To commemorate the occasion, a number of indie-developed games made with XNA Studio Express have been put on Xbox Live for download. If you would like to download and play the games I am about to list impressions on, simply:
#1 - Go to the Marketplace Blade.
#2 - Go to the "Game Store" section.
#3 - Go to "All Games".
#4 - Scroll down to the bottom of the list to "XNA Creators Club".
#5 - Download the "XNA Creators Club Game Launcher".
#6 - Once that is downloaded, back out and go in to your Games Library. There should be a new section for "XNA Creators Club".
#7 - At this section, press the Y button ("Download Games"). You will now be presented with a list of demos for the community-developed XNA Games.
If this is all too complicated for you, there is also a GDC advertisement on Xbox Live for "Free Games". Just go there and there's a section for XNA stuff where you can download the launcher and the free games quickly and easily.
As for the games themselves...
The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai
It's clear why this won Microsoft's challenge to make an XBLA game using XNA Studio. This is, far and away, the best of the lot with a slick visual presentation, intuitive controls, and hard-hitting ultra-violent gameplay. You play as... an undead dishwasher who runs around chopping up agents and other dead guys like yourself. The controls don't take long to come to grips with about halfway through devouring the demo content, I was slitting undead throats like it was second nature. Extremely fun.
Based on the webcomic of the same name, Little Gamers seriously underwhelmed me. Maybe it's because some of these guys are indie and all (and thusly made up of maybe a team of four or five guys), but it makes me feel bad to say what I'm about to say: this game stinks. A lot. It's nothing but a bunch of warmed-over gamer cliches from 2001 with uninspired combat, uninspired enemies, and non-existant level design. It's just not fun, even remotely. These guys have a lot to learn about game design. Picture this, for example: I encounter the first boss. I run right up to him, slam on the A button as fast as I can, and defeat him in under ten seconds and all he ever did to me was hit me once. The whole game is like that.
A puzzle game where the idea is to circle weeds with flowers. In all honesty, it's about as fun as drawing circles in MS Paint while under the influence of alcohol - thanks in part to the sluggish analog stick controls. There are other modes, like a paint-by-numbers mode and a "flower garden, but those seem to be less fun to a guy like me than even the main game is. Super boring.
An interesting concept, certainly. You're essentially a car made out of jello and the world is made out of jello and you have to go from one end of the level to the other. The controls are unfortunately a little unwieldy, but I enjoyed my time with the game despite the learning curve.
Sort of a weird two player puzzle game. It is both at the same time easy to understand but difficult to play. All these symbols and colors and equippable spells... feels like it's trying to be Puzzle Quest but ends up muddling things up considerably. Throws way too much at the player at once. Pretty effects, though - it's just hard to understand what's going on, sometimes.
An intolerable version of Dodgeball that I couldn't stand for more than a couple of minutes before I forcibly ended my game and went back to the titlescreen. Bad music, bad concept, probably the worst of the XNA games. It moves too fast, for one. By the time the opposing team throws a ball my CPU-controlled teammate has rushed over and picked it up before I even get a chance to. Dodging is difficult and only being able to choose from "the left side of the court" or "the right side of the court" feels a little... stilted, or something. These people really need to play more Super Dodgeball Advance (or the upcoming DS game) for ideas on how to do a dodgeball game right, because this is just embarrassing.
Seems to be multiplayer only. Once tried to start a game there was no way to back out to the menu from the player join screen, so I had to reset to the dash via pressing the jewel on my controller and hitting Y. Thumbs down.