5 Of The Rarest Original Xbox Consoles You Should Buy (If You Can Find Them)

Around the sixth generation of game consoles, an interesting new fad started to develop. In addition to the basic and color-swap versions of flagship consoles, the major gaming manufacturers started generating special and limited edition variants. These variants would usually feature some form of distinctive pattern, or come in a color that was wholly unique. Either way, these consoles were either given away in contests, or sold in extremely limited runs to the public.

Despite being Microsoft's first major foray into the console gaming market, the original Xbox was on the rare variant bandwagon right from the beginning. Be it through contests, sales events, or even publisher-to-publisher contact, special versions of the console made themselves known throughout the world. 

Today, the few rare consoles that are still floating around are each collector's items in their own right. If you happen to stumble upon one of them, you're in for either the ultimate bragging rights, or a hefty payday.

The 50 Cent Pure White Edition Xbox

In 2005, prominent rapper Curtis James Jackson III, better known as "50 Cent," was arranging a veritable media blitzkrieg to promote the release of his eponymous video game, "50 Cent: Bulletproof." Not only were there promos for the game on every billboard and TV channel that would take them, but 50 Cent went the extra mile and commissioned a set of special Xbox consoles.

These consoles, collectively known as the 50 Cent Pure White Editions, were given away in various contests in Australia and New Zealand. One console had "50 Cent: Bulletproof" embossed in gold near its top, one had an elaborate black tribal tattoo design on the top, and one had a mural of 50 Cent himself airbrushed on top. Only one of the first console type was produced, four of the second, and 50 of the third, each signed with 50 Cent's autograph.

The Conker: Live & Reload Xbox

In 2005, Microsoft put its acquisition of game developer Rare to work for them with the creation of "Conker: Live & Reloaded," a remake of the Nintendo 64's "Conker's Bad Fur Day" with updated graphics and controls. More than that, though, the game featured an overhauled online multiplayer mode to help promote the new Xbox Live service. Built-in online play was, after all, the big factor that differentiated the Xbox from its competition.

To get gamers excited about online multiplayer, Microsoft held a "Conker: Live & Reloaded" multiplayer tournament in Sydney, Australia, around the time of the game's release. The winners of that tournament each received an Xbox console with a camouflage pattern and an image of Conker airbrushed on top, rifle in hand. It's not known precisely how many of these consoles were produced, though it is estimated to be anywhere from 1 to 50.

The Fable Xbox

In 2004, one of the biggest Microsoft-published titles was the original "Fable," developed by Lionhead Studios. As "Fable" was a very ambitious game with considerable artistic effort behind it, Microsoft wanted to properly convey the creative passion with an equally creative Xbox console design. To accomplish this, they needed an artist to make a set of "Fable" Xbox consoles.

Microsoft contracted renowned airbrush artist David "Daveart" Gunnarson to create four special Xbox consoles, each with a black and orange body, and an elaborate rendering of the boy from the "Fable" box art airbrushed on the top. These four consoles were given away as prizes in a contest in Sweden. 

The authenticity of one of these consoles can be verified by the multiple spots on each one where Gunnarson signed his name, his website's URL, the date they were produced, and the name of the piece: "Fable Boy II."

The Halo 2 Xbox

Following the smash hit release of "Halo: Combat Evolved" in 2001, Microsoft knew they had to keep the pressure up with the subsequent release of "Halo 2" in 2004. The original game had several limited-edition Xboxes released alongside it, albeit fairly simple ones with mere color variations and a Halo logo. To properly celebrate the flagship game's big sequel, Microsoft decided it needed to go bigger.

For a special distribution in Germany, conducted in partnership with retail chain Media Markt Deutschland, Microsoft contracted an award-winning airbrush artist named Peter Tronser to create a set of "Halo 2" Xbox consoles. These Xboxes feature a bright orange sunburst pattern, along with an airbrushed image of Master Chief and the game's logo emblazoned on the top. 

While around 100 are believed to have been made, only around four are confirmed to be in the hands of collectors, according to Consolevariations.com.

The Atari Xbox

While veteran game publisher and developer Atari was pretty definitively out of the console scene in 2004, it was still publishing new games like "Driv3r," and maintaining a good relationship with Microsoft. This is how it was able to score its very own limited-edition Xbox model for a giveaway at the Leipzig Game Convention in Leipzig, Germany.

For this giveaway, contestants needed to track down five pins around the convention hall that spelled out "ATARI," which were distributed by Atari employees. Everyone who found all five pins was entered into the giveaway, in which five lucky winners received a bright red Xbox with the Atari logo emblazoned on top. 

One grand prize winner also received an Atari t-shirt, wristband, and headband. If a collector could theoretically assemble all of the swag that came with the console, the value of the console itself would increase quite a bit.