But ever since the switch to polygonal graphics back in the mid-90s, a lot of great 2D stuff started getting this nostalgic "frozen in time" look to it. By comparison, that old stuff from the early polygon days looks like absolute garbage by today's standards. That ended up fueling my desire for the classic days of 2D gaming more than anything else, and it's retained a certain nostalgic glow for me ever since.
With that in mind, you won't be surprised to hear that I was pretty excited about Microsoft's Game Room when it was first announced. Though retrogaming services have certainly come before it, they always felt limited. Sony's putting out those same ugly-ass PlayStation 1 games that, let's face it, are still piling up in my garage. Nintendo's focusing mostly on re-releases of old 8- and 16-bit console games, which is fine, but again, my collection still runs deep. Arcade emulation, that's my thing. It requires too much free space to actively collect arcade games. So hearing that Microsoft was going to be getting into that on a mass scale--and that they'd be focusing on some fairly obscure stuff right out of the gate--sounded like my sort of thing.
Game Room gets a lot of things right. Really right, in fact. The games that are capable of having online leaderboards have them. And the games retain their original boot-up sequences. The emulation feels right. All that is key. It provides a good, level playing field and creates a competitive landscape for classic arcade games that hasn't really existed in some time. But it still needs some work.
Game Room's most substantial issue is that games seem to seize up from time to time. It's only for a split-second, but it's enough to be noticeable. It's enough to take you out of the moment and think "well, maybe if they weren't rendering this stupid fake arcade full of avatars behind the game, this wouldn't keep happening!" For the record, I turned that stuff off, but it still happens. It drags the whole experience down a little bit.
Also, if you've spent any time with Game Room recently, you'd probably agree that its stability is a serious issue. Sure, it has online leaderboards and a smart challenge system that lets you create closed groups of players for one-off competitions. But the game still comes up with a "sorry, the servers are unavailable" message almost every time I load it up. And I usually have to retry a few times before my games are uploaded to my active challenges. And, most importantly, I've had it lose high scores on me once or twice. My Red Baron score should be much higher than it is!
Also, hearing that there won't be able new games for a few weeks is pretty disappointing. All along, Microsoft's been bragging about its seven new games per week, and how they'll have over a thousand games within three years. So get started already. Honestly, there's only so much Jungler a man can take.
I'm sure everyone has their big list of old games they'd love to see added to Game Room over those three years. My list used to be huge and sprawling, but it's quickly narrowing as I spend more time with the challenge system and leaderboards. Now, I only want games that seem like they'd be fun to play in competition. Plus, I favor games that haven't been released to death in other packs. I mean, I'm sure they'll get around to Pac-Man eventually, but I think I've played enough Pac-Man for awhile... plus I still have the original Xbox Live Arcade release.
Anyway, right. Here's my list of games that I'd like to see in Game Room. There are many others like it, but this one is mine.
Games That Should Be In Game Room
|3. Food Fight|
| 4. Robotron: 2084 |
Yeah, it was already out on XBLA. But starting a challenge on Wave 20 or something would be nuts.
| 6. Toobin' |
They'd need to add online multiplayer for this to truly be fun.
|8. Congo Bongo|
|9. Satan's Hollow|
|10. Double Dragon II: The Revenge|
| 11. QIX |
Yeah, proper actual arcade Qix. Not this Qix++ garbage.
|12. Elevator Action|
|13. The Legend of Kage|
|14. Major Havoc|
|15. Total Carnage|
| 17. Reactor |
It'd suffer from the lack of a track ball, but still... Reactor.
| 19. Astro Blaster |
Sega's shooter was full of all kinds of weird secret bonuses. This is MegaMania before MegaMania was MegaMania.
| 21. Space Fury |
More bad-ass vector bad-assedness.
|22. Hot Rod|
|23. Ivan "Iron Man" Stewart's Super Off Road|
|24. Zoo Keeper|