I remember when playing a video game was a ridiculously simple thing. When I fired up Frogger on my ancient Atari back in the late 80s, all you had to do was push the joystick in one of four directions to get to the other side and win the level. When I got a Pegasus and played Contra, I had one button for jumping and one for shooting. After that, things got a little bit out of hand, with today’s controllers having at least 10 buttons and a whole host of combinations depending on what game you are playing. As games became more and more complicated so did the control schemes, so you now spend more time memorizing button presses than actually playing games.
To change this, Microsoft unveiled at E3 2009 what they called “Project Natal”. The system would do away with traditional controllers and use a player’s entire body to interact with the game. They also showed off quite an impressive concept trailer which clearly showed what Natal looked like and how it would work.
Fast forward to E3 2010, and Microsoft unveils that Project Natal will officially be known as “Kinect” when it hits retail. Feature face and voice recognition, fully body tracking and a genuine controller-free gaming experience, Kinect certainly made a lot of buzz leading up to its retail launch this week. Having had the chance to try out the Kinect at E3 2010 as well as in the months leading up to its official launch, I can say that I was certainly intrigued at just how well this device would integrate into my gaming lifestyle. So in true gamer fashion, I headed down nice and early to a nearby shopping mall and picked up a Kinect sensor for review.
Setup and unboxing
The Kinect sensor comes in a sleek rectangular box, and includes a setup guide, detailed instructions, a Wi-fi extension adapter (if you have the Xbox Wi-fi kit connected) and a copy of Kinect Adventures.
The bundled Kinect Adventures is a good two-player game, but look out for more interesting party games in the coming months.
In-game photo feature produces some hilarious shots.
Voice and facial recognition is great and needs hardly any training.
Hard to fully determine until more games have come out.
Gaming takes a turn for the better with natural gestures and seamless drop-in/drop-out multiplayer.
Kinect is a bold initiative from Microsoft that might not necessarily change the way we play games today, but it certainly will challenge it.