So... A few months ago my 6 year old brother started gaming a lot more than usual, it was clear that he was addicted. There was a small problem though: Lack of proper hardware.
I had given him my old phone, a Galaxy A01, which is decent on its own right, and set up parental controls. But he's a kid of taste, doesn't like mobile games that much, and kept playing games on my mom's laptop, which she uses for work and university, so that was a bit of pickle.
I knew what games and genres he liked, I just needed to figure out what to get.
At first I thought of a PS2 with OPL. They're cheap, everywhere and easy to mod. But OPL has its flaws with some games on USB being unplayable.
Then I started thinking of getting a PS3, they're only $100, easily hackable and a great console. But then, an opportunity popped up on the Facebook marketplace: An Xbox 360 Slim, modded with RGH, a 240GB internal HDD and 2 controllers... For just $80.
I've never owned an Xbox 360, not for myself anyway, have had others which I flipped for cash, but this time, I wanted to experience it for real... And yeah, also give something for my brother (I knew the 360 could do multiple profiles teehee).
Bought it using some of HIVE cash I made, and here are my thoughts.
When I first got it, it was running Freestyle Dash, which I was not a big fan of, so I decided to switch to Aurora, which seems to be kept more up to date and imo looks way better, and is also simpler, something that's great for a 6 year old kid.
I deleted almost all the games that came with it, only keeping the Forza Horizons because of obvious reasons.
For a while now I've had an external 320GB USB hard drive, and even though it's a measly 5200rpm, it still works great on here.
When it starts to get full, I can just move games to the internal storage. But right now, with about 100 Xbox 360 + XBLA + Classic games and some emulators, it's still not full.
As you can see, Sonic was a top priority, I guess I'm not the only SEGA kid in this household, because my brother absolutely loves the blue bur, and the Xbox 360 ports are not bad at all.
Of course I was going to play the console too, so I added tons of games which are to my taste. The Halos and the Call of Dutys, Assassin's Creed which I had never played and even some weirder stuff like Lolipop Chainsaw, which luckily my brother stays away from.
Added Red Dead Redemption as that game is still not available on PC and it's wonderful.
One thing that surprised me was the Japanese support. I know Xbox doesn't sell that well in the land of the rising sun, but there are some great Japanese made titles for the Xbox.
Of course you have the obvious suspects from huge companies like CAPCOM, SEGA and Bandai Namco, but even Catherine is there, I game I only managed to play halfway on the PS3 during my Atlus honeymoon back in 2017.
Now I'll finally finish it.
Something else the Japanese surprised me with was the sheer number of SHMUPs, some even exclusive. There are a bunch of great scrolling shooter on the 360, with Deathsmiles and Trouble Witches Neo being games I absolutely fell in love with.
On the emulation front I was pleasantly surprised by Retroarch having tons of cores, but absolutely amazed at the port of FBA.
I managed to track down a copy of the emulator on Youtube of all places with thousands of games, spanning the 80's, 90's and even early 2000's across a wide range of arcade hardware.
Me and my dad have never had this much fun together, as our love for gaming grew on the arcade and the SNES/PS1.
And on the PS1 front we're also having fun. The PCSXR port is decent enough and runs a good deal of games. This is not my first time running Playstation on an Xbox, I did that on the Xbox One with Duckstation, but it's still a little funny to see Gran Turismo on a Microsoft console.
So, I sound excited. Is my brother even getting any use out of this? Of course! I have a job and things to do, as weird as it sounds, I don't game all day, those are retirement plans.
The little guy has been playing it literally everyday, and is as happy as can be. And so am I really, he's experiencing some awesome games he never could before and also using Retroarch and FBA a lot for the retro games, which luckily he loves as much as I do.
He's always inviting me or dad for a match of Tekken 6, Soul Calibur 2 (he didn't like V) or a multitude of racing games. He recently discovered that Sonic 2 has multiplayer and we played tons of that.
He's adoring the Forza Horizon series and playing race after race everyday on Horizon 1 and 2, with sessions of Need for Speed Most Wanted in between.
Halo Reach is also getting a lot of love from him, after he got interested in the series due to the new TV show, that even my dad is watching and recommending to my uncles, who have no clue it comes from a game. That's cool.
Even if I'm not getting the "authentic Xbox 360 experience" at its peak, with people playing online and enjoying the extensive online infrastructure that Microsoft had, I'm still having tons of fun.
I have managed to play online using Aurora's system link emulator but... I have a PC, it doesn't make much sense to me as I never had an affinity for Xbox Live during the 360 era, even if from the sidelines it looked amazing. I was stuck on the PS3 and Nintendo Network (which was terrible) but still had my fun there.
The 360 may be old and phased out, but it's still managed to give me tons of fun and it's a console I don't think I'll be parting ways with anytime soon, specially if it depends on my brother.
I showed him the new Xbox consoles and the only thing that interested him was Horizon 5, but I let him play that on my PC or on the laptop using xCloud, so he's absolutely fine with the 360 (and playing more Horizon 2 than 5).
This was the best $80 I've spent in a long while. An $80 which could've been spent way more wisely, but that I don't regret at all. A lot worse ways to burn your money out there, this was a good one.