X'10 - KINECT
By DowntownJimmy (08.20.10)
November 4th 2010 is going to be a special day for Microsoft and gamers around the world as Microsoft gambles into the motion control market with their hands free device labelled ‘Kinect.’ From Project Natal until now, Kinect has gone from a super hush-hush project to one of the most highly anticipated gaming peripherals of all time. It’s one of those, you got to see it to believe it deals, and now that I see it, I believe.
Instantly Kinect will either find a sweet spot in your heart, or it won’t. Vinny Evans, who also attended this even from Extreme Gamer was not on the fence at all... and on seeing the device in motion he commanded “I don’t like it, I wanna kill stuff, I don’t want to jump around in my living room.” Granted that is probably on par with most ‘hardcore’ gamers, why Kinect, well I say why not? Since I have become a sort of Kinect advocate looking forward towards the future of the system, mainly for children’s gaming, and gaming for the handicap, I knew this would be a hard sell on old Vinny-boy, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t entirely sold myself.
Kinect can be a scary device to play for the first time in a crowd. However, since Microsoft brought a dozen or so devices to the event, I decided to plunge into the world of Kinect. The games present at X’10 that supported Kinect included four first party titles; Kinectimals, Kinect Adventures, Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports and two 3rd party games; Dance Central (Harmonix), and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (ubisoft).
Microsoft’s line-up for Kinect seems to fall into the party action genre of gaming. Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports are two excellent examples of ‘Kinecting’ with friends on the machine. The dual actives are a lot of fun and something that will likely have people ranting and raving this November. Kinectimals and Joy Ride, which are more of a solo type experience, seemed to be aimed more at kids, which is perfect. Remember when the world fell in love with Nintendogs? Well, this is Nintendogs on a whole new level. Kinectimals is equivalently charming even for the most heartfelt gamer. (I think Vinny even cracked a smile during this one)
After playing with a fake cat in Kinectimals, it was time I caroused Vinny into the Kinect spirit of gaming. After a considerable speech and some special beverages, big Vinny finally decided to give Kinect a go. Our game of choice Kinect Adventures. Surprisingly, jumping into a game is instantaneously once you step in front of the device. As Kinect Adventures loaded up I readied myself for some friendly co-op and competitive action.
The first trail was the water-rafting aspect called 'River Rush' that you have likely already seen through various media outlets. This event was a lot of fun, and with a few good laughs we jumped and tilted our way to the photo finish. The second event was 'Reflex Ridge,' a treadmill race that pitted us against each other as our avatars made our way ducking, jumping and running to the finish. The verdict, one point difference, Vinny in the lead. Lastly, the Kinect Adventures demo ended with 'Rally Ball,' racquetball styled hybrid of Dogeball. This event made use of our legs, heads, and bodies as we tried to swipe the ball and clear all the blocks on the screen. This event wasn’t as exciting as the other two, but it was still fun nevertheless.
After we finished, I turned to Vinny. He was out of breath and smiling, and as I asked him “so, what did you think,” he quickly replied admitting that he had fun and that can now see why Kinect is going to be special. Now, he wasn’t converted from his hardcore ways, he just started to see what I seen all along-- Kinect is an excellent gateway for the younger audience to enjoy gaming while using their whole bodies and interacting in a more social way. In a Nintendo-sort-of-way, it’s like Microsoft isn’t concerned with competing with motion wands over traditional games; they are headed into a new space of gaming, one that will likely grow to be much more then the initial line-up of software.
I’m sure exactly what I expected out of Kinect, although, the whole experience left me with a positive vibe. People were smiling and having a blast while playing Kinect, a major shift from the static console gaming on the lower levels. That doesn’t mean its more fun; it’s just a different fun. November 4th can arrive soon enough.