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Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller Is Bad At Being Nostalgic

Microsoft uses translucent black plastic to evoke translucent green plastic

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A picture of Microsoft's 20th Anniversary Xbox Wireless Controller, which has translucent black plastic in front and neon green hand grips.
Black is the new green.
Photo: Microsoft

Announced today via Xbox Wire along with a fancy headset, controller charger, and some celebratory clothing, the 20th Anniversary Special Edition controller is “a fresh spin on the translucent green of the original Xbox Debug kit.” Not sure if a completely different color counts as “a fresh spin,” but it’s not a bad-looking controller.

Harking back to the days when everything Xbox was black and green, the 20th Anniversary Special Edition controller has a smokey translucent front, giving us a glimpse of what’s going on inside its plastic housing, right down to those sexy, sexy rumble motors. At the top of the controller is a home button sporting a bright green X. Beneath the buttons on the right is a 20th-anniversary logo. Also note that the green around the directional pad is also a special feature of the controller and not just normal circuit board color. Also, the grips are green.


Again, it’s not unattractive. It’s just odd that Microsoft would try to evoke memories of a translucent green debug system with a controller that is not translucent green. I would have killed for a controller that looked like this:

A photo of the translucent green original Xbox debug kit in all its glory.
Not even the same shade of green.
Photo: Evan-Amos

The 20th Anniversary Special Edition controller goes on sale on November 15 for $70. As an extra added bonus, connecting the controller to any Xbox Series X or S console unlocks a special 20th-anniversary dynamic background. You could, if you were so inclined, pick one of these up for the holidays and then travel to your Xbox Series-owning friends’ houses and give the gift of a glowing green background.

Microsoft's 20th anniversary dynamic theme for the Xbox Series X/S, with green static and a giant 20 on a black background.
Quick, someone add a 4 to the front.
Image: Microsoft

Also available on November 15 is the $70 20th Anniversary Xbox Stereo Headset. It shares the same translucent black-and-green motif as the controller. Together the two peripherals do a doubly bad job of evoking the clear green debug console.

A photo of Microsoft's 20th Anniversary Xbox Wired Headset, with green accents and translucent black ear cups.
Or you could just use any old headset you have lying about.
Photo: Microsoft

In closing, black is not a fresh spin on green. Thank you.