Xbox closes backward compatibility library after adding 76 more games

Blast from the past.


If you're a normal person, you probably haven't caught yourself with intrusive thoughts like, "Hey, maybe I should revisit 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. That was a pretty good game!" But if you're not a hardcore Curtis Jackson fan, you'll probably find something to like in the 76 new games that are now backward compatible on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Microsoft announced the additions to the Xbox backward compatibility library during a stream that marked the 20 years since the release of the big green box that started it all. The 76 games include the entire Max Payne series, the original Nier, and two TimeSplitters games. (Sorry, Halo Infinite — I know what I'm doing with my weekend.) But let's be honest: Blood on the Sand is definitely the biggest name here.

A little bit of everything — The list itself is an impressively-varied mix of genres and games of all scales, from long-running fighting game series Dead or Alive to the horror-shooter franchise FEAR. Unfortunately, many of these games are not available for digital purchase, and are only playable if you own a physical disc of the original game. So let's hope that your mom didn't throw out your copy of Blood on the Sand while you were away at college, hm?

Microsoft also announced that 26 existing backward compatible games have received a significant boost to frames per second, including several Fallout games, the Gears of War series, Fable Anniversary and 3, and Kameo: Elements of Power (now that's a certified gaming classic!). Dead Space 2 and 3 are also on the list, so if you've been meaning to play those in advance of the new one, now's your chance.

Retro revival — At the end of the day, consoles like the Xbox are never going to be the best option to revisit the best games of your youth, especially when big publishers like Rockstar are willing to pull the original versions of the game in order to sell you a half-assed remaster. Still, if you aren't willing to dip your toes into the muddy waters of emulation, it's nice that many of these old games are easily playable for so many people. It's just a shame that so many of them are restricted to disc owners only.