50% price cutPlaying any of the retro titles on the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live arcade could be compared to dining out at a fancy restaurant and asking the chef to rustle you up a shepherd’s pie.
Like the Xbox 360, a posh restaurant offers many new, attractive and tempting-looking dishes, but they all come with a rather hefty price-tag and without being able to sample them beforehand, you never know whether they’ll do enough to satisfy your palate when they arrive. If you order a shepherd’s pie however it’s not so much of a gamble, because you know you like the classic dish; you’ve been eating it since you were a kid…right? You know exactly what you’re going to get.
The Xbox live arcade is the shepherd’s pie of the Xbox 360 experience (food references now over), delivering no-thrills retro gaming at its very best. I’ve played the likes of Pac-Man, Gauntlet and Dig-Dug when I was a kid, I know I enjoyed them back then and therefore have no problem spending a couple of quid to relive those gaming memories and enjoy those titles that laid down the foundations for many of the mainstream games we all play today.
The only problem is that my enjoyment of these games is held back somewhat by the limitations of the Xbox 360 controller. The analogue stick doesn’t offer the same feel as a retro arcade stick and the 8-way-d-pad is fairly unpredictably when playing many of the coin-op games such as Frogger, Street Fighter 2 or Root Beer Tapper.
I'd been yearning for an arcade stick so I can play these games how they’re meant to be played, but when the gaming accessory veterans Mad Catz appeared to come to the rescue with the Xbox 360 LIVE Arcade GameStick earlier this year, I just wasn’t prepared to pay the eye watering price tag of £49.99. There’s nothing ‘old skool’ about that price.
However, with the Christmas period approaching Mad Catz has wisely had a change of heart and has now cut the price of their arcade stick by 50% to an attractive £24.99. With this is mind, I decided to pick one up to see whether it really does get me in the mood for shepherd’s pie.