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Our New Toy

Well we got Kinect late last night and I must say I am very impressed. It aint perfect. But its damn good. And It will get better.

If you haven’t heard of Kinect its Microsoft’s venture into Motion Gaming. Kinda Like the Wii or Sony’s new Move system, But with Kinect there is no controller. The controller is your body. You set a sensor bar up that has some cameras and a microphone(the sensor bar system is actually Kinect) and calibrate to your house and your body and go play. Not every game is Kinect ready there are special ones that can take advantage of this new system. I list a few below.

The set up was easy and not technical at all. Took 5 min for me to unpackage, set the sensor in place, connect the wire and reboot. There were a few updates I had to run through but the whole process probably took 10 min. After the last update it rebooted and Dorothy took over. She loved it. It was easy as hell to configure and tune to each person.

The UI control needs a bit of work. But that’s to be expected with any 1st iterate technology. I really think they will tighten it up quickly. To be honest Playing with Kinect was kinda like realizing a dream that I first saw in minority report. It was fun, fast easy to use and very responsive.  We were able to test the video chat and it was very easy and the camera was smart. 1 person in the room it would zoom in and follow you as you walk around, 2 people in the room and it would stay zoomed out to get everyone in frame, all with no setup and just plugging it in.

The games are where it shines. We bought 2 – Dance Central and Kinectimals. It comes with Kinect adventures. We experienced each game for a few minutes spending the majority of the time laughing. It was good times. The photos that Kinect takes while you are playing are gold.

In Dance Central There is a freestyle zone in the middle of each song where the “dancer” can do what ever they like and after freestyle ends they show the pictures that were taken in a stop motion style that is very seemless and enjoyable. if the player falls out of synch the screen dancers body part will start to glow red to indicate where the player needs to tighten up a bit. It seems very good at determining correct body position and Dorothy was able to learn with out much frustration.

Here is a video of D knocking it out with Dance Central. Tonight supposedly I am having a “Dance Battle” with her. Not sure how I am gonna survive but I am guaranteed to laugh alot.

Kinectimals is just nuts. I cant say enough about it. The cats are cute, graphics are fab. They recognize faces, respond to voices, act like cats and my little girl loved it.  We didnt play it much(it was after 1 am) but with the bit we did I was impressed with how they seemed to bring every aspect of the Kinect experience together in the game.

Kinect Adventures was a blast. I am terribly out of shape and almost died from playing 1 round with my overly energetic 8 year old. We were in a raft and you have to work together to navigate down a river. You can collect different points as you do so. The fun comes in when you are both jumping up and down like maniacs and yelling “Left! Left!” and a picture gets taken of yall together.

We obviously have alot more exploring of this new technology to do but the impression that I was left with after 2 hours was……WOW! It is a fun system especially for families. I will be interested to see how they get hardcore gamers into it but really they have that segment well covered. They needed the Wii demographic and this will bring them in droves.

Stand alone Kinect costs 150 but you can buy the new Xbox Kinect bundle for 299.

One thing that I did notice is you need alot of space. Like a good 6.5-9ish feet from the sensor.

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