Insignia, the fan project bringing Xbox Live 1.0 back to life, has announced the 13 games that will be available for its public launch, and a whole lot of footage from a recent closed test is now available to activate your nostalgia centers.
Microsoft shut down the original Xbox Live back in 2010, rendering online services for games like Halo 2 inaccessible. Insignia is effectively a replacement for Xbox Live, so you can plug your original Xbox into the internet, connect to Insignia servers, and play those online games just as you would've back in the mid-2000s. (Insignia also works with Xemu, if you don't still have your original Xbox, but it will not work with backwards compatible games on Xbox 360, Xbox One, or Xbox Series machines.)
Over the weekend, Insignia announced the 13 games that will be available at the service's launch: Counter-Strike, Crimson Skies, Dead or Alive Ultimate, MechAssault, Midtown Madness 3, Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II, Star Wars: Jedi Academy, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, Unreal Championship, Whacked!, XIII, the original Xbox Live Arcade, and the demo for MotoGP: Online included on the original Xbox Live Starter Kit demo disc.
Closed tests of Insignia have already been underway, and impressions from folks like YouTuber ModernVintageGamer have been very positive, as you can see in the video below. (Video game historian Andrew Borman also has a more extensive, live-streamed look at Insignia available for you to view.)
As MVG notes, however, Halo 2 is a notable absence from the list of playable launch games. Halo 2 apparently makes use of additional services beyond Xbox Live itself, which will require more development time to implement. The devs didn't want to push back the launch of Insignia for a single game, even one as iconic for Xbox Live as Halo 2.
Insignia's public beta does not yet have a release date, though the devs say "we hope it won't be too much longer. There's still a lot of work to do, but progress has been accelerating."
Back in 2010, we talked to the players who desperately hung on in the final moments of Halo 2 on Xbox Live.