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.)
Matthew Smail, Contributor — Featuring a solid 10 to 20-hour-long campaign, a fun and engaging storyline and a range of deep and rewarding gameplay mechanics, State of Decay is considered by some to be a better game than many boxed AAA zombie titles. Arriving as it did in 2013 (during what is essentially the Xbox 360’s twilight year) State of Decay has certainly proven one thing: digital delivery of serious gaming content not related to Minecraft can be both commercially and critically successful on the Xbox 360.
This week’s deal offers up some of the very best Xbox Live Arcade has to offer, dropping names and prices on a couple of the year’s bigger titles and …
Whoever coined the phrase, “Too much of a good thing,” likely never played a video game. Sure, mostly because the saying dates back to well before Pong ever pinged a virtual paddle, but in some small part because anyone that’s ever really connected to a great game knows the bittersweet sorrow of wrapping it up. Xbox Live Arcade is no stranger to great games — however you choose to define the word: fun, dense, deep, powerful – there’s something for everyone in our little digital corner of video games proper.
With that in mind, we take a look back at the heavy hitters, the ones that make you set down the controller upon completion and want to know more. XBLAFans’ Friday Top Five is back, bringing you the top five Xbox Live Arcade games (in no particular order) that require a sequel.
Xbox LIVE Arcade is a sort of safe haven for gamers who just want to enjoy their games. It’s a place where microtransactional games are minimal, and rarely pay-and-pay-to-play. It’s a place where pre-order bonuses do not exist, and one that doesn’t artificially lengthen a game with pointless quests. Here we can play a game that’s free of the adult content that feels so forced in retail titles. Here we can play without having political and religious agendas pushed on us. Here we can simply be gamers.
I love digital titles. I love that I don’t have to clutter my cabinet with discs. I love that I can have access to them at any time, and that the stereotypical moocher friend can’t borrow my digital games. I love how pick-up-and-play they are. I never feel forced to devote an hour or more to one play session. If I only have 10 minutes, I’ve got time for XBLA. It’s freeing. Here’s a list of problems that plague retail titles that remain (relatively) free from Xbox LIVE Arcade games.
While physical retail software sales appear to have trailed off at this stage in the Xbox 360’s life cycle, XBLA has reportedly experienced its strongest year yet in 2012. …
Now that the year 2012 has been set firmly in the books, the boys back at the lab have poured over the raw data to bring you the top arcade titles of the year. The figures, based on full versions sold, were tallied from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012, and made public thanks to Xbox Live’s Larry Hyrb.
No surprise to anyone was Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition topping the list this year. Having launched in May, the massive Minecraft community helped propel the title to well over 5 million downloads by year’s end. More impressively, the arcade adaptation outsold its robust PC cousin by nearly a million copies, securing Xbox Live Arcade as the fastest (legally) growing Minecraft community of 2012.
Trials Evolution rode into the second spot of the year’s most-purchased title on XBLA, and despite the staggering difference between first and second place, did very well for itself. Our Game of the Year, The Walking Dead wrapped up the third spot thanks to critical acclaim and its infectious word-of-mouth campaign. Pinball FX2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rounded out the top five, in that order.
Amazingly, the never-say-die mantra of Castle Crashers has proven itself again; moving the sixth most number of copies nearly half a decade after its initial release. Filling out the top 10, in order, are: Gotham City Impostors, I Am Alive, Fruit Ninja Kinect, and finally, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.
You can check out these titles in list form, along with the rest of the top 20, after the jump.