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The "Mountain Dew" limited edition X-box.

EA Limted Edition Chinese Xbox



THE RANT: Okay, so I finally had some extra cash laying around and decided to jump on the bandwagon and buy myself and Xbox. Yes, I know at the time of this writing (May 2005) the console is near the end of it's life cycle. All that means is that it's cheap and all the good games are already out for it.

Why did I, the king of el-cheapo I-ain't-spending-three-hundred-dollars-on-a-game-machine-no-matter-how-good-the-graphics-look school of tightwad game collecting decide to pony up and finally get a (used) Xbox?

Well, it's my job. I test games for a living. Yes, it's as cool as it sounds. Anyway, without fail the Xbox versions of any particular game I've worked on not only look better, but since the Xbox version usually comes out a litle bit later than the PS2 version that means they take some extra time to clean more bugs out of it. That's why the Xbox version of any particular game looks and plays so much better than it's PS2 counterpart, it's in the testing cycle longer.

So yes, I know I've said elsewhere I'm old for a video game person and can't tell the difference between systems anymore, but now I can. So I bought an Xbox. Plus it has Oddworld on it.

THE GOOD: So why should you buy an X-box? Well, first off it's easily hackable. The machine is basically a low-end PC, and all the parts (like the hard drive, DVD player, etc.) can be removed with a little bit of savvy and replaced with better stuff, so conceivably you can get a lot more out of it than Microsoft intended. I've even read in 2600 magazine about some guy who's running a FTP server off of his. Second, while some people don't seem to theres any games worth having for the Xbox except Halo 2, at least they look good. No complaints in the graphics or sounds department. Third you can easily run emulators on this thing, which means you can download a rom, burn it to a CD, and play it on your TV like it was intended (after altering the DVD drive.) That in itself makes it a worthwhile investment to me. 

THE BAD: Besides most people thinking the games aren't up to par (which is bullshit) The controller to me just seems too damn complicated. Look at it. It looks like it was made to fly the Millennium Falcon. Plus it's too damn big. You can't work the thumbstick and hit the black and white buttons at the same time unless you have hideous gigantism hands. The slimmer Japanese controller they quietly replaced thier original monstrosity with sucks too.

The Ugly: The Xbox has a habit of suddenly ceasing to work for no apparent reason (just like your computer,) the most common form being the "Dirty disc error" when your disc is band new. This is Microsoft after all. So take care of your Xbox, don't put drinks down on it or smoke around it.



Dream Box

Use your Dreamcast Controller on your Xbox.

Xbox prototype controller

pic thanks to Supergrafx


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CPU:733 MHz Intel

Graphics Processor: 300MHz custom Xchip, developed by Microsoft and nVIDIA

Total Memory: 64 MB

Memory Bandwidth: 6.4 GB/sec

Polygon Performance: 300 M/sec

Sustained Polygon Performance: 150+ M/sec (transformed and lit polygons per second)

Micropolygons/particles per second: 300 M/sec

Particle Performance: 300 M/sec

Simultaneous Textures: 4

Pixel Fill Rate - No Texture: 4.8 G/Sec (anti-aliased)

Pixel Fill Rate - 1 Texture: 4.8 G/Sec (anti-aliased)

Compressed Textures: Yes (8:1)

Full Scene Anti-Alias: Yes

Micro Polygon Support: Yes

Storage Medium: 4x DVD, 8GB hard disk, 8MB memory card

I/0: 4x DVD, 8GB hard disk, 8MB memory card

Audio Channels:64 (up to 256 stereo voices)

3D Audio Support: Yes

MIDI DLS2 Support: Yes

AC3 Encoded Game Audio: Yes

Broadband Enabled: Yes

DVD Movie Playback: Built in

Maximum Resolution: 1920x1080

Maximum Resolution (2x32bpp frame buffers +Z): 1920x1080

HDTV Support: Yes