Microsoft gave Smash Bros. head Masahiro Sakurai a custom Xbox, but it died to the Red Ring of Death "before too long"

 Masahiro Sakurai with his bricked Xbox 360.
Masahiro Sakurai with his bricked Xbox 360.

Kids these days will never understand the pain of owning an Xbox 360 and seeing it fall to the infamous Red Ring of Death, but one person who does know the feeling is Super Smash Bros. and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai. The veteran Nintendo developer was gifted a custom Xbox 360 directly from Microsoft in 2005, but lost it to the dreaded death ring a short while later.

In a new episode of his YouTube web series, Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games, the veteran developer showed off a black Xbox 360 Elite featuring a metal plate with his name inscribed in Japanese. It's a beautiful console, but not the one he actually got from Microsoft, as the inscribed plate is the only remnant of the original machine.

"I got the plate back in December 2005, when the Xbox 360 was released," Sakurai said, proudly displaying his console. "I think a number of people were gifted Xbox 360s at launch, and the representative at Microsoft was kind enough to include me."

"Sadly, mine was struck by the infamous Red Ring of Death before too long," he said.

Sakurai added that he removed the custom plate with his name on it and attached it to this newer Xbox 360 console. The plate, of course, is part of the Xbox 360's removable hard drive, so presumably Sakurai has just been swapping hard drives around rather than prying off this plate and gluing it to new consoles, but he's not specific on that point. He does lament that he's unable to attach the plate to the Xbox Series X.

Estimates of the Xbox 360 failure rate vary, but the results of a 2013 Game Informer (via IGN) survey suggest it's as high as 54.2%, while a more conservative estimate from warranty provider SquareTrade (via GameSpot via Wayback Machine) puts it at 23.7% - still far higher than its main rivals, the PS3 and Nintendo Wii. The telltale sign of a serious internal issue were three flashing red lights forming an ominous ring around the power button which indicated general hardware failure.

While the burden on affected gamers was great, it was even worse for Xbox, which paid over 1 billion dollars to repair and replace all of those consoles.

The latest box is a much more reliable piece of hardware. Here are the best Xbox Series X games you can play today without worrying about any red rings.