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Retromancers: Microsoft's Game Room

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)

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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