Let me take you back to 2002/03.
I was 16, wise beyond my years for reasons outside of my control, and some type of gamer. An Xbox man. During the week I’d do all my homework, but once Friday afternoon rolled around, all bets were off. Whether it was Final Fantasy 94 or the FPS du jour, I couldn’t be bothered to do anything else. It was a cozy little setup, comfortable in its predictability.
There was only one problem, one wrench in my plan to escape all human contact for those brief weekends: I had zero money.
I wasn’t allowed to have a part-time job, so when I say I had zero money, I do mean that. I bought new games with birthday money from Grandma, that sort of thing.
So when in that spring of 2002 I first heard musings about a mod chip that would allow you to download and install games to the Xbox’s hard drive, well, let’s say that sorta fixed my problem. Theoretically, at least.
I endorse modchips today.
It wasn’t until spring of 2003 that I finally purchased a modchip, an Xecuter 2 Pro if I’m not mistaken; I had been saving my pennies to purchase a second Xbox since I didn’t want my Xbox Live account banned on my first one. I didn’t know how to pronounce “solder” (why is there an “l” in there if it’s not pronounced?) much less how to wield an iron. Needless to say, when I first attempted to install the modchip—only a few wires, nothing compared to the 4,000 or so the PS2 modchips required at the time—I destroyed the Xbox. I broke it good.
Off to Best Buy to return the broken Xbox!
Me to clerk: “Um, something’s wrong with my XBox. It doesn’t turn on.” Clerk to me: “Really, OK, go grab another one and we’ll exchange it.”
Here’s where the endorsement comes into play. Plug-in mods had just hit the market and they seemed like just what the “homebrew” doctor ordered. Pop open the Xbox, snap in the chip and you’re home free. And I was home free. The chip’s aftermarket plug-in adapter worked as advertised. Within like 10 minutes I had Evolution X installed and was cruising IRC and the like looking for emulators, ROMS, ::gasp:: Xbox games::gasp::, etc. What do you want? I was 16 with zero cash, a little bit of computer know-how and all the time in the world.
I spent untold hours on the Xbox-Scene message boards, finding out about all the good, XDK-compiled, highly illegal software. I can’t tell you how many SNES classics I ran through that summer, often with Sean Hannity blaring on the radio in the background “IRAQISFREEEEE”.
It wasn’t all idle time and downloading games, though. A little program called Xbox Media Center made watching Xvid rips all the more enjoyable. No more watching screeners on my dirtbag iMac monitor, but instead on my good-for-a-16-year-old 20-inch Sony TV.
I got damn good value for the money with that Xbox.
That’s why I’ve endorsed modchips today, especially ones that require little to no skill to install. My Xecuter 2 Pro got me through some rough, fairly bleak times and I fully support you kids out there doing the same. And it’s so much easier for you now, what with BitTorrent and all. I was trolling around eDonkey sites looking for games while all you kids have to do is type anything into the Pirate Bay and you’re golden.
The modchip, I thank you.