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On Running Feuds
The Great Microsoft Anniversary Snub
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 14, 2007   |   Episode 137 (Show Archive)  


Ten years from now Elvis is really going to hate himself for having anything to do with this union!
What is it about milestones that make us so impressed with ourselves? It's not every milestone or anniversary that gives us that happy feeling; it's just the ones ending with a zero. Nobody cares about their 12th high school reunion, for most people it's just the fact that they made it to their tenth (twentieth, thirtieth, etc.). Nobody cares about the 9th wedding anniversary, but chances are you're going to remember exactly what you were doing when you went out on your tenth. And while there are more important birthdays, turning ten is widely considered an impressive accomplishment that kids around the world look forward to. There's no doubt about it, milestones just feel more important if they have a zero behind them.

So if having one zero is good, then you can only imagine how much more exciting it is to have two zeros propping up your anniversary. This is the case for Microsoft, who today is celebrating their 100th Xbox Live Arcade game. After two years on the market, the

Marathon 2 is just one of the amazing games you can buy on the Xbox Live Arcade (if you don't mind motion sickness)!
Xbox 360 has finally managed to release a total of 100 games for their download service. With so many amazing games under their belt you would think that Microsoft might want to celebrate this accomplishment by doing something for the fans or releasing an unexpected game that blows everybody's socks off. Unfortunately Microsoft is a poor sport and has decided against the idea of celebrating.

In its two years the Xbox Live Arcade has played host to some of the best games on any platform. I'm talking about games like Puzzle Quest, Geometry Wars Evolved, Uno,

The year's best game is also the year's best Xbox Live Arcade game!
Exit, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Ultimate Mortal Kombat, among others. And to celebrate this impressive feat Microsoft has decided to release not one, but two games that takes us all the way up to the 100th Xbox Live Arcade game. Better still, this 100 game milestone just happens to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Xbox Live service. So what does a company do to celebrate these two important moments in the Xbox life? If you're Microsoft you opt to release a game based on the Shrek film franchise for $10.

You heard me; apparently Microsoft has decided that the most appropriate way to celebrate their 100th game is to give us games based on the popular Dreamworks film series, Shrek. Instead of giving us something that we want (or even something good), Microsoft has decided to sell this licensed game, Shrek-N-Roll, at a full ten dollars. In other words, instead of blowing us away with some amazing Xbox Live Arcade game that succinctly

It's moments like this that make me wish I knew how to give somebody a wedgie!
demonstrates everything good with the download service, Microsoft has opted to load up their service with crummy licensed games that is based on an animated film franchise that has been steadily going downhill from the start.

Surely this can't be the coveted demographic for the Xbox Live Arcade. After all, we're talking about a service that has done such a wonderful job of emulating classic arcade games and offered up rare games from small upstart companies. I doubt that the person looking forward to Shrek-N-Roll is the same person that has been making all of these old

Zelda II may not be Nintendo's best adventure game, but at least it's one of their main franchises and a name that generates attention!
and rare games so successful on the platform. I doubt that the person that buys this lame Shrek game will be the same person who buys N+, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Undertow, Rez or Ikaruga. If anything these people would probably rather pick up THQ's upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants game, Underpants Slam. Certainly I can't be the only person that realizes that this is a bad strategy that will only make people not care about the 100th game on the Xbox Live Arcade. I know the people in charge at Microsoft are making tons of money and are smart beyond their years, but this decision makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

All Microsoft had to do was look at how Nintendo celebrated their 100th Virtual Console game. Back in June Nintendo celebrated their 100th old school console game by releasing four games instead of the usual three. On

There's more to rare than just bad cosplay!
top of that, Nintendo decided to make the 100th game something people would remember, a game from one of their biggest franchises. The game they chose was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, an 8-bit NES game from 1988. While it is in no way Nintendo's best retro game, it was a big enough title to get people talking about the celebration for at least a week. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Microsoft.

There's no reason that Microsoft couldn't have done something similar, especially when it comes to a big

Now that I've played through the three newest Half-Life games, I think it would be cool to go back and remember the 1999 original!
franchise from their back catalog. While it's true that Microsoft does not have the history of Nintendo, they certainly had a few options that would have impressed the old school gamers and kept the media buzzing long enough to remind people that there are now 100 games on the Xbox Live Arcade. I personally would have liked to have seen some of Rare's classic games be elevated to the level of the Xbox Live Arcade. How cool would it have been to see Perfect Dark or the original Banjo Kazooie as the 100th Xbox Live Arcade game. And I cannot even begin to tell you what I would give to have Blast Corps make a surprise appearance.

I would even argue that the 100th game doesn't have to come from Microsoft. I wouldn't mind seeing Valve port the original Half-Life to the XBLA, especially now that everybody has gotten their hands on The Orange Box. Just imagine how amazing it would have been to get Gordon Freeman for $10; it would have filled in all of those gaps to the console gamers that

Let's be honest, even at their ten year high school reunion we really don't care much about these nameless drunk people!
are just now realizing how amazing the Half-Life series is. Valve wouldn't even need to update the game, just add achievements and you're ready to go.

And even if they don't want to go through the trouble of porting an unexpected game, Microsoft could have still released one of the many games they currently have just waiting to be released. So far everybody seems to agree that Undertow is an amazing game, perhaps the next big breakout hit on the Xbox Live Arcade. Why not release that and celebrate an original IP as the 100th game. My point is that Microsoft had options; they weren't forced to release this terrible Shrek game. I mean, do people even still like the Shrek character anymore?

I guess I shouldn't expect much from a company that celebrated selling 10 million Xbox 360 units by releasing Crackdown. While Microsoft tries to convey the image that they are young and hip (see: Nothing Sadder Than an Old Hipster ), the truth is that this is a company that doesn't know the first thing about how to throw a worthwhile party. Of course this flap over the 100th Arcade game isn't that big of a deal, I'm sure within a few weeks Microsoft will be able to bounce back and pretend that they didn't just use a smart mouthed green ogre to sell everybody on the idea that they have 100 games on their download service. But Defunct Games won't forget. We'll just be waiting in the dark to see what crummy licensed product the 200th Arcade game ends up being (I have my money on Burger King: The Lost Adventures of The King).


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