When the original Xbox was released it was an impressive machine with a very strong core but it still didn’t stand a chance against the Playstation 2. But when the mod chips where released it changed everything about the Xbox. Thanks to the mod chips that unlocked the Xbox and made it possible to create any software you wanted for it it changed from a console with a lacking game library to a supercharged multimedia center and emulator monster!
When a chip was installed in the Xbox you could install XBMC that could stream all your music and moves from your network. You could install linux and run it as a sever. Or you could install the many amazing homebrew games and emulator ports to play all your favorite retrogames.
I love retrogames and collect games and systems but I also love emulators and the Xbox has the best emulators and gamelaunchers for this! The retrogaming community has created some amazing applications for the Xbox where you have the entire library of retrogames complete with screenshots, movie previews, boxarts, manuals etc. Smart options where you can filter your games to find a certain genre or filter games after number of players etc. They are all pre-configured with the four gamepad slots on the Xbox so there is no need to configure anything, just connect your gamepads and start playing!
I just got my fourth Xbox recently and decided to make this the ultimate Xbox. I wanted to install a big harddrive and install the latest and best emulators out there. I’m going to walk through all the steps of the progress and what software I installed to create the ultimate Xbox setup.
The original Xbox HDD only has an 8 Gig HDD, thats not much. But its possible to have your favorite emulators on this space. But its only the essentials, just roms not fancy stuff like screenshots, video previews etc. So its recommended to get an Xbox with a 120 Gig HDD or more to have room for all the cool stuff. They latest Xbox i got only had an original HDD so i decieded to take one of my old 200 Gig IDE HDD:s and install it. I followed this guide on youtube that described how to clone the original hdd to the new hdd. And it worked great. When i connected the new 200 Gig HDD it looked and worked just as the 8 Gig HDD that i just had disconnected but with much more space.
Step one, always install XBMC
There are many launchers for the Xbox, most often a modded Xbox comes with the “Avalaunch” that is a dashboard replacement that can launch other software from the Xbox. Its very simple and ugly so the first step is to install the latest version of XBMC.
XBMC is a gorgeous mediacenter for the xbox that can play media locally from the HDD or stream it from your network. It has support for 720 and looks amazing! It also works as a software launcher so you can run all your emulators and games from there. And it always runs an FTP server in the background which means that you can copy all the applications and games from your pc when XBMC is running.
When XBMC is installed i always make this my default dashboard, so when i start my Xbox it automatically starts XBMC as default. There are many guides on how to do this. Its really worth it!
Check if a new version of XBMC4Xbox is released on the official site: http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/ and then you can download the installation from http://www.theisozone.com or google for it.
Transform your Xbox into an Arcade machine
The emulator and gamelauncher “CoinOps” is really amazing. As im writing this the latest version is CoinOps 5, and this version has support for 40 different gamingsystems and has support for 22,000 games! You can download and install the complete CoinOps 5 release that has over 3800 games installed all with movie previews. In the launcher you can filter the list in many ways to find the games you are looking for and with a press of a button you can add the games you like to your “favorites”.
The strength of the CoinOps launcher is that its so easy and fast to play games, they are all pre-configured with your gamepad, all you need to do is press a button and it starts. Just like a real coin operated game in the Arcades. But this is also its weakness, there is essentially no options. You cant configure anything, It has very bad support for gamestates etc. And if you want to play an rpg game where you want more control, better savestate support etc then CopinOps is not the best option. Therefore you need a better emulator for this, and that what im going to talk about next.
Xport and Ressurection Xtras
The Xport emulators is a lot of emulators created for the Xbox. Each Xport version is an emulator for a singel system and when you launch that emulator you have total control over how you want to to work! Everything works great from the start but you can change stuff as you please. You can reconfigure the controllers. Cnange the screen resolution and size. Apply filter effects. And you have great control over the savestates with many saveslots and small screenshot previews etc.
Later a group released the Ressurection Xtras addons to make the Xport emulators even better. They updated the emulators and fixed bugs and added new features. They created amazing themes to make it more beautiful and have support for 720. And in the launch list of your games you could now see a screenshoft of the game, a video preview and scans of the covers of the original games. These emulators is a must-have for the Xbox. You can download these emulators on http://www.emuxtras.net/forum/ or http://www.theisozone.com/
Homebrew and ported games.
There are many amazing games ported to the Xbox. For example you can now play old retro pc games like Doom and it runs perfectly. Indie games like Cave Story has also been ported. There are too many to list but some of my favorites that i really can recommend is the port of Super Mario War and Streets of Rage Remake All of these releases are available on isozone
The Xbox has Component out support. This means that if you tv has a Component input you could get a 720 HD resolution with your Xbox and this is really recommended! A Component cable for the Xbox costs about $10 on eBay. All emulators i have mentioned above has support for the component cable and some original Xbox titles as well. If you are having problems with enabling the 720 resolution then you might need to change the region on the Xbox which is very easy using Enigmah, i wrote a tutorial for this here.