You can play GTA: San Andreas on Xbox One soon, and there's a pleasant surprise if you still have an Xbox disc

Carl Johnson rides a motorcycle and fires a submachine gun into the night in GTA: San Andreas.

The big ol' list of Xbox One backwards compatible games will soon include Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and, well, I probably don't have to explain why that's exciting. Two other Rockstar games of yesteryear joined the selection in the same stroke on Thursday, June 7; enjoy the gobsmackingly intricate recreation of plastic ball physics that is Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis (yes that is the full title) or enjoy some high-speed, late-night racing in Midnight Club: Los Angeles.

Hold on a minute though, which version of San Andreas will be backwards compatible? Though the game originally came out in 2004 as a PlayStation 2 exclusive, it did eventually make its way to the original Xbox as well as Xbox 360. The Xbox One backwards compatible version is built from the 360 re-release, so ownership and cloud saves will transfer over. But good news if you still have your original Xbox disc for San Andreas! Pop that in and you'll get access to the same Xbox One backwards compatible game (featuring achievements, better draw distances, and sharper textures) as 360 owners at no extra charge.

If you haven't played GTA: San Andreas and are more familiar with the "HD universe" games - GTA 4 and GTA 5 - you should give it a try. It remains the most over-the-top game Rockstar has ever created, featuring no less than three big cities to explore and tons of Californian-ish countryside stretching between them, a semi-hidden co-op mode that plays like an old top-down arcade game, and a jetpack hidden deep inside a secret military base. Much of it is crude by today's standards (especially the humor, though Rockstar hasn't changed too much in that regard) but it's worth experiencing if you have any love for open-world games in your heart.

Neither Grand Theft Auto 3 nor Grand Theft Auto: Vice City are playable on Xbox One at the moment, and neither ever made it to Xbox 360 either. That doesn't mean they're out of the question for backwards compatibility, just that it would probably require some extra work.

Want some more modern stuff to play? Try some picks from our list of the best Xbox One games. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.