Backwards compatibility wasn't supposed to happen on the Xbox One. It's a technical headache, they said. Most people don't want to play old games, they assured us. We accepted the excuses, but not with a smile.
But at some point, Microsoft changed its tune – and back at E3, we all got the good news: the Xbox One would be able to play Xbox 360 games, disc or digital, and the stuff you already bought back when would be available in your library. Not everything would be available right away, if ever, but Microsoft promised a big initial bundle of games.
And it panned out: with the release of the New Xbox One Experience overhaul, more than 100 Xbox 360 games are playable on the Xbox One, with more coming as soon as next month. While we're still waiting on some heavyweights such as BioShock and Call of Duty: Black Ops, there are must-play classics already on the list. So if you missed them before or simply need a refresher, here are our picks for the first 10 Xbox 360 games to dig into.
Assassin's Creed II (2009)
We're fond of the new Assassin's Creed Syndicate, but Assassin's Creed II is still perhaps the best of the bunch – way back when the series still bothered using numerals. While the first game was rough around the edges, Assassin's Creed II refined the concept into a brilliantly fun romp through ancient Italy, starring easily the series' most compelling lead, Ezio Auditore. Let's hope the great follow-up, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, comes next.
Mirror's Edge (2008)
One of the most stunning games we've ever played – even since its release – EA and DICE's Mirror's Edge remains a properly one-of-a-kind affair. The first-person running affair, which ends up feeling like a frantic mix of platforming and puzzle-solving, is paired with jaw-dropping design, as the vivid future city springs to life while you bound between rooftops. A prequel/reimagining is due next year, but the original is fabulous.
Lumines Live (2006)
If you like puzzlers but somehow haven't soaked in the wonder that is Lumines, then drop everything and go grab Lumines Live on your Xbox One. It's nearly a decade old at this point, but the gameplay remains gripping: you'll rotate and position chunks of squares on the board, and every couple minutes you get a new look, song, and sound effects – and the beat of the music plays a role in the gameplay.
Fallout 3 (2008)
We know, we know: Fallout 4 just came out, and if you have an Xbox One and you're remotely interested in the franchise, chances are you've got dozens more hours to sink into that world. Fair enough. But when you're done, why not loop back to Fallout 3? Bethesda's first take on the post-apocalyptic franchise delivered an unparalleled open-world experience in the wasteland that once was Washington D.C. – and it's surely still captivating now.
Shadow Complex (2009)
Before making the smash Infinity Blade games for iOS, Chair Entertainment created perhaps the best "Metroidvania" game of the last generation: Shadow Complex. While it has something of a Metal Gear-esque military aesthetic, it builds the same kind of amazing 2D world to explore as a more fantastical Metroid or Castlevania. The sense of discovery is brilliant as you hunt around for secrets and new abilities; it's a shame we never got a sequel.