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Reviewed: Microsoft Kinect
Author:Michael Ahlf
Time for some hardware.

I grabbed a Kinect shortly before Christmas, and I've tried it out off and on since. A few games - sports titles, dance titles, Gunstringer, things like that.

Suffice to say, there's a lot of hype about this $150 motorized camera. It gets some really cool hype, too. Things like hackers making lightsaber fights in expectation of an upcoming lightsaber-based game for instance.

That being said... I'm just not feeling it. For one thing, the Kinect requires a TON of space. You think your gaming room is big? Got a nice 12x12 room with a couch in it, big TV? Get ready to haul that couch out of the room if you want any hope of playing this thing in 2-player mode.

But does it play well? Uhm... sorta. It wants a LOT of ambient light to do its thing; the infrared camera mode doesn't really cut it. Kinect is a light-hog, and if your game room is the standard gamer-darkness, you're going to need to drag in a few floor lamps to the corners by the TV, too.

And the games? Well, they're nice, but they get old fast, in a "Hey, Wii Sports was cool... before it got boring..." sort of way. If you're only playing once in a while when you can get friends over, or playing with your kids (hey, it's the 2010s, gamers can have kids now, hopefully growing up to be little gamers themselves) then it may not get old as fast, but it's still gimmicky, especially the "party" type games.

The final insult is the "motion sensitive interface." Really, it looks cool for about 5 minutes, then comes the realization: I'm standing here, holding my arm in the air and waving like a weirdo, when I could just use the controller and get my game started a lot quicker. Even funnier is holding your hand on your hip for the exit command... and holding it... and holding it... now STOP holding it because you're in the exit screen... oops held it too long!

I was looking forward to reviewing the Kinect more positively but - well, I'll be honest, it's a gimmick. Microsoft needed motion sensing, and this was their solution. May there be software to correct the flaws... soon.

Added:  Monday, March 19, 2012
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf


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