Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I don't usually write product reviews, but I actually got really excited about this last night and thought I'd share: XBox Kinect. The basics: it's a video game system that tracks your body movements instead of using any controllers. My coworker has one, and we gathered at his place to play some games. Before you read, you should really watch this video; we were playing these exact games last night.

My thoughts behind the jump.

As I mentioned, the first experience playing this was a huge rush. I don't imagine it will get me hooked on video games (volleyball is still better!) but I'd easily enjoy a Kinect party. After all, that's what it's made for: non-gamers who want to do it as a healthy, social activity.

Did I say healthy? Yes. All the jumping, ducking, dodging and flailing is quite a workout - I broke out in a sweat during the game! It was fantastic! Now, for this reason I doubt the Kinect will get very popular among marathon gamers, but it certainly takes the couch potato aspect right out of the game.

It's also very social. As you saw in the video, people can jump in and out of the gameplay area and get recognized by the computer. The game handles two players with amazing ease, sometimes doing a split-screen view and sometimes putting both players together on screen, and because you can just walk in and out, the five of us took turns playing in twos with no complicated switching necessary. Had we been regular players, we could have programmed the game to recognize us and use individual avatars when we walked in front of the TV! It's the first game system that I would have no hesitation buying for my (eventual) kids.

The game we were playing (Kinect Adventures) is like Wii Sports: a kind of demo game made to show off the new technology. It will be interesting to see what mainstream games--Halo, perhaps?--will do with the technology, and whether it will start to replace controllers or just ensure they are only used by hardcore gamers.

A final thought: Kinect combined with 3D TV... will be so fantastic. I can't wait.

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