First impressions on Kinect
Published: November 6, 2010
My life has been full of motion the last few weeks and I love it.
On Thursday, the Kinect motion-control system for the Xbox 360 arrived on store shelves – following the PlayStation Move by only a few weeks. It will take a few days to generate a good comparison of the two systems – and Nintendo’s Wii – but I thought I should offer a few quick reactions.
Kinect bills itself as the system that lets YOU be the controller. It uses a combination of cameras and a mic to convert your movements and voice into action on the screen. There’s no thumb-twiddling or remote-waving. It’s just you and the game.
As a result, the first group of games released for the system involve a lot of jumping, waving and dodging. "Kinect Sports" bears a striking resemblance to "Wii Sports" and similar titles, offering bowling, soccer, table tennis and boxing – and plenty of physical activity. "Dance Central" lets you flail around to your heart’s content.
But other games a bit more sedate. "Kinectimals" lets you calmly frolic with a feline cub. And "Kinect Joy Ride" actually lets you sit on your butt while you pretend to drive a car.
In most cases, Kinect can do a good job of converting movements into action. For example, "Kinectimals" usually did a great job of following my body and arm movements as I petted and played with my pet black panther. When I threw a ball, it usually hit my target with a satisfactory degree of accuracy. And there was little or no lag between my actions and the on-screen results. I really enjoyed the game … so I’m starting to wonder whether I need to reconsider my status as a "hard-core" gamer.
Surprisingly, I had a little more difficulty with "Kinect Sports." There seems to be perceptible lag in some games and during between-game activities. And the games aren’t really deep enough to maintain your interest for very long if you’re playing by yourself. However, they apparently are a total blast when you play them with another player. When I left my sons alone with the game while my wife and I cooked supper, I could hear screams of delight from the basement. They definitely give it two thumbs up.
A complete review of Kinect and some of the early titles available for the system, keep an eye on stripes.com.