Xbox 360 Backward Compatibility

Playing original Xbox games on the Xbox 360

White Xbox 360 model

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Hundreds of games for the original Xbox can be played on the Xbox 360, and they include most of the big-name offerings.

Some benefits come with playing your Xbox games on the Xbox 360. Besides the convenience of playing both systems' games on one console, compatible Xbox games played on your 360 will be upscaled to 720p/1080i resolution, assuming you have an HDTV, and will take advantage of full-screen anti-aliasing.

However, backward compatibility also comes with limitations. When you play an Xbox game on the Xbox 360, the quality and the playability can vary.

The Xbox One is not the original (OG) Xbox, but a newer system that came after the Xbox 360. This article addresses the original 2001-2005 Xbox console games that work on the Xbox 360, not whether you can play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.

List of Xbox Games That Work on Xbox 360

"Halo," "Halo 2," "Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory," "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic," "Psychonauts," and "Ninja Gaiden Black" are just some of the Xbox games you can play on Xbox 360.

Backward-Compatibility Requirements

One requirement for backward compatibility is a hard drive, which means that the 4GB Xbox 360 Slim will not be backward compatible unless you add a hard drive to it.

Moreover, an added hard drive must be an official Microsoft Xbox 360 hard drive. Third-party drives you might find cheaper on eBay don't have the necessary partitions that permit backward compatibility.

When you place an Xbox game in an Xbox 360, if it's backward compatible, an update will download automatically from Xbox Live. If it doesn't start automatically, you can initiate the download manually.

Compatibility Limitations of Xbox Games

Backward compatibility is a consumer-friendly selling point, and it's a useful feature to offer. However, because games played on the newer system aren't running in the original, native environment, the results aren't always as good as you might hope.

For example, if you want to continue saved games from the OG Xbox, you'll be disappointed. Game saves can't be transferred from the Xbox to the Xbox 360. Also, you can't play original Xbox games online because Xbox Live has been discontinued for those OG games.

Backward-compatible original Xbox games don't always work or look better when played on an Xbox 360. Some have new glitches, graphical problems, frame-rate issues, or other quirks that degrade the quality of the gameplay and that weren't seen with the OG Xbox.

For these reasons, if you really want to play older Xbox games, you should buy an original Xbox console; the performance will be a lot more consistent. The original Xbox controller is also laid out quite a bit differently from the Xbox 360 controller, so playing original Xbox games with the OG Xbox controller for which the games were designed will make gameplay easier and more enjoyable.