New generations of consoles bring more powerful hardware and lots of new games. However, one of the less discussed, but still very noticeable changes concerns the design of the console user interface. Consoles today tend to have relatively similar home screens, all with some variations of flat squares representing games and apps. However, there was a time when different platforms had much more different UI designs.
The Xbox News Twitter account recently posted a return to the Xbox 360. The account tweeted a collection of images showing what the Xbox Game Pass might have looked like in 2005, along with the original Xbox 360 “Blades” user interface.
Four fan-created concept art showcases various games sorted by publisher, with tabs for Bethesda, Xbox Game Studios, Activision and Blizzard. Each of them is color—coded: Blizzard — blue, Activision — yellow, Bethesda — red, and Xbox – iconic green. There is also a separate tab for games released in Game Pass from day one, although the layout does not include an image of the first day’s page. The images even have a hint button corresponding to the era in the lower right corner.
For those who may not remember, the Blades UI was the original Xbox 360 home screen when Microsoft released it in 2005. The console’s user interface contained tabs for things like games, Xbox Live, and system settings, displayed as different Blades that users could quickly scroll through. between. While it’s less customizable than later Xbox control panels, it at least had the advantage of being easy to look at and easy to navigate. However, Blades did not last long, as a few years later Microsoft introduced a new tile-based user interface system. And although the “New Xbox Experience” of 2008 allowed users to customize their Xbox control panel to a much greater extent, some fans still feel nostalgic for the old Blades layout.
Microsoft is also not fully aware of this nostalgia. Last year, the Xbox website featured various redesigns dedicated to earlier consoles. Among them are layouts inspired by the original Xbox and Blades for Xbox 360. Xbox software engineer Brenna Duffitt even jokingly called on Microsoft to “bring back the blades,” to which the head of Xbox development, Eden Marie, quickly responded. Even then, Marie agreed that Blades was a good design in a subsequent tweet.
Although the return of Blades will most likely not happen, there are still people who would not mind seeing their return as a theme or dynamic background for the Xbox Series X.