Back to the old school.

Xbox Live Arcade is such an exciting lucky dip. It's like Microsoft has this big machine (probably called Guinievere) and spins it around once a week in front of excited retro gamers. Out plops a little ball with a game name and up steps a grizzled-looking Dominik Diamond to pluck the next lucky winner to be released into the masses.

Well it might as well be that arbitrary for all the logic behind the weekly release schedule for its casual game download service. In certain parts of the world, Contra's regarded with reverence, but ageing European gamers (like, er, me) probably have a less rose-tinted association with how the series started, being one of many slapdash Ocean-published (hi Gary!) ports for the various 8-bit platforms back in 1987. One thing that caught my eye from the Wikipedia entry (god bless it), I nearly spat my cornflakes out at the suggestion that it, "essentially defined the run and gun computer game genre". You what?

Seriously. Who writes this stuff? Did this author actually play any of the five-bugillion 8-bit games with side-scrolling platform-shooting elements that came before Contra, or is dementia really setting in prematurely? I can dig out the 49 side-scrolling platform shooters from my bulging games cupboard from the era if you really want me to prove the point. But anyway, let's move on to the here and now...

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Contra lands on Live Arcade

Can you finish it in 12 minutes?

Microsoft's going commando again this morning with the Xbox Live Arcade release of Konami's '80s arcade classic, Contra - with the port once again carried out by Digital Eclipse.