With only days to go before Americans can get their hands on Microsoft's next generation console - the Xbox 360 - Microsoft has announced a list of more than 200 original Xbox games it says will work on the new console.

The news will silence fears over whether or not previous games are able to play on the new hardware.

Amongst the list are games like HALO, HALO 2 both of which are rumours to play with graphical enhancements on the new console.

Fans of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Half-Life 2, Tony Hawks and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series will be pleased to hear their version of the games will still be able to be played.

Rather than include hardware in the box to allow the backwards compatibility of the games, Microsoft will offer users a software emulator that they can either download via the Xbox Live service, burn a CD from xbox.com or have one posted to them for the cost of postage.

Interestingly Microsoft is also promising that all games run through the emulator will upscale to 720p and 1080i HD format, and will take advantage of Xbox 360's anti-aliasing capabilities, delivering a picture that is clearer and crisper than anything available on Xbox.

There is a catch - gamers hoping to benefit from the emulator will need a 20GB hard-drive meaning that the core Xbox 360 offering won't allow you to play your old games.