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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nothing new on XBLA this week ... but there is Ms. Pac-Man

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Everything old is "classic" news now, with the Gamerscore blog revealing this week's Xbox Live Arcade release to be Ms. Pac-Man. Though many insist that it's far superior to the original Pac-Man, is it really different enough to warrant its own Wednesday release slot? In fact, wasn't it a free launch title for the original Xb ox Live Arcade? Perhaps if we received the miss before (or instead of) the man, it wouldn't come across as just another hurdle to be leapt over in the race to fresher content.

Not to incite the pellet-munching hordes, but it seems that both Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo's Virtual Console regularly get the terms "old" and "classic" confused. We don't want all of the old games again, we want the best ones. True enough, not everyone agrees on what makes a quality arcade title, but taking greater care in choosing them in the first place would greatly enhance the lineups of both services. A true classic is something you'll pick up and play right this second, with nary a thought about graphics, sound or age -- and there aren't as many of those as you might think.

In those respects, perhaps Ms. Pac-Man is a classic. However, its familiar trappings don't demand an immediate 400 point ($5) purchase, especially not with Pac-Man already sitting on the same service and Worms being pushed away another 7 days. Games like this and New Rally-X only dilute the XBLA experience and a quick succession of them could steadily lead to more and more apathy.

Hell, it's not even that hard to defeat apathy. It just kind of lies there.
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