First it was Nintendo Wii with MotionPlus, then Sony PlayStation with Playstation Move and now Microsoft introduced the Xbox Kinect.
Unlike MotionPlus or the Move, the Xbox allows you as the player, or rather your body, to be the controller. There are constraints when holding a controller but by utilizing the body and its movements, it keeps you from standing in the same place and flailing your arms like on other motion controllers.
The Kinect itself is a foot-long rectangular black box that consists of a camera, motion sensors and a microphone. Its motorized “head” sits on a small square base and adjusts itself automatically to the appropriate viewing angle.
The Kinect retail price separate from the actual Xbox console is about $150.
Setting up the Kinect is very simple. All a person would need to do is connect it to the Xbox and let it run. The Kinect uses voice commands, so before the first use it takes few minutes to measure the ambient noise of the room. Unfortunately, the voice commands are a bit limited.
At the main menu of the Kinect, known as the Kinect Hub, the user’s hand is used as a cursor. Then they simply wave a hand and the sensors will pick up the motion. A large hand icon will appear in correspondence to the motion of the hand. When the user wants to select something, he or she can just keep the hand hovered over the selection for a few seconds and the option will be selected.
This new way of using the body as the controller may take a little getting used to but it is by no means difficult.
The Xbox Kinect has a variety of compatible games that are suitable for all ages. Some games include Kinect Adventures, Dance Central, Kinectamils, Kinect Joy Ride, Kinect Sports and Your Shape.
Although the games may not be entirely unique in themselves, with the Kinect people are able to experience them in a way that you have not before.
The only downfall to these body controlled interactive games is that there needs to be a good deal of space to play efficiently. There should be at least a six by-six foot space to play, and people may find themselves moving furniture before they can even get started.
One of the best features is the stopaction camera that is used intermittently during games. While playing particular games the camera will randomly take freeze frames of the player, and then play them back in a slide show at the end of the game so users can see just how silly they look when they play.
Another added bonus is the video Kinect. Thanks to the VGA camera and multi-array microphone, users are able to video chat with their friends more freely than they have before.
As a whole, the Xbox Kinect is most definitely worth the price and moving the furniture in the living room. It is easy to use, fun to play and it gets people off their seats and moving like no other motion sensor game today.