Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, the original XBLA “it” game is now available on Xbox One through the backwards compatibility program. The retro twin stick shooter was an Xbox 360 launch …
Did you know that video game music helps the brain by providing a stimulating background that doesn’t interfere with concentration? OK, I can’t prove that. I have no scientific evidence to back it up, but for some games, it seems like it just has to be true.
Xbox Live Arcade is home to some amazing games with some equally amazing music. Composers often sink days, months or even years into crafting the best musical experience for players – dedication that likely goes unnoticed, which sometimes is the whole point.
Sometimes, the best game music can serve as a stimulating background while studying, writing, reading or just doing some housework. Sometimes, you don’t want to notice the music or have it break your concentration. With that in mind, here are the top 10 XBLA soundtracks that serve as the best music to read, study, write or work to.
On Friday, Microsoft will launch its next-generation console, the Xbox One. If you’ve been paying attention to the games industry at all this year then you already knew that, and you also know all the blah, blah about TV features, the new UI, the improved Kinect camera, upgraded graphical power and the like. But if you’ve ever purchased a games console before — and since you’re reading XBLAFans, chances are fairly high that you have — then you know that none of those things really matter when you get down to it. Sure, all of that stuff might be exciting, but games are what really matters.
One of the developers that’s helping to round out the Xbox One’s launch lineup is Twisted Pixel, a former indie studio now owned by Microsoft known by XBLAFans readers for bringing several great games to the XBLA platform. Twisted Pixel’s launch title, LocoCycle, would have been an Xbox Live Arcade game had it been an Xbox 360 exclusive title; instead, it’ll arrive first on Xbox One Friday before coming to the Xbox 360 at an unspecified future date. And since there is no XBLA on Xbox One, Twisted Pixel’s goofy action game, which stars a sentient motorcycle with wheels that dish out martial arts attacks, will be sold in the Xbox One dashboard alongside of every other Xbox One game — not just those that sell for $20 or less.
XBLAFans caught up with Twisted Pixel Studio Director Mike Wilford and asked him what it was like working on a game for the Xbox One launch. “It’s been cool! We obviously love console gaming and have been making console games for a long time now, but none of us have been involved in a launch before,” Wilford tells XBLAFans via email. “It certainly has its challenges, but it’s awesome to be a part of it.”
We asked him if anything felt different about releasing a game alongside a major console launch, or if LocoCycle was a game release like any other. Although he called this release “a special occasion,” he took care to point out that, of course, Twisted Pixel takes all of its game releases seriously. “But as a kid I would always be so excited to bring home a new system and spend hours with each launch game that celebrated the dawn of a new era of gaming with untold potential. Now we get to contribute to that feeling and it’s so awesome!”
Dear Xbox 360,
Where to begin? How do you start something like this? Is there any “right” way to do it? I don’t think there is. Maybe by saying that I’m sorry? Yeah, a sincere apology feels right. It’s not the type of sincerity you express at the end of a cover letter to someone you’ve never met in your life and couldn’t possibly have sincere feelings for, mind you; it’s the kind that means something, as you have meant much to me these past eight wonderful years. I know I’m rambling now, but this isn’t easy for me. What I’m trying to say is, I sincerely apologize, Xbox 360. I’m sorry, but it’s time to move on. It’s not you, but it’s not me, either — it’s that dark temptress known as the next generation.
Know that we now head down different paths not necessarily because of some sort of monumental “paradigm shift,” but rather because it is simply the way of things. This is how it has to be, and we both knew this day was coming the morning I brought you home from Best Buy after waiting in line overnight for somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 hours. It was cold, and it was raining. I had to take time off from the crummy Postal Service job I was working at the time to do it, but I did it for you, and, given the chance, I’d do it all over again.
Do you remember that morning? You were sitting cozily inside the heated store; you didn’t know me yet, but I was sitting on the pavement with four or five layers of clothing on when it happened. The man in the blue shirt and yellow name tag got to my point in the line, and he gave me ticket number 41 — out of 42. I was both relieved and horrified all at once. My efforts to brave the elements would not go to waste. I would take a shiny new Xbox 360 home with me that day. I would take you home, but, truth be told, you weren’t the one I wanted. Sorry again, but I had eyes for another.
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.)
Shawn Saris, Contributor — Trials HD is a simple game. You have a bike, and you are tasked with getting from one end of the screen to the other. How hard could that possibly be? In some cases, a good argument could be made for it being impossible, and, as such, the first Trials went on to be known as one of the hardest games to grace XBLA. Years later, Trials Evolution stepped up to the plate with bigger, better levels, more bikes and an amazing track editor, allowing the community to make its own courses for years to come. Trials Evolution is a perfect example of the old mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Instead of changing everything for the sequel, developer RedLynx left the core game the same and instead just added dozens of hours worth of content to challenge players.
Weekly Roundup compiles all the biggest news stories, reviews and features from the week into one handy post on the weekends.
Another week of Xbox Live Arcade is in the books. This one’s been all over the map, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of a service that brings us all together. With so much happening on this platform of ours, it’s easy to lose sight of just how good we have it. If it weren’t for Xbox Live, none of us would be here, so XBLA Fans wants to know, what’s your favorite memory from the past ten years of Xbox Live gaming? Let us know in the comments and Happy Birthday, Xbox Live!
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…
Geometry Wars was developed by Bizarre Creations and was released on October 3, 2005 for 800 Microsoft Points. The price has since been permanently reduced to 400MS points.
Developer Bizarre Creations, which closed its doors in 2010, was always known for its Project Gotham Racing series until it ventured into downloadable territory during the Xbox 360’s inception with Geometry Wars. Although it’s a simple twin-stick shooter, it’s flashy visuals and addictive score-based gameplay were enough for some gamers to purchase its inevitable sequel and even its cousin on the Nintendo Wii. Now, more than five years since its release on XBLA, it deserves a chance to get recognized by those who may have overlooked it.
To the uninitiated, you control a blocky spaceship with the left analog stick and shoot projectiles (which are upgradable through the game) with the right analog stick. You are confined to a large grid set on the backdrop of space, with enemies that drastically get stronger as the game progresses as well as advance in numbers. Some enemies are easy to take down, while others dodge your fire like a rat avoiding pest control. If you become overwhelmed you can hit the right trigger to activate a bomb that wipes out everything on screen — that is until they return in full force. If you’re looking for a challenge, try earning the excruciatingly difficult achievement unlocked by earning 1 million points in the game.
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.