Xbox History: The Best Games by Month

As we’ve entered into a new generation of Xbox with the Series X|S consoles, I’ve been reminiscing over the history of Xbox from Microsoft’s entry into the market in November 2001 to today. With the 20th anniversary on the horizon, I thought it would be fun/interesting to take a look back at the games of Xbox and highlight the “best” ones for each month (opinion of course!). My goal would be to post a new game/month every few days, starting with the launch month - brief snippets, nothing overly detailed due to time constraints. I’m not sure if anyone else is interesting in reading this, engaging, or potentially joining in, but I thought it would be worth a shot and something a little different from the constant circle of discussion that tends to occur on many forums. I’d love to hear what others think, how their opinions may differ, and what stood out to them personally over the history of Xbox. With that said, I’ll start with the first game - a no brainer!

Halo: Combat Evolved

The most obvious choice, Halo WAS Xbox at launch and well beyond. It’s hard to find new things to say about Halo: CE that already haven’t been said, so I’ll speak briefly from personal experience. I was a hardcore Playstation 2 person leading up to the Xbox launch, but Halo definitely made me stop and take notice when I played it at a friend’s house at launch. The graphics, the music, the A.I., that epic opening…good night! I knew I needed to have this giant black box, unwieldy controller, and green spaceman in my life. I remember binging the entire campaign via co-op with my bud in one day, and we didn’t even need that Bawls energy drink or Doritos! It was an epic experience and will always be one of my personal fondest gaming memories. I don’t know that the game holds up entirely well nowadays, but it was a high moment in gaming that’s rarely been matched since.

Shout-outs to Fuzion Frenzy, PGR, and DOA3 though, all excellent November 2001 games that might have been the pick without the Master Chief standing in the way. Did anyone have a game they consider the “best” of November 2001 that isn’t Halo: CE?


I loved PGR. MSR was probably my most played dreamcast game. Would love for playground to reboot PGR for series x.


The game that brought me back to gaming, probably my favorite game of all-time and the main reason I’ve been on Xbox for 20 years. The only games that come close are Super Mario World and GoldenEye.

Interesting thread. :+1:

November is Halo:CE for me. No contest.

Thanks, I was hoping this might gain a bit more interest and other people posting games as well, but I’ll keep it going with December 2001 tomorrow. If you or anyone else want to tackle a month here or there, let me know! Could be a fun community thing.

Interesting stuff! Will you be including 3rd party down the road as well?

Yup, maybe as soon as…December 2001 :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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December 2001’s game is…

Max Payne!

Again, I’ll be speaking from personal experience here. Probably should just say I’ll do that any time I post a game in this thread. May Payne was awesome. It was one of the first games that showed how powerful the Xbox was compared to its competition, outperforming and having additional content that was seemingly missing from the PS2 port. At the time, Max Payne felt new and my friends and I were really into it. Doesn’t quite hold up anymore to me, but I suppose it’s a fun nostalgia trip that you can even play on your smartphone.

The bullet-time game mechanic was like being your own Neo from the Matrix. The story was dark, serious, gritty and told in a unique manner. The world felt lived in. The characters were flawed and somewhat relatable. But at my age at the time, it was just a darn fun game to play and helped begin to establish the idea that Xbox was a beast of a machine that could hang with PCs.

Special shout outs to both SSX Tricky and Silent Hill 2. This was a tough month to pick, as both of those titles are quite amazing in their own right. I probably would have went with SSX, but it just felt weird to control compared to the PS2 version.

What did you think was the best game of December 2001 that released on Xbox?


Halo CE is easily my November. Too bad PGR launched at the same time.

December has always been one of the worst months for Xbox. Siege and Immortals were the best games this generation. In the past you had Max Payne, Beyond Good and Evil, Deux Ex: Invisible War, KOTOR 2 and Mech Assault 2. Otherwise a lot of solid DLCs. I’d have to go with Mech Assault 2.

Mech Assault 2 came out in 2004. We’re still in 2001! :crazy_face:

Oh you’re going year by year? Woah…this will take awhile. Lol

That’s part of the point, something different from the usual discourse around “what studio to buy!” and such. :+1:


Really going to enjoy this thread, bit of a trip down memory lane

Good to hear! If you’re interested in contributing a game here or there for a particular month let me know!

Didn’t play any of the December 2001 games. Maybe I would say SSX Tricky as it was a good and fun game apparently (only played SSX On Tour and I loved it).

Great idea! Nostalgia is one hell of a drug!

December 2021 it’s Max Payne then.

Thanks! And FYI for anyone reading and wanting to participate: I’m just pulling games from Wikipedia’s list of Xbox games, using the U.S. release list as Xbox is from a U.S. company and I lived in the country at the time. Lord knows I don’t remember what came out every month, I’m too old for that!

January 2002, fresh new year with the typical dearth of January releases. Even as a newer platform, Xbox wasn’t exempt from this. With limited titles to choose from, there was one that in my opinion stood out the most and I’d still play many years later:

January 2002


I know, this is a gaming forum and sports games are often sneered at - especially one that isn’t international such as American football. That said, NFL 2K2 was an absolutely amazing title, one that managed to somehow improve on NFL 2K1 which was amazing in its own right. It was a legitimate Madden competitor from a gameplay perspective, I actually bought both titles yearly from that point forward because the 2K franchise was so good.

The feel and flow of gameplay was great, the announcers were funny and on point, and the game was so much more vibrant compared to the “realistic” Madden. It absolutely felt like a mix of Sega’s arcade history, but grounded in some realism. I really can’t gush enough about how good the presentation was at the time, it was so good, it felt like watching ESPN (which Sega later partnered with I do believe). I played the heck out of this when I used to be into sports games. I’d still play a new one if it ever came back. And Randy Moss…remember him?

Shout out to Genma Onimusha, which would have been my personal pick if 2K2 and the NFL weren’t so big in my life at the time. I do enjoy some aspects of Onimusha, but the Xbox One release made me realize just how dated it is in many ways.

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There really weren’t many options that month… I was probably busy playing Unreal Tournament on PC at the time.

And guessing from games that people frequently name, most people would pick something Sega released for Feb 2001, though I must admit I’ve never played it.