This Sunday's opinionated retro rant is about Black, the Criterion-built shooter that graced the last generation of consoles towards the end of their shelf life. During the following, somewhat feverish discussion of its impact, or tragic lack of impact, at no point shall we mention that a game released in 2006 cannot be considered retro.
In December 2007, Microsoft launched the Xbox Originals platform. Part of Xbox Live Marketplace, it allows you to download Xbox 1 games for 1200 Microsoft Points (GBP 10.20 / EUR 12.00) apiece, with the likes of Halo, Psychonauts and Fahrenheit among the launch titles.
Following an exceptional chart run with Need for Speed: Most Wanted, EA's reign has survived yet another challenge, as the publisher returns to the throne with its first all-formats number one based on original IP in almost a decade.
"We think this is the best shooter that anyone's ever made."
Having followed Black's progress since Criterion first invited us to see its tech demo over a year ago it's been blindingly obvious that the Guildford-based developer had something very special in mind. A year on the team put together one of the most impressive technical demonstrations at E3 2005 which you can see our thoughts on here.
Ever since we first clapped eyes on the tech demo for Black about a year ago it was glaringly obvious this would be a game to watch. A game where the central concept was about "being able to have fun with a gun in an empty room," where "the gun is the star," and one that was "going to do for shooters what Burnout did for racing games". Or in other words, the most insane levels of destruction your eyes have ever seen outside of a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. When Criterion's Alex Ward talks about recreating the famous lobby destruction scene in The Matrix you nod politely. And then you see it for yourself and your eyes don't even blink for about four minutes.
"Black is about shooting stuff and blowing s**t up," screams Criterion's creative boss Alex Ward in a closed off room at E3. A few years ago, Ward told Eurogamer that Burnout was about "driving fast and crashing cars". Simplicity in concept, Ward explained then, was key to his brand of high impact console game. Criterion's not rubbish any more, Burnout's sold millions and a few minutes with Black last week left us terrified, so we're in no position to argue. Frankly, heaven forfend.