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I'm not sure why I flung myself headlong into Trenched, but I'm glad that I did.  Maybe it was the positive reviews, the promise of multiplayer goodness, the mishmash of genres.  I'm sure it was some combination of all.  What actually pushed me over the edge, despite the fact that it proved to be barrier to some, was the 1200 MS threshold.

Summer of Arcade

Microsoft kicked off its annual Summer of Arcade with this week's release of Bastion.  Priced at 1200 Microsoft Points, the game is not quite an impulse buy.  I usually don't carry a balance over 200 MS and purchases of 800 or more usually requires adding points to my account.  In fact, four of the five Summer of Arcade titles are priced 1200 MS with Fruit Ninja Kinect the lone exception.

For whatever reason, the willingness to part with 1200 MS seems to require more commitment than 800 MS.  Certainly the ready availability of downloadable games for Droids and iPhones has fostered the notion that quality games do not need to be expensive.  In fact, there's a wealth of XBLA titles positioned at 800 MS or under that have received rave reviews including Geometry Wars, Braid, and the newly released Ms. Splosion Man.

1200 MS = $15 USD

Across the line, you do have the "great" titles of XBLA: Castle Crashers, Shadow Complex, and Limbo to name a few.  So there I was on the precipice, downloading the trial game with high expectations.  I did a brief run through the basics of the demo and went ahead and purchased.  I guess I really didn't even go through the entire demo before I made my decision.  And while yes, there's always that "you just earned an achievement" moment, I bought the full game because all things considered, the 1200 MS seemed like a reasonable price.  Isn't that really all we want?  Value for our purchase?

The most recent full retail game I purchased was Child of Eden.  I couldn't wait for its release and with a Kinect-priced $50 selling point, I pulled the trigger (or waved my arms as the case may be).  And while I have no buyer's remorse, the replay value has been a bit limited.  Reviews of the short campaign were abundant, but I loved Rez HD.  I wanted and paid for the experience of determining whether it were "better with Kinect."

With Trenched, I was looking for a new game with a bit of multiplayer life.  And was I ever rewarded?!  According to, I've logged some 27 hours into Trenched.  That translates to 108 minutes of enjoyment for every dollar I spent on the game.  The figure only increases as I continue to reach for gold medals on each mission and convince new friends to try the game.  In contrast, the Child of Eden conversion translates to 6 minutes per dollar.  I will certainly go back and replay that title as I work towards completing the Hard difficulty with both controller and Kinect.  And to further compare, I spent $16 dollars the last week to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, in 3D IMAX, enjoying a little over 8 minutes of entertainment for every dollar spent.

Obviously all three are different experiences, but the simple point is I've enjoyed Trenched as much as a person can and all for the mere price of 1200 MS.  It really underscores how awesome XBLA can be and I find myself looking forward to the Summer of Arcade as a great way to pass the time.