Game Room for Xbox & Games for Windows Live


Microsoft are throwing gamerscore at you to spend time in your Game Room

Game Room has launched today on both Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live. The idea is you fill your virtual ‘Game Room’ with oldskool arcades, reminisce the arcade era, invite your friends over to play together (online), set challenges and have fun like it was the 80’s, but from the comfort of your actual real world game room/basement/office.

So no stepping in chewing gum or wasting coin after coin of your pocket money? Wrong, apart from the not stepping in chewing gum bit. Yes you still have to pay, for each arcade, and to be honest, nearly 20 years on, these games are just not as fun as they used to be. In fact its hard to remember why these games were fun back then, I guess we are so spoilt with today’s photo realistic graphics and rag-doll physics that we forget how far things have moved on.

You can try before you buy of course, a quick demo on a few of the titles available at today’s launch and boredom struck me. These games are just too basic. So I began to wander around my arcade and started adding themes and placing decor, which I should add, nets you some free gamescore. Further boredom struck, so I decided to fire up Game Room on the PC and the Xbox simultaneously for some side by side PC vs Xbox comparisons. Check out my YouTube Video below.

The first thing I was impressed with was the fact that across both platforms, my Game Room was identical. No separate settings or achievements list for each platform like most games that appear on both PC and Xbox (Fallout 3, Dirt 2 etc). Microsoft have made Game Room appear as one across both platforms, allowing seemless jumping from console to PC, and I’m guessing this is part of their 3 screens moto, no doubt with Windows Phone 7 Series having similar compatibility, eventually.

I also noticed how much crisper and smoother Game Room was on the PC. With anti aliasing switched on, and a higher resolution over the Xbox, my Game Room looked and felt better on PC. Of course there are no such options to play with on the Xbox 360 version, the default resolution felt quite low, much lower than the 1080 my Xbox was set too. Loading times are pretty similar but the PC does have a slight advantage as expected. I also noticed some slight jerks on the Xbox when moving from arcade to arcade especially heavily active arcades. I know there have been teething problems with this launch, which might also explain why 2 achievements I gained have not been saved to my account, strange?

Overall Game Room is a bit of a let down, despite Microsoft’s efforts on pulling together a cool idea which is really well implemented, especially the cross platform part. The problem is the games are just not fun, that’s not Microsoft’s fault, but the games are what we go into our Game Rooms for and now, in 2010, we have grown to expect so much more, so much so that some basic 2d sprites just dont cut it anymore.

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