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XBox thoughts

I’ve had my XBox for a little over a week now. In that time, I’ve played maybe 10 hours on the box, and spent another 5 hours putzing with setup and hardware. I now feel qualified to offer a bit of an opinion.

I’d say that Microsoft’s XBox is a pretty cool piece of technology. I thought this when they first released it back in, I guess, 2000. A console based on PC technology- it has an Intel processor, uses an NVidia video processor, and has a hard drive- basically, a purpose built PC compatible. But why would I have one of these when I already have a much more powerful PC on my desk?

Good question…here are my thoughts…

  • Game selection: some games are only going to come out on the XBox, just like some games only come out on the PC
  • Better for socializing: I’m not a people person, so this one is a bit odd. But consoles offer some features that are superior to the PC in terms of using them when someone pops over for a visit. For example:
    • split screen games– multiple players without multiple copies of the game
    • easily understood controllers– non-computer people are a bit intimidated by a keyboard; not so by a gamepad
    • most console games are quick to get into and out of– not just because of the fact that you stick a game DVD in and the game boots up more or less instantly. It also has to do with the design of the games themselves
    • Cheaper than building a “guest” PC– I have a great machine at my desk for games, but I cringe every tiime someone other than myself uses it. Not so with the XBox…and the XBox is cheap like dirt, costing less than a single memory chip in my current computer
  • “different” graphics: I think this is mostly a result of playing the game on a television, but even though the graphics resolution on my XBox is half what I have on my PC, the graphics *look* surprisingly good. Its more like watching a movie than playing a game
  • Cheap like dirt: Okay, this is both an exaggeration and I’ve mentioned it already, but come one…$200 for what is essentially a dedicated gaming PC. My last video card for my main gaming PC cost $700…my memory cost $300 a stick…my 10,000 RPM drives cost $250 each. Buying an XBox to play a couple of games and keep visitors off my computers is not a bad deal for me. That said, I spent another $350 this weekend hooking my XBox to the Internet/XBox Live, buying a wireless controller, and picking up a couple of games- the “cheap” part is all very much a matter of perspective

Netting it out, I’d say my XBox has been worth it. Yes, I know its already technically obsolete with the XBox 360 coming in a couple of months. But here’s my take on that: I get an XBox today for $200, with hundreds of already available games. Or I can wait 2 months, and buy an XBox 360 for nearly $500 that has quasi compatibility with the old games (through some sort of emulation mode…remember, the 360 is totally different hardware) and which, in a year or so, might have a good selection of new games.

Now that I have my XBox, I might one day buy a 360…but not for a while. And, by the way- Hulk Ultimate Destruction…definitely a fun game- almost worth it by itself as an excuse to buy an XBox, and the “cartoony” graphics are perfect for the XBox. Halo 2…man, I just can not get used to the controller; it started making me nauseous. But maybe with some practice I’ll get it worked out…graphically, Halo 2 shows the limits of the XBox platform- Halo on the PC (Halo 2 for the PC isn’t out yet) looks tons better.

3 comments to XBox thoughts

  • pt

    Hey, one thing you can do to an xbox that makes it slightly cooler then ps2 or gamecube, is you can ‘mod’ it. Basically you flash the bios with a slightly modified version, and it opens a whole world of fun stuff.
    There is the XBMC, xbox media center (it will play mp3, divx, shoutcast, dvd’s, any format over any media you can think of. it will even connect to your home network and play files stored on your pc), all sorts of mame, nes, snes, atari, game boy, sega emulators that work awsome. I find myself using my xbox to play nintendo and watch divx’s far more then xbox games. You can put in a much bigger hard drive and copy xbox games locally to the xbox.
    The only downside is that you cannot play xbox live. there are ways around it, but usually they are more trouble then they are worth.
    Drop me an email if you want, I’ll tell you more about it.

  • Good point, Pt. I’m familiar with some of the XBox mods, including some of the weird ones like running Linux on it. Thus far, I haven’t pursued any of them- I figure I’ll let the novelty of the XBox itself wear off a bit.

    I subscribed to XBox live, but thus far haven’t really used it at all. I mainly was curious about it- to be honest, other than with massively multiplayer online games, I’m not too enthusiastic about “open arena” online games. And none of my friends have an XBox, which kind of limits the selection of folks I’d like to connect and game with. So, I may eventually cancel my Live subscription- unless I see something really neat that it gives me.

    Anyway, thanks again, Pt- I’m going to check out a few of those mods!

  • Chris

    Of course, now the hackers can get at gaming machines as well

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=581&ncid=581&e=2&u=/nm/20051006/tc_nm/symantec_trojan_dc_1

    I figure that one day after some cave man invented fire, some other cave man invented arson

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