Yeah. Not much to say about this, except that my enduring love of all things Ghostbusters compelled me to sit through the whole thing, and that I find it fascinating that, as in the original computer game based on the film way back in 1984 and numerous other Ghostbusters licensed products over the years, Winston is conspicuously absent.
The impending end of support for original Xbox titles on Live gives me pause. And while there are so many great games we can look back on fondly from Xbox Live's original incarnation, for me, one looms particularly large on that landscape.
I've probably spent more time online, and had more fun online, playing Burnout 3: Takedown than any other online-enabled game. While most games these days fail to get regular play from us for more than a few weeks, a group of faithful friends and I played Burnout 3 frequently for months after its release. Thinking about the game today reminds me of where I was living at the time, who I was dating, where I was working...I created my own soundtrack to replace the mostly lousy EA TRAX stuff, and to this day, when my iPod shuffles up some of the songs I used--songs by The Postal Service, for instance--I'm instantly transported back to those wonderfully dangerous streets, to the thrill of knocking an opponent into one of the pillars of death downtown or of narrowly evading a truck as I tear through an intersection. I play a lot of games, and I love a lot of games, but few indeed are the games that get inside my head like this.
It's truly a landmark title in my opinion, one that pushed the genre forward and that delivered adrenaline-junkie thrills far more successfully than most games that try. And even though I haven't played it in years now, knowing that my friends and I can't ever race again through the crazily twisting streets of its nameless Asian city, trading paint and taking each other down as we go, makes me sad.
Thanks for the good times, Burnout 3. And here's a toast to Xbox Live's first generation, where those races were lost and won.
As someone who's old enough to have known the thrill of getting my initials in the #1 spot on the Yie Ar Kung Fu machine at Pizza Hut, I'm definitely excited about Game Room's potential. And like you, I'm frustrated with the ways in which it's failing to live up to that potential, both with regard to the delay before we see any more releases, and to the technical issues plaguing high scores and challenges and stuff.
I agree that the best games for Game Room are those kinds of pure tests of skill that provide a real basis for competition. And I think that some of the launch games, like Asteroids and Jungler, can still be extremely exciting, if you're the sort who relishes the thought of seeing your name at the top of your friends' leaderboard. I spent more time than I care to admit trying to beat a friend's Asteroids score, and when I succeeded, it was AWESOME. Then you had to go and beat my score. Jerk.
I love this kind of competition. And I think the Challenge function is great for the ways in which it lets you get creative in designing competitions with friends. With a steady stream of quality games that support leaderboards, I anticipate spending a LOOOOOT of time and money with Game Room. I just hope that those renovations you mention happen soon.
EDIT: Also, I suppose this is impossible just because of the way data for friends lists is handled, but I really wish that when I visited friends' arcades, the banners reflected THEIR friends list and not mine. I want to know if it's my name they see on the banner.