XBox Modders and such?

OK, question. I’ve seen a handful of websites and mentions of modding your XBox (and PS2s). While I know there’s a certain geekdom out there who get off on making their computers and game systems look wicked cool, this isn’t really what I’m talking about. I’m more interested in software modification and hacked chips, etc. There was a mention in the recent arcade game thread about Linux OS installs on one too. I guess the jist of the question is this, why?

Whats the benefit to doing this stuff outside of the general desire to tinker?

If you own a computer which has all the computing power you’d need, why woudl you want to be able to get into all the potential of your Xbox? I know it is basically a full fledged computer which can do alot more than just play XBox games, but it certainly isn’t going to compete with most current computer systems, and not even close to a new system.

What gives? What kick-ass benefits might someone get out of it? What is the potential you could unleash here?

From what I’ve seen of the modding/hacker community, it’s mainly what you were saying: the thrill of tinkering. For some things, like the iPod, you can get functionality that isn’t normally there (for those who are interested, look up iPod and linux; it’s only been “released” for pre 4G iPods). For the most part though, it’s the idea of getting everything you can out the item.

Many games are only released in certain countries. For instance, a lot of video RPGs (as distinguished from pen and paper RPGs) are only released in Japan. Even if a game is released to the US/Canadian (for instance) market, the game is frequently tweaked up or down, with some items cut or added in. Many hardcore US gamers will import these games and run them on modded consoles. Yes, these gamers usually can read Japanese, or they can get help from people who know enough Japanese to muddle their way through. I believe that there are at least 4 versions of Final Fantasy X, for instance.

There’s another kind of mod chip, which allows one to play pirated copies of games.

And, as already stated, there are just some people who love to find out how far they can push the limits of the machine.

So it’s probably safe to assume that the larger portion of the many XBox sites on the net are simply “wink and a nod” ways of helping hackers play games burned off a PC?

Any ideas about the XBox - Linux thing?

As far as the XBox-Linux, people have used it to turn their consoles into a sort of multimedia home entertainment system. Look up “XBox Media Center” for more information. Basically it allows you to view many different types of pictures, movie files, etc, from a burned CD/DVD or even streamed off the internet. So in this case, at least, the hack allows for more functionality than you might otherwise get.

Another popular thing to do with a modded XBox is emulation. Slap in a mod chip, load up a new BIOS and loader OS, and along with other software, suddenly your XBox is now an XBOX (that can play pirated agmes if you chose to go that path…most who mod do, BTW,) a NES, a SNES, a Gensis, an N64, a gameboy, video arcade emulator, etc…

Plus, the ‘media center’ idea is very popluar, especially for people who are on a large LAN (liek college students.) On these LANs, a lot of peopel have all osrts of media, ranging from completly legal (pictures they took) to completly illegal (pirated music and movies.) With the hacked XBox, you can easily browse all these media thigns and watch them on your TV. This is almost always a lot easier than configuring a computer to output to a TV, since you ahve to screw around with dual monitor, resolution and refresh rates, etc…