As online console gaming continues its gradual clamber on the arduous path to international popularity, Microsoft has issued a batch of screenshots from yet another reason to jump on the broadband-wagon - Xbox Live! Arcade. Due for launch this autumn, XBL Arcade is an online-only service that allows Live! subscribers to download a plethora of assorted mini-games.
There are all sorts of titles planned for the system, many of which closely resemble classic 16-bit and arcade games of yesteryear. Divided into 7 categories, the main download screen will offer Live! Arcadeers various nuggets from the following genres: Retro Arcade, Action Arcade, Card & Board Games, Puzzle & Trivia, Social Sports, Strategy & Sims and New Releases.
The veritable smorgasbord of games includes titles such as Hexic (a Tetris type puzzler), Hamster Ball (with more than a passing resemblance to Monkey Ball), Trade Winds (a naval strategy/sim akin to Sea Trader on the GBA) and plenty of more generic ideas like billiards, cards, bowling, golf, Mahjong, etc.
Assuming that Microsoft can maintain a steady flow of fresh downloadable content for the Live! Arcade service, whilst also meeting satisfactory standards of production, it should rapidly gain favour with both hardcore retro-heads and casual gamers alike.
Expect more Live! Arcade news as soon as it breaks. Until then, here's a peek at some of the first screenshots.