Xbox Live Arcade >>>> Wii Virtual Console
Improved classic games with online play > straight-up emulation. I’d bring up the subject of price as well, but paying for Xbox Live Gold evens out the ridiculous pricing of Virtual Console games. Also, most people seem to hate the 360 controller’s D-pad for 2D games. Personally, I’ve had no trouble kicking ass in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. I love typing out that whole name. Speaking of which, SPFIITHD Remix is a wonderful example of the awesomeness of XBLA. For $10, you get a PSX game with updated graphics (albeit not updated sprites), a new rebalanced mode, and (most of the time) lagless online multiplayer with achievements and leaderboards. I’ve barely touched Bioshock since Wednesday because of it. Probably because I absolutely rock balls at it. (Since I got my Call Of Duty 4 beta token on Friday, that has been taking up a massive amount of time as well.)
I haven’t even had a chance to play — nevermind buy — the vast majority of XBLA games, but I’m pretty sure just about all of them support online play, or at the very least achievements and leaderboards. TMNT2 1989 (Arcade), Worms, Uno, Streets of Rage 2, the list goes on pretty long. It really does make it feel like an old-school arcade, just virtual. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is pretty much a port, but its price of $10 is less than what a copy of it on PSX goes for on eBay — and that’s just an awesome single-player experience anyhow.
Sure, the points system is a bit sneaky and deceitful, considering 80 points = $1, but any functional human being should be able to figure that out. Plus, it seems the points card system allows some deals to pop up for gamers to take advantage of, or even exploit to their fullest extent. I just became aware of a deal at Best Buy: Pre-order Halo 3 and get a 1600 points card for $5. That’s 1/4 of the regular price. I can get Pac-Man C.E. and Worms for a total of $5. Not bad. Would I rather be able to just buy the games directly with my debit card like I do with Steam? Yea, I would. Am I going to cry over this stupid, extra layer of transaction? No. Besides, Nintendo has the same shit going with the Wii.
It seems like I might be turning into a Microsoft viral marketer, but I’m just loving my 360 that much. It always happens with new consoles. I got a PS2 last year — 6 years after it was released — and it was still awesome. Now imagine getting a 2 year old console that allows you to do so much more. It’s pretty much just a cheaper PC, just with a slick, integrated interface dedicated to gaming. (It even has the overheating problems!) Now if I only had a mouse and keyboard so I could kick ass in COD4…