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Game Room - it just doesn't work does it?

Posted by ZX KNIGHT on May 26, 2011 20:08 (May 26, 2011 20:08)

Game Room could have been a commercial answer to MAME, with added achievements and online leaderboards. So why has it become an object of derision among the gaming community?

When it was first announced, Game Room caused a bit of a stir amongst my friends. A virtual arcade where you could download old games and gain achievements for playing them? Sounds great.

The format would be familiar to anyone who had used the popular arcade emulator, MAME. You download the ‘front-end’ for free and gain access to numerous ‘classic’ arcade titles. The difference is you would pay for these games (with the added bonus of it being entirely legal of course) but in return would compete for achievements and bragging rights on online leaderboards.

A thousand games were promised by the developers, Krome, and week after week would see another game pack released for download.

The first warning sign something was amiss came upon loading up Game Room for the first time. You immediately get an achievement just for loading it up, meaning your Gamerscore is permanently recorded with Game Room even though you haven’t even played anything yet.

I’m convinced the makers of Game Room, Krome knew what they were doing when they did this. By awarding an achievement as soon as someone turns on the game the makers of Game Room knew they were etching their game onto peoples record (once you get an achievement in a game you cannot delete the game from your achievement history), which would naturally encourage people to buy a game or two just so they could have access to the rest of the achievements on the list. It was a crude way of arm-twisting someone to invest money into the game and immediately sets a feeling of mistrust between the gamer and the game developers.

Getting past the auto-unlocking achievement, Game Room sets out numerous arcade rooms over three floors which you can if you wish, decorate with various props and ‘mascots’ of arcade games and of course, your purchased arcade games.

Frankly the whole thing is just fluff but I suppose it might appeal to some people. Seeing your avatar and friend’s avatars playing the arcades is a nice-ish touch, but really it’s all a bit pointless (and linking achievements to paid-for mascots is just cruel) and compares unfavourable to the stripped down efficiency of MAME.

Nonetheless, Game Room stands and falls by the central product it offers - old games playable on a new system, and frankly it fails miserably.

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#7 May 31, 2011 07:54:39 ( May 31, 2011 06:54 )

 Nice to see the comments.

@WhizzBang - I wrote the article, I don't know if you go to (or is it org?) but you'll see people there who buy anything that has achievements on it!

A lot of them have Windows Phone 7 and buy games as soon as they hear it's an easy 200G.

I love achievements but wouldn't go out of my way to buy a game that has easy achievements on it for that sole reason, but plenty of people seem to!
#6 May 28, 2011 20:46:54 ( May 28, 2011 19:46 )

Bobbus74 +1
A great idea, poorly implemented. Game Room failed mostly due to the extortionate prices of the games and a fairly mediocre selection too. Most "mature" gamers have these old games in their MAME collection so MS needed to make it worthwhile to those people. Sadly they didn't.
#5 May 27, 2011 20:42:12 ( May 27, 2011 19:42 )

 It is terrible, I downloaded it and took a look but Scramble was the only half decent game I could find on it.

I don't really understand your point about achievements though. Do people really buy content because they have been given a few free gamer points? I am not someone who gives two hoots about achievements at all though, if anything they just irritate me.
#4 May 27, 2011 12:31:50 ( May 27, 2011 11:31 )

Yea, it's something I never think about anymore. Shame really - it could have been really special.
#3 May 27, 2011 05:36:33 ( May 27, 2011 04:36 )

 It was a flawed but great idea with so much potential: almost a legal MAME. It just wasn't supported properly by MS or many of the big game manufacturers.

Namco, Capcom, Irem etc, could have stopped releasing ugly hi-def skinned versions of their back catalogues and just stuck the originals into Game Room. I would have lapped them up.

I kept looking out for new releases but since the software's producers Krome went gone knockers skyward, I expect Microsoft will one day quietly take it behind the barn and shoot it.

Very sad really.
#2 May 27, 2011 00:34:05 ( May 26, 2011 23:34 )

 They needed more titles from companies like Taito or Capcom...and it would have been better if you could actually have your friends in the arcades with you at the same time, rather than fake versions of them running around....
#1 May 26, 2011 21:29:30 ( May 26, 2011 20:29 )

I tried it once and saw a load of machines, but I think only one or two might've been playable without forking out. It was like a deserted arcade and just looked weird. I'd rather go back to MAME. It's all on my PC and doesn't cost a penny.

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