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shao-lin's road

Things haven’t been looking too good for Xbox games on Windows Phone lately. As our readers probably know, there hasn’t been a new Xbox game released since KenKen on December 19th. Just before that there were two more weeks with no release: one before and one after AlphaJax arrived. Nokia users have a bit more to play thanks to iBomber Defense, but that does not help everyone else. Well, this week the disturbing trend continues: Microsoft has confirmed that there will be no new Xbox Windows Phone game or Deal of the Week this week. Yikes!

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No new Xbox Windows Phone game for the New Year

It’s easier to criticize than compliment. Things we dislike stick out like a sore thumb. Also, I’m not too fond of sore thumbs! As you can tell, it’s time for some bad news and hand wringing. That’s because it looks like we won’t get either a new Xbox Windows Phone release or even a Deal of the Week to ring in the New Year.

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Two weeks ago on November 28, AlphaJax missed its intended launch date. As such, there was no Xbox Windows Phone release that week. We sort of understood that the game had hit a last minute road bump, and then it popped up the next week, so little harm was done. I’m afraid I have similar news to report: there will be no Xbox release this week. Perhaps the sting is lessened since nobody announced a title in advance, though I’d argue the lack of even a delayed game to look forward to makes it worse.

The lack of an Xbox Windows Phone release is not unprecedented. Although it hasn’t been much of a problem this year, we suffered two dry weeks in a row in 2011. Whenever this happens, it’s my duty to point out the finished games that Microsoft could release if they felt like it. That list has long included Shaolin’s Road and Time Pilot, but we can now add Loondon as well.

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This week’s Xbox Live release is a repeat of August 24’s release. How can that be? Why, there simply won’t be a new Xbox Live game this week. For those keeping score, that marks the second time this year there hasn’t been a Live release, or the third if we count the week Twin Blades got re-released.

It shall now become my tradition whenever this happens to openly ask: where are Shao-Lin’s Road and Time Pilot? Both of Konami’s Game Room titles have been complete since the beginning of the year, which we know because they’re simple arcade ROMs that were demoed at CES and whose Achievements have long been public. Maybe Microsoft picked up on our Game Room fatigue when they pushed four such titles out in a month’s time, but that was then. This is now! And surely we can all agree that some game, even one that predates many of our readers’ births, is better than no new release.

Maybe next week's game will be extra special, just to make up for this week.

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No new Xbox Live game on August 24

While Microsoft recently announced 12-ish new games coming to Xbox Live, it looks like those titles may not be ready for release just yet. Prepare yourselves, Windows Phone gamers: there will be no new Xbox Live release next week.

I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t an Xbox Live release in the US. Sadly, our European readers already know what it’s like to not see a new game on their Marketplace. When Sudoku and Minesweeper came out for free last week, everybody was surprised that they were only released in the US.

I’m just shocked at this hole in the release schedule, as the last two Game Room retro games, Time Pilot and Shao-Lin’s Road, have almost certainly been complete for a long while. Hopefully the negative reaction to previous Game Room games (stemming largely from the ancientness of some of those games and releasing them all in a very short time span) hasn’t resulted in their cancellation. Some of us want those Achievements!

There will, of course, be an Xbox Live Deal of the Week, so many gamers will still have a reason to pick up a game they didn’t own before. Check back here on Wednesday and we’ll let you know what game is on sale.

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