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Xbox One’s Backwards Compatibilty Gamble

Xbox, Microsoft

When I first heard of the OG Xbox games coming to the Xbox One I was cautiously excited. I’m a huge fan of older games and wish that developers could learn from older titles just how to make games. Someone at Microsoft obviously felt the same and decided to dust off their OG Xbox and upgrade certain titles for Xbox One owners to enjoy. Everyone was speculating what games would be the first batch to drop, would they look better, have achievements been added and so on. First, the rumors came and we saw the first twelve games that would be backward compatible, Crimson Skies having already been announced. The game list was a strong one and I was excited for a few of the games that I had never played, my first choice will now be to play OG Xbox games on the Xbox One if I’ve not already played them and if they are added to a hopefully every growing list.

The first thirteen games

(OG Xbox – Microsoft)

While I was bummed that some of my predictions did not hit this initial list, I was pleasantly surprised at the range of games they added. Fusion Frenzy is a party game to be played with your friends in the vein of Mario Party. Grabbed by the Ghoulies is a fun little kid friendly romp through a haunted house. They added platforming and action with Bloodrayne, Prince of Persia, and the unforgiving Ninja Gaiden: Black, for the sim fan Sid Meyer’s Pirates is on there. Action fans get Dead to Rights and Red Faction II, fighting fans get a game I’ve never heard of but will be looking for, and of course the Holy Grail on this list, Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicKotOR is the title that I will be focusing on the most seeing as that is the one I played all day once Microsoft updated my Xbox One for me. These games would have been a nice little list minus KotOR, but with its addition, it makes this list spectacular.

Improvements

(Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Bioware)

I had read articles that Microsoft had upgraded a lot of these games so that they look better and perform better. I didn’t believe them at first seeing as some people would have been happy with a bare bones port. Once everything was downloaded and I got my first glimpse of KotOR, I was a believer, Microsoft did an amazing job porting these to their new console and definitely deserve high praise for it. I remember my OG Xbox chugging through this game, tiling, freezing and sometimes even crashing, the Xbox One plays this game like butter. The graphics look considerably better, the load times are cut to an infinitesimal amount of time, and I just can’t believe there is no tiling, no crashing, and no stuttering. If Microsoft continues to give us thirteen or so a month, they will win this console war. Hopefully, they will be smart enough to port KotOR II and Jade Empire seeing as those games really had an issue on the OG Xbox. I wouldn’t mind seeing them getting the backward compatibility treatment at all. I own them all already, please give me an excuse to play them again or for the first time. I was disappointed that Microsoft didn’t add achievements to these titles, they easily could have, and I’m bummed they didn’t, Maybe in an update, they can add them to all of the backwards titles, but I won’t hold my breath for that.

Fan Service

I spent my early twenties playing my OG Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube, this is one of my favorite generations of consoles. Many gamers are my age now and hopefully look as fondly back as I do on this era which may be one of the many reasons Microsoft decided to tap into this nostalgia. I almost shed a tear when the OG Xbox loading screen booted up in high definition on my flat-screen television. This is one of those sounds that makes your heart pang for better times, and man did it hit me hard the first time I saw it. The games they are choosing are fanservice as well, hopefully, they’ll let us vote on the next batch so that I can vote for all of Bioware’s greatest games, and for Fable. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the wallpaper as the game boots up, staring at my nemesis in KotOR was awesome, and only made me want to face him quicker; which won’t happen because this is a LONG game.

What is to come?

(Xbox One – Microsoft)

Only bigwigs at Microsoft know what is in store for OG Xbox backward compatibility, and I’m hoping they know what they are doing. If they can deliver us thirteen new titles every month that are of this caliber then I see no reason why the Xbox One would not win this console war. They need to make a big deal about it though so people don’t forget about the addition. Microsoft is allowing devoted fans who have kept their original games a new chance to play those games at no cost. And for those who have sold their older games, they can download the upgraded version for a scant fee. I am afraid that they will choose some of the lousier or less well-received titles. Personally I would like them to add in the next batch, Jade Empire, Conker Live and Reloaded, Fable, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Splinter Cell, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Amped, Blood Omen 2, Breakdown, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, Max Payne, and Jet Set Radio Future to name a few. I would love to dust off all of these old games and be given a reason to play them again, or perhaps since I’m so behind, for the first time.

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