest consoles.[/QUOTE]

I don't think that's the Xbox's fault. Running a modern game directly from disk would be agonizingly slow. It would be a matter of funneling up to 50GB of data through a 27MB/s disk drive interface as opposed to the 300MB/s interface of the internal hard drive. Games would have loading times that would make the Neo Geo CD look like a speed demon, and the functionality of texture-streaming and RAM caching would be fundamentally broken.




HardcoreSadism1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby HardcoreSadism1 » February 3rd, 2015, 12:05 am

I don't brag about competitive play value because I myself have never been truly seasoned in Halo CE's respectively superior multiplayer skill gap, but whoever voted CE as one of the worst games are hater sheep with no place in this thread.

The OG Xbox is still an incredible system even if Halo never made it as an exclusive (1&2 got less-than-faithful PC releases), but usually the Xbox versions of third party games felt like magic. It's a type of smoothness I never could feel with the Xbox 360, and that so far is a better system than the Xbox One. Not to mention I've never encountered any kind of frame rate drops on my console-melting sessions with Halo 2 and KOTOR II.

Vexer1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby Vexer1 » February 3rd, 2015, 1:12 am

Haven't owned an original Xbox yet, but I have played some original Xbox games on the 360 and enjoyed them.

Vexer1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby Vexer1 » February 3rd, 2015, 1:16 am

It's simply not possible to run all modern games entirely off a disk, there's WAY too much memory for that to happen with most games.  Like it or not installations are necessary for you to be able to run games period, that's just the way technology has naturally evolved, not really anything you can do to get around it.

Oltobaz1
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Remembering the Xbox

Postby Oltobaz1 » February 3rd, 2015, 8:46 am

At the time though, it was certainly possible. The PS2 and Gamecube didn't have installs or HDDs, at least
not out of the box. And there aren't that many Wii games with mandatory installs. In fact, are there any?

ptdebate1
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Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Remembering the Xbox

Postby ptdebate1 » February 3rd, 2015, 10:33 am

[QUOTE=Oltobaz]At the time though, it was certainly possible. The PS2 and Gamecube didn't have installs or HDDs, at least
not out of the box. And there aren't that many Wii games with mandatory installs. In fact, are there any?[/QUOTE]

It's just that game file sizes have ballooned from what they were back then. We're talking 6GB for the biggest Xbox game vs. 20GB for some of the very smallest Xbox One games.

Not only that, but there are key memory functions that modern systems (like PCs) take advantage of, such as paging or virtual memory and hot swapping textures. These depend on data being installed to the hard drive.

If the CPU and RAM were forced to access all of their data from the disk rather than the hard drive, you'd see diminished performance in all but the simplest games, not to mention atrocious load times as I have said before. Again, the difference is 27MB/s vs. 300MB/s.


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