How I Accidentally Got “TMNT Arcade” Delisted From Xbox Live (80s August Special)
Welcome back to 80s August, The Splintering’s month-long celebration of the greatest decade since the creation of Italian sausage.
It’s a truly great thing that the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the Cowabunga Collection is now available from Konami, perhaps for me more so than anyone else on earth. It’s like a pang of guilt has been lifted from my shoulders after a decade of weighing me down.
Because I am responsible for the removal of TMNT Arcade from Xbox Live in 2012.
“But, wait!” you say. “Ubisoft delisted TMNT Arcade from Xbox Live in the Summer of 2011!”
Yet I purchased and downloaded my copy in January 2012, and then inadvertently closed the door behind me so nobody else could follow my lead. Here’s how it all happened….
I was a late adopter to the Xbox 360. My first console for that generation was the Nintendo Wii, which suited me well enough for several years. However, after returning from a military deployment in the summer of 2011, I finally got Microsoft’s latest console. Unfortunately for me, however, TMNT Arcade (Ubisoft’s re-release of Konami’s 1989 arcade game)had indeed already been removed… from the Xbox Live website, anyway. I wailed. I gnashed my teeth. But I moved on.
Say what you will about GameStop, but for someone trying to build an Xbox 360 game library, it was a great place to start. When searching through the GameStop website, I found that digital codes for several Xbox Live Arcade games were available for purchase there- including TMNT Arcade. How did this work? Dare I hope? I sat on this revelation for weeks, unsure of whether I would be throwing away good money on a non-refundable code.
My curiosity eventually came to a head in January of 2012. I created an Ubisoft account and sent an email to Ubisoft support to see if these codes available through GameStop would work. After a back and forth over a couple of days, I got a bit inpatient waiting for a definitive answer. So on January 24th, I went to a local GameStop and asked the manager there about it. She found the game in her system, and promised that she would give me a refund if it didn’t work (I was in uniform at the time, so I must have looked trustworthy, right?).
Sure enough, after buying a code and dropping into Xbox Live… *Ting!* TMNT Arcade was mine. I called my brother that evening and told him the good news, as he was also still needing to get it himself. It was only after that when I saw another response email from Ubisoft saying the following:
“TMNT Arcade is indeed not available on XBL any longer. I have contacted GameStop to have them remove the title from their site.
If you have purchased it already, I suggest you contact GameStop support (http://www.gamestop.com/gs/help/default.aspx) and see if you can get refunded. We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
With that, I messaged my brother again and told him to waste no time in getting it.
The next day (January 25th), my brother responded and told me that his local GameStop wasn’t able to find TMNT Arcade in their system. I went back to my own store, the one where I had purchased a code only one day earlier, and tried again with the same manager so that I could send my brother a code. To her surprise, but not mine, she was unable to find the game again. It was indeed gone, and this final, back door was closed. By me.
Clearly, I was more cautious with my $5 than I needed to be, and if I had the chance to do it again knowing what I know now, I’d just try buying it without contacting Ubisoft. I’ve lived with this burden for years, but now that the original TMNT Arcade Game is available again as part of the TMNT the Cowabunga Collection, I can confess my secret shame. At least I can confidently say that I am probably the last person in the world to purchase the game, for what that’s worth.
I do wish that I had kept the GameStop receipt from my purchase to show now as proof. Instead, I can show screen captures of my email back-and-forth with Ubisoft support and hope that it provides sufficient evidence for the skeptical.
I feel so much better now.
Thanks for reading!
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