Is this the beginning of the end?

Is something rotten in Xbox Live Arcade land just now? I can’t go to any gaming site at the moment without seeing snippets of news suggesting that it’s a format in a state of rapid decline and we should, you know, all start praying for our lives and other sensationalist tripe. it can’t all be bad surely? Just look at some of the cracking titles winging their way to the marketplace this summer, namely, Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Castle Crashers, Braid and let us not forget a little-known game called Soul Calibur.

Time-bending platformer Braid could be the kickstart XBLA needs

So what’s the cause of this sudden brouhaha? Some insiders have suggested that small developers get a raw deal when agreeing to distribute their wares via the service. While subsequently, in an almost reactionary move, Microsoft recently suggested that things have been set in motion to develop a new framework for the service which should appease everyone involved.

Some may view this as a little too late but at least they’re trying to put stuff right? I don’t know about everyone else, but I think XBLA has masses more potential than – dare I say it – Virtual Console. Bear with me here…

Soul Calibur on XBLA? I’ll take ten shopkeep!

The reason being, I’m 24, I don’t have any right to say I’ve been there and done that when it comes to retro titles, but I know my Chuckie Eggs from my Finders Keepers and no matter how many times I buy Streets of Rage 2 on another system it’s always going to be the same game.

Fair play, WiiWare has just hit the scene and sure enough, it’s offering all sorts of cool new IP as opposed to the usual retro fare on Virtual Console, but there’s still one market Nintendo and indeed Sony wont be able to get their hands on easily. I would propose to Microsoft that they start re-releasing more old-skool PC titles like ID’s Doom, which found a perfect new home on XBLA.

Now, how many people would happily buy 360 versions of Duke Nukem, Diablo, Trackmania and Quake II if they had Xbox Live play as standard? I think sales would go through the roof and let’s not forget single player capers such as Commander Keen – you really don’t want to get into what I’d do to see that series resurrected on XBLA – no, you really don’t trust me.

Oh Microsoft! Wont you give this poor wee guy a new home?

Of course, stumping up the cash for the rights to some of these oldies would be no problem for the big green giant, but I imagine ownership of some of these titles has become somewhat muddied over the years, but hey, it would absolutely be worth the effort…

…or am I sounding like a lone gunman here?


11 responses to “Is this the beginning of the end?”

  1. Tony avatar

    I haven’t looked at Xbox Arcade for ages. The prices put me off, £7.50ish for a naff old arcade game from 1984? No thanks.

    If they’ve cut the prices I might take another look.

  2. Dave avatar

    I think that may be on the cards, it’s been hinted that naff or under-selling games will face price-cuts or just get the chop altogether.

    Some of them are definitely a rip-off, 400MS for Doom though, rather generous of them.

  3. Kirsten avatar

    I used to be heavily into XBLA but I have barely looked at it in about 6 months. It seems like it’s been a long time since something of the quality and community gathering aspect of Marble Blast or Uno has been around. (I suppose there’s Bomberman but I’m crap at it as Shaz will attest to.)

    I’d like to see more high quality XBLA games that can be played with a big gang and don’t require a lot of focussed skill which for me typifies what an arcade should be.

    Absolutely agree that XBLA is far and away the best service of it’s kind with the most potential.

  4. Dave avatar

    I think you’re right about games that don’t require much thought – I the kind of throwaway flash games you play on your lunch break would maybe have a home on XBLA.

    I also really wish the XNA creators club would kick into gear, before it becomes another Net Yarose, such a monumental failure, yet it had so much promise 🙁

  5. Laura avatar

    XBLA is such a great feature and it’d be an awful shame if it was to end after such a short time in existence.
    The games are ideal buys for the kids every now and then, £5-£7 for a game that’ll entertain them just as much as a £40 title is a pretty good deal.

  6. Michael avatar

    Never really been into the stuff on XBLA – I can see the worth of it for small developers and all but my spending has mostly been on “proper” games. I’ve rarely bought extra stuff for them either via the Marketplace

    I am quite taken with Puzzle Quest though, especially after a session of, say, Lost Odyssey. It’s become a habit of mine to play an arcade game for a bit before logging off for the night. Or maybe some Guitar Hero 3

    Any recommendations for when I’ve finished Puzzle Quest?

  7. Dave avatar

    Can’t go wrong with Lumines! or N+ Michael, both rather tasty 🙂

    I can’t use the kids defense Laura so at the risk of sounding like a tightwad, I too feel good about paying £5-7 for an XBLA title I know I’ll get house of play out of over a £40 steamer.

  8. Kirsten avatar

    I believe I’m a Puzzle Quest MASTER, Michael although Zoey would probably have something to say about that. We should have a game sometime. My recommendation if you like that would be to give Jewel Quest a shot. As an old flash game it’s not as polished and is slower paced but it’s super addictive and in the same vain as Puzzle Quest. I also really enjoyed Cloning Clyde which is a totally different thing – very Oddworld.

  9. Tony avatar

    Lumines is brilliant, but I do feel the XBLA has been stuffed with overpriced shite to a degree.

    The PSN (Playstation Network) has lots of quite interesting XBLA-style games for between £3 and £5 and lots of old PS1 games for £3.50 a pop. Mind you, I still think £3.50 for a PS1 game is a rip off, as you can probably find them for cheaper on eBay…

  10. Michael avatar

    I gave Lumines a go ages ago but never got the gist… it was a very brief game though!

    I’ll check out those games and I’ll take you up on that offer Kirsten. Once I’ve defeated Shaz anyway… 🙂

  11. Dan avatar

    I played that Braid on Partnernet, kinda odd but fun. Reminded me of a megadrive platformer. like Kid Chameleon or Decap Attack.

    Lumines is awesome, anyone in the world that doesn’t like it is a mental.

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