Crystal Quest

Crystal Quest XBLA update tomorrow

Crystal Quest XBLA update tomorrow

And confirmation of Poker Smash.

Microsoft has confirmed that Void Star's puzzle game Poker Smash will be on Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow, while Crystal Quest fans receive a free update.

As reported last week, Poker Smash is about arranging cards into poker hands as they advance up the screen, and costs 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60).

Crystal Quest, you may remember, is Stainless Games' arcade update where you fly around collecting crystals and dodging enemies. Tomorrow's update adds a score multiplier.

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Crystal Quest

Crystal Quest

Another Live Arcade gem?

Standing in a darkened room oscillating wildly to the electronic noises of the the future. That pretty much sums up my entry into the world of video gaming before home computers and consoles provided that elusive fix right in your own home. You'd happily burn through a stack of loose change proving your worth on some impossibly evil example of twitch gaming, and emerge blinking into the daylight poorer, but happier. Who could forget the triumph of the high score? This phase was like the punk explosion, the manic pop thrill, the sugar high of instant entertainment.

Where we are now resembles the latter days of progressive rock era of the 1970s, when pop hooks were disregarded in favour of epic soundscapes, infuriating noodling and pretentiously named bands full of pompous self-worth. Some games these days have all the appeal of a ten-minute drum solo; technically it might be amazing, and you'll nod sagely with beardy approval, but deep down what you really want is a stomping two-minute-thirty slice of hook-laden perfection. With attitude. Verse chorus verse, middle eight, key change, heart-melting 'ba-ba-ba'-laden chorus to fade, thanks. Job done.

Gamers are no different. We want to pick up the pad and be entertained now, not in two, three hours time when we've played through the sprawling tutorial and learned 28 combos. Not all of us have got time for that. Life's too short. And that's another slightly long-winded way of us getting to the point of why Xbox Live Arcade is one of the best ideas Microsoft has ever come up with.

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