The Original Xbox’s Ambient Audio Was Creepy, But Where Did It Come From? [Video]

David Cornell

If you had the original Xbox and ever used it for more than games, you’re not alone. While you may have been taking advantage of its PC-like ability to play copyrighted music it ripped from CDs or pulled straight from iPods (via the USB port), you may have heard the ambient audio in the background.

Microsoft didn’t want to leave the console sounding boring with all of the incredible technology they put into it, so they added some ambient noises which play while the hulking gaming machine sat doing nothing else. At times if you had it running long enough, you heard things that didn’t sound right.

Some of those ambient audio clips sounded just spooky, like the console was channeling voices from the dead. An enterprising owner of the original Xbox, when he discovered his was broken, removed the hard drive and extracted the audio files. The results can be heard in the video above.

It wasn’t Microsoft’s attempt to make us think our consoles were possessed, though. Actually, Microsoft explains that those creepy ambient audio clips were “public domain audio from NASA transmissions from the Apollo days that we tweaked for that sound.”

They were used to make the console sound a little bit like it was superior technology, by adding an element of “other-worldly” sound for those who just let it sit long enough. The clips were played randomly, but some still sound like fuel for nightmares.

At about the three minute mark, the video above starts playing the weird parts, and in some cases it almost sounds like it’s whispering dark secrets. At about 5:27, the truly odd parts start playing, and you hear audio you might even use for a custom Halloween haunted house, sounding like a cross between the weirdest parts of a Marilyn Manson or White Zombie song.

What do you think of the ambient audio found on the original Xbox?

[Image via Nanobit Wallpaper, Second Life Marketplace]