One of the cooler aspects of the soon-to-be-extinct original Xbox 360 was its removable faceplates. Though the customized look never really took off, there were a ton of (yes, usually overpriced) snap-on faceplates available, representing everything from sports teams to iconic game characters. There were even a couple of kits that allowed you to design your own faceplate, print it out, and slide it into a faceplate shell.
The most common use for faceplates, in my experience, was as a promotional item given away by game publishers. In my collection, I've got promo faceplates from Namco's Soul Calibur, 2K's Civilization Revolution, Microsoft's Alan Wake (numbered 242/500), and others. At home, I even have the original Microsoft E3 2005 faceplate, which was handed out to E3 attendees before the Xbox 360 was released, on my system.
Despite its other advantages, the newly redesigned Xbox 360 (around the office we've been calling it the 360 Slim, or even the Three-Slimmy) lacks this removable faceplate system. And even if the front panel was removable, my collection of old faceplates wouldn't fit. This situation reminds me of what happened to premium themes from the original Xbox dashboard when the latest dashboard was rolled out: they were essentially sunsetted.
In a world where customization is the norm--look at the wide variety of lid designs you can get on even entry-level Dell and HP laptops--it's a shame the new Xbox has lost this one underused, but amusing, quirk.
All is not lost, however. Check the photo above for my clever Xbox faceplate workaround. All you need is a little scotch tape and a general disregard for industrial design. Do you have a collection of Xbox 360 faceplates that are being made obsolete by the new hardware design? Or could you not care less about customizing the look of your game console? Let us know in the comments section below.
Bonus: Watch us unbox the new Xbox 360 Slim on Monday's Digital City podcast: