Retromancers: Microsoft’s Game Room

By Alec Meer on January 8th, 2010 at 4:01 pm.

It’s always infuriating that’s it’s impossible to play retro arcade games on the PC. Completely impossible. Fortunately, Microsoft are going to help out, with their upcoming Games Room. Half retro gaming collection and half social hub, it’s a service for – brace for impact – Games For Windows Live and its less hateful Xbox equivalent. You pour your cash into Microsoft’s virtual currency, which you can then in turn spend on access to the likes of Centipede, Tempest and Gravitar. All is saved! The full games list is below, as is a trailer. The potentially interesting element is that they’re setting all this in a virtual arcade, with your Microsoft Avatar (so does that mean they’re coming to PC too?) fetching up at to the game cabinet of your choice. You can pay per play, or for unlimited access to favoured games. Could be fun if the social hub feels alive, varied and delightful, but there’s a danger of it being a cynical cash grab.

It’s created by Krome Studios, who are billed as Australia’s largest developer, and the plan is to have over 1000 retro games available within three years. Actually, that does sound quite promising – while it’s easy to find a specific retro game, whether emulated or recreated, there isn’t a centralised store/archive for them.

As long as Microsoft don’t monstrously overcharge or attempt to become sole owners of these historical artifacts, the idea that you can go and play pretty much anything from your formative years when the fancy takes you is very appealing. Hopefully it’ll move past the really-retro era it’s currently focused on – would be splendid to see Spectrum, Amiga et al games pitch up too.

Here’s the list of launch titles:

Centipede (arcade)
Asteroids Deluxe (arcade)
Tempest (arcade)
Crystal Castles (arcade)
Lunar Lander (arcade)
Jungler (arcade)
Road Fighter (arcade)
Scramble (arcade)
Finalizer (arcade)
Tutankham (arcade)
Shao-Lin’s Road (arcade)
Super Cobra (arcade)
Red Baron (arcade)
Gravitar (arcade)
Battlantlis
Astrosmash (Intellivision)
Mountain Madness Super Pro Skiing (Intellivision)
Armor Battle (Intellivision)
Space Hawk (Intellivision)
Sub Hunt (Intellivision)
Sea Battle (Intellivision)
Space Armada (Intellivision)
Astrosmash (Intellivision)
Star Raiders (Atari 2600)
Outlaw (Atari 2600)
Yar’s Revenge (Atari 2600)
Millipede (Atari 2600)
Football (Atari 2600)
RealSports Tennis (Atari 2600)
Combat (Atari 2600)

, .

99 Comments »

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  1. jsutcliffe says:

    This is such a terrible idea, made worse by the fact that people will actually pay to buy Microsoft space dollars to plug in to a pretend arcade cabinet of bloody Space Invaders, or some other nonsense. If I were to find a real life arcade full of retro cabinets I’d probably quite happily burn through some cash there, but you will never recreate that atmosphere at home.

    Microtransactions can suck it. So can Silverlight.

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      Incredibly Space Invaders isn’t actually on that list of games.

      I’m not sure why anyone would want to play the majority of those games now anyway, and even then, I’m even less sure why you’d then want to do that in a virtual arcade.

    • damien says:

      “I’m not sure why anyone would want to play the majority of those games now anyway, ”

      tempest was a way of life, man.

      as for other games of it’s era, they still appeal because of the zen-like simplicity of their gameplay. pleasing sounds, simple visuals, its quite easy to fall into a very meditative state while playing them. for a more modern example, take something like a game in the wipeout series.

      i think its a very similar appeal.

    • Scalene says:

      I HATE SILVERLIGHT.

      So much.

  2. Noc says:

    As skeptical as this makes me, the idea of returning arcade games to their “compulsively feed quarters to keep playing” roots might have something to it.

    I’m sort of half-suspecting that we’ve moved on from that as a culture, though, and that we’re generally more interested in paying to be entertained than in paying for another three extra lives.

  3. The Sombrero Kid says:

    they already announced avatars for pc last month unfortunately.

  4. CraigL says:

    Can’t say as I’d ever pay to play any of those. Let alone inside a system that’s all needlessly ‘social’ and hooked into GFWL.

  5. LewieP says:

    Anything that keeps Krome Studios from trying to make proper games is probably a good thing.

  6. The Sombrero Kid says:

    whoops i forgot the obligatory lol, never heard of mame microsoft? comment.

    • derFeef says:

      MAME is legal? I did not know that!

    • ascagnel says:

      MAME itself is 100% legal, just like any other emulation software. However, the ROMs required to play games are typically still under copyright. There are a few that are freely available on the MAME website, last I checked. Similarly, something like PCSX2 (a PS2 emulator) is A-OK legally, but only as long as it distributes without the copyrighted ROMs for the DVD drive.

  7. Psychopomp says:

    >there’s a danger of it being a cynical cash grab.
    From Microsoft? Never

  8. XM says:

    Everyone is missing the point of this. Yes you can get the games for PC free but now they will be in one place and 100% work. Then add the social side, the PC not being left out for once and M$ giving the PC crowd another chance.

    If you don’t like it then don’t get it or even read about it. The PC is hanging in there and 2010 looks like a year PC gaming is back. If we cry about this and the Games For Windows brand including LIVE then you are left with quarter of the games we would have got last year.

    It’s big brands that fight are going to keep PC gaming alive. There are many download sites now with online services that are good for PC gaming. Times have changed and the only way gaming continues is if we all work together.

    This is turned into a rant but needs to be said as every gaming site is full of idiot fan boys.

    We all love one thing gaming so why are there all these wars about who and what is best.

    Someone dose something new and the world is going to end every time.

    • Vitalis says:

      @XM
      ‘If we cry about this and the Games For Windows brand including LIVE then you are left with quarter of the games we would have got last year.’

      Wait what!?

      Do you honestly mean to imply that if GFWL never existed, said 3/4 of games last year would never have come to be?
      I hardly believe that would have been the case…

    • Vitalis says:

      ‘This is turned into a rant but needs to be said as every gaming site is full of idiot fan boys.’
      Also I’m not sure you mean fan boys?
      A fan boy is not somebody who prefers that an entity never existed, so long as that person is not screaming the praises of another service…

    • TheApologist says:

      So, I kind of agree with the ‘if you don’t like it don’t buy it’ idea. Too much cynicism on the internet.

      But, PC gaming was never in any danger of ‘dying’. And that is not because of Microsoft, but despite them.

      Let’s not forget the shutting down of successful PC game franchises and studios, and the awful state of GFWL despite a healthy xbox live experience, their failure to champion PC gaming again in contrast to xbox.

      Microsoft I am sure decided they stand to make more from xbox. I’m sure they’re right. Fair enough. But PC gaming does not, in any way, need them, and so I do not need to support microsoft initiatives like this to support gaming on the PC.

    • archonsod says:

      “. If we cry about this and the Games For Windows brand including LIVE then you are left with quarter of the games we would have got last year.”
      Speak for yourself. If I removed completely the GFW games I bought last year I’d still have the exact same number of games I bought last year. If I removed the big brand games I bought last year, I’d have three games less.
      And funnily enough, once you remove the generic genre crap that the big names so love to release and focused only on the big brand games which were worth playing last year, I suspect you’d be left with the same three.

    • XM says:

      Well I hate what M$ did and I can’t do anything about that but after M$ there is MAC gaming. I hate M$ but it’s all we have so we have to respect that fact if we want to continue gaming. This is until something over rules them but I can’t see there being any other service that’s going to work.

      Onlive and Dave Perry’s project are our only hope if we don’t want to give M$ anymore money. Even then you would have to hope it will work on a MAC.

      As for the fan boys I mean they pick a side and no one is ever right but them. I have nothing against more gaming coming into my home where ever it comes from even if I don’t like the way it’s done.

    • Vitalis says:

      Just because we game on Windows doesn’t mean we need extra applications from Microsoft in order to continue doing so?

    • TheApologist says:

      Agreed – I think the mistake here is to view PC as the same as the closed console platforms.

      It isn’t.

      As Vitalis says, Windows isn’t going anywhere. So while I think we would be better off with a Microsoft that really supported PC gaming (something more like MS of old), I don’t think we need fear losing their support either.

    • XM says:

      With Game Room we will have to if we want to retro game with friends around the world.

      This does sound good to me as now we can all be in one place without air travel to the same local Arcade for a few hours gaming.

    • Psychopomp says:

      On a sidenote, I hate the whole fucking “M$” thing. Yes, I get it, they’re large, rich, and soulless. So are $ony, App₤e and more others that I can’t even begin to count. Get the fuck over it. All “M$” does is make you look absolutely juvenile.

    • XM says:

      Bad habit sorry I hate typing Microsoft. :)

    • Vitalis says:

      ‘With Game Room we will have to if we want to retro game with friends around the world.

      This does sound good to me as now we can all be in one place without air travel to the same local Arcade for a few hours gaming.’

      I can guarantee there is somewhere on the internet that can let you do this for free… It may have even been mentioned in this thread already…

    • Lilliput King says:

      “The PC is hanging in there”

      Where do people even get this idea from. And your assertion that it’s Microsoft of all people who are “keeping the platform alive” is just pure madness. Where have you been for the last 4 years at least?

    • Heliosicle says:

      Oh what the fuck, I come here to avoid this kind of stuff clogging up comments, people that only pay attention to the consoles thinking the big publishers are needed to keep “the thing we love” alive.

    • XM says:

      Playing lots of good games over the last 4 years.

      Ok imagine this Microsoft pull the plug on PC gaming and say “you want to game buy a 360″. What are you left with?

      All future Windows will be for offices only. If they want to be really evil patch older Windows so games don’t work.

      Money talks that is why there are 360 dumb deals this year too with game developers.

      Developers will not make games for PC as there will be wild PC OS that will cost to much to develop for. It’s bad enough with all the hardware configs and drivers let alone adding software too.

    • Heliosicle says:

      well then everyone can move to linux, or go back to xp

      and anyway, that would never happen.

    • XM says:

      Don’t get me wrong like I said I hate Microsoft the 360 etc but if they keep getting the PC angry mob every time they try to bridge the gab they may just do it.

      I don’t fancy gaming on Linux trying to get drivers.

    • Robin says:

      “will 100% work”? Previous efforts at commercial digital graverobbing have had a dubious track record for needlessly changing/breaking games that have been emulated with 100% accuracy for years.

      “If we cry about this and the Games For Windows brand including LIVE then you are left with quarter of the games we would have got last year.”

      This makes no sense at all. GFWL has given publishers a smallish kickback for stinking up their games, like the Yahoo! toolbar cropping up in installers of everything these days. It has not tipped the balance in favour of releasing any high profile title for the PC.

    • Heliosicle says:

      Why do you hate the xbox and microsoft then? Because if you think all pc gamers hate the consoles, then thats a very silly thing to think..

    • Starky says:

      If Microsoft stopped supporting games say by removing DirectX utterly from their OS’s, they’d shoot themselves in the foot massively.
      Gamers would move to Linux, which means that Driver developers for all the gaming hardware would move to linux, which means games studios would move to linux…

      Which means more people invested in Linux, more coders, better support… the snowball effect would begin.

      Linux would quickly shift from a OS for computer science students, to an OS for gamers – and support would follow, because there is still many billions per year to be made from PC gaming.

      Hell, Apple would probably wet themselves in joy if Microsoft announced that they would be removing all gaming support from their OS.

    • XM says:

      What I’m saying is I hate the fact games are being pushed around by big money (360 and PS3 etc) and not available for all. I have nothing against consoles just don’t like the fact games are only going to one format.

      Thinking as a developer why would I want to cut off some of my costumers and only developed for one format. That is where the money is doing the talking the developer can afford to cut off some gamers. I’m all for bringing gamers closer together that is the hole point I’m trying to get a cross.

      What I’m glad about is Microsoft are giving the PC crowd another go. This is good news for games on the PC even if the service is not the best.

      It’s pointless posting here if you have no interest in what Microsoft is up to as your are not going to buy any games like this anyway. Others may like the idea and like choice when it comes to gaming.

      This is what’s so good about the PC you are not stuck with one way of gaming.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “Ok imagine this Microsoft pull the plug on PC gaming and say “you want to game buy a 360″. What are you left with?

      All future Windows will be for offices only. If they want to be really evil patch older Windows so games don’t work.”

      PC devs learn OpenGL, and start making games for Mac and Linux

    • XM says:

      You still miss the point we will get less games for PC. The main devs with stick with the 360 PS3 where the money is.

      I still feel PC gaming is going to carry on or bust but thankfully this year is a good year to be a PC gamer. We should not shut out gaming because we want to hold on to the past. We should accept every angel of where games are coming from including past, present and future.

      This is what I have learned to do, I hate GFWL as an example but I have learned to accept it to play some of last years best PC games.

      Think of Game Room as a extra you don’t have to like it or buy into it that’s your choice. But I’m thankful the PC is still in the minds of Microsoft and not shutout forever.

  9. Vitalis says:

    Microsoft never fail to make me laugh.
    It’s amazing how they so clearly don’t believe that anything apart from themselves exists on the PC/internet.

    You’d have thought they’d have an amazing view from their perch, who’d have imagined their perch was so high that they no longer saw anything =p

    • Optimaximal says:

      I’d say its less tunnel vision and more a ‘me too’ stance.

      Microsoft knows it’s essentially up shit creek without a paddle in all but the enterprise sector…

      Windows 7, for all its strengths, is a dying breed (as is Mac OS) as cloud computing is where everyone is looking for the future.

      For all the Xbox 360’s success, the entertainment division is haemorrhaging money left, right & centre.

      The Mobile division is desperately in need of Mobile 7 delivering the shot in the arm what Windows 7 did for the desktop in order to compete with the huge revenue that the App Store is delivering Apple with its ‘race for the bottom’ business model.

      The management for the company is just leaping on any and all possible money making ventures it can find just too keep them afloat.

  10. jsutcliffe says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Someone dose something new and the world is going to end every time.

    I’d hardly call it something new. There are many websites offering an array of casual/retro Flash games with social interaction slotted in. This is basically the same idea, but a little bit fancier and not free.

    • Vitalis says:

      Agreed.
      The protests you tend to find are against MS’s apparent belief that they are doing something new when in fact they are actually copying an already existing service, usually with unneeded extra bells or whistles, doing it worse and then charging for it.

  11. Vinraith says:

    Oh look, another attempt to foist a closed service onto an open platform. I wonder how that will work out for them.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Ding! score

      What makes the PC good as a gaming platform?
      #1 Cheap hardware, because of massive market penetration / competition in the manufacturing base.
      #2 Open platform, i.e. no barriers to anyone releasing software.
      #3 Wide variety of useful input devices, making all manner of different games feasible.

      This doesn’t look like good news to me, so much as a part of MS’s ongoing efforts to pretend that #2 isn’t the case (it seems some posters above are already convinced of that).

  12. Carra says:

    So it’s a merge of facebook and MAME?

    I’ll stick with my MAME.

  13. Tei says:

    Hahaha… these XBox players pay for the right to play ONLINE, pay for PATCHS that fix game bugs and add more maps and now will pay for games that are everywhere else in flash pages, and in mame.

    • Psyk says:

      @ tei

      Pay for patches stop spreading disinformation.

    • jonfitt says:

      Since there is a free Silver option, I’d say you don’t pay for patches any more on the Xbox.

      However, we do pay for the dubious service of “matchmaking” which is (shock) free on the PC where the platform is not held hostage. The XBL fee is bunk and tantamount to highway robbery.

    • Psyk says:

      You pay for water.

    • JonFitt says:

      It’s free on the PC.

  14. Tei says:

    Microsoft, can you please.. die?

  15. boredgamer says:

    There’s plenty of remakes of such retrogames in Flash or binaries and there’s also easy-to-use emulators out there. I honestly can’t see much of a viable niche market in this.

    “It’s created by Krome Studios, who are billed as Australia’s largest developer, and the plan is to have over 1000 retro games available within three years.”

    IF this survives for 3 years, that is.

  16. JonFitt says:

    I much prefer this: http://www.xgaming.com/, MAME, beer, and friends.

  17. Heliosicle says:

    I think people on xbox are more susceptible to this kind of thing, where its a restricted platform so they can charge whatever they want.

    Also, why the hell do I want to stand around a virtual arcade?

  18. Bhazor says:

    Didn’t Sony already try this in Home and get the piss taken from them?

  19. Corporate Dog says:

    Ok imagine this Microsoft pull the plug on PC gaming and say “you want to game buy a 360″. All future Windows will be for offices only. If they want to be really evil patch older Windows so games don’t work.

    Microsoft would bankrupt a large number of industry partners (Nvidia and ATI, first and foremost) because a bunch of gamers in a forum somewhere on the intartubes said that Games for Windows was a shitty idea, with a shitty execution?

    You’re out of your mind.

    I don’t fancy gaming on Linux trying to get drivers.

    Believe me; if Microsoft shot itself in the foot with this Bizarro World scenario you’ve concocted, by magically removing the ability to play any games whatsoever on the Windows platform, the already thriving Linux do-it-yourself scene would increase ten-fold. The drivers would be there. The games would be there. The users would be there. And where the users go, so goes the business world.

  20. Psyk says:

    OOO microsoft and there silly GFWL thank gabe we have steam instead /psyk

    IMO steam is just as bad, but a lot of you praise it, why is it better than GFWL?

    • jonfitt says:

      why is (Steam) better than GFWL?
      Ha! I ignore your trolling. Comparing Steam to GFWL is like comparing dinner with friends to being eaten and then shat out by a monster.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jonfitt

      While Steam is certainly the lesser of the two evils, it’s still very much an evil. It’s a closed, proprietary system of exactly the type Microsoft has been desperately seeking to implement, which takes as much control and ownership away from the end user as possible. Why Steam has succeeded in getting people to not only tolerate, but prefer, a system which can deny them access to their games at any time and for any reason is completely beyond me.

    • Bhazor says:

      Hate to bang on about it but they did almost ban me for complaining about not recieving goods I’d paid for.
      Never been blocked by GFWL and it hasn’t had half the server issues Steam has had. “The Valve Servers are unable to complete the action. Please try later” takes on a strangley dickish tone if you’ve just waited five hours for a game to download.

    • Psyk says:

      Trolling? nope it’s a valid question.

      A lot of you go on that steam is the next sliced bread but it’s not, Having to wait 3 days to play the games you’ve brought because you forgot your password is a joke at least you can still play your game on GFWL without a password.

    • Forscythe says:

      @vinraith

      I agree with most of your points about steam – the fact that offline mode frequently fails to work properly* is extremely aggravating to me in particular.

      On the other hand, though, on the average steam makes installing and playing games dramatically more convenient than without it. Installing any game is literally a two click process, without any hunting for discs, trying to find the latest patches, no-disc cracks, etc. It makes accessing your library so much easier that people like it despite its annoying, draconian DRM side. Oh, and the community features are pretty good, too. GFWL, on the other hand, provides no benefits to the game player whatsoever. It is usually just a minor annoyance, and sometimes a really bad problem, which obstructs your ability to play your games. It’s no wonder to me that people much prefer Steam to GFWL.

      One other major factor is of course that steam has incredible sales, which makes getting games much, much cheaper than before, which is worth sacrificing some freedom/openness for a lot of people.

      Steam is also somewhat less evil than a system like XBox Live because it does not prevent you from getting games from any other source.

      * standard disclaimer – yes, steam offline mode works fine when you switch to it manually ahead of time, but it rarely (pretty much never) works right when you actually need it – when there is an unexpected network outage or the steam servers are down. And if you get locked out in any way, there is no way to play the games you paid for until you can connect to steam online again. Immensely frustrating.

    • Urthman says:

      And if you get locked out in any way, there is no way to play the games you paid for until you can connect to steam online again. Immensely frustrating.

      With just about any game that’s not a Steam exclusive, you can download a no-cd cracked .exe and plop it into the game’s directory in your Steam folder (back-up the original, or re-name the new one as “NoSteamKotor.exe”) and run the game just fine without Steam running at all.

    • archonsod says:

      Steam lets me buy games, which is kinda a useful service. Although I consider it the worst of the main direct download providers (well, EA Store might pip them there) they still provide a service I use and actually want.
      GFWL on the other hand does bugger all as far as I can tell, I can’t buy and download games for it, I couldn’t care less about achievements, I have far better social / matchmaking apps already and since I don’t use any of the MSN crap I have little need to even have an account with them; apart from GFWL and it’s insistence I log in if I want to save.

      In other words, while both are essentially redundant and sub-par compared to the alternatives, Steam has the advantage of providing a *slightly* different selection of games to buy and often a different ridiculous discount during sales. Ergo, I can accept it has a use for me. GFWL on the other hand seems to exist solely to piss me off, fails to fulfil any useful function for me and nine times out of ten provides an obstacle to actually doing what I want.

      Pretty much like 90% of Microsoft applications I guess.

    • ManaTree says:

      See, I find this whole thing funny. I’ve had extremely little trouble with Steam (both with offline mode and the thing itself). Offline mode has only failed me once (hell, that was at an airport) out of several hundred times I’ve used it.

      So while complaints are valid (grrr, my rights! They’re hurting.), they don’t reflect the majority, I’m sure. I’ve never experienced a payment failure, so I can’t really say anything about that.

  21. RobF says:

    Either 240 Moonpoints for one format or 400 points for 360 and Windows versions or 40 magickpoints a play.

    They’re taking the piss, right?

  22. Snickersnack says:

    @Psyck

    3 days sounds frustrating, but reasonable. How long does it take for Microsoft to send you your forgotten $windows login password?

    • Psyk says:

      How are microsoft going to know your windows login details?

    • Psyk says:

      “3 days sounds frustrating, but reasonable”

      Not reasonable at all imo.

      Sry double post am ill

    • vagabond says:

      I think he’s implying in this hi-tech world where all manner of things have passwords, that perhaps you shouldn’t forget your password in the first place, and that there are other environments where if you do so, you’re screwed basically, because short of getting your tech-savvy nephew to hack your PC and reset it for you, you get to re-install your OS from scratch. Compared to that, waiting three days doesn’t actually sound that bad.

    • Psyk says:

      Well im sorry Mr perfects that my obviously feeble brain forgets things now and then, should I of wrote it down, maybe, but I didn’t know at this point that if you forgot your password you couldn’t play the games you brought which to me is bad business and I have no idea why so many people think its so great.

    • Psyk says:

      well that failed.

      brought, which to me is bad business and I have no idea why so many people think its so great.

    • Psyk says:

      ARGHHHH how to you bold one word

    • Glove says:

      It’s like the Sumotori hidden mode in text format…

    • Psychopomp says:

      @Psyk

      1)What the fuck do you use for your email? Getting a forgotten password has always been nigh instantaneous for me, once I got off that piss yahoo account.

      2)I don’t think you get to lash out at something when *you* forget your password.

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      @ Psyk “ARGHHHH how to you bold one word”

      Remember to put the / preceeding the code on the other side. You close it with a / in front of the code. Unfortunately I can’t actually type a proper example to show you.

      </b then close the bracket.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      Likewise, it’s infuriating that you can’t use the money YOU put on your bank account as soon as you forget you card PIN :o
      What are banks thinking, seriously?

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      If you forget the pin to your bank card, just sellotape two short lengths of copper pipe together, put them in a plastic bag and then prop it up on the front counter of your local bank and tell them you are making an immediate withdrawl. You’ll noticed a big improvment in the service you receive and the best thing is the money won’t even come out of your account.

  23. Halfthought says:

    Ok imagine this Microsoft pull the plug on PC gaming and say “you want to game buy a 360″. All future Windows will be for offices only. If they want to be really evil patch older Windows so games don’t work.

    You are flat out out of your mind or in fourth grade if you think windows had the power, legal validity and financial strength to do this.

    First of all, they’d need to subsidize every single game developer who intends to port his game to the PC. Since a PC port can still draw in between 100,000 to a million in sales numbers, meaning dozens of millionds of dollars profit, MS would need to subsidize them, literally, millions, to get this to work. Second, they would need to publish every single game that was originally intended to go on the PC. Both efforts would literally bankrupt microsoft. Second, microsoft is in direct partnerships with many hardware and software designers that bank on the continued thrive of PC gaming. Anything but continue to give PC gaming the current luke-warm reception would cause these partnerships to simply break off at BEST, and file for removal of microsoft CEO’s at worst. Finally, doing this constitutes monopoly under U.S law.

    If you want PC gaming to thrive, your best bet is to give the finger to overpriced shit services like games for windows, which treats us like a closed platform, and trys to pull the financial bullshiterry like we are one too, and support, NOT PIRATE the developers who make the games you enjoy.

  24. TheFlyingWooly says:

    @Forscythe

    * standard disclaimer – yes, steam offline mode works fine when you switch to it manually ahead of time, but it rarely (pretty much never) works right when you actually need it – when there is an unexpected network outage or the steam servers are down. And if you get locked out in any way, there is no way to play the games you paid for until you can connect to steam online again. Immensely frustrating.

    I’ve had my internet connection go down unexpectedly a handful of times in the past couple of months, the thing I’ve noticed with trying to connect to steam is that it takes around 3 minutes (rough guess) for it to give me the option to start in offline mode or retry my connection. For those 3 minutes it comes up with the old fashioned steam updating panel that never loads.

    I was just wondering if this is similar to your experience?

    It’s a little frustrating that steam doesn’t load as quick without an active web connection but after it loads it works fine.

    • Premium User Badge

      James G says:

      I’ve usually had no issues with offline mode, although just recently my netbook started playing silly buggers and is refusing to co-operate. Not actually a problem as it stands as it’ll be trivial to get it back to a net connection, but it does happen sometimes.

  25. Crush says:

    All these oddball comments about MS pulling the plug on PC gaming are hilarious and a strange reminder of the hate for MS in certain PC gaming communities (the graphics whore scene is generally much more sympathetic to MS) despite the fact they provide the platform (windows) for which is the nice big fat target game developers rely on.

    Microsoft Windows is a platform and the OS has various API’s for access so even if MS stopped developing Direct3D, OpenGL or some other API would take its place. Before Direct-X there was in fact more than one API for Windows that was even in contention to become Direct-X.

    Also linux adoption would go nowhere, Windows is still the dominant platform by a seriously huge amount no AAA developer would switch to linux just because MS stopped supporting game development on Windows that would be a financial disaster. Hardcore PC gamers seriously over estimate their numbers and impact on the PC industry.

    Games would continue to made with or without Microsofts assistance on Windows no matter what and nothing would change that (as much as the MS haters here would like to believe it would).

    • Heliosicle says:

      @ crush, everyone is replying to XM’s stupid thought that Microsoft has a lock on windows gaming

  26. Tei says:

    Crush:
    Microsoft created Direct-X to compete with OpenGL. Since OpenGL is a standar, It was able to create multiplatform games. Multiplatform is bad for Microsoft, and good for the customer. Once OpenGL was weak, Microsoft has abandoned Direct-X again, since the objetive, to stop other OS to become popular, is a success.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Since when was DirectX abandoned?

      Last I checked was that it’s still being actively developed (have you missed DX11) because it is the linchpin of both the Xbox & Games for Windows.

      OpenGL & its contemporaries has the typical Open Source ‘Many Chefs’ problem – just getting enough developers to decide on its direction to actually progress it is the reason its fallen behind.

  27. gulag says:

    Abandonia
    Home of the Underdog

    Thank you Microsoft, your irrelevence has been noted.

    Conversation over.

  28. negativedge says:

    almost as large a selection as MAME. almost.

  29. Hmm says:

    You’re all missing the main reason people will use this: to meet GamerGrl783 and totally meet up someday.

  30. Cj says:

    What about Simspsons and turtles arcade, Mooonwalker, Captain Commando, Laser Ghost et al. the ultimate retro arcade games???

  31. terry says:

    Microsoft desperately clutching at the nostalgic straws to save their ailing and pointless brand-thingy?

    Say it ain’t so!

  32. Dan Pryce says:

    It’s been said before, but it truly does smack of Microsoft’s arrogance towards the PC. It’s so like them to believe that we’ll pay for something we can get for free, and much more easily, somewhere else on the internet. I don’t forsee it being a paid for service for very long; and that’s even if it takes off.

    I also think MS needs to re-evaluate it’s definition of ‘classic’, because at the moment it seems like they take it to mean ‘old’.

  33. Dworgi says:

    I feel like it’s probably a bit too late to say this, but I’ll say it anyway, because XM’s comment is just so egregiously wrong. PC gaming is not alive by the grace of Microsoft, it’s alive in spite of them. PC gaming is the only platform that exists because we, the gamers, want it to exist. Microsoft have done nothing that has been of benefit to the gaming community, and any attempts to argue to the contrary is ignoring the fundamental motive behind all of Microsoft’s PC gaming initiatives, which is to capitalize off of Windows’ dominance and close the PC platform off once and for all.

    It won’t work, of course, because viable alternatives to both Windows and DirectX exist. How Microsoft managed to get developers to buy into DirectX over OpenGL still baffles me to this day.

    • XM says:

      The problem is we are in the hands of the developers for games and more are being bought by Microsoft and Sony for exclusives.

      We must stop this some how and I can’t see anyway to do it. It hurts me to say this but we can’t hide from the facts. The money is doing the talking.

      It we go at it alone how many games are we going to get?

  34. Owen says:

    MAME plus a good quality arcade stick and you’re there.

    just……not……..legally…….. :/

  35. Bowlby says:

    It won’t work on the PC, since anybody interested in “classic games” has probably done the research and downloaded MAME. On the 360, however, there is a potential for this kind of service, and if avatar clothing has proven anything it’s that people will buy any old tat if it’s nicely packaged.

    • XM says:

      It’s the same on Battlefield Heroes I can’t believe the tat people pay for but they do.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Nero says:

    Microsoft is a funny company to watch. First Nintendo has Mii’s and Xbox 360 “fans” all cries out and calling it lame and stupid, then Microsoft brings out avatars and suddenly it’s the best thing since sliced bread and everyone is buying virtual clothing and accessories. Nintendo has motion control, and of course that’s lame but oh wait, Natal is amazing because now it’s cool.

    And now they release some sort of mini Playstation Home. Oh and I won’t be buying any of this stuff. I try to stay as far away from the Xbox brand as possible.

    • mrmud says:

      Both Miis and Avatars are stupid and I hate them (I own both consoles).

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Miis *could* be okay, if Nintendo provided an API allowing developers to use them in 3rd-party games. As far as I know, it’s only the 1st-party Wii games that let you use Miis, which kind of devalues the whole process of creating one Mii per player.