Released: March 2010 (XBox 360)
Downloadable Content: 13 “game packs”
Online Play: Yes.
Anyone remember the days of yesteryear when video game arcades ran amok at shopping malls and beach resorts, and when the gaming public was introduced to such entertainment at their homes, with Atari 2600 and Intellivision consoles? Whether you remember such days or not, Game Room brings back those good ol’ virtual arcade days…right down to being able to literally create your own arcade!
Game Room and its subsequent — and numerous — DLC content are free to download…..BUT of course there’s a catch involved, which requires some explaining. With all the games that are readily available, they’re all demo versions only; or you can spend tokens (which you earn when friends visit your arcade) to be able to play single games. In order to get medals and related achievements, you’ll have to purchase the games…which are about 260 Microsoft Points a pop. We all know that 260 MPs isn’t a bad price at all, but if you’re an achievement-hunter (I prefer “hunter” as opposed to “whore”), you’ll have to get at least 20 games or so.
Most of the games are well-known console and arcade ports. However though, the console games are just limited to the Atari 2600 and Intellivision systems (with a lot of Atari’s games being from Activision), and the arcade games are strictly from Atari and Konami. And for each of these games, you earn bronze, silver, and gold medals for reaching certain scores, for surviving the longest before game over, and for time spent playing. With each medal earned, you get points depending on the medal (gold being worth the most) and for every 20 points, you level up….level 50 is the level cap.
While there’s no actual multiplayer or co-op modes, you can take part in challenges with your friends at least. But if it weren’t for the fact that you can snag a couple of achievements for doing so, I honestly wouldn’t bother. The good thing about the challenges though is that you can tailor them to your liking instead of it just being a “who has the highest score” grudge match.
I suppose my biggest gripe would be the limitations of the games themselves. I completely understand that Atari and Konami ruled the arcade market, but what about Namco or even Data East? Same holds true for the consoles, as the 2600 and Intellivision weren’t the only ones out there…as I seem to remember the likes of ColecoVision and Odyssey2 systems also. And what would’ve been really nice would be if any classic games that you already purchased via XBLA would automatically appear in your arcade.
Still though, if you want to relive your old-school glory days or want to find out what gaming was like before Nintendos, PlayStations, and XBoxes ruled the planet, Game Room is worth checking into. At this moment I don’t think anymore DLC will be released for it, but there’s plenty of games to choose from and it’s certainly well worth the trip down memory lane!
Brothers Bob verdict: Stamp Of Approval