Full Disclosure: I started using Xbox Game Pass in November, after being given a 3-month pass from Microsoft.
When Xbox Game Pass was announced in February 2017, I thought the service sounded excellent, but I already played a lot of the games that would be offered. It seemed fantastic for Xbox owners that didn’t buy video games on a regular basis or those who were new to the Xbox family. A few months after Xbox Game Pass launched, I was given a 3-month pass to check out the program. Though it didn’t appeal to me in the early days, I was surprised that there were so many games on Xbox One and Xbox 360 that I never had the chance to play.
Almost immediately, I scrolled through every game available and downloaded each title that I had not tried before. From big budget games like XCOM: Enemy Within and Halo Wars: Definite Edition to indies like Bard’s Gold, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, The Bug Butcher, and This War of Mine: The Little Ones, there were a ton of games that I was itching to try out. I spent every day going through these games, but after a month, something cool happened.
I received a notification from Xbox Live that said the following:
Congratulations! You completed your Game Pass Quest. Your reward is… 1-month of Xbox Live Gold!
I was genuinely surprised by this reward because I didn’t even know that Xbox Game Pass has quests, let alone quests that gave out cool rewards. Sure enough, I went to the Game Pass menu and under the “featured” tab was a widget called Game Pass Quests. Last month tasked players to play Game Pass titles for 5 hours and 10 hours respectively. The first tier nets members an Ultimate Mystery Gift Box while the people who complete the second objective get the Ultimate Mystery Gift Box and the chance to win a limited edition console. According to the Quest page, “prizes include Xbox Games, Xbox Live Gold, movies, DLC, Microsoft Store Credit, and more.”
Yesterday, I received another notification from Xbox Live with my prize from completing December’s quest. After opening the message, I was rewarded with another month of Xbox Live Gold. Game Pass Quests are creative because they not only incentivize members to try out new games, they also help bring the spotlight to developers who deserve recognition. This month’s quest is different. For January, the program has the same tiers (one for the 5-hour mark and the other for 10 hours), but the game you need to play is hidden behind a riddle.
By opening up the Game Pass Quests widget this month, you’ll find the following:
To race is addictive or so we’ve been told,
If you’re not a winner, you’re out in the cold,
So gather your crew chief and wipe off the grime,
Lean into the corners for awesome stage time.
After reading that riddle, I sat there pondering what the game could possibly be. Out of the 164 games currently available on the service, I narrowed it down to three racing games. The only problem with Game Pass Quests is that it doesn’t tell you if you’ve picked the right game. You’re going off of a complete guess, but that’s half the fun. Xbox Game Pass added its own meta game into the service, and it’s something that I look forward to on a monthly basis.
What’s even cooler is that original Xbox games are being added on a monthly basis. Last month, the fantastic Ninja Gaiden Black was added, and this month, the party game Fusion Frenzy entered the program. While games are added every month, there are some that are taken away. If a game you like is on the brink of being removed, Game Pass subscribers can purchase it for a discounted price, which is a plus.
Xbox Game Pass has evolved into a service that I’m happy to subscribe to. The initial announcement made it seem like Game Pass was meant for the casual player, but after around 3 months using the program, I think I’ll start paying monthly for it myself. The games included are awesome, they appeal to a wide variety of gamers, but Game Pass Quests are what keep me coming back. Achievements are cool (I’m an addict, believe me), but being rewarded with currency, games, and an extension to my Xbox Live Gold account among other things is to good to pass up.
Xbox Game Pass is a wonderful service that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Microsoft is providing members with an exceptional program at an affordable cost. I think an Xbox One owner could benefit from giving Xbox Game Pass a shot.
Do you use Xbox Game Pass? If so, what are your favorite games on the service? Do you try and complete Game Pass Quests? Leave a comment below.