Game Room offers to provide you with an Arcade Experience thats totally unique but that is also true to the arcades that many of us grew up with and adored. It offers us a fresh new way to play the classics which made gaming what it is today and despite the amount of stick this is getting in some of the wrong areas - I think that personally this is a welcome addition to the Xbox 360.
Let's get all the bad stuff out of the way first shall we, this game has received a lot of negativity in the form of people's expectations of it and other aspects such as the pricing structure.
First of all when Game Room was first announed, everyone instantly thought of Playstation Home but cooler - a personal Arcade that you and your friends could chill in and play games and walk around as your avatar. Then when it came out, it was far from it. There is no free roaming as your avatar, no games that you can play as a group, you can't really communicate with others anymore than you already can, sure you could make your own arcade but it was nothing like Playstation home.
To be entirely honest with you, this was just what people expected, they fabricated this image of what they thought should be in the game and then got so caught up in the idea that they started to believe it was actually going to mimic these images. Nowhere in any interview, hands on or game details did I ever read anything about some of these imaginary features. But now just because these things didn't make it into the final cut - people are complaining about it.
The line-up of launch games wasn't met with positivity either but I boil this down to a lot of peoples ignorance to the classic game, maybe it isn't their fault that they weren't born or old enough to remember a lot of these games but that by no means classes them as rubbish - in fact far from it. We owe it to these games for paving the way forward for the games of today and they should never die. However I do agree with the fact that Game Room launched with no free games - surely one or two would have been acceptable so that people can actually play it if they are not willing to pay for it.
Next is the pricing structure, people think that 240MSP/400MSP is a bit too steep for the games that are currently on the game, this I have to agree with I am afraid but as more games come out I am sure this will even itself out and people will be more willing to shed out the points for them.
The launch of Game Room wasn't hiccup free either - but then again when has anything this big in the Xbox's recent past been hiccup free - word from the people behind the game is that they are working on it and you should see some improvement real soon - but this has made people make up their minds too quickly on the game because they assume that the bugs will always be there - combined with the rest of the bad things about it - it's an instant decision maker for someone who hasn't already made up their mind.
Despite the amount of negativity towards Game Room there are equally as much things we can say about it which are more positive.
Game Room is bright, it's friendly, the sounds are reminiscent of a real classic arcade and overall very nostalgic to say the least. The total line-up of games is immense and promises to shed out around 30 games every week - and it wouldn't have to stop there... the way in which Game Room is build could easily make way for games right up to the Genesis Era (not that this confirmed but it would be amazing if it did).
Not only are the games pretty much exact ports of the originals (bar a few hiccups in some games), they offer new and exciting ways to play - global and friend leaderboards means you can see how you match up against the world's best players or your own mates, challenges means you can prove who is the king of gaming on an agreed set of terms and rules, the ability to rewind and save classic gameplay means that you can resume gameplay at a later time or rewind back to that part where you accidentally got hit by a meteor.
The Achievements are fair, albeit peoples expectations that every game would have it's own unique set of Achievements, they are made to make the most of your time in Game Room and keep them coming throughout your experience. Granted a lot of people feel that some of the achievements are there to get you to shell out money in order to earn them, but people shouldn't just be focused around the achievements on this - even you achievement junkies... you know who you guys are. This is one of those things where you will buy a game if you like it and not just so you can get achievements.
The use of Avatars, despite peoples expectations of them, is welcoming and makes it feel more like your own arcade and not just a glorified menu (which it technically is). And the fact that the Xbox 360 and Games for Windows Live versions work almost seamlessly together is a promising factor for future games as well.
I think Game Room needs time to spread it's wings, people are making their mind up about it too quickly when really they should just accept what is there currently in hope that it will improve to suit their tastes. It is a brilliant addition to the Xbox 360 and well worth a try at least, and it is free to download and trial, even if it is just to earn around 100G from it for free.
Give it chance, stop bashing it - if you like it then by all means express this and continue using it, if you don't then simply don't play it - spend your money on a pizza or something that will make you feel better about yourselves - or better yet - voice your opinions to the developers so that they can take heed of your feedback and improve the game. The rest of the internet doesn't need to know that you are ignorant of classic games or are too stubborn to pay 40MSP for a taste of classic gaming.
I give it an 8/10 - with definite room for improvement! Cue a long list of haters