You will need a PC compatible which is running either Windows XP or Windows Vista. It is easier to create and play XNA games if you have an Xbox 360 gamepad. If you get a wired one you can plug this directly into a USB port on your PC. If you already have some wireless gamepads you can buy a Wireless Gaming Receiver for your PC which lets you use your Xbox 360 gamepads with the PC.
If you want to run XNA games on a console you will also need an Xbox 360 with a hard disk drive. You must also have an Xbox LIVE subscription and you will also need to join the XNA Creators Club, which at present costs around $99 per year. If you are a student on a computer science course you should ask at your institituion about free creators club membership via the Microsoft Academic Alliance.
All the software you need is free. If you alread have a copy of Visual Studio 2005 on your computer you can just download and install XNA Game Studio 2.0. If you have not got Visual Studio you must first download Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition for C# and then install XNA. You can find full details for this procedure from the XNA Creators Club website: http://creators.xna.com/
If you just want to play the silly games on your PC you don't actually need to buy anything at all, just install XNA Game Studio 2.0 and download and open the projects.
Last updated on January 16, 2008 by Rob