What's Old is New Again
A reintroduction to an old console friend...
I recently bought a preowned Xbox 360. It’s got a Kinect— not that I’ll be playing Dance Central anytime soon) and a 250GB hard drive.
I had been thinking about doing this for some time.
I had Xbox 360 consoles from 2009 through about 2017, before trading my Xbox 360 S in toward an Xbox One X, and had amassed quite the collection of digital content that I could no longer use after the trade-in. A lot of this was due to Xbox LIVE Arcade games, ranging from coin-op conversions to full digital versions of retail games. Even with the Xbox One X, games like Outrun Online Arcade, AfterBurner Climax, and Konami’s X-Men and Simpsons arcade titles were not accessible. I had been missing those for a long time.
There was also something about the Xbox 360 experience I missed, in comparison to the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4: Very few game disc installs were required, and many software updates were small in nature (less than 1GB). The newer machines required game disc installs, many weighing in with dozens of gigabytes of data, before they could be played for the first time… and then came the large patch sizes. The convenience of quick access was lost, and I really missed that.
Since getting the console, I’ve been quickly (re)building my library on multiple fronts. I’ve redownloaded 150GB worth of previously purchased digital games and content that I now have access to again. I’ve also reacquired some game discs that I really enjoyed, like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2014, Project Gotham Racing 4, Dungeon Siege III, Little League World Series Baseball 2010, and more. As I write this, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Borderlands games and Split/Second, among others… and I’m trying to track down Ridge Racer 6 without breaking the bank. (When did this become so pricey?)
The thrill of collecting games, of adding to and building a game library for a console, is back. I still don’t have enough free time to play them all, but you’ve probably heard me talk about this before.
To me, right now, the Xbox 360 feels new again.
My other consoles are feeling a bit neglected while most of my free time has been going to my new-old machine. There’s an energy that I haven’t felt in years, amplified by the crazy amount of games to find and to play. The library of games is massive.
It’s a cool feeling overall, honestly… but it’s also gotten me to thinking back to what was.
See, I was that angry guy online for a few years. I railed on about things that irritated me— DLC, online passes, paying for online subscriptions, and other business decisions that I didn’t agree with. My former Twitter feed was loaded with these complaints, and I even had a blog many years ago that contained some pretty scathing opinions. Being angry about these things affected my enjoyment of what I had, though; I became jaded, ornery. I didn’t let myself have fun, because there were (admittedly foolish) reasons to not have fun. The only real positive to come from this dissatisfaction was that it drove me to start a collection of retro games and consoles… but I wasn’t being fair to the largely good time that I had been having with my Xbox 360 (and, to a lesser extent, my PlayStation 3).
I’m a different person now. I’m 10+ years older. I’m (hopefully) a little wiser. I’m striving to be less that angry guy online and instead being that guy who enjoys sharing thoughtful memories and experiences from his time with video games. I have some regret for being that person and focusing on negativity and stuff I didn’t like instead of sharing the stuff I was really enjoying— which was quite a lot. I’m realizing that what we had wasn’t bad at all. Yes, there were annoyances and things to be critical of, but those were not dominant.
I’ve really been having a blast during this period of rediscovery with my Xbox 360. I just started playing BioShock yet again and had that same feeling I had when I first played it, being unable to put the controller down while I progress through such a cool story and setting. I’m revisiting sports video games from this period and looking at them through a lens of progress and evolution for the genre in the first true “high-definition” generation.
It’s provided me a spark of energy and a vehicle to pause real-life challenges and anxiety when I so desperately need it. Even though I can’t go back in time and relive these games as they were new… what’s old has not only been new again, but it’s been more fun than I’ve had in a long time.
Great article, Pete. Man, the Xbox 360 was such a special console for me! I still have mine, but I haven't dusted it off in a bit. This article has me hankering, though.