The Xbox has gone through several visual periods during its life span, from an edgy and yet somehow dorky green alien thing, to a modern look that could be described as “I know how to use Excel but I can still have fun.” But like stumbling on a Facebook album from high school, you can still hold on to a bit of the past. As spotted by senior editor Tom Warren, the original Xbox background is now an option for the Xbox Series X / S.
The new (old) styling was added as a new dynamic background as part of Tuesday’s system update, which notably also brought improvements to quick resume. Titled “The Original,” it looks like a higher-resolution version of the glowing green orb that was at the center of the first Xbox’s user interface. Please note: it’s not the interface itself (Microsoft wouldn’t abandon tiles like that), but it is a recognizable part of it.
My experience with the original Xbox is admittedly secondhand. To me, it was the loud box that lived at my friend’s house and let us play Halo: Combat Evolved. But I do think you can get a pretty solid hit of nostalgia just by looking at this background and remembering what used to be. A simpler, more green time, when consoles were consoles and not Metro-inspired (or I guess Fluent Design-inspired) pseudo-Windows machines.
Microsoft and the Xbox team have been through a lot since the 2001 launch of the Xbox — the Xbox One was briefly positioned as a sort of cable box — but there’s some charm missing in the current dashboard and user experience. That charm was exchanged for a mostly better, if more complicated experience overall, but the heart still remembers what the brain forgot.
For a longer trip down memory lane, check out our visual history of the Xbox Dashboard and ponder with me how the Xbox 360’s “Blades” could be crammed on the Series X and S.