Contra hits XBLA this week

Microsoft confirms Konami's quarter-gobbler as this week's Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays offering, lists five more to be released by year's end.

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One of the most anticipated retro arcade games announced for Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays is set to arrive this week. Microsoft today confirmed that Konami's arcade edition of Contra will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace Wednesday morning at 12 a.m. PST. The game will sell for 400 Microsoft Points ($5).

And while the publisher has backed off its claims of having 50 Live Arcade titles released by the end of the year, it also spelled out some of the games that will be out before 2007. Gamers can expect the multiplayer brawling game Small Arms, futuristic racer Novadrome, top-down shooter Assault Heroes, side-scrolling tank shooter Heavy Weapon, and Midway's arcade original Defender.

As the XBLA library matures, Microsoft also said it would place "a particular emphasis on new, originally developed games from indie developers and big studios alike." That said, the company also today announced an agreement with Atari to bring a half dozen of its arcade offerings from decades ago, including Tempest and Asteroids.

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