Released in 2003, this was one of the few Xbox exclusive racing games that verges between the arcade racing as seen in Ridge Racer / Metropolis Street Racer and the simulation aspects of Gran Turismo.
The main game mode is the Dream Mode, and features a rags to riches type story where you start off in an old car garage workshop. You are required to race and tune up your vehicle in order to stay competitive. As you win and progress through the game, you are able to finance development of further vehicles that will help with later races. You are provided the choice of which car to develop, which varies based on handling, speed and acceleration.
Essentially you are developing a new series of cars that are financed through the winnings of your races, the better you do, the more funds you can put towards better cars.
You will also see your workshop change and improve over time, with the building expanding as further departments are introduced. The workshop serves as the user interface for the game, using the left. right buttons to move between the different sections of the workshop that are used to access parts of the game. Visiting the garage lets you change settings for the car, and choosing the shelf lets you change game settings (video, audio, controller) and to load/save the game. Its a very creative way of navigation and blends into the game play. Races are started by the LCD display on the wall, giving the impression these races are televised.
1st place isn’t always required but is needed to get more funding for development of better vehicles. You can always repeat races to improve your standing. Some races are set in a Gran Prix series where you must finish a set of races in order. You also have an opportunity to complete a one on one race with a rival opponent, wining these races will give a boost to your research funds.
There are few characters that appears in cut scenes and serve as your staff. These serve a specific purpose in progressing through the game and will appear as you progress through the game.
Rick, The Mechanic – Pictured above, One of the first characters you meet, he’s responsible for making and applying changes to the car.
Carla, The Receptionist – Handles PR stuff
Rebecca – Responsible for managing production of cars which your company sells to also fund research.
Benjamin, The Scientist – Appears to the end, mainly responsible for researching high end supercars
The races themselves are straightforward, you start at the bottom and have to race your way to first place. There are typically 6 opponents that you compete with who’s vehicles will also adapt to changes from your vehicle, Keeping the game competitive. Theres a diverse amount of tracks in the game, with some being set in the daytime, evening and nighttime, along with their own background music. As with other Xbox tiles you have the option of using your own playlist if you have imported this onto the Xbox.
There are four main settings for the races, City, Mountain, Stadium and Racetrack.
The racing display is typical of the era, with a mini-map keeping track of your car and opponents, along with a lap counter and time display that shows the current racing time, your best lap and the track record which is shared between the different profiles on the Xbox.
Theres a couple of different camera views to select from, from third person to bonnet view.
No online play, not even system link which is strange for an Xbox exclusive from 2003. There is a head to head display that allows two players to race each other by connecting two controllers.
Sadly this game is not playable on the Xbox One or Series X/S, it is compatible on the Xbox 360 albeit with missing audio on some cutscenes. I suspect due to licensing issues we will never see this emulated officially on another Microsoft console.
R: Racing Revolution – very similar in driving mechanics.
Midnight Club 2 -This is more set in an open world
Burnout – A lot more grounded in reality compared to the alter Burnout titles.
Ridge Racer V – The tracks and scenery have some similarities
Released in 1996, Dead or alive was the fighting game created by Tomobou Itagaki, who is known for hating the Tekken game with a passion.
There are some similarities to the Virtua Fighter series of games by Sega, and have the same input controls and move-sets with Punch, Kick and Guard/Hold.
The character select screen displays basic stats on the characters and some not-so-useful information like the character’s favorite food and their hobbies. Honestly, this looks more like a dating site profile but does add a bit of personality to the fighters.
As with other fighting games, each character has their own unique fighting style which is tailored to their culture, and there are some obvious inspirations with Jann Lee being based off Bruce Lee.
Kasumi: The ginger ninja, or runaway shinobi according to the games lore
Zack: Dennis Rodman-inspired character who has a kickboxer moveset. The first opponent who stage is set on a tropical beach set at sunset
Ryu: Another Ninja, from the game Ninja Gaiden. The third opponent set on a rural Japanese stage with a hut in the background
Bayman: A Russian henchman/assassin, the sixth opponent whose stage is set in an aircraft hangar since he is supposed to have a military background
Jann Lee: Bruce Lee, similar to Law from Tekken. The fourth opponent and shares a stage with Tina, which is an American downtown highway set at night
Tina Armstrong: A wrestler and daughter of Bass Armstrong
Gen Fu: Old dude who is a master in Kung Fu, like Wang from Tekken
Lei Fang: A Chinese fortune teller turned fighter
Ayane: Kasumi’s half-sister who are rivals. Looks like a feminist
Bass Armstrong: Tina’s father, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage crossover
Dead or Alive was released initially in arcades in 1996, and then ported to home consoles in 1997
The game runs on the Sega Model 2 arcade board and is very similar to Virtua Fighter 2 which also ran on the same board. The control movesets and even the background stages are similar. This version of the game renders its stage background in full 3D, allowing for certain moves that use the background elements like a couple of Ryu’s moves on his stage. There is also a ‘Danger Zone’ around the stage that when your opponent lands on it, will be propelled into the air with a mild explosion, dealing some damage.
The game was ported to the Saturn and was the first home port of the game. This version is a mostly faithful conversion of the arcade original, with some changes taking place due to the less capabilities of the Saturn 3D hardware. Still, the Saturn has always done good with fighting games, and Dead Or Alive is no exception to this, yet this version of the game was only released in Japan.
There are a few menu options added, with a Time Attack mode being similar to arcade mode but with the goal of completing rounds in the shortest amount of time. V.S being versus, allowing a second player to fight head to head. Survival mode has you fight against multiple opponents, one at a time, using a single life bar. Kumite is somewhat a sparing mode where you can fight from 30/60/100 opponents which the goal of having the highest winning percentage. Lastly, there is also a standard training mode that lets you practice each character move, and test against opponents’ defensive moves.
Like other Arcade to Saturn conversions, an opening FMV is included which gives a quick montage of the characters.
As the Saturn version of the game was only released in Japan, I would avoid this version and get the original Xbox version instead, which is the same game but with added online play and cleaned-up graphics.
An updated version of the game was released for the PlayStation, which came with updated moves, two new added characters & backgrounds. This is considered a remake of sorts, as the stage background and music have been redesigned and are vastly different compared to the Sega versions. Two new characters have also been added which also feature in the arcade version, Dead or Alive ++, not the Model 2 version.
This version also includes the training, Kumite, Survival and Vs modes.
Arcade (Dead Or Alive++)
Another arcade version was released, this time on the PlayStation-based ZN arcade board, and shared a lot of similarities with the PlayStation home release. Each fighter has 4 different costumes to choose from, and a tag match mode has been added. New characters, Bass Armstong and Ayane have been added to this version.
This version was based of the original Sega Saturn release but takes advantage of the Xbox hardware. However, id say it pales graphically compared to the Model 2 version which features full 3D background objects, whilst the Xbox version features the static 2D backgrounds (no moving objects in the background, but some textures are animated) the Saturn uses. Still the character’s models and textures are more detailed, and Xbox Live support is included in this port of the game to allow online multiplayer. This has since been shut down following Microsoft discontinuing support for original Xbox Live titles in 2010.
Still, you miss out on Bass Armstrong and Ayane which is an odd omission.
This version of the game is playable on the Xbox One and Series consoles and can be brought online. You can also play on the Xbox 360 with a compatible hard drive.
Dead Or Alive came at a very hard time for Tecmo, who was facing bankruptcy prior to the release, hence the name of Dead Or Alive.
Dead Or Alive would be followed up in 1999, with the release of Dead or Alive 2 for the Dreamcast, and the PlayStation 2. It would be the last game released for the arcades. Future installments would be released on the Xbox exclusively, before returning to multiplatform with Dead or Alive 5.
A remake/port of Unreal Tournament 2003 for the original Xbox, and one of the first games to use Xbox Live.
A remake of Unreal Tournament 2003 for the original Xbox, and one of the first games to use Xbox Live. It can be considered a console adaption of Unreal Tournament, which it shares a lot of maps with.
Sadly this is one of the games that is trapped on the original Xbox, it was not made backward compatible with the Xbox 360 or the Xbox One, despite its sequel being supported. Perhaps this is deliberate since Unreal Tournament 2003 isn’t available on Steam, but the original and 2004 are, are Epic ashamed of these games?
Deathmatch: Standard deathwatch action, either team-based gameplay (two teams fighting each other, Red Vs Blue) or a free for all Capture the Flag: Very similar to the PC original, you have to capture the opposing team’s flag three times (more or less, depending on the game settings) and return it back to base. If both teams have the opposing team’s flag, then no teams can score until the opposing team’s flag has been returned, which can be done by killing the flag carrier and picking up the flag. Double Domination: Similar to capturing the flag, here you and your team have to capture two points for 10 seconds in order to score a point for your team. Kind of like a king-of-the-hill mode. Once either team reaches a predetermined score, the game is over. This is one of the games does that is better played online rather than offline since the bots suck at defending the captured base. Bombing Run: Basically a reverse capture the flag, but kind of like football. Here you have to take control of the ball (Spawns in the middle of the map) and then fire it into the opponent’s goal. When you take control of the ball, expect to be target #1 by the opponent team. A nice side effect is the ball will replenish your health, slowly. Survival: 1 vs 1, whoever gets the most kills wins, really deathmatch but with only two players.
There is a distinct story between the different characters, but this is only referenced in the characters biography’s, there is very few cut scenes in the game involving characters, aside from the opening with Brock and Lauren. Characters here have their own statistics, although many share the same voice lines, i.e human males use the same voice as each other, but the Aliens have their own, each with male/female versions. It’s not like fighting games like Tekken where each character has their own fighting style, more so they have unique statistics for their team.
Gen Mo’Kai: Alien looking species who take part in the tournaments, seem to be very agile but have weak strength
Automatons: A bunch of robots built by the Liandri corporation
Mercenaries: Regular humans, fairly typical stats for each character, ideal for newcomers to the game
Juggernauts: Big muvvafuckers, the strongest race that can take the most damage but are slow and the least agile characters in the game
Anubans: Look like humans but dress like they’re from Egypt, bit more agile than humans but are very high jumpers and acquire adrenaline more quickly
Nightmare: A bunch of weird and scary looking but have generally good stats. Supposedly their appearance is a result of the different experiments that have been done to them
Many characters would appear in Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004.
Multiplayer – Online Play
As one of the first Xbox Live titles, Unreal Championship was a popular title that was played online and the game made full use of the Xbox Live features. Until Microsoft shut down the original Xbox Live in mid 2010. On the flip side you can sill play the game online using the system link features, which was Microsoft terms for LAN play where multiple Xbox’s are connected to the same network. This can be done either by connecting a crossover ethernet cable from one Xbox to another or by connecting both Xbox’s to a router using a standard ethernet cable xLink Kai can be used to play online by using the system link features to play games over the internet, this requires the xbox to be connected to a PC which will emulate an Xbox LAN network
Left: Score display screen, Right: Hidden third person view, avaliable by using a custom save file
Additional maps were released on Xbox Live that could be purchased and downloaded from around May 2003. These maps could then be played online or in instant action mode. These maps include:
AquaMortis: This area features a open ocean area that contains a shark, who will kill once a player falls in
Inferno: Hell themed map
Leviathan B: SciFi arena themed map
Otaros Run: Capture the Flag map, A large-ish map set in the forest, similar to Tokara forest in UT2003
These maps are installed in the TDATA directory and can be used for all profiles on the Xbox. I’m not sure if custom maps can be installed and played this way since they are in a different format, would be good if custom maps could be played like the PC version. As far as I know, you cannot use UT2003 maps on Unreal Championship.
Left: View from the translocator camera, and your typical Xbox Live Gamertag, Right: The lightning gun
Shield Gun: The weapon you will only use when you are out of ammo and have no pickups in sight, alt-fire fires a shield that can protect you from limited damage but can only take so much damage.
Assault Rifle: One of the weapons you start with, does basic damage and is really the gun you only use until you can pick up another. Alt-fire shoots out a grenade that explodes shortly after being shit.
Mini-gun: A chain gun or sorts, ideal for spraying bullets at multiple enemies. Has a slight charge time of around a second.
Flak Cannon: The GOAT, fires a bunch of small projectiles which disperse quickly. Best used in close combat as it almost functions as a shotgun
Lighting Gun: A sniper rifle of sorts, shoots out a lightning bolt. Alt fire can be used to zoom into an opponent.
Rocket Launcher: Fires a rocket, alt-fire will lock onto a target
Translocator: Not really a weapon but more of a utility, allows you to fire a beacon which you can use to teleport to where the beacon had landed, useful for teleporting to hard to reach areas but you cannot translocate when carrying a flog. Attempting to do so will cause the flag to be dropped, but it can still be picked up by a teammate or returned back to base.
Throughout playing the game and killing opponents or by picking up adrenaline pills, you will acquire adrenaline which can be used to apply power ups by quickly entering a button combination whilst playing:
Regeneration – Press down four times quickly – Regenerates health to twice the staring health, and gives up to 150 shield points Berserk: Press up three times quickly – Increases damage inflicted to opponents, and reduced the damage taken by the player Invisibility: Press Right twice, then Left twice – Makes your character invisible to other players, not much use on instant action / campaign as bots have been reported to still attack the player Agility: Press Down twice, then Up – Increases your characters running and jumping ability
A build of Unreal Championship was leaked in 2011 which was an early alpha version but was compiled and running on PC (Windows). There are quite a few changes compared to the actual release, with many maps being completely different.
The menu interface is different, with it using a planet-like interface for the character selection screen, here you can see the actual3D models, complete with animations compared to the 2D portraits in the final release.
Some geometry errors when playing on more modern systems, this game would have been developed and tested on DirectX 8 compatible hardware, and would have used Nvidia based hardware like the original Xbox used.
In the menu, Up/Down is used to select the map, whilst left/right is used to select the game mode.
There is no settings section to customize the game, but the ini file can be edited to change the game rules, such as the amount of kills needed to win (1000 by default)
Some sound effects come from the original Unreal Tournament, notably the respawn sound.
To exit the game, bring up the console by pressing tab and then type ‘exit’ There is no pause menu, but pressing F1 will bring up the score/players.
The game can be played using a keyboard, but the controls are centered around a console control. Weapons can be selected using the number keys (1-9), the mouse wheel can’t be used to select a weapon F9 – Take a bitmap screenshot F10 – Adjust Gamma F11 – Adjust Brightness F12 – Adjust Contrast The Numpad number keys will spawn a weapon, and the regular number keys can be used to directly select a weapon.
A vehicle can be spawned by pressing H, which can be used to travel through the map quickly, very similar to the hoverboard in Unreal Tournament 3.
A third-person view mode can be activated by pressing F4, however it’s very buggy, and the weapon aiming is buggy.
The first exclusive console release of The Sims, and sequel to the original console port. The Sims Bustin Out reuses a lot of assets from the original game with many objects returning along with their animations, however a revised user interface for both Live and the Build/Buy modes. Sims themselves have been redesigned along with new hairstyles, customizations and clothes styles.
The game builds from the previous console instalment and a lot of objects looks familiar. An improvement is the lighting engine, sunrise and sunsets are gradual and look more natural comparted to the previous title, which would blank the screen whilst it switch to day or night mode. The lots themselves are more details with various background elements that set the environment, like moms house being set on a barn, Clubb Rubb being set in a city downtown, Shiny Things Labs being set in a waste plant and Casa Caliente set on a beach.
Bustin Out Mode
The main game mode that is similar to Get A life mode from the first release. You start off at Mom’s house and then progress onto different lots, gaining several job promotions along the way. As you gain promotions and unlock goals you will unlock new objects and social interactions, many of which were exclusive to The Sims Bustin out.
Like the previous game, Most levels had a few common goals that most be completed in order to unlock new locations, social interactions and objects
Parties can be started by using the Throw Party option on the telephone, which is available from 8am to 11pm. Once started, a random collection of sims will arrive to your house (Just like the MySpace bulletin parties back in the day). To throw a good parties you have to keep your guests needs satisfied. Complete this by serving a few meals (Pizza, BBQ burgers or a meal from the fridge), have plenty of toilets of which you may want to build more outside the house since some lots only have one bathroom. A large table with plenty of room, a few free counters and a dishwasher are also highly recommended. A hot tub is a must, although its quite expensive to buy. Lastly have some music in the background and some entertainment objects. Either a good TV, the unlockable game console,
Its worth noting that if your guests motives fall low, your guests will leave automatically. You can call sims individually if you require a specific guest, which is needed for a few goals. A little cheat you can do is using the Aromaster, and choose the Juniper and Rosemary setting in increate your sims energy in that room.
Upgrade or make improvements: Just spend a certain amount of cash on new objects, or sell and buy new objects to replace the old ones.
Get to know (Sim) Better: Make friends with the named sim, this normally unlocks a new social interaction or a item of clothing.
Dream Club: The opening dream sequence where you are in a nightclub. You have to kiss your admirer, who turns out to be Candy/Peter from Free Street. This lot is very similar to 3 Free Street in Free play mode judging by the environment surrounding the lot. Sadly this lot does not appear again, the closest to it would be Club Rubb.
Mom’s House: the starting level, House is like a cottage barn. No bus will arrive here for work but is a great place to upgrade your skills, and if your money goes under 200 you will receive a phone call will a reward as a way to earn money. The only annoying bit is Mom like to turn the jukebox/radio on at night.
Mimi’s House: Unlocked after you get a job, some careers will branch here. It’s a decent lot with two bedrooms so there’s plenty of space. Mimi herself is annoying and will constantly make meals and try to interact with out, often standing in the way. The house on the other hard is pretty much complete with little to no improvements needed, its just a bit too .. pink? Probably just purchase a computer or a skill building item, and change the carpet to a more masculine colour.
Dudley’s Trailer: Also unlocked after you get a job, this lot is used for certain careers and is set on a desert trailer park. Like Mimi, Dudley will also try to interact with you and will cook food constantly. As for the lot itself it’s a bit shit, but not the worst the game has to offer, you will have to clean up the entire lot since there’s a lot of trash. You will want to improve the kitchen area, and replace the couch for a more comfortable one. Also build or expand the bathroom, since sims tend to get stuck in there due to how cramped it is, maybe create an outhouse keeping with the trailer park theme.
Goth Manor: Remember the Goth family from the first Sims game? They reappear here albeit without Cassandra. This might mean the game was set before Cassandra was born, or they just abandoned her. Bella and Mortimer are present, along with a large synthesizer that they love to play at 2am of the morning, thankfully this is in a separate room and won’t wake your sim which is surprising considering how loud it is. You can only control your sim and Mortimer (or Bella if your sim is female) so one if them is guaranteed to be playing the synth. Also if you invite guests round, they start playing the synth too.
Like other Goth households in the sims, this one is haunted and has a chance of ghosts appearing at night. There is even a mission goal for communicating and convincing the ghosts to leave by using the crystal ball.
Studio 8: This is supposed to be an art gallery although I found it a pain to live in since half the lot is dedicated for the gallery. Not much fun items here so you will need to buy a TV or have your sim paint on the easel to increate their fun, which wont be possible if they are in a bad mood. Just don’t sell the art items, since they tend to increase in value over time.
Toane’s Gym: Another crap lot to live in since this is supposed to be a gym but you only have one back room for all sims on a lot to sleep in. It would make sense it this game supported two-story buildings so you could at least have an apartment on the second floor instead of having a couple of rooms squished at the back.
At this point its worth mentioning some of these levels from this point forward have goals relating to marriage, you only have to get married once and it will unlock on every lot you move in. Same applies for the children goal.
Casa Caliente: Some sort of beach shack, set on a tropical beach. You will need to purchase two beds since Malcom will take the existing (unlockable) bed. Overall this is a nice lot to play on since its set on a beech and you have background noise of the waves to listen to.
Club Rubb: A nightclub, this is similar but not the same as the club in the dream sequence when you first started the game. Sadly Malcom takes the dance floor and the laser thing. There are also no bedrooms, and there is some hut at the back of the lot with a recliner and a toaster oven. There are also no bathrooms or showers.
Shiny Things Labs: My favorite lot, this is themed after a desert laboratory, like the Curious family from The Sims 2, Strangetown neighborhood. Its also well equipped with beds, proper bathrooms. Only thing its missing is a living area but there’s plenty of items to increase your sims fun rating.
Tinsel Bluffs: looks like a Hollywood themed house, with a garden that overlooks the city. Plenty of well equipped items on this lot although Malcom does take the high end TV.
Pixel Acres: A nudist colony, bet you’d never thought you would see this on The Sims. Thankfully the sim themselves are censored. A gripe with this levels is there’s near to no fucking rooms! That means if you purchase a TV or a stereo , ensure it is turned off otherwise it will wake your sim, since it and the sims beds are in the same room (Outside, which the game considered to be one large room). Also make sure you hire a maid, or ensure you clean up after your sim since dirty plates will cause the room score to plummet. Honestly this is one of the worst levels of the game since there are little rooms built. I ended up building a small hut just for my sim and partner. Chase and Ying were left outside however, if they choose to live like that that’s their choice.
The Octagon: This is a military themed lot, similar to the Grunt family in The Sims 2, you might want to upgrade some of the objects here since the beds are quite basic. Everything else seems to be Ok.
Malcom’s Mansion: The final level of the game, and it’s a nice one being set in a typical mansion. Still only one floor though. The good news is Malcom gets kicked out of the house, allowing for your sim to move in freely.
Free Play Mode
This is the sandbox mode of the Sims game and is quite a downgrade compared to the previous release. You only have three lots to play with on this game, compared to the six on the previous console instalment. And you have a different set of careers in this mode which we will talk about later.
The game save for this mode is intertwined with the bustin out mode which means sims from that mode will appear once your sim progresses to a certain point. The intention is that your player sim can marry and have one of those free play sims move in with your sim, rather than being stuck with your premade sim.
Up to 8 save games can be made, when you take into account the three lots per sim you have up to 24 different sims that can be saved. However only three can be interacted with at a time, its not possible for sims from one save file to appear in another save. Also each save games will have its objects locked again, unless you unlock them again in Bustin Out Mode.
Honestly this mode seems to restrictive and feels like it was tacked on at the last minute. For open ended gameplay you are best of sticking with the PC version of the Sims, or if you prefer playing on s console or like 3D graphics, the original Sims release for consoles.
Tutti: A sausage party consisting of four males, intended to be married by a female sim in Bustin Out mode. If you have played the previous console instalment you will recognise some of the names
Frutti: All female version of the Tutti family
There are seen new careers in Bustin Out mode and five new careers in Free Play mode. These careers remain exclusive to the game and do not appear in the PC counterpart. I’m not sure why the careers are separated by the game mode, as it would have been fun to play this in both Bustin Out and Free Play mode.
Bustin Out Mode:
Paramilitary, Movie Star, Mad Scientist, Jock, Gangster, Fashion Victim and Counter Culture.
Free Play Mode:
Slacker, Swindler, Rock Star, Computer Geek and Artist.
A few unique objects that are exclusive to the game, many of these are related to skill building
Tumultech Sim-Phony Synthesizer
Like the piano it increases the sims creative skill. The tune that it plays depends on your sims creative level. Bella and Mortimer love to play this at 2am of the morning
Can be used to tell your sims fortune and to communicate with the dead, required to complete a goal at Goth manor.
Use this to create your sims logic skill and to create a mutant plant which will eat your sims trash. Unlocked after being promoted to virus breeder in the Scientist career.
Sham-Shag Polar Rug
A carpet for your sims to relax on, required to complete a goal as Casa Caliente
Sims can perform a single, double or a triple flip, which is required for a later goal. Sims can die if they perform tricks if their needs are low.
Great for parties since it can serve 5 people at a time and is very satisfying for hunger. This can also be used for an outdoor table
Ping pong table
Another fun group activity that raises fun and social with other sims.
Multiple sims can play with this. Unlocked by promotion to Love Guru in the Counter Culture Career Path
Also good for parties, sims can make and serve drinks for other sims and builds the cooking skill
Floyd Co. laser Light Show
Emits laser effects and can boost your sims mood. Unlocked at Fingernail Painter in the Fashion Victim Career path.
Kraftking Potters Wheel
Like the artist block, finished pots can be sold. Higher the creative skill, the more valuable the pots will be.
A programmable robot, similar to the Servo object in The Sims Livin Large. Can be set to clean, socialize and guard. Unlocked after being promoted to Robotician in the Scientist career.
Looks similar to the one in The Sims 2, builds the body skill the fastest. Unlocked by completing the “Seek and Destroy Bioweapons” goal
Hellagraphix 1024 Diamond Edition
A holograph powered game console, does not require a TV and good for playing with multiple sims. Service NPCs can also play with this in a group session. Unlocked following promotion to Boot Polisher in the Paramilitary career.
Also in the first console game but not the PC release. Supposedly vibrates all the dirt of your sim with sound, ideal for sims with low neat personality since it does not flood.
Fastest way to build the charisma skill, unlocked after getting promoted to Sex Symbol in the Movie Star Career Path.
Information Overload by Bu Butubu
A TV with 9 screens and a snack dispenser, unlocked after reaching Head Coach in the Jock Career Path
Console Specific Features
PlayStation 2 – Online Weekend: Exclusive to the PS2 version, this was an online mode that used the PS2 network adaptor to connect online. This has since ben shut down, but has been resurrected using the same netcode as the Sims Online ran on.
Strangely the Xbox version lacks any sort of online play, which is an odd decision by EA since every Xbox has an ethernet port and was designed for online play, whilst older PS2 units require a network adaptor to go online (The PS2 slim wasn’t a thing when this game was released) Therefore the install base for online play would have been smaller for the PS2 compared to the Xbox, despite the PS2 selling much more consoles.
Xbox – High Definition: The Xbox version is capable of running in high definition with the use of a component cable for the NTSC version of the console. PAL/Europe consoles have this feature disabled since HD wasn’t a standard until the launch of the Xbox 360, but can be enabled by softmodding the console and changing the consoles EEPROM to NTSC and using the component cable. The only issues is the UI does not scale very well with the opening FMV being centered in a pilliarbox, but the 3D environment itself does and is a noticeable improvement with the higher resolution.
(How does this compare to emulated Gamecube/PS2 versions? that are upscaled)
Gamecube – Gameboy Link: The Gamecube version can link with the GameBoy advance version to exchange minigames.
Screenshots from the Gamecube version, captured on the Nintendo Wii using DIOS MIOS. Textures are slightly downgraded, but is hardly noticeable compared to the Xbox version.
Lights – They keep breaking. Literally after a few days of your sim being on a lot all the light will be out, with the interaction ‘Replace Bulb’ needed to fix the light. This is common amongst all three console versions and require your sim to constantly repair the lights otherwise the lot will be in darkness. Hiring a handyman will help, but they will soon break, one by one. I even had one break a couple of seconds after it was fixed.
Gossip – This social interaction is a huge pain. First is every sim loves to do it, it’s the most used autonomous social interaction so your sims will often be doing it. The second issue is the time it takes to perform the interaction, sims will often gossip 3-4 times per interaction. Lastly its hard to cancel, literally nothing can stop this interaction once it starts. I’ve had sims miss work because they were stuck gossiping with a sim
Dialogue Boxes – Affects Bustin out mode. NPC sims will often try to tell to you directly though the game, usually by telling you a certain hints on how to complete certain goals or general game mechanics like taking care of your needs. Usually this is fine if there was a way to disable them, but you can’t.
Object Limiter: See the bar on the left when you’re in buy mode? That’s the object limiter since these console has a restriction on the amount of objects that could be placed because of the limited Ram these console had. It’s the same throughout despite the console having varying amounts of RAM (PS2 had 32MB, Xbox 64MB)
The first Simpsons game on sixth generation consoles, Simpsons Road Rage is a combination of racing with taxi driving. If you’ve played Crazy Taxi before, you will already be familiar with the games concept, but for those who aren’t, the objective here is to pick up passengers and drop them off at their desired location within the time limit, all whilst avoiding traffic obstacles. There are six locations, and over 20 different characters to choose from with slightly different mechanics.
Story of the game is Mr Burns has brought out the local bus company and has filled the buses with radioactive waste, which are wrecking havoc across Springfield (You will see why in the game) Simpsons basically predicted Uber.
The main mode of the game and the one used to earn money to unlock characters and locations which can be done by dropping passengers off as fast as possible for bonuses. If you fail to get a passenger to their destination on time, you sill get to keep cash accumulated so far. As soon as you start a game you will have to pick up a passenger by stopping within the blue rings that surround a character, an icon of the destination will appear on the left of the screen, and a hand will appear at the top which will point in the direction where you need to go, along with a point marked on a mini map. The passenger time limit is also displayed.
Slow: Between 0% and 20% of the timer left, $25 bonus only Normal: Between 21% and 35%of the timer left, $50 and 1 second added Fast: More than 36% of the timer left, $100 and 3 seconds added Safe Driver: Awarded when the bonus randomly appears, you have to avoid and NOT hit traffic three times. If you hit three cars then you lose this bonus. $250 and 5 seconds added Road Rage: Awarded when the bonus randomly appears, you have to destroy a certain amount of objects before you drop the passenger to their location. $1000 and 10 seconds added
The Safe Driver bonus is triggered when ‘Avoid Traffic For Bonus’ appears when you pick up a passenger, the Road Rage bonus is similar where upon picking up a passenger, you are prompted to destroy a set amount of objects by running your car into it.
When the time runts out, its game over. You will return to the score screen to see how much you have collected, then you are promoted to enter your initials if you have a high score, then the game auto-saves and you can then picked a different character or location.
Be Mindful of
Mr Burns will randomly appear during the game, (you will hear him say ‘Get them Smithers’) who will then try to drive into you to disrupt your driving, but due to the poor AI will either miss you completely, or crash into another car or bus. The Buses, These wreck havoc around the town, and will leave a trial of destruction in their path such as cards and objects which can be of hindrance since you will have to drive round them to avoid them slowing you down. Transit Stops, Knocking over these add an additional 2 seconds to your time, and you can hit them on your way to your passengers destination Obstacles: Some objects like billboards are solid and will cause your car to crash which impacts your speed. Some billboards can be knocked down but others are solid and will cause your car to collide with them. Physics: The game doesn’t have the best physics engine, and sometimes you car can crash into something that isn’t there due to a faulty hit box detection, or when you drive into the air, your car may land at a weird angle which will take some time for your car to correct. Not something that you want when your trying to beat the time limit. Best thing is to ty and straighten your car as its about to land.
Sunday Drive Mode
The chilled mode, here there’s no time limit or fares. This means you can explore all unlocked locations at your leisure, and find new shortcuts for road rage mode (There are loads) You cannot unlock anything in this mode since you don’t earn any fares.
A series of 10 missions where you have to complete an objective within the time limit. Most of these missions consist of knocking over X amount of objects within a set time, or just getting a passenger to their destination at a specific time limit. There’s little variety here and you only unlock the special car for Homer when you complete all 10 missions. Also these missions are very short, with the games loading screen taking more time to load than the game-play itself, at least on the PS2 version.
Evergreen Terrace: The location that contains the iconic Simpsons House, along with the Kwik-E-mart, Springfield Church, Retirement Castle and the Elementary school. This is the only location that’s available at the start of the game.
Entertainment District: Where Moe’s, Duff Brewery, Mini Golf and the Rusty Barnacle are located. Plenty of shortcuts but due to the tall buildings its easy to miss them.
Springfield Dam: The infamous Spring Dam, This locations has no transit stop so you will need a fest vehicle to get the faster times, this is despite having plenty of transit buses? Destinations here are quite far apart, so make use of the shortcuts. You can drive down the damn itself into the water to get to Rancho Relaxo faster. Kamp Krusty, Jittery Joe’s Coffee Shop (From the season 5 episode where Marge and Ruth Powers meet) and the Stonecutters lodge are also here
Nuclear Power-plant: This is an odd location, since half of it is for the Power-plant with the other being for the Springfield Mall. As a result many character locations will be parts of the Plant itself, like the cut off valve or the cooling towers, which makes no sense as to why a character would want a taxi there. At least there’s a baseball stadium that you can drive through, and an Ikea knock off with the Springfield mall.
Downtown: Various familiar locations are here like the Clown College, Androids Dungeon, the Police Station and the Monorail. This location can get a bit busy with a lot of traffic and objects, and there’s plenty of items to destroy when you get Road Rage bonus.
Springfield Mountains: The final location, set in a rural area like the Springfield Dam. Burns Mansion is located here along with Springfield Gorge. A hard level to make any money on since everything is a large distance from their destinations, there are very few short stops.
The game was released on all three major console platforms (GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, with no native PC port). There’s very little difference between the three, with the Xbox version having the most detailed textures and stable framerate. The PlayStation 2 version is an earlier build and has a few extra passenger locations which were removed since these could be exploited to gain faster time, you could pick up and drop off the passenger, the race back to the same pickup location and since the destination is very short, you could easily make time by exploiting this.
The main screen that shows the playable lots in the neighbourhood, clicking on a house will load that lot. The first game supported only one neighbourhood, with multiple ones requiring an expansion pack. The default install ships with five pre-made families and six houses.
Goth: Bella, Mortimer and Cassandra – An easy house to start with, although during the first few nights they have an annoying trait of mourning near the gravestones, usually that stops after a few days
Newbie: Bob and Betty, Tutorial household, a nice introduction to The Sims
Roomies: Chris and Melissa, another small household, this family is vacant and can be moved into any lot they can afford.
Bachelor: Just a single sim, Michael, typically moved into 1 Sim Lane
Pleasant: A hard family to play since they have two kids and not much money, and you have to move them into a household. With two adults working two jobs you should be able to progress nicely.
There are also five other families that could be download from the Sims website. Although the website is now offline but mirrors exist to download from. These families can be added to the base game or to any install expansion pack but wont work for the console versions.
Hatfield: A very hard family to play. They are poor and don’t have a very good house with basic furniture, but at least both parents are working. If you can get the kids grades (there are three of them) to an A+ you can earn a (random) bonus for good grades.
Jones: straightforward family to play with two adults (Edward and Barbara) and a kid (Bobby), similar to the Goth house only less extravagant
Valentino: Rudy and Julia, who live in a large house
Snooty Patooty: Chip and Buffy, supposed to be a parody of a wealthy couple
Maximus: A bizarre family, only two adults and the weirdest house you will ever play
How well your sim knows other sims and if they are friends, lovers or enemies. Some jobs require you to have a certain amount of friends in order to progress to a promotion. The base games has a simple bar that measures your sims friendship from 1-100, with 100 being the highest. In the base game there is only one relationship bar, with two being introduced with the later expansion packs.
Should be notes if you want two adult sims to share a bed they will need a relationship of 50 or higher
Marriage: Sims can move in and get married if their relationship is high enough, this will move the sim into the household, along with any kids if they live with the sim and that sim is the only adult. Same sex sims have the option too move in instead. That said, the game has a very loose concept of marriage, since its possible for one sim too be married to multiple sims, although if they perform any romantic interactions they can become jealous (and the Woody Woodpecker sound plays)
Cooking: Helps prevent fires, and improves the quality of your sims cooking which increases the effect on hunger. The noise the sim makes will also change when food is cooked at a higher cooking level. When playing a sim for the first time its advised to raise their cooking skill level to two bars or higher to reduce the risk of fire.
Mechanical: For repairing items, the higher the mechanical skill the faster they will repair the item. Sims can get electrocuted if they repair an electronic item with a low skill level
Creativity: Play the piano or paint on the easel, which is useful since sims with a high creativity skill can sell paintings for a lot more money.
Logic: Playing chess or looking through the telescope increases this, only useful for job promotions
Charisma: Increased by talking to yourself in them mirror, supposed to help with how your sims interact with others, but is mainly useful for job promotions.
Body: Helps keep your sim fit, but this has no affect on their appearance. Its mainly useful for carers and winning fights if your sim has enemies
Fire: Occurs when your sim tries to cook with a low skill level (2 points or lower) or when you have objects near a fireplace. Buy a fire alarm which will summon a firefighter to extinguish the fire automatically.
Burglar: Randomly comes during the night, but can come during the day of the sim is at work. Buying a burglar alarm help the police to capture them when they enter your lot.
Floods: If a toilet/sink or the dishwasher breaks, it can cause a flood which must be cleaned up by the sim.
Aliens: looking through the telescope at night has a risk of being abducted by aliens, who will randomize the sims personality upon return.
Sims can also leave the game autonomously, adults will leave if they get into a fight multiple times with a sim and have a serious degraded relationship. Kids will leave if their grades fall below D- and will be sent to military school. When these occur the sim is deleted from the game upon saving, and cannot be restored unless you exit without saving.
The base game comes with ten careers (Six in the console release) with 10 jobs in each. Each job can be accessed by having your sim promoted by fulfilling the job requirements. Certain jobs will require you to have a set amount of friends, and a set level of skills.
Services can be ordered by using the phone, an NPC will then arrive on the lot
Maid: A maid will come from 9am every day, and will always leave by 5pm every day. Cleans the lot.
Gardener: Waters the plants, comes every 3 days
Repairman: Repairs all broken items on the lot
Police: No reason to call them unless a burglar comes on your lot and you don’t have a burglar alarm.
Fire Service: Only used if a fire breaks out on your lot and you don’t have a fire alarm, can be fined 500 for a false emergency.
Pizza: Delivers pizza to your house, costs $40
The game offers a help systems that pops a question mark symbol in the corner, informing the user that a tip is available.
Where you can purchase items for your sim. Items are grouped by category – Seating, Surfaces (Tables), decorative, electronic, plumbing, appliances, lighting and miscellaneous (items that don’t belong in any category. Clicking on the buy mode icon again switches to room category view
The Sims: Original base game
Deluxe Edition: The base game with the Livin Large expansion bundled together in one install, also features The Sims Creator
Complete Collection: Includes all expansions
The game was ported to the Mac platform in 2000 by Aspyr and was for the PowerPC platform. This version was very similar to the PC release and is compatible with any downloadable content intended for the PC release, but attention must be made to the file name length since the Mac is limited to 31 characters instead of 255 characters used on Windows for its file name. Files may need to be renamed for it to be used on the Mac version.
A Carbon version was later released for compatibility with Mac OS X, Carbon was an API that help facilitate the transition from the classic Mac OS to OS X. Carbon applications are only supported on OS 8.6 and higher. When you install the Carbon update, two executables are present in the games folder as some expansion packs rely on the older version. Starting from Hot Date, Carbon was installed as standard.
Lastly, OpenGL is used for the graphics API instead of RAVE, and must be installed on classic Mac OS 9. It is integrated by default on Mac OS X.
The Sims (Console)
A console adaption of the popular PC game but I would consider this as a remake, The Sims are rendered entirely in 3D graphics complete with new lighting effects and redesigned objects. A new game mode, Get a Life is added which featured level type gameplay where the player has to progress from house to house, building up their career.
The console version was released for the PlayStation 2 first, with an updated build being released for the GameCube and Xbox. Compared to the PC release there are a few differences due to the consoles typically having less memory compared to the PC, and with no expansion packs available what you see in the game is what your stuck with. You also cannot download and install objects or families from the PC version.
Get A Life
In this mode you create your own sim, who lives in their own rags to riches story as they start off in a basic house. The aim of this model is to reach the dream house stage, which can be achieved by completing goals that consist of getting certain promotions at work, cleaning and upgrading the houses and throwing parties that sims enjoy.
Whilst this mode seems easy at first, it will get progressively harder as it taker longer to raise your sims skills, jobs will require more friends in order to get promoted and you have to battle with refilling your sims needs quite often.
The Xbox version saves directly to its hard drive and has seemly unlimited save slots, memory units are not directly supported. The PS2 version can save as much as its memory card allows, with each save consuming 1.1MB. The GameCube version is limited to 1 save file per card.
Moms House – Starter level, objectives are to repair the TV, gain two cooking skill points to make a meal, and borrow 800 bucks from ‘Mom’ who is a pain in the arse and will randomly complain and refuses to clean and cook
Reality Bites – This level can be a bit lonely since its just your sim, Dudley (Mimi if your sim is a female) will occasionally pop round but cannot be interacted with unless you invite him. Thankfully Mom can be invited and two neighbours (The Peacocks, Pauline and Pierre) pop round. Get two job promotions, clean and fix everything and spend $1000 upgrading the future to progress.
Party Animals – You have a new roommate, the snag is its Dudley or Mimi (depending on your sims gender) who are a pain to live with. Like Mom they wont cook or clean, and skill building is out of the question so getting a job promotion is a challenge. But it can be done, Dudley/Mimi can build his body skill using a swimming pool which is enough to get promoted two times. The house itself is quite large which makes navigating it time consuming, you may wish to alter its design as part of the $1000 improvements. Two new neighbours are available to meet, the Froofraw (Fran and Freddy, fuck knows how they came up with that surname), along with Dudley’s Roomies friends (Leon, Carlos, Betty, Layla) which you must befriend one of them in order to move out to the next level. There is also a bonus sim, Bobo the Bum, who walk past your house every morning. Give him food and you can unlock a 2 player mode games.
Hot to Trot – You start with the sim that you chose to move in with from level 3, like the previous levels you need to earn two promotions and spend money on upgrades for the house. Again you will be introduced to more of your roommates friends, only this time you have to choose which one you want to marry. This will always be the sim of the opposite sex, as gay marriage wasn’t a thing until the later games. Once completed you will move onto level 5.
Who loves ya baby: The worst level with the worst designed house. Here you have to earn another two promotions and you have to raise two babies to kids. When you first play the lot, you have to manually rearrange the furniture since tis all condensed into two rooms. The worst part is having to raise two children which seems to drag on, you basically need to feed and sing them to sleep every 8 sim hours.
The last Simoleon: You move into a dream mansion. Being the final level, the objective is to reach the max promotion for your career, have 20,000 in your savings and get your kids grades up to an A+ level which will send them to boarding school. Once finished, the end credits will play and you will be returned to the main menu.
Bonus Unlocks: making friends with neighbour sims unlocks certain create a sim cloths and hairstyles or accessories
Play the Sims
Sandbox style gameplay like the original PC version of the Sims, although you have much less lots to play with, having only 6 lots from the 10 that PC version offered. You are also limited to 4 sims per lot with the PC version supporting 8, however the game internally supports 8 sims when using a modified save file.
Game saves in this mode are the same as the Get a Life versions, with the PS2/Xbox being ale to save multiple games deepening on the storage capacity, but the GameCube version being limited to a single save per card.
In the PS2 version the default neighbourhood has no defined name, and the player must enter one when first created, the Xbox/GameCube prepopulate the name with ‘Willville’ but this can be changed by the player.
Up to 2 players can play on one console using a split screen method, however the lot must have 2 or more sims on the lot.
The premade sims are the same as the Pc version, with the Goth, Pleasant, Newbie, Roomies and Bachelor families being present but with a slightly different appearance and personality. The lots have also been amended since the console versions only support a single story. The Goth, Roomies and newbie families are already moved into a lot, but the Roomies house is unfurnished.
2 player mode is supported with the use of mini games, similar to the 2-player mode in Play The Sims mode, but in this mode each level has specific challenges that must be completed by each player, and the player that completes their goals first wins. There are 8 in total:
The Frat House
Party Motel: Unlockable only by a cheat, Enter PARTY M in the cheat box
Comparison with the PC
Console versions only has a single story houses, the PC supports two
Console used 3D rendered graphics for everything, PC version only the sims themselves are 3D with the world being an isometric 2D design
No online exchange support for the console
No 2 player mode for the PC version, whilst the console versions support split screen like multiplayer
The PS2 version was a fresh copy, Play The Sims mode is unlocked after starging and saving in Get a Life mode
The options menu
Slight difference with the font display on the PS2 version with larger line spacing
Create a Sim mode, The Xbox version will ask you to confirm the changes upon pressing the B button, the PS2/GameCube versions do not
The GameCube and Xbox version comes wit the name prepopulated
The level start screen
Example of the user interface, the directional pad has a different appearance on each version
The first level, some minor difference in the details. It’s possible the game was built for the PS2 and was the lead development platform and was then ported to the other consoles.
Family selection screen
Buy mode, all versions have the same object limiter
The Xbox version seems to be the best one with its sharper textures, but its graphics ae slightly zoomed in, like the FOV is different compared to the Gamecube/PS2 releases
The Xbox version has bonus loading screens if the game takes too long to load. You will only see this if the game disc is dirty and the console is struggling to load
PCem seems to have issues playing the game with certain emulated graphics cards.
A utility by EA that checks for updates and downloads them, no longer functional.
Looking at both the USB and the storage system of the Xbox, since they are both intertwined and there are differences across the major revisions of the Xbox 360
Background: Xbox Original
To understand the logic of the Xbox 360 storage, you have to look at the past. The original Xbox was one of the first consoles to include an internal hard drive as standard which allowed for storage of game saves, music that could be ripped from an audio CD, or DLC that could be downloaded from Xbox Live. For regular users this meant you did not have to worry about memory cards since the Xbox had plenty of internal storage for game saves and since this was on a hard drive rather than NVRAM like the Sega Saturn, which means saves could be lost should the internal battery die.
The hard drive in the Xbox was one of the more expensive components of the Xbox, and this was one of the reasons the Xbox never made any profit for Microsoft. This had to be addressed with its successor, With this in mind the 360 would be designed over two storage options:
A basic version that would mirror the storage options of the PlayStation 2/GameCube, where there would be no internal user storage, but an external memory unit would be used instead. The user would still have the option to add a hard drive should they run out of space on the memory unit.
A premium version that had an internal (or sideloaded) hard drive that brought all the benefits of the hard drive in the original Xbox.
Giving the end-user choice may have been a good idea in hindsight, but there were issues and limitations that followed for both the end-user and the game developers, which will be discussed later.
Type of storage available on the Xbox 360
Xbox Memory Unit: Offered from 2005 – 2010 and was the primary storage option for the initial core and arcade consoles, available in capacities up to 512Mb and designed to be plugged into the front of the 360. Internally uses USB like the original Xbox memory unit. These are not directly compatible with the 360 S models since they lack the ports, third-party adapters are available that allow these old memory units to be used on the S models. Datel are one such provider.
You cannot use an original Xbox memory unit on the 360, or vice versa. Even though they both use USB and are formatted to FATX.
For the early 360 models without a hard drive, the NXE made these memory units mandatory, since portions of the dashboard are now stored on this memory unit since it exceeds the capacity of the onboard flash. The hard drive-equipped models will simply store this on the drive itself.
USB Mass Storage: This option was introduced around 2010, before the launch of the S consoles. You can connect a USB memory stick or an external hard drive and use it as additional storage for game saves, DLC or for games themselves (both downloaded and installed from the DVD disc). When first introduced you were limited to 4GB of storage, this was later increased to 16GB, then 32GB and then to 2TB following the release of the Xbox One.
Not all devices can be used, USB flash drives that are not fast enough will not be approved for use, since the Xbox 360 performs a speed test when initializing the storage. This is because some games may malfunction if they cannot access the data fast enough.
Xbox Hard Drive: Generally the most popular form of storage since its fast and easy to set up, but there are some caveats. First was the hard disk design changed from the original models to the S model, whilst the drives are the same internally and could open the case and manually swap the drive over. This is because the hard disk enclosure was redesigned, on the original models the hard drive was connected either on top or on the side depending on the orientation your 360 console was in, whilst the hard drive for the S model was designed to slot inside the console itself.
You cannot use your own hard drive since it has to be formatted and partitioned using Microsoft proprietary format, and Microsoft has not officially released a formatting tool. If you wish to use your own HDD you must softmod the console, or reflash the hard drive itself to make it appear as a Microsoft drive, for which you are limited to 500GB capacity as this was the largest hard disk Microsoft had released for the 360.
The hard drive is the only storage medium that allows for backward compatibility for original Xbox titles, since these games were reliant on using the hard drive for caching and user storage. These games will not run if the Xbox 360 does not have a hard drive. Some third party hard drives can also cause issues as they lack the partition 3 that stored the Xbox emulation and game data, this will need to be restored manually by the user and will allow original Xbox games to save.
Internal Flash storage: This was available for Arcade models released after 2008 that did not come with a hard drive. These models have either 256MB or 512MB of internal storage that was used for the dashboard, which became essentially when the NXE dashboard was released. Memory units and hard drives could still be used for these models. With the release of the 360 S, the 4GB model came with internal storage that was really a USB drive mounted internally to the console, like the Wi-Fi adaptor. This internal storage behaves like the memory unit. Some users have been able to modify and replace this internal storage.
HD-DVD: This addon also came with a built in memory unit, but was designed to be connected to the rear of the console and was intended to store a copy of the HD-DVD movie player.
USB Transfer Cable: Was intended to be used to move contents from one Xbox 360 drive to another but from looking at footage online it seems to appear in the storage section of the dashboard as a ‘Transfer Cable’ but its unknown if the Xbox can store files here directly or if its limited for copying only.
SATA Hard Disk
Upto 1GB (512Mb per memory unit, upto 2 can be connected)
Up to 4TB, upto 2 can be connected at once
Upto 500Gb for an unmodified console
Unknown, less than 480Mbps
Up to 53MB/s (480Mbit/s) shared between different USB devices
Up to 150MB/s (1.5Gbit/s)
Original models only, S model requires an adaptor
Can be used for
Saves, Music, DLC, Apps
Game installs, Saves, Music, DLC, Apps
Game installs, Saves, Music, DLC, Apps
Game Installs: Xbox 360 games can be installed to the hard disc, which allows for faster loading times since hard drives are generally faster than the optical drive, and has the benefit of reducing the wear and tear of the optical drive, and the reduction of heat in the console since the drive can spin down. Thanks to this feature you will want to get the most storage avaliable for your 360, especially if you have a large game library.
It’s worth noting there are some games that are discouraged from being installed this way, such as Halo 3 as that game will cache data to the hard drive regardless, and will load data from both the DD and hard disk simultaneously. It is claimed that installing this to the hard drive would see a reduction in performance (Although the dashboard still lets you install the game). But if you install the game to USB storage instead, the game has access to both the USB image and the cached data on the hard disk, which should yield a noticeable improvement over just running it from the DVD drive.Allegedly this issue was not fixed for the game’s on-demand version, which is downloaded to the Xbox hard drive regardless, you will possibly want to install Halo 3 to USB storage, even if you have plenty of space on it your 360 HDD. Further Information
Maximum Storage: Theoretically the maximum storage for the Xbox 360 is 5.505TB, with a 500GB SATA HDD, two 2TB USB drives/HDD and two 512MB memory units, along with a 4GB internal flash memory assuming a basic S model is being used. I’d say that’s enough for the entire Xbox 360 game library.
The number of USB ports vary on the different models
USB 1 – Rear of the console
USB 2/3 – Front of the console, hidden behind the flap
USB 4/5 – Used for the Memory units
USB 6 – possibly used on later revisions for internal storage
USB 1/2/3 – Rear of the console
USB 4 – Kinect port
USB 5/6 – Front of the console, hidden behind the flap
USB 7 – internal used for flash storage for 4GB S model
USB 8 – internal, used for WiFi adaptor module (Why not use PCI express?)
The later E revision removed one USB port at the rear, and comes with a hard drive by default negating the need for the built-in memory unit.
Good idea to run Kinect games off USB storage?
USB has limited bandwidth which is shared across the different devices that are connected, in the case of the S models this included the internal Wi-Fi adaptor. This could potentially cause issues when running games that use the Kinect sensor which uses the USB bus, and a USB external drive. There is a theory below that the Kinect/rear USB port has its own dedicated controller/bus, which gives its own bandwidth.
Are all the USB ports the same?
No, or at least there are certain devices that can only be connected to specific ports:
Kinect – original 360 models: the rear USB port was designed to run on its own bus, intended for a device connected that has the full bandwidth that USB2 can provide which is why Kinect can only be connected to this port for the original models, the other USB ports seem to share bandwidth possibly along with the memory units which was referenced on an online podcast (Major Nelson, sadly the link is no longer active and does not appear in the podcast archives.)
Memory Unit Adaptors
Although the S models lack the memory unit ports on the front, Datel released a USB to memory unit adaptor that was intended to connect a memory unit to a PC to transfer and backup save files. The side effect of this was the memory unit can be used on the S model XBOX 360, despite Microsoft not officially supporting it. However only the front USB ports can be used, and the icon varies depending on which port you connect to. The left USB port appears as Memory Unit A, whilst the right appears as Memory Unit B.
This may mean the USB ports are hardcoded by the kernel and would explain why they do not function on the rear USB ports.
Microsoft decided to channel the spirit of Sega and released an addon in 2006 to add HD-DVD playback support to the console, but does not allow games to boot from the drive. This is for video only, Microsoft never released games on the HD-DVD format (If only they did, some games took up three dual-layer DVD’s). The drive connects to the console via the rear USB port and features two USB ports on the read of the drive itself, allowing for the wireless adaptor to be mounted and connected to the rear, and a free USB port for another accessory (But not Kinect, since that won’t function behind a USB hub). This drive also features an internal storage device that the user can access and was intended to store the HD-DVD playback software, and possibly any files the HD-DVD disc might save. From this we can conclude there is a four-port hub internal to the drive, one for the drive itself, another for the built-in memory unit and two for the rear USB ports.
USB: I have noticed some differences in behavior between the front and rear ports of my Xbox 360 S, specifically with USB Memory stick when you turn it on. Sometimes if the flash drives are plugged into the rear and you turn it on, the 360 will not detect or mount the drive and you have to unplug and connect the drive before the 360 will recognize it. This never happens when you leave them plugged into the front. However as of 2021 this seems to have been rectified, so maybe a dashboard update has resolved this issue? Also, the rear USB ports are recessed into the case, and some flash drives might be too thick or large to fit in, which requires a short extension cable.
External Hard Drives: Use of external hard disks is recommended due to the speed and capacity they provide (external SSD’s can also work but will be heavily bottlenecked, and might be limited by the power that USB2 can provide) However I would advise avoiding the cheaper external hard drives that you will see on Amazon or eBay, purely because they are dumb in the sense that they do not spin the disk down when the Xbox 360 is powered off. They will keep the hard disk spinning constantly despite the host device being powered off, wasting electricity and reducing the lifespan of the hard disk if not properly ventilated, essentially they are a false economy. A lot of the branded drives (Western-Digital/Seagate/Samsung) external drives do spin the drive down when the host has powered off and reactivate when they detect the device being powered on.
Some 2.5inch drives and SSDs are capable of being bus-powered, whey they only require the use of a single USB connector to provide power.
Xbox 360 Consoles & SKU’s
Xbox 360 Core: Launch entry level model – No internal flash user storage, no hard drive included but can be added later, memory unit required for NXE update,
Xbox 360 Arcade: Replaced the Core model, No internal user storage, No hard drive included but can be added later, memory unit required for NXE update.
Xbox 360 Arcade (Jasper): Same as previous Arcade model but with 256MB onboard user storage, no hard drive included but can be added later, Can take the NXE update without any additional storage needed, 512MB version later available
Xbox 360 Pro: Launch premium model, Shipped with 20GB/60GB hard drive which is required for it to boot post NXE dashboard, No internal flash user storage
Xbox 360 Elite: Revised premium model, Shipped with 120GB/250GB hard drive which is required for it to boot post NXE dashboard, No internal flash user storage
Models from this point forward are Xbox 360 S
Xbox 360 S: Glossy black case (later matte), Shipped with 250GB/320GB/500GB hard drive storage, No internal flash user storage, Requires hard drive to boot
Xbox 360 S: Matte black case, Shipped with 4GB internal flash memory, No hard drive included but has a bay area for it to be installed, Hard drive not required to boot.
Xbox 360 E: Available in the same storage configurations as the S models (4GB flash or HDD)
NXE Update and storage: Because the size of the dashboard grew significantly with this update, additional storage was required in order for this dashboard to function. All Xbox 360’s have internal onboard flash memory, even the original core models and the ones shipped with a hard drive however this memory cannot be manipulated by the user. They contain 16MB of onboard flash which contains the dashboard kernel itself and the system software which is required for the 360 to operate. This was increased to 256Mb for the later arcade revisions so they could store the NXE update without the need of external storage. This 16Mb flash cannot be accessed directly by the user and was intended to be used for the dashboard itself