There's a nice little article here over at XBLAFANS about why Wing Commander Arena was special. It's a refreshing alternative to the somewhat lazy perspective of some of the critical media reviews. While the Xbox Live Arcade now routinely features games of several gigabites that are full featured and comparable to full releases, Wing Commander Arena came out in 2007 and pushed the then-limited 50MB game size to its fullest. It also features the first ever 16 player multiplayer on the (Arcade) service. For this, the article author looks back fondly:
Sometimes we were productive and other times we were not. But none of that mattered. We still managed to have fun just getting together and talking about XBLA.
For this memory alone, I salute you Wing Commander Arena as one of finer games in early XBLA history. You might not have provided a great experience from a gameplay perspective, but you did foster a community that needed a place to meet each night. You helped introduce me to gamers that have made up the majority of my friends list for the past five years. People who I had only known before by their gamertag listed in the forums for various gaming sites. People who I now consider close friends. You were party chat in its beta stage and for that I salute you. Well done Wing Commander Arena, well done.
Hear, hear! We definitely agree.