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Happy Birthday to the Original Xbox!
-Take A Look Back at the Console That Started it All!

Written By: E. Thomas

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On November 15th, 2001 Microsoft released the original Xbox console and the video game industry was changed forever. No one knew what to expect from this massive, enigmatic black box. Through the course of its lifespan the Xbox would be loved, despised and the center of great controversy. Although Microsoft lost a tremendous amount of money getting their foot in the door, their commitment to the Xbox and to it's fanbase proved the company was in this fight for the long haul. Now several years later the successors to the original Xbox, the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One have been retail juggernauts, having even rivaled Sony's once mighty Playstation Empire.

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Let's take a look back at the best of the original Xbox. We'll show you the best games, the best imports, the best RPGs, and the best sports titles. We'll even touch upon a few underground subjects such as hard drive upgrades, emulators and homebrew video games. You will even see video footage of modded games running on the original Xbox. Including a version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that gives your character amazing powers and even lets him fly like a super hero. You won't find coverage like this anywhere else on the web. So let's begin...

15 Years Later: Still Going Strong

Even after 15 years interest in the original Xbox still remains high. Check out this video showing all the best Mods, Apps, Emulators for the original Xbox. We'll give you a closer look at each of these items later in this article, but this is just a taste of all the amazing things that can be done with the original Xbox. After all these years the fan community remains devoted to this amazing console.

The Top 40 Xbox Games: The Best Games for the Original Xbox

The original Xbox has a large and diverse library. It also has some of the best original content released in its generation. Games like Halo, Crimson Skies and Oddworld: Munch's Odyssey helped define the system and the Xbox brand. The Xbox also had superior versions of several multi console games, thanks largely in part to its robust and powerful hardware. Here is our picks for the best original Xbox games.

1. Halo
2. Crimson Skies
3. Grand Theft Auto Trilogy
4. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
5. Fable
6. Oddworld: Munch's Odyssey
7. Ninja Gaiden Black
8. Halo 2
9. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
10. Jet Set Radio Future
11. Elder Scrolls III: Morowind
12. Marvel vs Capcom 2   
13. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
14. Panzer Dragoon Orta
15. Kingdom Under Fire
16. The Warriors
17. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath
18. Jade Empire
19. Mercenaries
20. Shenmue II
21. Psychonauts
23. Forza Motorsports
24. GUN
25. House of the Dead 3
26. Destroy All Humans 2
27. Phantom Dust
28. Dead or Alive 2
29. Beyond Good and Evil
30. Mechassault
31. Steel Battalion
32. Otogi: Myth of Demons
33: Blood Wake
34: Wreckless
35. Phantom Crash
36. Star Wars Battlefront: 1+2
37. Project Gotham Racing
38. Amped 2 
39. Breakdown
40. Metal Arms

Looking for more games? How about 140 more? Here is a video showing 140 games installed on a modified Xbox. This system features an internal 500GB Hard Drive. Everyone here at the office pooled all of our games together just to see how many games we could fit on one hard drive. Unfortunately we ran out of games before we ran out of space. Its very easy to install your own games to the internal hard drive using the right software*. (video link*) And it protects them from wear and destruction. Installing games on the hard drive is the perfect solution for managing any large collection.

Get Your Game On: The Best Sports Games for the Original Xbox

The original Xbox was a sports gamers paradise. The Xbox dominated the lives of hardcore sports gamers with outstanding online service and a tremendous selection of the best spots games on any console. Here are our picks for the top 10 sports titles for the original Xbox.

1. ESPN NFL 2k5
2. Fight Night: Round 2
3. Madden NFL 2005-2007 
4. MVP Baseball 2k5
5. Winning Eleven 9
6. Tiger Woods PGA (Series)
7. NHL 2k7
8. Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
9. Cabela's Dangerous Hunts
10. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volley Ball

Flights of Fantasy: The Best RPGs for the Original Xbox

Although the PS2 was home to more JRPGs, the Xbox found its niche with a few outstanding Western RPGs as well as some great content from overseas. Here is our picks for the best RPG games on the system. For the purpose of this article our list includes both traditional RPGs and Action RPGs. As you'll see, the Xbox had a fine selection of outstanding RPG games.

1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
2. The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
3. Fable
4. Jade Empire
5. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
6. X-Men Legends II
7. Bard's Tale
8. Shenmue II
9. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
10. Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

Metal Wolf Chaos: The Best Japanese Import You've Never Played

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Although the original Xbox wasn't exactly greeted with open arms in Japan, it did have a few Japanese import titles that truly deserve attention. One of those games is the legendary Metal Wolf Chaos. This insane mech armor action title features a campy plot and tons of over the top action. The story centers around the President of the United States who is fighting off a treasonous uprising using his own giant mech armor suit. Seriously, we're not kidding. Check out the video below to see the full intro for this crazy title. As well as the entire first level of the game. And here's the best part. The whole game is entirely in English. We're not exactly sure why this game didn't make it to the States, but its prime material for a release on Xbox Live.

Hardware and Accessories: The Best Hardware and Accessories for Xbox

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This limited edition Crystal Xbox was originally released only in Europe. The console was created to celebrate the Xbox's European Birthday. (Which falls on March 14th.) Sometime later the console was also released in Canada sold exclusively in Wal-mart and Zellers department stores. This dapper looking console is still a prized collectible to this day.

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The Halo: Special Edition Xbox was released only in The United States, Australia and New Zealand. This sporty, translucent green console came bundled with a copy of Halo and a nifty translucent green Xbox Controller S.

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The exclusive Steel Battalion Controller is probably one of the greatest console accessories of all time. This highly coveted controller was released with a hefty price tag of $200. But still, for those willing to spend the money, the controller provided the most immersive Mech Armor Simulation ever seen in a video game. To this day the controller still brings a hefty price on ebay.

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If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That's the old saying and it applies well to the original Xbox controller. Dubbed "the meatball" by some Xbox users, the original controller proved to be heavy, uncomfortable and flat out painful to use. Luckily Microsoft listened to their fans and released the highly improved Xbox Controller S. This newly redesigned controller quickly became one of the best controllers on the market. The new controller also helped establish the standard of having the primary analog stick in the "forward" positiion, instead of being off center like the PlayStation Dual Shock.

Homebrew Explosion: The Best Homebrew for the Original Xbox

The original Xbox was built with many off the shelf PC parts. This meant the system was very easy to modify and upgrade. This opened the door for a massive tidal wave of homebrew software and games. Xbox modding became so mainstream that it was even a regular topic on popular TV shows like "The Screen Savers." The homebrew community was filled with many talented, ambitious and devoted programmers who created and ported many great games for the original Xbox. Here is a video that shows 100 of the best homebrew games available on the system. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all the wonderful people who put their time in effort into making these creations. And remember industry folks, today's homebrew developer is tomorrow's video game industry star.

(See Also: For More Homebrew Game Videos Check out our Daily Motion Video Channel)

Modified Xbox Games: Grand Theft Auto Game Mods or "How CJ learned to fly" 

One of the best things about modifying the original Xbox was the ability to use PC mods on Xbox games. This includes character and skin mods, new vehicles, new maps, new levels, new gameplay and so much more. Here is video footage from one of our favorite Xbox game mods. Its called the "Space Einstein All In One Mod." Created by the brilliant Space Einstein, the mod is actually a collection of mods created for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. First, you install the game to your hard drive, then you simply use a FTP program to install the mod. You must use only an original copy of GTA: San Andreas. (editors note: It must be an original copy and it must be the "hot coffee" version.)

The Space Einstein GTA: San Andreas mod allows you to create any character, object or vehicle at will. Weapon mods, vehicle guns, new missions, a chaffeur service and new character skins are among the many new features included in this incredible mod. It also gives you invincible super powers as seen in the video below. "Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, its a plane it's Tarnell?"

(See Also: For More GTA Videos Check out our Daily Motion Video Channel)

Xbox Emulators: The Best Emulators for the Original Xbox

Emulators are a touchy subject in the video game industry, and with good reason, all that content belongs to someone. The idea of running old games on a rival system might anger those in charge. But despite its shady reputation, emulation actually serves a great purpose. It is helping preserve the history of this incredible art-form for generations to come. Even the big companies have relied on the emulation community from time to time. Some people have even accused certain companies of stealth-fully promoting emulation and homebrew to sell their hardware. (*cough* psp *cough*) Love it or hate it, emulation is here to stay, and the original Xbox had an enormous amount of emulators. These feature packed emulators even include icon browsing, video previews, save states, rewind features, cheats, and even online play for classic consoles.

CoinOPS 8 Explodes! - New CoinOPs All in One Emulator

Finally when it comes to arcade emulation nothing beats CoinOPS. It was created by a devoted homebrew developer known only as BritneysSPAIRS. The popular all in one emulator has seen many revisions over the years. What you see in the video above is the largest and most robust version of the emulator to date. Simply known as CoinOPS Premium 8, this massive all purpose emulator covers all your gaming needs!

In Conclusion...

After ten long years the Xbox is still a big part of my life. It's also one of the most played consoles in my collection. I can't tell you how many hours we've spent playing Halo death match here at the office. Not to mention the dozens of tremendous games we've enjoyed on the system over the years. The Xbox is a gaming jukebox, a media center, and one of our favorite consoles of all time. Happy Birthday Xbox! Here's to many more!

About The Author:  E.Thomas is our fearless leader and our resident obsessive video game collector. He owns literally 1000s of video games. If you catch him in line at the E3 Expo, he'll probably give you a video game arcade token.