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Why I bought my first Xbox console in 2017
In this article, I’m going to talk about why, in 2017, I just bought my first Xbox console. To understand why, you have to go back a bit into my history with video games.
The Early Years
My first home console was an Atari 2600, which my family got for Christmas in 1981, when I was 5 years old. I started my video game life with games such as Combat, Asteroids, Circus Atari, Yars’ Revenge, Donkey Kong, and more. Within a few years, I was becoming obsessed with games such as Atlantis, and Cosmic Arc. I also started gravitating towards side scrolling shooting games, such as Defender and Vanguard. Even though I didn’t really know that was the term for them, I just really enjoyed the gameplay style.
When we got our NES, in 1987, I got into games like the Legend of Zelda games, Contra, Metroid, the Super Mario Brothers games, and others. And I also managed to find games that were similar in style to Defender and Vanguard, such as Gradius, Abadox, and Legendary Wings.
Then, by the late 80’s, I came across this little game for the NES called Dragon Warrior, and my life of video games was changed forever. I instantly became hooked on the RPG, the formula just mixed perfectly with me. I loved the idea of playing a character who starts out weak, with little or no weapons or armor, and in the beginning you can only venture out from your starting area so far before you were worn out and had to return to heal. But then by fighting and gaining experience, your character gets stronger. And you also get money that allows you to buy better weapons and armor. And this allows you to venture out even further, which lets you encounter stronger enemies which in turn give you more experience. Wash, rinse, and repeat, and you’ve essentially got Dragon Warrior. And I loved it, I couldn’t get enough.
Soon after that, Nintendo Power started hyping up a new game that would be coming out called Final Fantasy, and if it was ever possible to fall in love with a game that you have never even played, this was it. I wanted to get all the information possible on this game, and this was back in the day when it was actually hard to find out stuff. I became obsessed with Final Fantasy, and couldn’t wait to play it. I was actually on vacation at my Grandmother’s house when it came out, and did not have my NES with me. Even though I couldn’t play it yet, I was at a toy store on the morning it came out when they opened, and I bought it and spent pretty much the rest of that vacation reading and re-reading the 84 page manual that came with it. This was also back in the day when games came with good manuals. Anyway, when I finally was able to play it, it definitely didn’t disappoint, and I was officially an RPG fan for life.
After that time, I played RPGs almost exclusively for a long time. I got an SNES in 1991, and with the exception of things like Super Mario World and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, most of my time on it was spent with Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III (which of course is really Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI)
The Mid Years
In 1995, I moved out of my parents house and starting living on my own, so for most of the mid to late 90’s, I had little money to spend buying video games. As a result, I missed the era of the Nintendo 64 and PS1, and instead focused on replaying my NES and SNES games, along with my Gameboy which suddenly got lots more play after a little game called Pokemon was released.
I would see on store shelves and in store demos of all the cool games that were coming out, especially for the PS1, including some great RPGs. I definitely wanted them, but could not afford them or the console. By the time I finally was able to get a PS1, it was so late in the consoles life, and the PS2 was right around the corner which was going to have PS1 backwards compatibility. Because of this, I held off on buying a PS1, and instead waited to buy a PS2, while preparing by stocking up on the PS1 games I wanted as they were falling in price.
I got my PS2 on launch day (the console still works perfectly, and is still hooked up to my 32” CRT and gets plenty of use to this day). With it, I spent the next few years on PS1 and PS2 RPGs like all the Final Fantasies, Chrono Trigger (I never did get the SNES version, sadly), Chrono Cross, Kingdom Hearts, Xenosaga’s, Parasite Eve’s, Grandia’s (Grandia Xtreme is very underrated, in my opinion, and is a great game), Saiyuki: Journey West, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, La Pucelle Tactics, and many more.
Not long after the PS2 came out, I started reading about a new console from Microsoft called the Xbox. While all of my video gaming time and budget was going into PS1 and PS2 games (and soon to be Gameboy Advance), I was still always interested in reading about new consoles, so I followed news about it. I almost never buy new consoles or games right away (with the exception of the PS2), so I let it come out and read things about it in video game magazines and played demos at retail stores. While I may be totally wrong about this, for the most part it looked to me like it was going to be a console mostly for 2 genres of games, sports and first person shooters, neither of which is a genre I care about. I decided I wasn’t going to care about it, and went on with my Sony and Nintendo consoles and my almost exclusive gaming habit of RPGs.
I stopped paying any attention to the Xbox, and throughout the 2000’s I continued playing PS1 and PS2 games mostly. I also got a PS3, DS, and Sony’s new handheld, the PSP, as these were all great RPG consoles. The Xbox 360 also came out, and I largely ignored it, assuming it would be more of the same. However, I did become aware of some Xbox 360 exclusive games that looked like I would be interested in them. Most notably, Tales of Vesperia and Blue Dragon. However, it wasn’t enough to get me to buy one.
I then got into Sony’s new handheld, the PS Vita, which has since gone on to become probably my favorite video game console ever. I also learned about a company called Limited Run Games that was selling physical copies of digital only games for PS4 and PS Vita. I loved this concept, as I don’t support digital distribution of any media, especially video games. I want all my games to be physical, so I really loved what they were doing. Shortly after finding out about them, I saw they would be coming out with a physical copy of the game Soldner-X 2, a shoot ’em up game from eastasiasoft. Looking at it, it reminded me of Gradius, from all the way back in the NES days. I bought it, and when I played it, it was like re-discovering an old favorite genre all over again. I hadn’t played a shoot ‘em up in probably 25 years, and it just felt so good to be doing it again. I was remembering why I loved the genre so much in my childhood.
After that, I started looking for other shoot ‘em up games for consoles I already own, and I also started looking for what consoles I don’t have are good for shoot ‘em ups, as I felt like getting into a console I had never owned. Surprisingly as I was searching for this, I started seeing more and more the Xbox 360 mentioned as a great shoot ‘em up console, with several region free Japanese releases working on the US version. I combined this with the small amount of RPGs on the system that I already knew I would want, and I convinced myself that I would go ahead and pick up an Xbox 360.
So I spent quite a bit of time watching Ebay auctions, looking for the perfect condition one. I’m very picky about the condition of my consoles, so I wanted to make sure to get the best I could. I wound up getting a great deal on a nearly mint condition Xbox 360 S, complete with an also very good condition box. I swear when I was opening this, it was pretty much like opening a new console, it was in that good condition. I’ve also picked up some RPGs and shoot ‘em ups for the system, some new, some used from Ebay. So far I have got Tales of Vesperia, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Kameo: Elements of Power, and Eternal Sonata. And then the shoot ‘em ups I’ve got so far are Raiden IV, Akai Katana, Deathsmiles, Otomedius Excellent, Espgaluda II Black Label, Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5, and DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou.
So that is what has brought me to buying my first Xbox system in 2017. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on my decision, and also of the games I’ve got so far. And if there are any other gems that I’m missing that I should be looking for, I’d like to hear about those, too. I’m always looking out for new games.