Xbox Live Arcade began its life on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 simply enough. When eager gamers bought up Xbox 360s on launch day (November 22, 2005), they found a free copy of Hexic HD pre-loaded on their hard drives. Of course, it was another launch title that secured the platform’s success. Bizarre’s Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved both gave birth to the twin-stick shooter craze and demanded gamers take Xbox Live Arcade, which started in disc form back on the original Xbox, seriously as a digital games platform. Bizarre’s side project paved the way for the enormous variety of retro revivals, HD remakes, original indie projects, major studio releases, free-to-play games and more that have come to call XBLA home in the years since.
Today, we’re approximately one month away from the launch of the Xbox One, which will signal the end of XBLA as we have come to know it these past eight years. While Microsoft’s Xbox line will continue to be home to myriad low-cost downloadable video games, the XBLA moniker will not make the transition to Xbox One. It’s going down with the figurative (and literal) Xbox 360 boat. So what better time than now to count down the best XBLA games to ever grace the Xbox 360?
It wasn’t easy, but our staff has sorted through all of the best XBLA releases over the years and picked the ones that we feel are the true standout stars of the platform. Check back with us throughout the week as we run down five of Xbox Live Arcade’s top games every night. And don’t forget to head to the comments to let us know how much you love (or hate) our picks.
(Editor’s Note: Voting was conducted in early September. No games released post-Summer of Arcade 2013 were considered eligible.)
Ryan Thompson, Contributor — One of the promises of the Xbox 360 console that went largely unfulfilled was the idea that Xbox Live would expand to a point of truly joining together the entire community of players. The truth is that not a lot has changed since players began playing Halo 2 online almost a decade ago: we still join lobbies and play with small groups of people.
Ten years ago Microsoft launched Xbox Live. Today, they are celebrating with a slew of rewards and discounts. The first one you should claim is Wreckateer, because it’s free for today and tomorrow (November 15-16) only. Also, Microsoft is running a sweepstakes for a special anniversary edition Xbox 360 console (sorry, North America only). Their official post has all the details and a letter from Marc Whitten thanking YOU for making Xbox Live what it is today. Here is what’s on sale…
Community Manager Andrew Crews joins the regular crew of myself, Perry and Todd to talk about all the games we’ve been playing over the break. It’s a long list which includes everything from Renegade Ops, Sonic The Hedgehog 4, Battlefield 1943 to Meteos Wars, All Zombies Must Die!, Doritos Crash Course and many more. It’s packed show, so stop reading this and get listening!
Apologies if the audio is a bit off this week, we had to resort to a backup because of some technical issues.
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While playing Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team this past week something occurred to me; Xbox Live Arcade is the perfect venue for developers and publishers to introduce players to a gaming universe. Kill Team is a perfect example. Here you have a straight forward old school arcade style co-op shooter set in the Warhammer universe. I bought it because I had always read a lot about the Warhammer universe online and because I’m a fan of shooters. I invited a buddy down, we had our fun with the game and I quickly picked off the last few achievements in Kill Team by myself in the following days to officially “complete” everything the game had to offer.
Xbox Live Arcade has come a long way since its launch on the original Xbox a little over 6 years ago. Back then the selection of games was in the teens but now there are hundreds of games on the service. You can play anything from 16-bit classics like Streets of Rage 2 to exceptional original titles like Shadow Complex.
With so many games to choose from it’s hard to know what to spend your good ‘ol Microsoft Points on. Lucky for you however we at XBLAFans have taken it upon ourselves to compile a list of the 15 XBLA games you must own. The games featured (listed alphabetically because they’re just too good to rank on quality) are the best of the best. If you haven’t played a game on this list then you owe it to yourself to at least download the trial (which we’ve handily linked to) and give it a go.
So let’s get on with it shall we, below you’ll find the games we decided on and brief summaries from our writer explaining why they’re deserving of the term “must own”. If you agree or disagree with the list, or just want to comment in general please feel free to do so.
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