Why Xbox Live Download Games Deserve Your Attention

Quality doesn’t need a case and a book, sometimes all it needs is a hardrive and an open mind.

It€™s infuriating trying to explain to the uneducated that gaming joy and originality is now available for download, and for a fraction of the price of a new retail product. People stare into space, scrunch up their already bulldog-esque faces and think I€™m having them on, taking the piss, talking for chuckles, well I€™m not! This reaction in turn makes my bulldog face scrunched. The past year the only big game releases that have excited me were Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City and Rayman Origins. That€™s 3 games in the space of a whole year, the amount of crap and after thought games that make it to the market would be better off being used for lady pocket mirrors. I include the Call of Duty franchise and FIFA in that too. I know I€™m guilty of playing FIFA 12 every now and again but it is still one of the most over-hyped games available, the amount of flaws and bugs are ridiculous, and it still gets its ass kissed every single year by reviewers and gamers, I got my copy free, I would be a lot angrier if I bought it. I won€™t start on Call of Duty, which is just as bad, and I€™m sure a few of you agree. Xbox Live Arcade has released gems such as Limbo and Braid, while games like Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City makes its way onto shelves at £39.99. Customers stroll in, see the name Resident Evil and shuffle their way to the counters around the country. May I suggest doing some research? You€™re only going to get annoyed when your reason for a refund is that it€™s a crap game, or not what you expected isn€™t valid. That will teach you for not taking the advice of a disgruntled gamer in the know, one who owns his own damn comfy pedestal. Another beauty that Xbox Live Arcade offers, the ability to try out each and every release, new or old, before you hand over your cash for the full version. This has helped many of my purchases compared to a lot of retail games not getting the demo treatment; I€™m a lot more hesitant to fork out my money for a game I€™m not 100% confident in. Plenty of times I have downloaded a demo for a big release, played it and thought, what is the fuss about here? I don€™t find Mass Effect appealing, and just the thought of playing another Final Fantasy game makes a little vomit shoot up my throat and into my mouth. People will probably think that makes me not a true gamer, how dare I not enjoy such golden franchises! This is not the case. I find more entertainment in originality; it€™s how the gaming scene became so popular in the first place. It€™s good to see Minecraft doing so well, I tried the demo, and it€™s not for me, but it makes me happy seeing it sitting pretty in various charts, giving me hope that people do and will welcome daring new products. This makes the Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network Store worthwhile, a breeding ground for the creative who would get laughed at by the big wigs if they ask for funding for the likes of Quantum Conundrum, Limbo or Super Meat Boy. I should also mention all hail Kickstarter as a way around those awkward funding meetings. Sequels are expected when a title proves popular in the shops, but certain sequels do little to improve on the original and it feels like the same game every time with a lick of paint and a few new sparkles. I go back to Call of Duty as the biggest example, and Fifa also falls into this category. Look at the leaps Trials Evolution had from Trials HD and Worms 2: Armageddon had from Worms. They talk about the massive teams required to make such games a reality, well surely they don€™t need everyone every year when they are basically using the same game four years running. Break a section off of the talented team to test a new idea on Xbox Live or the PSN, and see how it fares. The big companies are getting too comfortable, and it€™s boring, dull and lifeless. I don€™t care about Black Ops 2, give me Limbo 2! I urge you and your friends to tell their friends and those strangers to have a second look at what is on offer in the download market. Hold their hands and walk into their homes if you have to, make them feel stupid for scoffing at the download market. I know for a fact everyone will find something for them that can provide more entertainment, and lasting ability than the majority of the games that have a pretty DVD or Blu-Ray case on the store shelves. Quality doesn€™t need a case and a book, sometimes all it needs is a hardrive and an open mind.

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