GAME ROOM FOR XBLA AND WP7 β A WASTED OPPORTUNITY
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.