Being what most would call a “youngster” should disqualify me from lookbacks on long-standing console histories. I’m only in my mid-twenties, so I wasn’t there to get the first Nintendo, Sega, or Playstation consoles. I did play some of those old systems, but the one that truly got me into gaming was Xbox. I was eight when my oldest brother brought home the big console with its comedically large controller. Obviously, as curious as I was, I would peak into his room to see him playing Halo: Combat Evolved with one of his friends. Hearing both of them laugh, that awesome music and gun sound effects back then.
But it was around the time when I was nine that I was able to play the original Xbox. As such, I tried to play Halo, but a little boy who only knew Megaman and Pokemon stood no chance in it. Especially in that first creepy flood level that scarred me. I went on to try and play Halo 2 and a little-known RPG Fable. With little to no improvement in my skills with the time I had.
However, problems with my family and having to move constantly in a less fortunate environment cost me and the family, our Xbox. It was dark times in my life until I got a stable job at sixteen, and with money put aside. I would finally be able to make up for the lost time. It was time that I finally got a new game console. And that new console was? That’s right, it was the Xbox 360.
My Journey into the Xbox 360
After getting it home, and unboxing it. This feeling immediately washed over me as a hard-working teen holding something so expensive. “This is mine,” I thought to myself, and it was true. I had to wait a long time to even be able to play games on a hand-me-down Gameboy, let alone an Xbox. So knowing this was mine, knowing no one but myself could take it away from me. Was an amazing feeling, until I went into Halo: Reach’s multiplayer and had that feeling taken from mediocre players. Starting off in that game, I did play the campaign start to finish, but very little online skill can be developed there.
So over a year, as I played, scraping money together for the map packs, getting better at it. I felt I wanted to start playing other things. After all, this is my console, so I need to at least have some variety. So I took a trip down to Gamestop, picking up Fable 2 and Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga. It was time to expand my horizons, even if it was only a minor expansion.
But, as you get just a little taste of things, you get hungry for more and more. I was soon able to take my friend’s recommendations for the Gears of War and Borderlands series. Downloading and playing Minecraft or discovering the Bioshock series. I was beginning to realize just how vast this gaming ocean was. This feeling of awakening was amazing to me. But it was not long until I stumbled upon what would eventually be an even bigger scene today.
The Road to Indies
It was the Xbox Live Arcade of 2012 where I finally found the indie scene. Trying the demo for what is, to this day one of the best indies out there Dust an Elysian Tail. Alongside a few others, like Hybrid and Sanctum 2. These games, shaped my tastes just as much, if not more than the normal AAA scene did. Seeing the amazing graphics, gameplay, and genre diversity blew my seventeen-year-old mind.
The vibrant and colorful cartoon style of Dust with its fast-paced gameplay and unique implementations of Metroidvania elements. The fly and cover, third-person shooting of Hybrid that introduced me to microtransactions. As well as the tower defense and first-person shooting of Sanctum 2? It was truly eye-opening, and I miss playing these games on my big screen TV. They’re still not backward compatible and it makes me sad knowing I can only play Dust or Sanctum 2 on my PC.
But at the time? These were truly special experiences I wouldn’t trade for even an actually good-at-launch Destiny in place of what we got a year later or the Final Fantasy 13 sequels that felt needed. I still pine for the day we finally see a Sanctum 3, or a Dust 2. Just to know my support back then wasn’t in vain.
Laying The Memories To Rest
The Xbox 360 being the first console I bought and owned myself really made me into the gamer I am today. Rediscovering my love for the pillar franchises of Xbox like Halo, Fable and discovering my love for Gears. Amongst the breadth of amazing titles across big named third parties, and even the unique indies. It was an awakening phase for me as a gamer and I will always be thankful for that. Knowing I was hungry for as many games as possible to truly appreciate the form and still be just as hungry to this day.
But, for my Xbox 360? The thing that brought me back to a hobby I truly loved is in a member of my family’s hands. Helping them find their love for gaming, but not to worry, I’ll be helping them upgrade so they can enjoy the bright future of Xbox that lies on the horizon.
Thank you for reading.