[Hi, I’m Chris Plante, and you’re reading Postgame, a weekly newsletter collecting the best games, stories, and videos in the video game community into a fun, digestible package on Sunday mornings. Learn more on the Postgame About page. Postgame is edited by Stephie Grob Plante. Want to support Postgame? Please share it with a friend! Or even better, visit my work-home at Polygon.com!]
A minor health procedure sidelined me this week. I’m doing well but I need a little more recovery time. So, no newsletter today. I’ll be back next Sunday with a bag full of stories that I can’t wait to share with y’all.
In the meantime, I wrote some early thoughts on the Xbox Series X at Polygon, specifically how the meaty hardware will be a blessing for Xbox 360 fans.
I received an Xbox Series X last week and soon downloaded the obvious flashy games: some Forzas, Gears of Wars, Halos, and Calls of Duty. But the first game I downloaded onto my Xbox Series X was Crackdown, the 2007 open-world game in which you play as a superhero future-cop who can run faster than cars, jump over small buildings, and throw helpless enemies hundreds of feet into the air until gravity kicks in and they crash onto the pavement. Like RoboCop, it’s a damning critique of the police’s use of excessive force. Like with Marvel movies, it’s unclear how much of the social commentary is intentional.
The game was ahead of its time. Literally. On my Xbox 360, it ran like a 30-year-old Chrysler Imperial, especially when I launched the game’s Keys to the City mode, which allowed me to spawn piles of enemies, vehicles, and combustible barrels. The explosion of all this metal and human mess would appear on my CRT television in chaotic bursts of animation, the Xbox 360 trying its damndest to load all the visual chaos, huffing and puffing and nearly giving itself a hernia.
Despite the game’s technical limitations, I played Crackdown obsessively for a couple of years, only stepping away when Microsoft debuted the Xbox One. Crackdown was exclusively released on the Xbox 360, and so the game got mothballed along with the console.
In 2018, Crackdown lived again via the Xbox One backward compatibility updates, getting a visual boost. But for me, revisiting it and so many other Xbox and Xbox 360 classics on the Xbox Series X has been like seeing the game achieve its true potential.
These days, players assume that the vast majority of console games will eventually appear on PC. With few exceptions, Microsoft debuts its new games on both Xbox consoles and Windows on the same date. But in the original Xbox and Xbox 360 era, many of the best games never made the leap from consoles to computers, and so their original hardware has anchored them to the technical limitations of their time. Crackdown included.
But what do you think?
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That’s a wrap. See y’all next time. Wear a mask!