Santa Comes Early (Just Move Your Hands)

Shea’s been wanting a Wii for a long time and it was looking like we’d get one this Christmas.

But then, she came across the XBox Kinect – a motion-based gaming system where, instead of any handheld controller, your body motions are scanned by a camera/scanner combo placed somewhere near your TV and that’s how you control the games. For example, if you’re playing a sports game and want to kick a ball, you just stand in front of the TV, kick your leg and the virtual ball on screen goes in the direction you aim.

(I’d heard about this cool new system when it was first being developed but hadn’t paid too much attention – partly because I haven’t had a gaming system for years – I think a Sega Genesis was the last one I owned while for Shea, it was a slightly more modern, Super Nintendo.  I also partly ignored the news because I heard it was a Microsoft product so how good could it be? ;-))

It’s probably easier to understand what I’m talking about by watching a video…

So anyhow, the idea quickly gained hold on us.  We check out some reviews, videos, etc. online then last weekend, Shea made a quick trip to Best Buy to pick one up (they’re in pretty short supply this Christmas season but she knows somebody who knows somebody apparently!)

We get it hooked up quickly (I don’t know why it bugs me so much that gaming systems are plug and play while a new laptop takes hours to set-up – install anti-virus, clear out all the pre-installed crap, configure settings for the OS, install and configure all your favourite programs, set-up networks, etc. etc. etc.  On that note, apparently Apple is moving towards using iOS, the operating system that drives the iPhone and iPad, as their core operating system for all their devices including laptops and desktops.  Even though it’s a bit of work to set-up a new computer, I do like that you have a lot more control than you do with an iPad or an iPhone so I’m not sure if I like this news.)

So yeah, anyhow, it works as advertised and is pretty damn cool.  The games are a bit simplistic (move left, now jump, now duck) but I can imagine a couple generations down the road when the movie-quality games that you now play on consoles are available on a system like Kinect for a very immersive experience.

My all-time favourite computer game has been hockey games – from Wayne Gretzky Hockey on my old 386 to Sega Genesis NHL 94 to EA 2000 which is the last computer hockey game I played regularly – and I played that right until I got my Mac in 2007!  I can’t wait for the day that the technology of the Kinect is combined with a realistic hockey game like you apparently get with EA 2011. (Hmm, we have an XBox now too.  I wonder if Santa has an extra $70 to spare for that game too???)

Right now, we have one sports title for our Kinect and it has some fun games – I like table tennis and the track & field games so far – but as I said, they’re fairly simplistic.  (That’s not necessarily a bad thing – hell, there are probably old DOS games that I could still play for hours!)

Comments 5

  1. Heather wrote:

    Thanks for this — interesting because you know your stuff and are clear and straightforward about it, and I’ve been all “huh?” with the 13 1/2 yr. old who thinks that he doesn’t want the Kinect because the games are boring (and thus justifies asking for a different gaming system!!!!).

    : )

    Posted 27 Nov 2010 at 7:25 pm
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    Yeah, one of my main concerns is that the games might get repetitive after awhile. And I could see how a teenager might see this game as simplistic/childish.

    I’m not up enough on it enough to know which is the “desirable” gaming system out of Sony Playstation/Microsoft XBox/Ninetendo Wii – I assume they’re all seen as having different advantages/disadvantages.

    Which system are you getting asked for?

    Posted 28 Nov 2010 at 8:58 am
  3. Heather wrote:

    Apparently the playstation 3 has better “exclusives” and you can play on the internet for free and more friends have it.

    Posted 29 Nov 2010 at 5:34 pm
  4. Heather wrote:

    Oh, and why would you play the kinect games more than once or twice? With the Wii, you have the option of changing to use “buttons” instead of waving your arms around. I also am asked about that.

    Posted 29 Nov 2010 at 5:36 pm
  5. HeadTale wrote:

    One thing that the Kinect has proven great at a couple times for us already is that it’s great fun to play with a group of people. Again, probably not as much of an concern for a teenager/more dedicated gamer but it’s been fun for us.

    (Add another checkmark to the “You know you’re an adult when…” list!)

    Posted 07 Dec 2010 at 6:01 am

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