Initial Impressions of Microsoft's Game Room

Bill Loguidice's picture

Well, I downloaded Microsoft Game Room last night on my Xbox 360, and the two game packs, which essentially featured a small selection of Atari 2600 and Intellivision console games, and Konami and Atari arcade games. I came away underwhelmed. While some of the basic concepts are sound, like being able to create your own virtual arcade rooms to decorate and "walk" around in (your avatar is shown sidling up to a machine), and being able to visit others' arcades, it's not exactly as aesthetically pleasing and as smooth of an interface as I would like. Nevertheless, I'm sure I could get used to that, but where it really breaks down for me is in the video emulation, which simply doesn't seem to work that well with my 50" 1080p HDTV at the distance I am from the screen (about 10 feet). What do I mean by this? Well, particularly with some of the arcade machines, like Lunar Lander for instance, everything is just too small to comfortably make out from a distance, and the zoom options - which are only accessible from a menu and are not real-time - don't really help, so there's naturally lots of wasted space on the left and right of the screen. Of course, some games fare better with this than others, like the Atari 2600 and Intellivision games (though I didn't feel like the latter controlled all that great or that the emulation was 100%), but I still found the experience rather uncomfortable, no matter what screen settings I chose. There are additional options for adding and removing scanlines and various other display and sound trickery and ambiance, but nothing worth really sticking with.

If you demo a game, it's a one time, timed free demo, then you have to use credits to play the game (they give you 20 to start out with), or purchase the game, of which there are two major options: purchase just for this console, or purchase for play on others devices as well (in this case, your Windows PC). In any case, I'm going to experiment more with this new service when I have time, and see if being closer to the TV (as in, off my comfy sofa) makes me any more "comfortable", as there are certainly some interesting aspects to this, including issuing challenges to your Game Room-owning Xbox 360 or Windows friends.

So, for those who tried it, what are your thoughts?

Comments

Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy's picture
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Joined: 08/31/2008
Shatner
retroc64 wrote:

I don't particularly like arcade and video games, but I love computer RPGs, strategy and text adventures. Wouldn't it be cool to have an XBox 360 Commodore 64 Bedroom. LOL! You could customize your bedroom, buy C64 titles and stick them on your virtual shelves and watch Commodore 64 commercials by William Shatner on your 13" CRT.

Ha! I am actually reading William Shatner's autobiography right now. He talks a bit about receiving two VIC-20 systems and not knowing how to turn them on. (He never removed them from the box)

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
I just tried playing Pooyan

I just tried playing Pooyan now, one of my all-time favorite arcade games. The missing music ruins the game for me. This is yet another reason for me not to touch Microsoft Game Room. I'll just play Pooyan the half dozen other ways I can...

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
GameFAQs on Microsoft Game

GameFAQs on Microsoft Game Room: http://www.gamefaqs.com/xbox360/989157-game-room/faqs/59585

Lots of issues listed there. I've heard multiple times now that it's a potential "licensing issue" RE: the missing music in Pooyan, but I don't buy that for a second. It's appeared in 100% of every other official release.

I have a hard time believing it's a licensing issue all of a sudden since the music has appeared in over a dozen+ home conversions since the early 80's right up until this latest release on Microsoft Game Room. I'd love to hear some type of official explanation. Also, some of what's missing is NOT music. There has to be another issue.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I know I got all the free

I know I got all the free packs and checked it out. When i saw it i was fairly excited. I have this setup on my PC Bit@h box beside my TV in living room with 4 360 controlers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfmN8PJkLTc&feature=related
I spent the time to get the movie pack too (the games show the atract mode when you look at them instead of static screens). Mine is not as nice looking, its mulit floored so i can run way more mahcines than i need.

I was hoping the 360 would be more like this, it is somewhat, I do like how you can group by type, or manufacture. My big gripes are PRICE.. they are just to expensive and to really add insult to injury, they dont work as Bill stated.. correctly. I have had some majore graphics issues with it. I was a RED BARON nut in the old days and you got one free machine (with some promotion) and that was the one I got. The screen looks messed up like im looking at a shakey cam of someobyd playing it. instead of white lines its random colored lines (i do wonder if this is an issue with a DLP tv?) But other games when playing the demos have issues, I have had my graphics go completly corrupt as in Plaid screen, the game is still there, but its messed up.. Only XBOX thing that has ever gave me issues. I have revisited it and still have wierd issues.. never game stopping, almost all are graphic glitchs. I was worried my launch day 360 was dying, but some GoW showed it wasnt a 360 issue, it was the ARCADE only giving problems. I even tired it with a cold 360 and still had wierd issues.

MAME is the way to go still, and with so many front ends ... its really to bad. People who do it as a labor of love can get it right. Why cant people trying to make a buck off it not be able too. It would be cool if MAME dev could get some donations or something and have there code used (i know its against everything they say). its sad on so many levels.. legit ownership of old games.. but they are not worth buying if they are not remolty correct.

as for licencing, LIVE is it just US or is it other countries? That may be where the gotcha is. Of course they could remove one game. Boxed copies of a game are differnt that digital. that may be why the licenecing is an issue on LIVE. Its a pretty big issue with some right now with MP3's and such.

I belive Pooyan was from STERN Electronics, it was orignally made for Chuck E Cheese (or so the rumour goes), some old ATARI interviews make mention of this, but it was never confirmed. Stern was a pinball company and had bought a failing coin operated (arcade/crane/etc) company so they started into video games. There only real hit was BEZERK (though several smaller "known " games.. Astro Invaders, Tomb Raider, and Cliff hanger (laser disc game made useing Anima cartoon (lupin the 3rd)). Pinball was slowly dying as Vido games picked up. But he slump of 85 effected arcades too. Stern got out of video games and was striclty Pinball (where the last and maybe still are Pinball machine makers at one time). Pinstar bouhgt up alot of STERN and soon after closed.

So besides the Music, there are simple rights there is some question (or was at a time) who was owner. Konami owned the rights to some of it also, but this was years ago so should be sorted out by now one would think. As you said there have been several versions released in different formats. Konami had some issues as some of the music was suposedly a remix (so to speak) of FROGGER music. It also uses OH SUSANA and a variation of an old Paino hit from the early 1900 Desactation Rag i beleive is name. I think the last is the issue at the momment as the people who own the rights to it are French and the Pooyan stuff never played for it. So usa and french copyright laws amybe are not the same and that may be the issue now (just a guess).. with copywtie law getting so much press in jus the last few years it may just be a problem now whne it wasnt before..

//edit// I must say most my info is from rembereing old interviews, and web browsing... both can be suspect in correctness. My memory is not as good as it once was, and we all know if its on the net it must be TRUE! :) I was kinda a video game nerd (music wise) in my youth. I had cassette tapes of some of teh better Video game music. Pooyan was one I remebered and looked up a few years ago so my memory may be very bad on it.(a quick youtube search helped with music). I still say REACTOR has the best music riff of any game, and i do beleive it is not really music as he was limited by space so used some code to make the sounds.

//edit again!// WOW.. some reading just now to verify some of my "facts" the guy Who did the MUSIC for reactor the Video game still appears to work at STERN on pinball music. he may have know something about the pooyan music. Dang I want MATT to do a chat with him now :) even if REACTOR was a little known game.. he did work on some other Stern Video games.

http://daudioguy.multiply.com/journal is his web address. pretty limited.

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