November 2021 will mark twenty years of Xbox, and I am checking in with the Game on AUS team over the coming weeks to see when they joined Team Xbox and what some of their favourite memories have been. This entry is dedicated to none other than one of our founding Directors, Dan van der Meer, aka Capt Albion.
The year was 2001, and I was, admittedly, a bit lost.
I’d been a gamer all my life, from the moment I saw International Superstar Soccer on the Commodore 64, in all its 8-bit glory, in a shop window down at the Innaloo shops (yes, you read correctly, that’s a suburb name in Perth), I was all over gaming and every joyous joy that it brought to my life.
I’d had a console ever since that day. And gaming formed a massive part of my life.
But back to 2001. My last console was the Game Cube. I’d switched to Nintendo after the celebration that was Mario Kart and/or Goldeneye on the N64, and followed through then with the Game Cube.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the Game Cube. But I was a bit lost. Nothing in gaming was really speaking to me.
Even when I saw the Xbox for the first time. The original Xbox. It didn’t excite me.
Told you I was lost.
My brother though, that little bit younger than me, wasn’t lost, and he went and bought the console. That was my first taste of the Xbox and even then, I wasn’t sold. Who am I? And what was I becoming?
It all changed though, and it was all thanks to the glorious days that were my Uni days (mature age nerd right here).
I had a whole 6 weeks to kill mid-year, so apart from working at the local car wash, I didn’t have much to do.
Enter my brother’s beautiful Xbox.
The game at the time for me was Tiger Woods PGA 2003, and bloody hell, I WAS BACK BABY!
I was back gaming and loving it, but the bug well and truly bit when the XBOX 360 hit the shelves.
The game that got me was its launch title. Perfect Dark Zero.
That opening scene, where Joanna’s eye opens sharply as the music kicks in… man, love at first sight… and I ain’t talking about Jo.
This game was everything with regards to the “next level” in graphics and gameplay. Starting off the game with a ‘simulation’ level was genius, and it only got better from that. That second level, where you have to infiltrate that nightclub in Honkers, still gives me chills.
What I liked about it too was that it was difficult. The aforementioned Nightclub level, on Perfect Dark difficulty, almost broke me…
From memory too, this was one of the first games I personally played in co-op mission, online. This is, by far, my favourite mode of gaming and this game was the start of a fantastic gaming relationship between myself and my co-op gaming partner, Ronald P. Corbett.
The Xbox 360 revolutionised gaming for me personally and created the second wave of gaming love for yours truly.
In hindsight, it’s surprising I stuck with the Xbox. That bloody 360 got the red rings of death, and after all those lame things you had to do back in the day in order to rescue it (which never worked), I went and bought ANOTHER XBOX 360.
But, the love of gaming is strong with this one, and clearly, when I bought the Titanfall Edition of the Xbox One, that love story continued, and has done to this day.
Now, what might surprise people still reading after twenty years of Xbox, is that I am yet to buy the newest generation of the console.
I’ve got my eye on the Xbox Series X, but the closest I’ve come to one was watching our Historian unbox his beautiful piece of kit, way back in November 2020.
To be honest, there are two reasons why I haven’t bought the new one yet.
- I’m not really much of a “pre-order” guy, and have been put off by the lack of physical stock in stores. I’m waiting until I know I can head down to JB-HiFi and grab one off the shelf
- I’m still waiting for the game that will make me “HAVE” to have the Series X. I haven’t seen it as yet, but I know it’s coming
Either way, the love for gaming is stronger than ever and the moment I see THAT game, I’ll be getting the Xbox Series X.
To the good people at Xbox. Happy 20th birthday to a console series that has brought me so much bloody joy! Here’s to the next twenty years of Xbox and beyond! GAME ON!