The Xbox One is receiving an update in November to support Xbox 360 games, but comments from Xbox head Phil Spencer suggest the company may not be stopping there. The original Xbox might also be getting some next-gen love.
@HadleeSimons I don't think it's silly. I ask the BC team this question a lot. Need to finish 360 BC for now.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) August 19, 2015
But why bother? After all, the first console sold around 24 million, eclipsed by the 360’s sales of more than 80 million. It was big, had a weird controller, was quite noisy when it was switched on, and its biggest-selling game ("Halo 2") has already been remade for Xbox One. Why relive bad memories?
Not so fast. The weird first attempt by Microsoft at a console may have had its quirks, but its back catalogue hosts an array of gems that could enjoy a whole new lease of life with next-gen support. Here are six standout games, exclusive to the Xbox at launch, that could find themselves thrust out of the bargain bin.
"Blinx: The Time Sweeper"
Blinx is a cat with a vacuum that can travel through time. The game depended on the Xbox’s hard drive (a console first) to record the player’s actions, so when Blinx needed to rewind, record, or retry, the game used a ghost image of Blinx to retrace his steps. Blinx collected time crystals to power up his time-sweeping abilities, and puzzles could consist of pausing time to hit an enemy’s weak point, slowing down to narrowly avoid obstacles, or rewinding to repair broken bridges. It was ridiculous, over-the-top, and at times frustrating, but there’s never been a game quite like it since.
The party game to end all party games. "Fuzion Frenzy" was a launch title for the Xbox way back in 2001 with six characters, more than 40 minigames, and a whole lot of frantic button-mashing. There was also a weird “final round” minigame that involved collecting orbs, but it wasn’t quite as good as rolling around in gladiator balls, setting off fireworks, or making little robo-bombs run towards enemies. There was a sequel for the Xbox 360, but it was made by a different developer and wasn't rated by critics as highly as the first.
"Jet Set Radio Future"
The sequel to Dreamcast’s "Jet Set Radio," this one came bundled on a disc alongside "Sega GT 2002" with every new Xbox sold. Featuring cel-shaded animated rollerblading, players had to paint graffiti on tag walls and street furniture to fight local street gangs, all set to a stellar soundtrack that encompassed some the best music in a game ever.
From legendary developer BioWare, who gave the world "Mass Effect," comes this action RPG that received critical acclaim. Inspired by Imperial China, you play as an orphan raised by a martial arts master. When disaster strikes, it’s up to the players to find their old master and restore order. The game featured a constructed language known as Tho Fan, developed by a PhD linguistics candidate. The player makes choices along the way and, depending on the path taken, can end the game on a good or an evil note.
Vince is a voodoo doll that lives in Louisiana. The idea is that, being a doll, Vince can take a beating, and the player is encouraged to throw Vince under falling safes, set himself alight, or jump into a blender to hurt nearby enemies. Vince is tracking down Madam Charmaine, who runs a voodoo shop in New Orleans’ French Quarter, and maintains a telepathic connection with her throughout the game. The release is the only console game from Beep Games, who went on to make iOS games like “Scurvy Scallywags,” a “part RPG, part Broadway musical.” Beep’s unique style is on display with Vince, and Xbox One support would introduce it to a whole new group of gamers.
This game was similar to "Wipeout," which races fast spaceship-cars around futuristic tracks. That was no accident, either. Developer Curly Monsters was founded by six ex-Psygnosis developers who split after finishing "Wipeout," and "Quantum Redshift" aimed to build on that experience for a whole new console. The game had gorgeous graphics for its time, featured a soundtrack by Junkie XL and included several characters with scandalous story lines. Unfortunately, the developer went out of business soon afterwards due to a lack of funds, and a sequel with Xbox Live support was canceled.