Summer of XBLA, Contest Kicks Off This Week

Despite the summer being half over, Microsoft is kicking off another Summer of Arcade with the announcement of release dates for some of the most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade games of the year over the next 5 weeks.

Here is the word straight from Major Nelson:

• July 30: “Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2” –  The latest version of the wildly popular retro shooter offers screen-melting intensity and insane new features, including six action-packed gameplay modes, new enemies, scoring strategies and a diverse list of exciting Achievements. “Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2” is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and will be available at 800 Microsoft Points.

• August 6: “Braid” – From acclaimed developer Jonathan Blow, “Braid” is a mind-bending and artistic puzzle-platformer where the player manipulates the flow of time in strange and unusual ways.  “Braid”is rated E10+ for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB.

•  August 13: “Bionic Commando: Rearmed” – The classic 8-bit side-scroller reports back for duty in a stunning remake, complete with all-new HD graphics and features that put 2D gaming back on the map! “Bionic Commando: Rearmed” is rated M for Mature by the ESRB

• August 20: “Galaga Legions” – The legend lives on with “Galaga Legions,” a reimagining of the classic arcade shooter. Featuring table-turning game dynamics and updated graphics, the game was created by the team behind the bestselling “PAC-MAN Championship Edition” from Namco Bandai Games. “Galaga Legions” is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

• August 27: “Castle Crashers” – Award-winning studio The Behemoth brings red hot arcade adventure to Xbox LIVE Arcade with “Castle Crashers,” featuring hand-drawn characters and an array of weapons to choose from as you defend your kingdom and save the princess. “Castle Crashers” is rated T for Teen by the ESRB

The five big releases also are accompanied by a big giveaway with the grand prize winner receiving, amongst other things, 100,000 MS points. With that many points, the winner can almost afford all of the Rock Band content available.

Which of these big titles are you excited for in the Summer of Arcade?