Sunday, July 23, 2017

You Can't Always Get What You Want

The terrible reality of being a video game fan is that you're always looking for new ways to play them, but you never have the money to explore all of those options. I just learned about a frontend for the original Xbox called Coin-Ops, which turns the sixteen year old system into a capable arcade jukebox. Hold on, let me dig up a link...

Look at all those games! Look at that slick, user-friendly interface! Who wouldn't want that? Regrettably, while I do have a classic Xbox, it's stranded in Michigan, and it would cost a pretty penny to ship it to the southwest, where I'm currently stranded. I could get a new old Xbox, but first I'd have to find one, then mod it. That would take a few hours of work, along with a lot of extra equipment. After that, I'd need to download the Coin-Ops file, which weighs in at a gargantuan ninety gigabytes. That's a lot of time, effort, and money, and frankly, I already threw in the towel on this idea two sentences ago.

I suppose I could settle for a Wii... lord knows I've got plenty of those. The problem here is that while the system is easily modded, there's not much hardware under the hood, making arcade emulation a crapshoot. Some games will run, while other games will run slowly, and still more won't run at all because the Wii just doesn't have enough RAM to accommodate them. Plus you have to deal with that stupid Wiimote, making it less than ideal as the heart of an arcade cabinet. Scratch that idea.

I do want to build an arcade cabinet eventually. I mean, I've got tons of flat screen monitors, the tools to build the cabinet itself, and the knowledge to put together a machine which could handle most of the arcade oldies from the 1980s and 1990s. Hell, an ancient Pentium 4 would do the trick... even that would be more powerful than a classic Xbox and a Wii combined, and it would be a helluva lot easier to set up for this purpose. Sadly, the only thing I'm missing is the cash to bring it all together. Some day, Jess... some day.


  1. I picked up an Xbox at a garage sale a couple months ago for $10 and installed Coinops on it. It's pretty cool, and I've had a much better experience with it then with my Raspberry Pi. If you want some pointers feel free to ask. Most of the links I found for Xbox modding were way out of date.

    1. I may just do that. Thanks.

      Actually, I am curious about one thing... how far can the classic Xbox be pushed? There are emulators for the Wii as well, but there's a lot that console can't do, despite having the same amount of RAM. You can't play about half the games in the Neo-Geo library on a Wii. Is this also a problem with the Xbox, or did they find ways around that?

      I'm also hearing about people popping extra RAM into the classic Xbox. How much can it accept, and how much of a difference does it make?

  2. I haven't played enough games to vouch for everything, but Metal Slug seemed to run great and had slowdown right where I remembered it being. I've mostly just been playing classics and Cave shooters though without any issue. The few CPS2 games I've played seem to run great as well.

    I got the newest softmod tool from the Original Xbox reddit board. I bet those guys could answer your questions a lot better then I could. :)

  3. I will say that 90's Midway games like Mortal Kombat and especially NBA Jam do not run well. I've been pleasantly surprised by stuff like Dragon's Lair and other laserdiscs games too. It's pretty fun if you find a cheap Xbox.