Have you seen those vague, arty Xbox 360 ads? The ones with aggressively multiculti crowds having balloon fights and jumprope jams in what looks like the sets from CITY OF GOD?
I think they're supposed to convey inclusiveness, fun, and diversity, but I'm left cold by the disingenuous casting and the poverty-chic setting. I mean, the people who live in those tower block apartments, you think they have $400 to drop on a game console? Instead of on schoolbooks or a bike to get to a job? Or, say, food?
And while it's fun to think of folk playing together regardless of age, gender, race, or class, the truth is, Xbox Live is not diverse. Xbox Live is this kid.
More to the point, it'll always be that kid until the games for Xbox 360 stretch beyond the predictable likes of Madden NFL 2006, Call of Duty 2, and Rumble Roses XX.
Rumble Roses XX?
That's a title that, to paraphrase a Katrina-era rant, deserves to have its developers covered in iPods and left in an unpicturesque alley in Rio.
Hey! The Microsoft marketing bunnies squeal. What about Xbox Live Arcade? Yeah, the service features puzzle/parlor classics Zuma, Bejeweled 2, and Spades, but with the occasional exception like Wik: Fable of Souls, innovation's wheezing by the roadside, and you know that developers of these kinds of games aren't getting a thimble of love compared to Project Gotham Racing 3.
Kinda makes me want to take to the streets of Redmond and throw something. But it ain't a water balloon.