[WARNING: This post is crass and vulgar. I haven’t shied away from using naughty words. If you don’t like naughty words, then STOP READING. If you don’t like naughty words, and if you don’t stop reading, then don’t complain. You’ve been warned, my friends…]
I fired up the ol’ web browser yesterday morning to do my usual reading when I came across this posting over at Slashdot.
I had no idea, probably because I don’t pay attention to these things, but the Xbox 360 is going to have some level of backwards compatibility with the original Xbox. I consider this to be spiffy news since I’m going to be plunking down several hundred dollars of my hard earned cash on one of these systems in a few days.
For my non-techie readers, when we say that something is “backwards compatible,” what we mean is that a new technology, rather than simply replacing its predecessor, actually embodies its functionality plus all the new-fangled whiz-bang crap that it’s supposed to do on its own. In this case, saying that the Xbox 360 is “backwards compatible” with the original Xbox, I mean that some original Xbox games will work on the new Xbox 360, which is an entirely different machine.
We’ve seen this for years in the Microsoft camp. Being able to run a DOS application in Windows 95, or a Windows 95 application in Windows 98, or a Windows 98 application in Windows
ME 2000, or a Windows 2000 application in Windows XP – this is something we’ve been doing for ages.
The Apple contingent of my readership probably doesn’t have any idea what I’m talking about, though, since trying to run an OS X 10.0.x application under, for example, 10.4.x typically results in an error kind of like this one:
As someone who has purchased four Apple machines over the past several years (and loved all of them), I feel justified in bringing you this stark vision of Real Life with an Apple product
The point is that backwards compatibility is something that, while nice, isn’t something the manufacturers of technology are obligated to implement. I buy new versions of Apple’s OS X as they come out, and I just accept that there will be a (long) list of applications that won’t work with the new versions of the OS. It sucks, but nobody’s forcing me to buy Apple products, so I take it in the pooter and get on with life.
I never expected Microsoft to make it possible to play original Xbox games on the Xbox 360, and I am thankful. Even though the list of supported titles is rather short right now, it’s still better than nothing. And, as a nice bonus, old titles will run in enhanced modes for those of us with HD setups. From an interview on the main Xbox site:
One of the great things about gaming on Xbox 360 is the satisfaction of knowing that every game will be playable in high definition. We are now proud to reveal that this extends to the original Xbox games as well. Every original Xbox game will be upscaled to 720p and 1080i, and will take advantage of Xbox 360’s anti-aliasing capabilities, delivering a picture that is clearer and crisper than anything available on Xbox.
OK – that’s just ****ing awesome. Not only will some of my old games work on the new system, but they’ll be better. Can’t complain about that…
…or can you?
– The very first Slashdot comment from this story:
i'm currently playing far cry and battlefront 2 on my xbox, i guess i'll have to keep it for a little while longer... damn you microsoft, damn you to hell, if apple devs can bust out with universal binarys why cant you.
This man is a cock.
The two games he’s “currently playing” on his Xbox aren’t on the list of games that will run under the emulator, so he’s turned on the WhiningMachine.
Maybe one reason, Mr. Cockface, that the Xbox team can’t “bust out with universal binarys” is that the games were distributed on these things called “CDs” which are kind of hard to modify after the fact. Oh, sure, I guess the games could have been released at the very beginning with “universal binarys,” but, oddly enough, when the original Xbox was released, something tells me that the Xbox team itself wasn’t yet aware that there would be another Xbox console coming out several years down the line with a freaking MULTI-CORE CPU AND BRAND NEW GRAPHICS SOMETHING OR OTHERS.
Even with these “universal binarys,” there would be a few problems along the lines of, oh, I don’t know, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ARCHITECTURES BETWEEN THE TWO MACHINES THAT A SIMPLE RECOMPILE ISN’T GOING TO SOLVE.
– In the same thread, some other King of Cockery chimed in:
With Free Software, you can port apps to new systems. Proprietary software and systems, or own your rights. Choose.
The operative word here being “you.” As in: you can port apps to new systems.
Tell you what. Send me your phone number, and I’ll pass it on to the Xbox team. I’m sure they’ll get you a badge so that you can head on over to Xbox HQ and start porting these things yourself (this would be especially interesting for them since, rather than doing something stupid like porting these games, they’re just creating an emulator to run them).
Or, if that doesn’t interest you, I’ll just step out of the way and let you get back to working on one of those open source consoles. You know – like the… uh…
Oh, my word – I just remembered – OPEN SOURCE CONSOLES DON’T EXIST BECAUSE CONSOLE COMPANIES DON’T MAKE THEIR DOUGH BY SENDING OUT OVERPRICED, LIPPY CONSULTANTS TO RECOMPILE KERNELS AND DO REALLY COMPLEX TECHNICAL CRAP THAT’S REALLY HARD ON OPEN SOURCE SYSTEMS, LIKE SETTING UP PRINTERS.
– Later on, we get this gem:
Yes, they've manage to not include in their list a SINGLE game I care about!
I’m sure they’re working day and night to get “STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE IN THE MAGICAL LAND OF YOU’RE A COCK” up and running.
You will be notified at the earliest convenience.
– And a few inches down the page, this:
It's going to look bad marketing a machine with backwards compatability when the backwards compatability consists of the emulation of *some* games assuming you have the more expensive xbox and the *hope* of more support in future.
Well, you’re obviously a marketing genius. Clearly, it would have been better to have gone to market with no emulation and no announcement of plans to provide it.
Hey – go look outside right now. Bill Gates is parked in front of your h4x0r den in his limo. He wants you to come run the whole Microsoft marketing division.
– Not having to go far to find another bit of distilled stupidity, I found this sucker:
While there is Halo and Halo 2 support (they would have a lot of pissed users if there wasn't), there is no Project Gotham Racing 2 support. Part of me wonders if there is no support for it due to PGR3 being a launch title. Are there any other launch title sequals with no backwards compatiblity???
It wouldn't suprise me at all for Microsoft to do this for the money.
For the money?! Surely not.
Hey – go look outside right now. Bill Gates is parked in front of your h4x0r den in his limo. He wants you to come run the whole Microsoft Business Genius division.
– It’s incredible. The stupid was just flowing that day:
Here it is. Microsofts first huge mistake. If they were only selling one version of the 360 at launch it wouldn't be a problem, but since the "CORE" package will not be backwards compatible with anything, we're are going to have a lot of unhappy people on Christmast morning when their old Xbox games don't work. This is a disaster in the making.
Wow. This is heavy.
When you say that people will be unhappy on “Christmast” morning (what’s “Christmast?”), it’s going to be because “their old Xbox games don’t work.”
Now, help me out here – I’m a little slow.
What exactly is it about the 360 and “Christmast” morning that will cause “old Xbox games” to stop working? Are the CDs going to self destruct? Is the original Xbox, upon arrival of “Christmast” day, suddenly going to sprout legs, walk out of the house, and go on a road trip to Mexico without you?
Is there something in the Xbox 360 EULA that prohibits use of a 360 and an original Xbox in the same home at the same time?
Please email me your detailed response. Somebody should really put this in a FAQ or a readme or something.
Thanks, by the way, for your hard work. Without the community standing up and saying stuff like this, nobody ever would have known or suspected that the original Xbox was going to suddenly break on “Christmast” day.
(Also, get back to me on that “Christmast” thing.)
– I’m floored. Even for Slashdot, this has to be considered a real shitstorm of violent dumbness:
I'd have rather that Microsoft provide a mechanism where game companies could recompile their game code and create a PowerPC executable that would utilise the same data on the game discs (games are mostly data these days anyway). There'd be a reasonable amount of porting work still however - removing custom nVidia code, utilising equivalent ATI mechanisms and so on - many companies wouldn't have bothered.
OK. Sounds good.
But, let me rephrase this so that what you’re saying is a little clearer.
What you’re really saying is that, rather than simply downloading one 5MB emulator that will work for many games (and more in the future), you’d rather rely on the individual game publishers to create ports, recompile, and then distribute the binaries.
For each and every game.
I love this plan. Aside from having to go and find all these binaries myself, and aside from having to wait for each company to hire coders to engage in a costly effort that will result in no additional revenue (in other words, something they’re never going to do), I also get to clutter my 360’s hard drive with a bunch of new files to run old games.
I totally see how this is a good idea.
If you have any more fancy ideas of this caliber, such as the benefits of marrying your sister or putting crack in children’s breakfast food, then send them my way. The world could benefit from the wisdom of luminaries such as yourself.
Hey – go look outside right now. Bill Gates is parked in front of your h4x0r den in his limo. He wants you to come run the whole Microsoft “Stupidest Ideas in the Universe” division.
– It’s officially a tardathon. The comments just keep coming:
Since this is all done in software, couldnt similar emulation be developed to run XBOX games on the PS3 or Nintendo's Revolution? For that matter, why not develope software to run PS2 games on the XBOX 360 too?
OH MY FREAKING GOD YOU ARE SO RIGHT.
Here they are, working their butts off to get Xbox games to run on the 360, when all they really needed to do was develop a PS2 emulator for the Xbox and Xbox emulators for the PS3 and Revolution.
You know why they aren’t doing this? Because it’s the simplest ideas that are often overlooked. There’s a certain genius in being able to see the easy solution.
After they’re done with that, maybe they could start working on breeding a flying, fire-breathing dog that speaks Italian. It sounds so bloody easy.
Hey – go look outside right now. Bill Gates is parked in front of your h4x0r den in his limo. He wants you to come run the whole Microsoft “Miracles and Acts of God” division.
– Wow –
I realize that taking comments from Slashdot is easy pickins’, but I couldn’t help myself. Working for Microsoft, you really notice it when people slam your company and its products. In some cases, those slams are justified, but in so many others, it’s just the usual drones droning on, not doing any research, and taking shots at a team that has actually worked pretty bloody hard at putting out a good product.
Like I said earlier, I didn’t expect the 360 to be able to run any old Xbox games, and Microsoft certainly didn’t have to make it a feature. Like most people buying the new system, I expect that I’ll probably want to play new games on it.
There’s just no pleasing some people.
For a cool look at running an old title on the new system, check out this article on Halo – it has screenshots of the differences between 480p and 720p (with FSAA).
I think it looks pretty god damned cool, and you won’t catch me bitching about the ability to play old games at higher resolutions on the new system.