Xbox Games by Xbox Users

By  |  Friday, December 5, 2008 at 9:17 am

xbox360In theory, the concept of Xbox Live Community Games is pretty great. For $100, anyone with a bit of programming knowledge gets access to a development kit and can start making games for the Xbox 360. After a bit of peer review, garage developers can send their creations out to the open market and name their own price (forfeiting a cut of the profits to Microsoft, of course).

We’ve given Microsoft a solid couple of weeks to bulk up its selection of games (See also our coverage of Netflix for Xbox 360 and the New Xbox Live Experience). Prices range from the Gamerpoint equivalent of $2.50 to $10, but honestly I’m too cheap to buy them all for the sake of this post. Fortunately, all the games have timed trials, giving a pretty good idea of what’s worth your money to keep playing. After the jump, a rundown of some of my favorites, plus a few thoughts.

In The Pit: One of the most interesting selections available, this adaptation of an existing PC game contains no graphics. Players control a blind monster who feeds off humans that fall into its sunken lair. The screen is black; only sound and the vibration feedback of the Xbox 360 controller can guide you in the hunt. Headphones are recommended.

Aaron’s Ping Pong: Yes, it’s Pong. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most popular Community Games of the moment. The trial version is long enough to carry out an entire game, so don’t fret if you just can’t bear to purchase one of the oldest games of all time on one of the newest consoles.

Snake360: Another retro clone, the classic Snake game is revived here with over 200 levels, cooperative play, a battle mode and several special challenges. Its inspiration has endured through the years next to Spider Solitaire and Snood as the perfect time waster, and this one will likely eat up a good amount of hours as well.

sin(Surfing): There’s little to this game except for its coolness. Your avatar skates happily along on a constantly shifting sin wave, with only the goal of performing elaborate tricks while sailing over each crest. As you build up speed, the rocking-yet-ethereal soundtrack rises in pitch, only to come warbling down if you goof up and crash into the waves. Worth the $2.50 just to support the idea itself.

The most successful Community Games either innovate beyond the professional selections of Xbox Live Arcade or offer retro, familiar play that those other games are too proud to touch. There’s a decent amount of polish on some games, such as the Contra-inspired shooter Weapon of Choice and the cartoon fighter Funky Punch XL, but they do little to distinguish themselves from the games that Microsoft picks for its Arcade catalogue. Community Games will have to find a niche to sustain itself, and right now the trend is toward both obscure titles and shameless clones of proven ideas.

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  1. jen lovee Says:

    Oh thanks for the review of In the Pit….I liked it…I dont know if i will buy it yet, but i did find it