Jay's Internet Log

Tag: kinect

Initial Impressions – Kinect, Kinect Adventures, Dance Central

by on Nov.05, 2010, under Gaming, General

I’m lumping these three together because they all arrived together (along with my sweet new 27″ monitor, but that’s not really pertinent here) and go together.  Kinect is Microsoft’s answer to the question “Why is Nintendo making so much money?” and it’s quite impressive.  There are two reasons that I preordered it; first is that the technology to use yourself as a controller in a 3 dimensional space intrigued me, and secondly, Heather wanted the dancing game.  Kinect uses I believe two cameras, an RGB one as well as an IR one to find you in the room.  It also uses four microphones for voice commands and aural placement recognition.  You place this little sensor near your TV as you would the Wii sensor, but this thing is much more advanced.  It has a small motor in it to track up and down, and one of the cameras contains a hexogonal red light array which, when you look right at it, resembles a Terminator’s eye looking back at you, and that’s very cool.

It took about 30 minutes to set up the sensor, then push my whole living room back a few feet.  Upon starting up the xbox, it recognized the kinect and updated the dashboard.  It then walked me through a tutorial which was basically useless.  A problem I had was when I walked out of view and kinect forgot about me, which was annoying, but after learning the ropes, I started up Kinect Adventures.  

This game is just a set of minigames, just like Wii Sports is.  I played a few of them and Heather jumped in and played co-op with me.  It’s cool that somebody can just walk into the area you’re in and start playing along with you.  The game takes pictures of you at certain intervals and you can then upload them to a Microsoft website to view.  It’s really cool and I wish more games would have websites associated with them like this.  After about an hour of this game, it was time for a break, so we had dinner.

After dinner we booted up Dance Central, a dancing game created by Harmonix, and let me tell you, it’s not easy, even on Easy difficulty!  Heather and I switched back and forth between songs, dancing to them, and learning the moves in them.  The best we could do on Day 1 was to get 3 out of 5 stars on 4 of the songs.  Even here, the game could tell us apart and switched the dancers from male to female when we switched up.  The game has 32 songs and the four we played were difficult, so this game looks to be both tough and a good workout!

All in all, kinect is very cool, though currently reminds me of when I bought my first Nintendo DS when they launched.  It’s a cool piece of technology that hasn’t really come into its prime yet as far as software support.  Everything seems like a tech demo, but I have faith in Microsoft to create new, fun games for it, and maybe even non-gaming applications.  I would also like to see it able to be used in conjunction with controller-based games, but the problem there is that you have to be standing as well as far away from the TV, so it may be difficult to pull off.  Rock Band with kinect support however is an idea that I’ve had in my head since seeing this thing in action the first time so many months ago and I hope that someday we’ll see an entry in the series use this device.

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