Old fashioned family games -- on Xbox!!
The classics -- Yahtzee, Scrabble, Connect Four, Sorry, Battleship, and others...
This month, on Xbox Live Marketplace Arcade, Hasbro released a really cool shell, where you will find yourself in a game room. On the game wall, you'll find these and other classic Hasbro games, first available as trials and unlockable as Arcade games (800 marketplace points, or roughly $10 each).
Sure, many of you may have a few of these in a game closet - but do you still have all of the pieces? If you are playing scrabble, do you really want to pull all of the tiles out and make sure that they are stirred and facing down? And does everyone do well at scoring the scrabble board? Have you ever run out of score sheets for Yahtzee?
Family Game Night solves all of these problems -- and awards some Achievement points while you are at it (200 achievements per game title). The first four games are released, a few more are already on the game wall to be delivered soon, but the game wall has conspicuously more open squares so that if Hasbro sees the market demand, we should hopefully continue to see more games added.
Our family has tried a few of them, so let me share our perspectives:
Yahtzee - this one is our favorite so far. My four-year-old needs some help, but it is equally fun for my eight- and ten-year-olds, as well as my wife and I. It is truly the classic game, without searching for a score pad. And there are other variants of the game that include low scoring, wild card die, etc.
Scrabble – another one that is a big crowd pleaser. Plays mostly like the board game, though you don’t have to turn all the tiles over, and you don’t have to figure out how to score everything.
Battleship – is SAWEET! You do have to make sure your opponent leaves the room while you place your boats, and vice versa. And unlike the real game, you can’t cheat and move your boats mid-game as they start to get close to you.
Connect Four – is well, Connect Four. This one won’t get played much on date night with my wife, but since I also have younger children and it doesn’t make the clashing sound when you empty the tray, we’ll end up getting it.
There are other games that are not yet available (including Boggle and Sorry!), and as I mentioned earlier, Hasbro does not appear to be done yet. There are lots of free spaces on the game wall.
This game/gameroom has a lot of replay value. Of course, each game not only has its achievement points, but also, for every achievement that you earn, there is a piece of furniture that you unlock. Since this is all framed in a game room shell, you’ll be decorating the room as trophies of the accomplishments you did. The gameroom even has multiple themes, so no two players will have the same dominion.
There are a few things that I would like to be slightly different – so in case anyone from EA or Hasbro reads my blog (yeah, right), here are a few requests:
Yahtzee – you currently have to move all of the dice from the rolling tray to the top to score them. So, even if you have a great first role and want to be done – you have to move each of them to the top. My younger kids have accidentally rolled when they didn’t mean to when trying to finish before the 3rd roll. Yahtzee only currently uses the X and A buttons. Yo, Hasbro, the controller has two more buttons. Could we please have one of them for “Accept/Score”? Please?
Scrabble - The only weird gotcha is that you cannot see your own tiles except when it is your turn. How about putting the other players’ racks on the side or something. I miss being able to stare at them and try to figure out words while the other players are playing. Having to wait can slow down the game, somewhat.
As you can see, these are minor tweaks – and as such, I would give the game a solid A that just needs a few minor touches (hint, hint) to be way awesome! It is very cool to see these classic games being delivered in an electronic format, on a really big screen, and with some very cool variants and scoring benefits.
And hey, when you can’t take your Xbox360 on road trips with you (like on an airplane), EA and Hasbro have made most of the same games available on a single card for the Nintendo DS – including multi-player across DS’s and their wireless connection.
My sincere thanks to Hasbro and EA for bringing these classic games, and their addictingly fun variants, to the 21st century and gaming consoles everywhere.
And to you kind folks reading this … as always, thanks for reading…