What is it about custom painted and modded consoles that are so appealing to certain gamers? With such a huge variety of custom console skins, paint jobs, and mods, it's clear that there is interest and investment both from the side of the artists and the consumer. Some will go out of their way to get their hands on these unique visual hardware spectacles, even if it means shelling out thousands of dollars, or fruitlessly entering impossible contests.
Art is a largely subjective medium, however. Thus, it goes without saying that many creators will end up blundering a custom console, which may end up bland, confusing, unappealing, or just plain odd. Perhaps the artist just wasn't able to translate their original vision into the finished product, or they just held a risque sense of style and taste that didn't click with many.
The Xbox One in particular is a great example of a platform which has seen the whole gamut of gorgeous and lame designs - and everything in between. Maybe it's because of its flat, bulky nature which makes it easy to paint, build, and mod around, or its elegant look that conveys technological prowess. Perhaps it's the plethora of colorful gaming icons to work with, which reside on the console.
Whatever the reason, the Xbox One seems to have become one of the most modded and custom painted and skinned consoles ever. Thus, there can be a lot to sift through to find the gems. We will be doing just that in this article, as well as doing an autopsy on some of the lifeless and ugly duds.
I suppose if you're a massive fan of Mountain Dew and/or Dale Earnhardt Jr. you might find this Xbox One skin mildly appealing. To the average gamer, however, this limited edition Xbox comes off as both lame and busy to the eye all in one measure.
What's most surprising is that this console is a product officially endorsed by Microsoft and sponsored by PepsiCo, as part of a contest.
The color scheme and in-your-face logo makes for an overly harsh and clash of artwork, which will have you turning away. I suppose it could be worse, though - there could be a console modeled off Tab soda.
Unlike the Mountain Dew Xbox One sweepstakes, this is a contest I would have been quite motivated to try, had I known about it. The design of this highly-limited edition Black Panther Xbox One X is the epitome of epic. The intricate designs on the console encircling the awesome and now iconic Black Panther mask jumps out at the viewer and looks visually stimulating. The mostly black color scheme helps maintain a slickness without overwhelming the otherwise detailed designs.
It's pretty surprising - we're already touching on two pretty awful officially sponsored Xbox one consoles, both of which were meant to entice gamers to enter in a contest and win. Considering the epic, rich fantasy nature of the series it's inspired by, you'd think they could come up with something a little more... inspiring.
Apparently only one of these consoles was given out. I could see why... There probably weren't many that wanted it in the first place.
I'm not sure what's worse - the random, ill-fitting color scheme, or the hodgepodge of messy decals and 3D emblems scattered randomly as if a child was in charge of pasting them on.
I'll readily admit I have a bit of bias here, being a pretty major fan of the Gears of War series. Still, even when looking from a point of impartiality, you've got to admit this design just looks epic. It's undeniably detailed and well-crafted. The amount of craftsmanship in both the paint job and the 3D lancer/COG emblem is simply fantastic. It's even more impressive that this artist went the extra mile in working on not just the console and controller, but even a controller holder and eternal HDD!
Well, you've certainly got to give the modders at EMP Customs points for originality. Though I'm not so sure any sane person can do the same when it comes to practicality or visual appeal. Unlike most on our list, this modded Xbox One is actually meant to serve a practical purpose other than look cool.
This looks like an accident waiting to happen...
This design apparently utilizes an elaborate system of cooling by water. Perhaps this does make the console function a bit better - but is it really worth the trade-off considering this beast's ugly nature and bulky structure, which makes it near impossible to transport?
This artistic monster has it all - a sleek aesthetic that balances detail and minimalism, a hypnotic embedded LED (that even flashes different colors!), and the neat thematic elements of A Nightmare On Elm Street's Freddy Krueger.
One, two, an awesome Xbox One is coming for you...
The painted text is superbly done, and the artwork on the Freddy silhouette is similarly impressive. It's a bit of an odd choice - Friday the 13th would have made more sense considering this franchise actually has a game for Xbox One. Still, it would be unfair to knock the design for that alone.
There's much to find appealing when it comes to the nostalgic retro gaming console of the 70s - the Colecovisions, Ataris, etc. Though their bland, basic wood grain designs don't really rank high on that list, at least for my money. While this wood finish certainly looks authentic and clean, it just doesn't look quite right on a console that's supposed to exude power and sleekness. Maybe retro gamers will find it amusing, but I can't see too many gamers in the modern era finding this boring, archaic look appealing.
Instead of having a design being inspired by the very beginnings of gaming and its wood-laden finishes, this Xbox One X instead embraces the roots of the Xbox's origins - and it works. Not only does the original Xbox's design fit nicely, but its ability to invoke Xbox nostalgia is second to none.
I simply love the idea of this machine sort of encompassing both the origins and modern-day era of the Xbox. It would be even neater if this design sported an actual 3D green Xbox gem, but the detail is so spot-on elsewhere that you can forgive it.
Perhaps getting into the headspace of a major car buff would present this weird machine in a different light, but not being much of a car enthusiast, I just can't get into this. I even love the Forza Horizon games, the series from which this odd design is supposedly based off of. Yet I feel there's a better way to deck out your Xbox One to represent a car that doesn't include literally crafting it to resemble the hood of a red Audi. The curvature and odd shape are not only off-putting but it doesn't look practical in terms of stacking/storage.
I was never huge on Iron Man, nor much Marvel content in general, but even I can appreciate the slick nature and fine craftsmanship that went into this Iron Man-inspired Xbox One. That glossy white finish looks quite appealing and captures the spirit of Iron Man and Stark Industries really well. The unique detail on the top of the case adds a distinct, mechanical look. The Stark Industries Arc Reactor on both the console and controller serves as an enticing focal point and looks totally awesome.
Inverting things from our previous entry - I love me some Game of Thrones, but I can't say the same about this design. Oddly enough, this was designed by David Bertin, the same artist that crafted the previous entry. It's actually a pretty gorgeous and well-crafted work of art on one level, but, man is it tacky and over-the-top.
This looks about as bulky and crude as the Iron Throne.
There is just so much detail crammed into this design, it does itself a disservice. Furthermore, the protruding ring/astrolabes take up too much and look distractingly bulky.
Examining another fantasy-based Xbox One design, this dials the intensity back from the bombastic Game of Thrones design and focuses on slickness and simplicity. At the same time, that sleek chrome finish manages to stand out and draw your attention.
One Xbox to bring them all, and in their dark gaming rooms, bind them...
The Elvish inscription from the Ring of Power is well-crafted, fleshes out the detail, and goes perfectly with the ring-like finish. This is a console that good Smeagol would be sure to covet.
Marvel sure has created a ton of iconic superheroes. Great, but that doesn't mean we need to cram seemingly every single one of them onto a relatively slim Xbox One X now, do we? This might make a neat poster in a child's bedroom, but as an Xbox One skin? It's pretty off-putting and lame. And the hodgepodge of color and detail in the characters looks even more absurd on the relatively small controller body. Pick one superhero and stick with it!
I rest my case - this artist chose to focus on one Marvel-based superhero and theme, and yet, it works far better than a mesh of dozens of heroes crammed onto the relatively small Xbox One canvas. Not only is Daredevil a cool hero from which to base a design, but the artwork along with the slick color scheme just works. It all manages to be simplistic enough while containing a nice smattering of stylistic detail that looks torn straight out of a comic book.
It should be quite clear by now that more doesn't necessarily equal better when it comes to custom hardware designs, even on the relatively large body of the Xbox One. This Dragon Ball Z artwork is just further proof of this. The cluttered nature of this design is further exemplified by the controllers - you can barely see what's happening.
This custom skin by ZoomHit may draw a few dedicated fans of this iconic anime, at least those who appreciate an action-packed and chaotic super Saiyan brawl. However, I can't see this harsh and convoluted design appealing to many outside of this.
Ok, so perhaps they could have chosen a cooler character from Overwatch from which to model a neater, sleeker design. Though as far as capturing the gritty look and aesthetic of Junkrat and his town of origin, Junkertown, this Xbox One skin completely nails it. The realistic detail of the grimy texture, the spot-on color scheme, and that instantly recognizable Junkrat emblem; it all just blends together nicely and makes for a fine work of Xbox art. This is gritty steampunk done right.
I suppose you can give this props for the effort, and for the crisp detail that communicates the top of the Super Nintendo box quite clearly. Though, that doesn't mean it necessarily works for the bulky, rectangular Xbox One. There's a clash of hardware designs here that just don't mesh, and the awkward placement of the Super NES paint job makes it look squished and ill-fitting.
It's difficult to make a Super Nintendo design work with any console considering its unique design, though Nintendo almost managed to make it work with the 3DS, so it is possible.
Now, this is more like it. While the SNES's unique, top-loading structure doesn't quite work with the Xbox One, this modder wisely recognized that the NES and its similar rectangular box design fits like a glove. The disk drive is even conveniently placed near where the game loader of the NES would be.
There may not be a ton of detail, but it manages to achieve a lot with a little.
This new-meets-old custom Xbox One paint job is sure to invoke plenty of warm and fuzzy nostalgia from kids of the 80s and early 90s.
I suppose it goes without saying that a letdown of a game would inspire a letdown of a console skin. For one, the deep blue just doesn't go with the Xbox One, and that bright yellow and orange decal slapped in the middle just stands out far too much for my taste. Also aside from the familiar Vault Boy and the relatively small game logo, the overall vibe of this blue and yellow cartoony design looks to represent Cuphead more than a dark and gritty post-apocalyptic RPG shooter. It's not a horrible design really, but it's rather basic and fails to communicate the character of the Fallout series.
Ah, another example of a coveted limited edition contest console - while we've shown that these can be a mixed bag, this one certainly falls into the "dope" category. Apparently, in anticipation of Jurassic World Evolution, fans were called upon to design their very own Dinosaur, and submit it to Frontier Developments. The winner would receive this Jurassic bad boy. I certainly envy whoever won, as this design contains an ultra-cool skin dripping with detail and epicness, from the iconic logo to the chiseled stone texture.
Ok, so perhaps a few female readers might cry foul here, though I would imagine most gamers - male and female - would find this flowery artwork to be quite standard and boring. The clash of white and black is a bit too much, and this pedestrian paint job looks like it belongs as a stock filler photo to sell picture frames rather than an Xbox One mod meant to draw attention. I'd rather just stick with a plain monochromatic black or white colored Xbox One than opt for this lame design.
This sleek Xbox One S demonstrates that less really can be more, especially when "less" is laced with the cool blue hues of LED lighting shining through transparent shells. While I see little need to own an Xbox One S when the X model can boast actual 4k gaming, rather than 4k Blu Ray support alone, I would arguably have to reconsider if the machine sported this look. It takes on a sort of Wii/Apple vibe with its clean white finish and glowing blue lighting, and that's not a bad thing.
This Cuphead paint job frustrates me because it really does contain some cool and elaborate artwork. I mean, it looks borderline officially made with how clean and detailed it is. Yet, ultimately when deciding whether or not this makes the cut for a dope design, I asked myself, "well, would I really want this displayed on my wall unit?"
The answer I came to was a resounding "no." Everything just comes across far too harsh, from the vivid color scheme to the busy nature of the background sketches and the unappealing clutter they produce.
This is one buried treasure I wouldn't mind displaying next to my TV. This Sea of Thieves skin for Xbox One S manages to maintain a visually interesting and sleek appearance while staying fairly minimal in its art. That glowing skull logo just exudes epicness, too.
If only the game itself was this appealing...
This extremely limited edition console is crafted by Rare themselves, and it shows with the clean craftsmanship of the artwork. This would surely land you a sea of riches fit for a pirate if you somehow managed to get your hands on one, as only 3 of them were ever made.
Artist Vadu Amka is notorious for crafting a number of extremely elaborate custom consoles and controllers chock-full of 3 dimensional detail. While some of these are truly dazzling and creative, many have a tendency to produce overly cluttered, crude, or otherwise funky results.
Good luck trying to squeeze this inside a small space inside your wall unit, which is likely already cramped.
This Dragon Ball Fighter Z Xbox One X most definitely falls into this category. The cluster of boulders and streams of magma are no doubt meant to represent a battlefield in the game, but it just comes across as a mess of rubble and orange paint.
While the Audi design shows how modeling a custom Xbox One after a car can produce lackluster results, this Lamborghini skin demonstrates that such an attempt can be well executed. The design knows how to implement just the right amount of detail to provide a touch of Lambo character, while not transforming the entire console itself into an unrecognizable monstrosity. This design portrays qualities of sleekness and an elegance that you would associate with a Lamborghini - and will cost you several thousands of dollars less!
Why are there so many misses when it comes to limited edition consoles meant to act as prizes in contests? It's strange enough that there would be a custom console modeled off a pretty average console RTS in Halo Wars 2 in the first place. And the crude and convoluted sketch art at the top, along with the harsh red splotches, makes for a perplexingly weird, unattractive design. The overall look also seems to resemble the black-and-white bloody action title, Mad World, rather than a clean sci-fi RTS.
What can I say? I'm a sucker for built-in LED lighting awesomeness, and they seem to particularly go well with a white glossy finish. Modder Nature One has created quite a visual spectacle with this one. I could have perhaps done without the convoluted text logo on the front, but just about everything else about this machine looks sleek.
The coolest aspect is that the LED lights illuminate not just the mechanical wiring and chips, but also the fan that hides beneath the ventilation system. I also dig the nice UFO-like pizazz shining through the disk slot. It all seems to resemble a high-end gaming PC.
There's really not much to say about this one, and that's precisely why it's so lame. First, why model a custom Xbox One X after a pretty standard, free-to-play tank game in the first place? Second, the skin's bland palette of browns and greys, as well as any lack of interesting detail just make it boring and unappealing to look at. Unlike the Junkrat design that perfected the dirty, grimy look, this design just looks like it was submerged in mud and got run over by a car.
Sometimes a design can benefit merely from the default appearance and color scheme of a console. In this case, the black, rectangular Xbox One meshes quite nicely with the black backgrounds of the Call of Duty: Black Ops III box art, and its bold, blocky text. With the natural black background, this custom skin manages to stand out with its nice detail and bold text, without being too overwhelming. It would certainly make a cool device from which to burn countless hours gunning down foes online in Call of Duty.