Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Game Room: The PC Discrimination

The "Game Room" application for Microsoft's Live service is now available for both the X-Box 360 and the Personal Computer. I opted to download the program to my PC but it looks like I may end up installing it on my X-Box 360 and keeping it there instead.

It's somewhat of a silly concept but it works.

So what is this Game Room all about? Developed by Krome Studios, it is a free to download portal to a virtual arcade where you can access classic arcade games that are available for purchase. It's not quite like the PlayStation Home where you can move about the game room freely. Instead, the interface of moving around the space is quick and simple where you just move from one point to another without having to manipulate your character in 3D space. It is cool however that you can customize the big arcade plaza to your liking using a wide selection of themes and items - which I am sure will open up the opportunities for Microsoft to sell more of these junks in the future. You can only download two arcade "Game Packs" at the moment for a total of 15 classic arcade games and they contain several notable Konami and Atari titles. You can test out these games but you will have to buy them to be able to place them into your virtual arcade. Achievement whores should rejoice because this application comes with the ability to unlock achievements and there seems to be some sort of coin system that will encourage you to invite your friends to play at your virtual arcade.

Now here's what's wrong with the PC version of the Game Room. If you have an X-Box 360 avatar, you will not be able to use your customized avatar here. Instead, you must choose from a selection of generic avatars at the beginning of the process. The Game Room could have been the bridge that finally connects the X-Box 360's avatar system with Games for Windows Live but since the Live service is free to PC gamers, I suppose Microsoft is not going to make much of an effort into making that a reality. I am guessing that you can see your friends' avatars walking about the virtual arcade on the X-Box 360 because they are certainly missing from my current Game Room on the PC.

Who the heck is this guy? That thing is not my kimono-wearing X-Box Live avatar!

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