Xbox has been created by gamers for gamers.
Happy Monday, NPCs! Welcome back to our 30-Day Console Challenge! Today ushers in a big name in gaming… and also Microsoft’s Xbox.
The Green Screen Mage is one of our very earliest members and a personal friend, former student, and expert debater of pretty much anything pop culture related. Well, I assume she doesn’t argue with just anyone but she and I have hashed it out over superheroes and video games for a lifetime… She’s one of the people that’s helped me see that I need to really be less mean but yeah she’ll still help out with an article like this, regardless! Friendship, eh?
It’s no coincidence that the Green Screen Mage flies those colors, as she is an adamant fan of the Xbox line of consoles. Let me come out and admit that TWRM hasn’t done a good job of representing the greenish part of the Big Three, Xbox’s games on this site, mostly because I haven’t done a good job of playing too many Xbox games, myself! Yet Xbox’s foothold in the current market is undeniable and they satisfy and cater to a group of gamers in their own way just as Sony and Nintendo do in theirs. Xbox was the biggest and latest to come to the hardware scene since Sega bowed out but they are apparently here to stay.
To extrapolate, I’ve enlisted Greenie the podcaster, the teacher, the pop culture scientist and special effects aficionado to give us her top 7 best Xbox games!
-The Well-Red Mage
In 2001, Microsoft decided to try their hand at gaming consoles and the Xbox was born. With the introduction of Xbox Live and blockbuster titles, it has become one of the biggest console series in the world. While the Xbox One has launched into popularity, there are many who still hold nostalgia and love the original Xbox and its consoles.
Growing up on video games, I found that the original Xbox was the first console I was really comfortable playing by myself. While I had a blast playing with my family, who would spend hours playing on multiplayer games or running through co-op missions, I tended to be a little lacking in ‘skills’ to play games solo, AKA someone hogged the games and got more practice than me. The Xbox was my time to shine. From Halo to MechAssault to Knights of the Old Republic, I chewed through games. So, when our own Well-Red Mage asked me if I wanted to write about a console’s Top 7 Games, I had to pick this one.
I tried to stick with games that were mostly Xbox exclusive games and not on multiple consoles.
#7. Jet Set Radio Future
This game continues to be one that I find myself going back to when I’m itching for a bright, pop-punk style game with an amazing (sometimes weird) soundtrack. The sequel to Jet Set Radio for the Dreamcast brings back the old cast of characters along with many other eccentric characters to choose from. If skating around Tokyo and spray painting to fight against the government that has outlawed freedom of expression doesn’t sound interesting to you, then maybe the racing, fight sequences, or just the puzzling moments of trying to figure out how to get to that one spray paint spot that just doesn’t look possible to reach will catch your interest. Hailed for its unique animation style, music, and gameplay, Jet Set Radio Future is easily one of the best Xbox games.
#6. Forza Motorsport
I will be honest, car racing games were never my cup of tea, but I can’t ignore that Forza Motorsport is one of the best rated games for the Xbox. The game allowed for single player and multiplayer races with over 200 cars and multiple customizing options. The creators also developed technology that allowed for the game to learn from the players driving techniques and create an AI based on what it learned for you to race against. Forza Motorsport spawned a franchise currently composed of two series and eleven games.
#5 – The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
When Morrowind was released, large open world RPGs were not as common as they are today. The opportunity to forgo the main plot for side quests, spelunking, or just running around and killing things was so much fun! While Oblivion is my personal favorite of the series, I can’t deny how exciting this game was when it first came out. It had some issues with bugs, but it made up for it with its expansive world and options for players. This game truly made it’s mark on RPG history.
#4. Ninja Gaiden/Ninja Gaiden Black
So, I mentioned my lack of ‘skills’ when it came to some games, well this was one of those. Bringing the classic NES title to the 3D world on the Xbox, Team Ninja created one of the best combat systems for almost any gamer. It allowed for many hack n’ slash style fights or the player to learn all sorts of combos, wall running, and Ninpo to help in battle. The level designs, puzzles, and the variety in combat options puts this game on most people’s lists of favorite Xbox games.
Perhaps next time I make an attempt at this game I’ll play Ninja Dog mode on Ninja Gaiden Black.
#3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Finally! A good Star Wars game. Okay, so I didn’t play all the previous ones, but there were not many good ones until KOTOR came out. How could the first big Star Wars RPG not be on this list? Everyone dreamed of being a Jedi or using force powers when they were a kid, so finally getting to run around and do that in a world with fantastic characters and a crazy good story was all our little nerd dreams come true. And crazy good story is right. That twist?? COME ON!
#2. Halo 2
The Halo series essentially put the Xbox on the map, so it is no shocker that these games grabbed space on this list. Halo 2 had fans waiting in line for hours to pick up this title. While some people (wrongfully) have issues with the main story mode, the multiplayer experience is a huge reason why Xbox Live and the Xbox 360 were so successful. Gathering with your friends and multiple Xboxes to play with 8-16 people or putting on a headset and playing with them online was one of the best experiences that the Xbox created.
This game was one that I would revisit multiple times over the years, so much so I can navigate most levels of the campaign in minutes. Multiplayer is easily one of the most popular parts of the Halo games, but the story mode was what I kept coming back for. Halo 2 expanded on the universe and allowed for a look into the Master Chief’s enemies in the form of the Arbiter. Playing as the enemy threw some players, but that was honestly my favorite part of the whole series.
#1 – Halo: Combat Evolved
Many debate whether Halo or Halo 2 is the best Xbox game, and, while there are some strong arguments for Halo 2, it wouldn’t be here without its predecessor and Xbox might not be either. Halo essentially carried the system for the first couple of years. Everyone was getting absorbed in its co-op mode or setting up multiplayer LAN parties. Its combat system influenced many games to come and it showed others how to do a good console shooter, vehicle mechanics, and cooperative mode. Halo is easily one of the most influential games on the Xbox system and in gaming.
If I played Halo 2 a lot, it was nothing compared to how many hours I put into Halo: CE. Between running through co-op mode endlessly with my brother and battling friends on multiplayer mode, I couldn’t get enough of this game. It was one of the first times I really enjoyed an FPS game and one of the first times I really found myself getting good at gaming.
If that isn’t enough to convince you how great this game is, just listen to that soundtrack though!
I understand 7 games is not enough to do an entire console justice and I am certain I missed some favorites, but this list represents some of the best of the system and best for certain genres. As much as I wanted to include MechAssault, Fable, and Star Wars Battlefront, I only had 7 slots.
… Okay, so I bullied the Well-Red Mage into letting me add a quick list of my all-time favorite Xbox games that I think should be on this list or that I definitely know don’t belong. So real fast!
Green Screen Mage’s Other Favorite Xbox Games
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, 2. Brute Force, 3. Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, 4. Mad Dash Racing, 5. Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey.