The 7 best uses for your old Xbox 360

Now that the Xbox One has been out for a good few years and the catalogue of Xbox One backwards compatible games reaches well into the hundreds, you might think that your dusty old Xbox 360 is well and truly past it. But before you consign your faithful console to thrift shop oblivion, you might want to stop and think whether you might be able to still wring some use out of the old machine. Your loyal console served you well, after all, and it deserves a nice retirement. Sure, the system wasn't without its problems, but it deserves better than an ignoble binning. With that in mind, allow us to present seven ideas to breathe new life into your dusty old Xbox 360. 

 Turn it into a dedicated arcade machine

Most DIY arcade cabinets require a fair bit of technical know-how, but if you have an old Xbox 360 you're willing to entomb in timber you can save yourself an awful lot of tinkering with PC parts and emulation. The well-heeled maker will find plenty of arcade cabinet kits available to buy online, but there's no need to splash out if you don't want to, and cobbling together a basic wooden frame to house your console and a display can be a fun and affordable craft project in its own right. What's more, high-quality fighting sticks for the Xbox 360 are much more affordable now that everyone's moved on to the greener pastures of current gen systems, so you could slot in a top-notch joystick too. 

Just imagine: your very own arcade cabinet, ready to serve up a round of Street Fighter 4, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, or Virtua Fighter 5 whenever you fancy a fix of fisticuffs. And you won't even have to feed it any money. 

Set it up as a media streaming centre

These days, consoles have to serve two almost equally important purposes. First of all, they have to host amazing games, but it's also vitally important that they enable us to binge-watch Breaking Bad and Brooklyn 99. The Xbox 360 may have launched back in 2005 - a time when DVD rentals were still big business - but it nonetheless offers full support for the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video.

But the machine can do more than just run these streaming services - it can also act as a streaming centre for your home network, wirelessly fetching the videos you have saved on your computer for you to enjoy on the big screen. Simply install a media server such as Plex or Serviio on your desktop machine, complete the straightforward setup instructions, and you'll be up and running before you know it. Once it's connected, your weary old Xbox 360 will make the perfect complement to a bedroom TV, enabling you to binge on boxsets from under the covers.

Play Crackdown

The list of Xbox 360 games that are supported by your shiny new Xbox One is getting larger all the time, but Microsoft's beefy new machine still doesn't run the entire Xbox 360 catalogue. And when it comes to platform exclusives, there's simply no other option - a 360 is the only way to play them. Get rid of your machine and you can kiss goodbye to Beautiful Katamari, and forget about grooving the night away to the Dance Central series ever again.

And with Crackdown 3 on the way (and likely to feature heavily at Microsoft's E3 presentation), there's never been a better time to revisit Realtime Worlds' rambunctious open-world shooter. Bin your 360, and there's simply no going back to the original Pacific City.

Sell it for hundreds!

We live in the age of digitally-distributed video games - a futuristic utopia that once would've sounded as madly far-fetched as a world in which you can download pulled pork. But one sad consequence of this blissful new era is that once a game is delisted from an online marketplace, it's gone forever. The only people who can play it are those who purchased the game before its tragic removal, and have never deleted the game-files to make way for Oblivion horse armour DLC.

So, if you have an Xbox 360 with a copy of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game installed, your console is a rare treasure. Some people paid thousands to get hold of phones with Flappy Birds installed, so hopefully we'll soon see a similar market for Xbox 360's with Alan Wake on the hard drive

Make it portable

Okay, so this one might be a bit tricky unless you happen to be a qualified engineer, but Xbox 360 laptops have become popular projects for amateur tinkerers looking to play Halo 3 on the go. Portable console pro Ben Heckendorn has made several 360 laptops and chronicled the process extensively on his website, and there are plenty of how-tos to follow on sites such as Instructables too. 

But take note: if you're anywhere near as cack-handed as me, you have about as much chance of frying your console as you do of creating a functional portable system. So don't say I didn't warn you when your console's entire motherboard is a pool of molten metal and plastic. 

Create an Xbox henge and charge visitors to gaze upon it

You can tell them it was built by a tiny prehistoric Bill Gates. 

Use your old Kinect camera to create faceless abominations

Microsoft's first version of the Kinect camera could do a whole lot more power clumsy mini-games and fail to register your aunt. This nifty little 3D scanner can be hacked to enable all sorts of photographic trickery!

Or, as dedicated tinkerer Matt Bell discovered, Kinect can be used to create eldritch horrors that will forever haunt your dreams. Bell achieved the effect by writing a nifty bit of code that merges multiple 3D video streams of the same space. The result is sometimes funny, sometimes odd, and sometimes enough to strike terror into the hearts of mortals.

James Nouch

James Nouch is a former staff writer of Official Xbox Magazine and has since left writing about video games behind to dive into the wonderful world of tabletop gaming. James is now a managing editor at Games Workshop, working directly with the Warhammer Community. James says his passions include playing games, chunky knitwear, pungent cheeses, and rewatching Columbo.