For most of the first decade of Xbox’s life, I was sitting by the side. I was mainly gaming on PC and didn’t have a stellar budget for that either, so buying a console seemed like a no-no from the start. One of the main activities I did at the time at friends’ house, however, was playing Xbox. With one friend, we’d spend hours playing Halo 1 on OG Xbox on Blood Gulch, usually coming up with wacky game modes like rocket launchers only or a fun minigame where we’d crash into each other with the warthogs and whoever gets thrown off loses the round. We spent dozens of hours on that single map alone, so when Halo 1 eventually came to PC, I had a blast playing it online. We also tried other Xbox games, but it was really all about Halo for me.
Fast forward a couple years, different friends who already got an Xbox 360 - once again, I was not in the market for one. While we’d also play other things and different systems, the main activity was Halo 2 through backwards compatibility, epic split-screen or multi-system deathmatches and 1v1s that we even recorded to VCR at the time. Took me some time to get used to the lowered FOV, but the dual wields and new map complexity really elevated the competitive experience to a new level. By this point, I spent dozens of hours on Xbox, practically more than any other system aside from the PS1 and GBA (only consoles I ever owned at that point), and like 99% of the time was on Halo in particular.
Fast forward again, 2009 this time. I spent a vacation abroad at a friend’s house, who, again, had an Xbox 360. We’d usually spend the day visiting places and doing outside activities, then go in the basement after dinner and play on the Xbox 360, chat, listen to music and so on until 3, 4, 5am. Rinse and repeat. Our main activity? Project Gotham Racing 3, longest version of the Nordschleife, the slowest car, 5 laps. A one hour marathon where we’d duke it out every corner, though making sure that if one goes too far ahead he does slow down a bit. We spent several hours on that, and I’ve found myself a nice racing game that I never played before.
At the same time, my love story with PC gaming was fading. It was a time when tons of excellent third parties straight-up skipped PC, and many of them came with delayed and unoptimized ports, clearly studied for controllers different than mine or my KB+M combo. It was also a time when I kept having driver errors, hardware failures, and with me having a limited budget, it was hard to have to keep changing elements in my PC every couple months. I also had an old laptop, which eventually became my de facto playing place, but I could not realistically play anything on it besides indies or triple-A games up until 2002-2003. I did recover a PS2 shortly after PS3 came out, but it was not enough. It was time to do something drastic.
My GF at the time (2009 still) was aware of me really wanting to get back into the mainstream games, so she decided to buy me an Xbox 360, as we figured we could also use it to play together and there’s definitely things she is interested it in herself. On top of the console, what to buy was painfully obvious: that pack-in that included a second controller alongside Halo 3 (my long-lost love) and Fable 2, a game she was interested in. Needless to say, we both got what we wanted: I got myself the on-going Halo to play with buddies and strangers, she got an excellent RPG in Fable 2, and we had various fun minigames we could play together too here and there.
I started getting into so many things I just simply missed out on. I was in day one on Forza Motorsport 3. I got Alan Wake when that came out. I recovered Batman Arkham Asylum on sale shortly after launch. I started getting in the Call of Duty and Battlefield loops. I lost myself in janky yet awesome third person action games like WET. My limited budget also made me appreciate the XBLA initiative so much, with games like Worms 2 Armageddon (I’ve been a huge fan of the franchise on PC already), Monday Night Combat, Trials or LIMBO stealing tons of hours of my time. Before I knew it, I basically buried PC gaming and started considering Xbox 360 as my de facto gaming home.
By the end of the Xbox 360’s life cycle, I got myself hundreds of games between deals, discounts, XBLAs and whatnot. I was hooked, most of my free time was spent gaming on it (never been much of a social person). This negatively peaked around 2012: was unemployed, which contributed to a really devastating break-up for me, which made me lose myself in gaming more and more. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 came out that year, and I must have spent 500+ hours on it in the first months alone. Spent most of 2013 cleaning out backlog and 200G-ing, 400G-ing and 1000G-ing games. I didn’t have much better to do anyway, nor the motivation for it.
I did not get an Xbox One at launch, but I managed to snag one a year later, the white console bundle with Sunset Overdrive. By then, I already used deals, free codes, GWG and giveaways to build myself a library of 20-30 games, so I was set already when I jumped in. I once again started playing tons of indies mainly, recovering triple-As later when my budget allowed it, and my passion for those games eventually led me to write for an Italian Xbox-centric website. I already wrote for sites in the past, but much smaller and tendentially on PC. It was still just a hobby, not a paid job, but it was giving me satisfaction.
I managed to get my shit together eventually, finding myself a stable job, a stable relationship, moving out on my own terms, and in gaming terms, having finally the budget to do whatever the hell I wanted, within reason anyway. Indeed, I got myself a nice 4KTV in 2017 alongside the One X, bought tons of titles day one, started following new releases a lot more, which eventually led me to stick to ResetEra’s then-awesome Xbox OT with folks like Klobrille, Theorry and the others. My presence there eventually brought me in the XboxEra circles, where I’ve been part of the staff since late 2019, seeing a passionate little group of Xbox fans become a brilliant website for anything Xbox, including a fantastic forum. My Game Pass is set for years, I write a lot of articles about Xbox games, I bought both Series X and S, and I’m very excited about Microsoft’s gaming future.
So, that’s about it! What initially was years of me playing Halo and the likes at friends’ house, eventually turned into me choosing an Xbox 360 over other options and never really looking back. I played various other consoles since, and out of the current rotation I also happily own a Switch and a great gaming PC. But most of my gaming time and interest is still on Xbox, and I don’t think this will change anytime soon. So look forward to my 30 years of Xbox write-up as well