The games that defined Xbox

The games that defined Xbox
Halo's still going strong

It doesn't matter how good your hardware is, consoles live or die by the quality of their games, and the Xbox's rise has been peppered with some of the most iconic games of all time.

From world wars to interplanetary skirmishes, from football pitches to the fictional streets of San Andreas, the Xbox has introduced us to familiar places and brave new worlds.

With the Xbox One arriving, we've brought together the most important games in the history of the Xbox brand, picking out the obvious tent pole titles and some of the more obscure but vital games as well.

Oddworld: Munch's Oddyssey

Every games console has to start somewhere, and although the most iconic of the original Xbox games characters would be Master Chief, it was a Gabbit called Munch that holds the distinction of being the first character to be seen being played on an Xbox in public.

Seamus Blackley showed off Munch's Oddyssey at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January of 2001, and although it will never be remembered as a classic, it has rightfully earned its place in the annals of gaming history.

The Halo series

For Nintendo it's Mario, for Sega it's Sonic, and for Xbox the most important character is without doubt Master Chief, the main protagonist of the Halo series - a gaming leviathan that has done more than any other single title to make the Xbox a gaming great.

The trailblazing Halo: Combat Evolved sold in droves exclusively on Xbox. Then came Halo 2, which went a long way to establishing the Xbox as the home of connected gaming and making Xbox Live the powerhouse that it has become.

Next up was Halo 3, which smashed sales records and moved through to Halo 4 and Halo: Spartan Assault. Indeed, the battle between the UNSC and various alien races will always be intrinsically linked with the Xbox.


GTA V: the world is your playground

Grand Theft Auto

No list of gaming greats over the past 15 years would be complete without a section detailing the Grand Theft Auto series from RockStar. Among the most critically acclaimed games to ever arrive on the Xbox and Xbox 360, they are also the most popular, smashing sales records and gathering more fans in the process than One Direction and Justin Bieber put together.

Grand Theft Auto 3 changed the gaming landscape with its sandbox world, whilst GTA IV took the last generation to a new high and the latest release - GTA V - will be remembered as the finest of swansongs for the Xbox 360.

Mass Effect

The adventures of Commander Shepherd are yet more examples of how intelligent storytelling and action thrills can take gaming to a new level. Mass Effect blended combat, team building and exploration with the odd (controversial) sex scene and glorious graphics.

With sequels garnering critical acclaim and the Bioware game now firmly established as one of the most important gaming IPs, we can't wait to see what Mass Effect 4 brings in this next-gen world.


Say hello to my little friend

The Orange Box

Games from Valve are always big events in gaming, but the Orange Box gave us not one but three new titles as well as including the back catalogue of Half-Life games to boot.

There simply wasn't a weak link in this collection of immediate classics – Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was stunning, Team Fortress 2 brought brilliant multiplayer quirkiness and Portal was so inspirationally brilliant it created a thousand cake and companion cube memes. Still Alive.

Gears of War

Arriving early in the life of the Xbox 360, Gears of War proved to be a smash hit for the Xbox, bringing the battle of a rag tag bunch of obscenely muscled guys and gals against the monstrous Locust aliens.

Based on third-person cover and combat, the game garnered plenty of critical acclaim and showed off the Xbox's graphical prowess as it chainsaw bayoneted its way through the hordes of Locust. And then there's the lovingly rendered rippling muscles. Lots and lots of rippling muscles.