Giant Bomb News

72 Comments

"Game Room" Brings Arcade Classics Back To Xbox Live

"Over 1,000 games" to be added to Microsoft's new classic game portal over the next three years.


A virtual space filled with virtual versions of bonafide classics? 
Back when the Xbox 360 launched, Xbox Live Arcade was a very different thing than it was today. Sure, you had some early original hits, like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and Uno, but you also had early emulated contributions like Smash TV, Joust, and Pac-Man. Over time, the emulated stuff--even the ones that offered upgraded graphics modes and other "remake" options--sort of fell by the wayside in favor of original content. With a new avatar-focused space called Game Room, Microsoft appears to be looking for a new way to bring this classic content to players.

The whole thing almost sounds like a more-focused PlayStation Home, where your Xbox 360 avatars can, as the release puts it, explore and trick out a game room by arranging virtual arcade cabinets, decorate the room with themes, and apply animated icons from classic games. What sort of games? The only specific games mentioned are Asteroids Deluxe and Centipede, both of which have already appeared as Xbox Live Arcade releases. Other companies listed as supporting Game Room include Activision, Intellivision, and Konami. With the inclusion of Activision and Intellivision--two companies with no meaningful ties to the arcade business--it seems safe to assume that classic consoles will also be represented. In fact, in the released screenshots of the service, you can see Pitfall! running as well as arcade-style cabinets with Intellivision artwork on them. I'm pretty sure there's a Scramble machine in there, too, which would make sense as it's a Konami game that has also appeared on XBLA.

Game Room, which is being developed by Krome Studios, will run in some form on both Xbox 360 and the PC. The games are sold separately, with different prices depending on how you want to play. Buying a game for use on both the 360 and PC will run 400 point (five bucks), while buying a game for only one platform is 240 points (three bucks). If you want to just play a game once, you can "drop in some quarters" and play any game once for 40 points, which rolls out to 50 cents. Uh... not to get all picky here, but these old-ass arcade games were a quarter originally. Not two. An arcade that tried to charge me 50 cents to play Missile Command or something wouldn't be some kind of new-fangled Shangri-La. It'd be just about the worst arcade ever. Sure, Street Fighter Alpha 2 or something? Yeah, I'll pay two to start, one to continue on that. You might even be able to convince me that Dragon's Lair is a dollar per play. But let's not get carried away here.

On the social side of things, you'll be able to visit your friends' arcades and play their games for free, though the "try before you buy" language in the release makes this sound like a way to play demo versions of the games. Still, that sounds like a better way to evaluate some of these things than spending 50 cents to find out that you're still awful at Battlezone or something.

You know, a simple menu would be totally fine with me. 
With weekly releases of new-old games, Microsoft claims that Game Room will support over 1,000 games within three years of its launch. At some point, this whole thing starts to sound like legalized emulation on a grand scale, which is pretty interesting. In addition, the games will all get online leaderboards and achievements, and these additions will work across the two platforms.

Game Room is due out this Spring and will launch as a free download. As a dude who doesn't really care about Avatars, the whole "virtual arcade" shell seems totally needless. But as a dude who likes old-ass arcade games and online leaderboards, I'm down. 
 
A trailer has also been released, which shows the logos of several other games. Here's a list: 
 
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
72 Comments
  • 72 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Jeff

A virtual space filled with virtual versions of bonafide classics? 
Back when the Xbox 360 launched, Xbox Live Arcade was a very different thing than it was today. Sure, you had some early original hits, like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and Uno, but you also had early emulated contributions like Smash TV, Joust, and Pac-Man. Over time, the emulated stuff--even the ones that offered upgraded graphics modes and other "remake" options--sort of fell by the wayside in favor of original content. With a new avatar-focused space called Game Room, Microsoft appears to be looking for a new way to bring this classic content to players.

The whole thing almost sounds like a more-focused PlayStation Home, where your Xbox 360 avatars can, as the release puts it, explore and trick out a game room by arranging virtual arcade cabinets, decorate the room with themes, and apply animated icons from classic games. What sort of games? The only specific games mentioned are Asteroids Deluxe and Centipede, both of which have already appeared as Xbox Live Arcade releases. Other companies listed as supporting Game Room include Activision, Intellivision, and Konami. With the inclusion of Activision and Intellivision--two companies with no meaningful ties to the arcade business--it seems safe to assume that classic consoles will also be represented. In fact, in the released screenshots of the service, you can see Pitfall! running as well as arcade-style cabinets with Intellivision artwork on them. I'm pretty sure there's a Scramble machine in there, too, which would make sense as it's a Konami game that has also appeared on XBLA.

Game Room, which is being developed by Krome Studios, will run in some form on both Xbox 360 and the PC. The games are sold separately, with different prices depending on how you want to play. Buying a game for use on both the 360 and PC will run 400 point (five bucks), while buying a game for only one platform is 240 points (three bucks). If you want to just play a game once, you can "drop in some quarters" and play any game once for 40 points, which rolls out to 50 cents. Uh... not to get all picky here, but these old-ass arcade games were a quarter originally. Not two. An arcade that tried to charge me 50 cents to play Missile Command or something wouldn't be some kind of new-fangled Shangri-La. It'd be just about the worst arcade ever. Sure, Street Fighter Alpha 2 or something? Yeah, I'll pay two to start, one to continue on that. You might even be able to convince me that Dragon's Lair is a dollar per play. But let's not get carried away here.

On the social side of things, you'll be able to visit your friends' arcades and play their games for free, though the "try before you buy" language in the release makes this sound like a way to play demo versions of the games. Still, that sounds like a better way to evaluate some of these things than spending 50 cents to find out that you're still awful at Battlezone or something.

You know, a simple menu would be totally fine with me. 
With weekly releases of new-old games, Microsoft claims that Game Room will support over 1,000 games within three years of its launch. At some point, this whole thing starts to sound like legalized emulation on a grand scale, which is pretty interesting. In addition, the games will all get online leaderboards and achievements, and these additions will work across the two platforms.

Game Room is due out this Spring and will launch as a free download. As a dude who doesn't really care about Avatars, the whole "virtual arcade" shell seems totally needless. But as a dude who likes old-ass arcade games and online leaderboards, I'm down. 
 
A trailer has also been released, which shows the logos of several other games. Here's a list: 
 
Staff
Edited by Yummylee

Oh baby 
More gamez? Nice 
 
Anything to do with avatars? Bleh
Posted by MatthewMeadows

Wow, this looks way better than PS Home.

Posted by DiGiTaL_SiN

meh

Posted by TomA

Duder yes! Now i can show off my Garrus eyepiece without having to play 1 VS 100

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

Ahh, I didn't hear about the specific pricing model before. Nice to know I can play some old ass games for only three bucks that include achievements! I see myself spending a lot of time with this.

Posted by Melvargh

Read it wrong, haha. Deleted my previous post.
 I read too fast and thought it was ONLY 40 points per play, and not for downloads. Silly me.
 
It's like Home, but good.

Posted by DanielJW

That looks pretty slick.

Posted by gakon

I think people said the same thing about some aspects of Home: this is just contrivance.  Why would you watch your Home avatar watch a movie in his virtual home?  Similarly, as Jeff pointed out, why navigate a fake world of people playing video games when the menu for XBLA games already exists in the Dashboard?

Posted by RedSox8933

This seems kind of interesting, but I can guarantee you that I will never use it.

Posted by HatKing

I am kind of interested.  I am not totally against the use of the avatars like most people seem to be... I mean we have them might as well have something to do with them.  This sounds pretty cool though.  I'd like to think you could put all of your Arcade games in your personal room and not just the classics... but we'll see.
Edited by Kajaah117

This sounded extremely exciting when I first heard it(but didn't see it because of Microsoft's awesome live stream), but now I'm starting to feel like Microsoft is building Home piecemeal. They've got the Avatars that haven't done much except fall through rings and swing giant cotton swabs, Xbox Live Arcade which is just a menu to access downloaded games, and Netflix Party to watch movies on a virtual screen with your friends.  
 
Now they're adding a new visual layer that ties the Avatar and Live Arcade parts together, but how long until the door to the virtual arcade leads to a virtual movie theater to access the Netflix features? Why stop there? Virtual mall, virtual plaza, and game-specific virtual hangouts(Halo Waypoint can be seen as a foreshadow for things to come). Sound familiar?
 
So I don't know if I should be disappointed that Microsoft is just borrowing some ideas from Sony, but doing it at a better pace as opposed to just dumping you into a plaza and saying, "Here'y go! Do the running man or some shit!" or if I should be excited that they could potentially fulfill the promise of a fun, persistent, virtual hub that Home has fallen short of. 
 
I know I sound like I hate Home, but I don't. I just feel that Home has so much untapped potential and I think maybe some competition could be good for both sides.

Posted by JJOR64

Sounds pretty cool.  Can't wait.

Posted by Red

Sounds like a Microsoft version of Home, but actually with games in it. 
Seems like a cool idea, though.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Sounds cool, but I'm not going to jump to conclusions until I find out what kind of games are actually coming out on the service and what kind of support they would receive. Hopefully it won't be a repeat of Gametap.

Posted by TheIneffableBob

Neat!

 

Now I can give Microsoft money for games that I can play for free on the Internet!

Edited by Brackynews

Yahbut, a quarter in 1985 is worth 50 cents now.  No joke. 101% inflation.
Pity a quarter minted in 1985 isn't. Economics, man.

Posted by Johanz

After Home... I'd rather take an menu option. Sure, include the free roaming stuff but also give me a menu or some quick teleporting.

Posted by PsEG

Damn, they just had to put Intellivision games in this, didn't they? I'm definitely going to be spending some time with this Game Room, no matter what its overall quality is.

Moderator
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

While I love classic games, there aren't any mentioned that would really draw me in enough to warrant a purchase.  I'm gonna file this one under "wait and see."  Now, a little Simpsons Arcade, Terminator 2, or Street Fighter 3?  Yessir, that'd be mighty tasty.
Moderator
Posted by morningdrive

Why are people bagging on Home? this is the same exact thing that Home is doing. So if you wanna play a arcade game..what if someone is playing it? Are you going to have to wait in a virtual line? I don't see this working either.

Posted by poser

hmm... interesting but who is going to keep playing this after a month? I'm 24 and if feel too old for this stuff.

Posted by chililili
@MatthewMeadows said:
" Wow, this looks way better than PS Home. "
yes, but it's still not a good thing
Posted by Dan_CiTi

None of those games are Street Fighter Alpha 2. Thus they suck.

Posted by stephengotlost

Arcade machines in virtual space?
2010 really is the future.

Posted by Rowr

Some of these appear to need wiki's
 
Go Go power comunity.

Posted by DukeTogo

Reminds me of an idea I had several years ago, a virtual arcade that you actually walked around in and all the games were modeled from old arcade cabinets.  While the idea is clunky for those just wanting to play some games quickly, making it a place where you could interact with others via chat or voice, would make it a social site.
 
But my idea was more for a type of retro arcade experience for those that remembered and those too young that missed out.

Posted by Zabant

Please god no voice chat for all in the lobby, i dont want to be called a faggot while trying to play some tempest.

Posted by MeatSim

Interesting to see how much it compares to home and if it will turn out better or worse.

Posted by Druminator

This still doesn't allow me to spend my 20 MS points that have been sitting there for years.

Edited by mattysen

You really can't have the "Classic Arcades" without games branded from Nintendo, which will never happen on this  "Games Room" per-say

Posted by jonnyboy

Playing and enjoying the game is the most important thing to me.The manner in which it's presented isn't going to convince me to play a game I don't like.

Posted by DrRandle

I guess I'm the only person who's actually a fan of avatars. :/ At least in theory. I think a lot of what Microsoft has been doing with them is weird, and the complete lack of sound when dealing with props like a guitar is just plain unnerving, but over all I love the concept. 
 
Now people need to stop just putting them in puzzle games with the same tired animations, and put them in games where they actually, I don't know, do something.

Posted by ajamafalous
@Brackynews said:
" Yahbut, a quarter in 1985 is worth 50 cents now.  No joke. 101% inflation.Pity a quarter minted in 1985 isn't. Economics, man. "
Research!
Posted by Sunjammer

Road fighter!!

Edited by thecleric
@DrRandle said:

" I guess I'm the only person who's actually a fan of avatars. :/ At least in theory. I think a lot of what Microsoft has been doing with them is weird, and the complete lack of sound when dealing with props like a guitar is just plain unnerving, but over all I love the concept. 
 
Now people need to stop just putting them in puzzle games with the same tired animations, and put them in games where they actually, I don't know, do something. "

I love my avatar now that he has Dead Space gear. But I hate their faces, they all need masks. 
 
@mattysen said: 

" You really can't have the "Classic Arcades" without games branded from Nintendo, which will never happen on this  "Games Room" per-say "


 Because Nintendo was known for their Arcade games. 
Posted by John1912

Those games all pretty much suck, where are classics like Spy Hunter, off Road, APB....I mean jesus, Out Law?  Christ You can only play that for about 5 mins before your board to death.  Someone needs to at least get Tunnel Runner thrown in there.  That at least was a awsome 3d maze pacman that you could play for a long ass time.  They need to get the hell out of the Atari era of games.

Posted by thecleric
@John1912 said:
" Those games all pretty much suck, where are classics like Spy Hunter, off Road, APB....I mean jesus, Out Law?  Christ You can only play that for about 5 mins before your board to death.  Someone needs to at least get Tunnel Runner thrown in there.  That at least was a awsome 3d maze pacman that you could play for a long ass time.  They need to get the hell out of the Atari era of games. "
They just need to tap into the Midway games. 
 
Mortal Kombat 2, Blitz, Hydro Thunder, NBA Jam . That's their target demographic afterall.
Posted by ez123

Hooray, a thing I can ignore!

Posted by Captain_Insano

why are they doing it this wasy? cause they saw how 'successful' home was and have to compete?
 
*facepalm*

Edited by WinterSnowblind
@morningdrive said:

" Why are people bagging on Home? this is the same exact thing that Home is doing. So if you wanna play a arcade game..what if someone is playing it? Are you going to have to wait in a virtual line? I don't see this working either. "

Nope, this is simply part of the dashboard you can access like XBLA or Indie games.  
You can invite friends to play your games, but there's no interacting with random strangers.

Only here you can pay to play one game, or purchase the machine and play it as much as you like.  It's not really anything like Home.  It's just like XBLA is now, or Steam.. but with a 3D interface.  And again I feel the need to point out that Sony were far from the first people to do something like that.
Posted by Niall_Sg1

No good without Doom 2! 

Posted by get2sammyb

I actually think this looks alright.

Posted by Cerza

The concept sounds cool, but I can't shake the feeling that this will be a total let down just like Home was.

Posted by stinky

these games had a time, that time is over. 
i even have fond memories of most, but charging money for any of them is a bit strange now.

Edited by CptBedlam

3 bucks each for these old games seems way too much for me. I'd pay 5 bucks for a pack of 10 games or something like that. But those prices are hilarious.

Online
Posted by ptc

They need "Gauntlet" on that list too...
Posted by TheHBK

i like how people are saying 3 bucks is ridiculous.  We were paying 5 bucks when this stuff was coming out as XBLA games, now they are cheaper and not just that, what was the last $5 game on XBLA that wasn't on sale?  Yeah, today 3 bucks really is not much for a game. 
As for the hub, seems unnecessary but is not like home.  You dont have to talk to unknowns, seems like just friends hang out in your arcade.  WE have to wait and see.  Seems like this thing will be ready to go soon.  Part of Home's failure is the undeserved hype Sony gave it then failed to deliver anything but a Beta.

Posted by Shuborno

Meh.
 
I didn't buy a 360 to play old arcade games with a crappy D-pad.

Posted by vinull

$3 to play a MAME game? I guess the plan here is to make Avatar clothing look like a deal by comparison?
 
Microsoft already has a horrible interface for searching though the 200+ XBLA games, and the 600+ XLBIG - I wonder how bad it will be when they have 1000 titles in this section.

  • 72 results
  • 1
  • 2