Kinect: A Shaky Start To A Love Affair

After falling in love with the Kinect at a couple of media nights, I decided I couldn’t wait for a loan unit to arrive from Microsoft, so I went out and purchased one on the weekend. I was keen to show my wife and kids just how easy it was to ‘be the controller’ and how much fun the whole concept was.Maybe I should have read the full instruction guide rather than the quick set up guide.It was a lovely sunny afternoon when I rearranged the TV and dvd players to make room for the Kinect unit. But a little sun in my eyes wasn’t going to stop me from introducing my family to the best thing in gaming.Everything was plugged in and there was enough space to try it out, so I turned on the XBox and went through the set up routine. It wasn’t quite as smooth sailing as I expected, but push on through I did until it was time to play some Kinect Adventures.

This is where it got really frustrating. 

The Kinect didn’t seem to want to recognise half of my gestures and had my on-screen avatar acting like it was having an epileptic fit. I was staring to get annoyed – feeling like I must have been duped by Microsoft, whose Kinect units always worked so well. My wife was getting frustrated and had turned from mildly interested to openly hostile to this new piece of technology I had welcomed into our home.The kids seeing both parents getting frustrated and the Kinect so obviously not working soon figured out the hard truth: they wouldn’t be getting a turn.With things having already gone to custard in a major way, I declared it was ice cream time and took the family out for a summer evening treat. It was whilst eating my frozen treat that it dawned on me. What if the direct sunlight on me was effecting the Kinect’s ability to track my movements?On returning home I waited for the sun to settle past the neighbours roof, pushed the couch back to give us some more room, and fired up the XBox and Kinect for one final try. It was truly amazing. With the sunlight gone the Kinect instantly recognsied that there was someone ready to play, and just as it had in my previous media event experiences, worked like a dream, following my every move.The kids instantly saw that it was working, and working so well that they ran off to get mum so that they could show her how cool itwas. It was working so well that she joined in and kept playing until she was too exhausted to carry on.It seems like the Kinect’s only weakness is that it has the heart of a vampire and as such has an aversion to direct sunlight. This should have been apparent to me, as I hate sunlight when I’m playing games – it either gets in your eyes or creates nasty reflections on the TV screen.But once we were up and running in the twilight, the Kinect proved it’s worth with the whole family quickly realising why I had been raving about it since my first play a few months earlier.

The Kinect really is an evolutionary jump in the area of family/party gaming.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be playing a fair bit of Kinect. We’ve already got a few games to review, so we’ll keep you updated with how the Kinect expereince is going, and what’s worth playing and what isn’t.

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