Sunday, May 17, 2020

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 322 - Feeding Frenzy 2

Back in the early days of Xbox Live Arcade one of the most enjoyable titles was a simple little game about starting out as a little fish and eating your way up the food chain called Feeding Frenzy. For today's video, thanks to EA Access, I played Feeding Frenzy 2 and it's just as fun, though perhaps a little bloated compared to the first. It got me thinking about the good ol' days of XBLA, which is what this blog will really be about. Read more and watch Feeding Frenzy 2 gameplay here.

Xbox Live Arcade, in its original state, was made up of weekly releases of bite-sized experiences that were usually fairly cheap. The games had to be small to fit under the 50MB limit imposed at launch in order for games to fit onto Mircosoft's proprietary 64MB memory cards. The limit was later increased to 150MB, then 350MB, then 2GB, and then the size restriction was removed entirely late in the Xbox 360's life as Microsoft enabled the use of USB storage. 

I honestly kind of think I preferred the days of smaller games, though. They were usually quick pick up and play games that you didn't have to invest much time or money into in order to have a good time. Some of the best and most memorable XBLA games came out in those early days - Geometry Wars, Hexic, Uno. By the end of the generation, XBLA was more of a dumping ground for any game that wanted to release on Xbox 360, but the publisher didn't want to do a physical full game release, so they stuck it on XBLA.

It makes me wonder, also, whether Xbox Live Arcade, and the limitations imposed on games in the early days, has clouded many peoples' impression of indie games. Indie games have this stigma, even in 2020, of not being "real" games. We all know that isn't true (you are reading a site that started out covering indie games, you know) but the stigma has stuck around. Do people still associate indie games with only being small and cheap and simple because that is how they were introduced through XBLA? 

If that's the case, then how fucking dumb are gamers? They can't see the forest through the trees. They only see "AAA" games that make me want to puke. I'm glad I'm not a real journalist anymore.