A Look to the Past: November 15th

Xbox Live! Screenshot - a look to the past

As each year passes, it seems like the days of my youth are gradually slipping away. I sometimes find myself daydreaming of video games of old and the days and nights I would spend adventuring with Link, saving bunnies with Sonic, and busting up Goombas with Mario. Skip forward in time to 2012 and we will get to look back at important dates in video game history and reminisce a little bit with GameZone’s new column, A Look to the Past.

XboxOh yes! Today is a special day in video game history and one near and dear to many of our hearts. The first time I saw information on this new, upcoming next-gen console was in a magazine years ago. I’ve since forgot which magazine it was, but I’ll never forget seeing it and reading it on that day years ago. It was so exciting to me that I still remember the day my brother and I rustled through the pages hanging on to every description about Microsoft’s first attempt in the video game console market, the Xbox.

Fast-forward to November 15, 2001 and this exciting, new console called the Xbox I had seen in the magazine months before was finally released to the public. It started with Bill Gates signing and selling the first Xbox in Times Square at midnight and ended with more success than I think anyone saw coming.

Master ChiefThanks in part to one of the most iconic video game characters in history, Master Chief, the Xbox quickly caught on in North America and around the world. At the time, all I was hearing was Halo this and Halo that. Master Chief had officially captured our hearts and we still haven’t let go of the green-armored Spartan soldier. Along with creating a video game icon, the Xbox was helped with a new, online multiplayer system allowing players with a subscription to play with other subscribed players around the world. It was called Xbox Live and it was simply awesome. These two reasons alone made the Xbox a fierce competitor to the PlayStation 2 at the time.

The Xbox had succeeded where the Sega Dreamcast had failed. The Xbox planned to focus on an online multiplayer system with Xbox Live to help it compete to the PS2, which in turn had a lacking online experience. Simply, the Xbox had a better an online multiplayer experience than the PS2, which made it extremely popular with gamers. There was finally a way to play with friends around the world in a simple way. (And it was freakin' sweet!) Xbox Live is arguably still the best online multiplayer system available through consoles today. It was a BIG deal then and it's still a BIG deal.

                                  Xbox Live (Old School)

The Xbox definitely holds a place in my heart and I know it does with many of you as well. I have so many awesome memories of playing Halo for hours and hours (more like days and days) and being completely addicted to the Xbox Live service. It was a solid success for Microsoft. The Xbox ended up selling more than 24 million units worldwide with more than 16 million of those units selling in North America. We were addicted and in many ways, things still haven’t changed. We are still playing Xbox Live through our Xbox 360’s and we still haven’t gotten tired of sticky grenading people in the face with our favorite Spartan super soldier.

Thank you, Bill Gates!

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Heath Hooker
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