What’s Killing My Social Life This Week – Gonna Get Myself Kinected

I’m not exactly sure how, but I just know this will somehow lead to the downfall of humanity. Seriously, it should have “Skynet” written all over it.

Hello again dear Evil Geeks! Welcome to another edition of What’s Killing My Social Life This Week, our regular tribute to all things geeky in the gaming world. This week we’re headed somewhere few hardcore gamers dare to go: Off the couch and prancing around in front our Kinect!

For the Evil Geeks here in the Brotherhood with gamer scores north of 25,000, a night of gaming usually involves a marathon session of whatever game we’re playing this week, occasionally interrupted by trips to the bathroom with a second act in the kitchen to grab another beer (if you’re playing online and wearing a headset, it’s technically not drinking alone). So the very idea of an innovation that changes that dynamic would naturally sound a little bit threatening to a hardcore gamer. Instead of being able to lounge in the big comfy chair, while dodging AK-47 fire in your favorite shooter, now you’re going to be on your feet actually dodging that gunfire, hopping around your living room like some broke ass Spider-Man clone. I initially wasn’t too fired up about grabbing a Kinect, I just didn’t see the appeal. My only previous experience with motion based gaming was the tsunami of disappointment that was the Nintendo Power Glove. I was so hyped up about that when it came out, then when I got it on Christmas I remember being so let down by how crappily it worked. I tried to program in some of the various control settings, but always just defaulted back to old #14, which was the one that just let you use the control pad on the arm of the glove. But DAMN did that thing look freaking cool! If I could find mine, I’d probably still wear it every now and then. Maybe just when company comes over. Also, to me the Kinect seemed like a cheap grab by Microsoft to scoop up some of the casual gamer types (that’s a classy way of saying “little kids and old people”) who’d been lured to console gaming via the Nintendo Wii. The $150 price tag didn’t help it out much either. The company that sold us underdeveloped, outright faulty consoles now wants us to pony up more cash for some other product that probably won’t work either?!?!(Who doesn’t remember the maddening days of the red ring of death? My personal favorite experience of that era was when I sent my red-ringed paper weight in for repair and after a 2 week wait, was promptly sent a new box THAT IMMEDIATELY RED-RINGED ON ME! AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!) However, once Microsoft dropped the price to 99 bucks, it started to sound like a better deal to me. Becasue of the new low price and that fact that Microsoft was pretty much making it inevitable that we’d be forced to get one, I caved and picked up a Kinect, which comes with the game Kinect Adventures. I also picked up Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2013 and something called Game Party In Motion. After checking out all three games I’m willing to admit that I kind of got into the whole motion/gaming thing. It’s not something I can see myself doing every day, but I’ve been firing it up a few times a week. I was also surprised to see that the system was pretty intelligent. It moves around scanning the room on its own, knows when you’re holding a controller, and can even recognize faces. The motion aspect really does add more dimension to the gaming experience, at least in the few games I played. It’s entertaining, but I can also see how the novelty of the device can wear off quickly.

It works well for the most part, but it’s not all unicorns and rainbows with the Kinect. I find that I have to repeat movements sometimes before the game will actually execute the move. This is only mildly annoying in the casual games I played, but I can see how this would be infuriating if you were trying to play a fast paced FPS with the Kinect, where one slight jerk of you leg could mean you end up taking a bullet. I found the same problem with the voice recognition system also, constantly repeating such phrases as “Xbox, GO HOME!” Who knows, maybe it’s like a Beetlejuice type thing where I have to repeat “Xbox” three times before it actually does anything? Also, you’ll be treated to the horrifying humiliation of that evil little box taking your picture in less than dignifying poses as you leap about your living room and having them shown to you or even posted on your Facebook page when you’re done. Yeah, that’s what the world needs to see, me doing a layout in the middle of my apartment, with half my ass crack hanging out. This brings up another interesting point: when in sweet holy hell is this thing taking pictures of me? Is it doing it while I’m not aware of it? If so… I may need to go hide some incriminating evidence. Also, tell me there isn’t a super secret vault somewhere in Microsoft HQ just FILLED with Kinect recorded porn! I guarantee you it exists!

The games were a mixed bag in terms of their playability. Right now I’d have to say that Tiger Woods is my favorite of the bunch to play. I’ve played plenty of the older versions of this game and wasn’t really expecting anything new, but the motion element really added to the enjoyment of it. The fact that I was the one actually controlling the swings of the club, instead of just aiming with the controller and pressing a few buttons, got me so much more interested in the round I was playing. Even though I was playing by myself, I can certainly understand how the motion system would make it a more competitive game. Game Party was also a pleasant surprise. It’s basically a collection of drinking games; darts, beer pong, pool, horseshoes and many others, which lends itself well to party situations where you have a bunch of people playing. How awesome would it be to play an entire night of beer pong and not have to wake up to the ungodly stench of an Evil Lair full of Solo cups half-filled with stale Sam Adams? As for Kinect Adventures, I can say I’ve officially played this game all of the times I’m ever going to play it. It’s a little too kiddie for me, but luckily it’s free so I’m not going to knock it too hard.

“Every time you turn the console off, we begin plotting against you. Hee hee hee…” Digital avatar doom is right around the corner I tell ya’!

After toying around with the Kinect for a while I can say that it is actually pretty fun to play, but it seems like there’s some room for improvement. If you’re only a casual gamer, then this is probably more geared to your tastes. Hardcore gamers might be averse to it, but I will recommend giving it a second thought. It seems like something that, when perfected, is really going to change the experience of gaming for the better, but unfortunately we’re just not quite there yet. Microsoft is rumored to be at work on a new Kinect model that is supposedly vastly superior to the current one, maybe it’ll be the one to sell everyone from noobs to vets, on motion based gaming.

WHO WATCHES THE EVIL GEEKS?!?! Well, apparently the Kinect does.

About C-Mart

A true Marvel Zombie, die-hard George Romero fan, Star Wars addict, Whovian, and life-long gamer. I make with the Tweets @CMart0979

Posted on September 27, 2012, in Reviews, Video Games, What's Killing My Social Life This Week and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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