On Backwards Compatibility 

As a person with poor impulse control and a love of shiny things, I usually wind up owning every games console from a given time span, often a couple of them because of hardware revisions or the like. It’s expensive and more than a little indulgent, but I’ve always been able to justify it with one game or another.

This time around, I didn’t do that.

When the PS4 and Xbox One were announced, I actually pre-ordered both systems, waffled about it for a couple of months, and cancelled the more expensive of the two (the Xbox One, in this case).

A little over three years later, this seems to have been a good idea. Both consoles pretty much get the same games, with a handful of exceptions, so you’re not missing out on too much by having one over the other, and it happens that the few games that have wound up in the PS4-only bucket are ones that are more to my taste. I was a little sad about missing out on Halo 5, but I understand that the story has taken a weird turn where Cortana is a genocidal murder bot now or something, and I think I can skip that.

All of this comes up because I had a friend visiting over the weekend, and I planned to show him one of the Souls games and try to get him hooked. Unlike me, he’s not insane enough to keep every console ever built around, so this was a bit of a challenge. If he’d had a PS4, this would have been an impossible plan, because you can’t play either of the starter (Demon’s or the first Dark Souls) games on a PS4. I played all three of the Souls trilogy games on PC, but that’s not an option for him either.

He just happens to have an Xbox One, however, and Microsoft has put a little bit of effort into maintaining compatibility with their older hardware, so starting with Dark Souls is actually an option. I booted that up (The PC version, mind) and handed him a controller, upon which he made it through the tutorial, got to Firelink Shrine, and almost immediately stumbled into a secret area that I had somehow never found, which was kind of neat.

So 10 points to House Nadella, then. Another 10 points because looking at the backwards compatibility list reveals that Microsoft has added both Omega Five AND Triggerheart Exelica to the list, and those are two of my favorite 2D shmups on any system ever.

I still don’t NEED an Xbox One – I have two 360s sitting in a box that could be hooked up again at any moment should I get the urge to revisit old favorites – but if you skipped the 360 half of the PS3/360 years, it definitely gives a little more reason to put one under your TV.

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