Microsoft challenged four community developer teams to create four games in four days at this year's GDC, in an effort to show how simple it was to use the XNA Game Studio Express tool.
Well, they all rose to the challenge and produced a handful of gems for you to try out, providing you have a copy of the free XNA program for your PC installed, which you can grab from the official place (you'll need C# 2005 Express Edition installed to run it).
The line-up begins with DungeonQuest, created by German team Benjamin Nitschke and Cristoph Reinaecker; a 3D action RPG that lets you crawl through various dungeons in a two-player co-op team.
Then there's Simian Escape from American chaps Jonathon Stevens and Patrick Glanville, which is a 2D run-and-jump romp in a prehistoric setting. They've craftily utilised the help of the Torque X tools, available in the paid-for version of XNA.
The United Kingdom creation Damage Control came from Josh Butterworth and Maher Al-Samkari, and is a four-player siege game that challenges you with seeing off hordes of aliens that are advancing on your base.
Last but not least is AbduX from Brazillian Andre Furtado, which puts you in the space boots of a wide-eyed alien, and lets you plough through the counrtyside in your flying saucer whilst abducting scores of unsuspecting humanoids. Particularly impressive in this little chestnut is the voice recognition controls that let you command different functions of the spacecraft.
It's all part of promoting Microsoft's Dream-Build-Play competition, which is designed to create awareness of its XNA development tools. Simply make a great game using the software, win US$ 1000, and get your creation on Xbox Live Arcade.
XNA Game Studio Express is a free download that lets hobbyists, students, and independent developers create and share games for Windows. It was released last December along with the Creators Club, which is available for a yearly EUR 99 subscription and enables you to develop and play games on Xbox 360.
Pop over to the XNA website for a little more reading.