Last week while we were in L.A. for the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, we had time to play with some of the games that are in development to launch this fall. We tried our hands at all of the games available to us, and we enjoyed playing ALL of them! You can't help but smile and giggle watching others control the games with their bodies, and then doing it yourself. We had a blast.
I'd have to say our favorite games were Dance Central, Kinectimals, Your Shape, Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports. These are some of our personal experiences with the games, so if you're looking for a more authoritative and technical look at the technology, check out my piece for Techlicious.
One of the overall crowd favorites was Dance Central, and while a great addition to any party, I can totally see tweens, dance teams and cheer teams and sorrorities having slumber parties playing this game all night long. (Or maybe, that's what I would have done. ;-)) Developed by Harmonix, the same company behind Rock Band, and you can see the similarities when you play it. I can see my sisters and me holding a dance-off next holiday season between us and the kiddos. It was fun watching others get their swag on, and I laughed watching Li'l Boo and c2cDad get funky.
There was only one game that did not produce a sweat while playing it: Kinectimals. This is a game where you can pet a tiger, and it mimics you like it's your pet dog. Yolu can guide it through an obstacle course, play fetch, pet it or make it jump or play dead among other tricks. It was cute and endearing - especially when the tiger cub licks the screen to give you a kiss.
The others all had us breaking a light sweat within the first few minutes. You can see Li'l Boo was playing Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures hard and heavy by the way his hair is matted down (see below). Hee-hee. I love that these are video games that get you moving! He actually did a decent job at playing the Riccochet game, which we played a prototype of back in NYC a few months ago. I think the river rafting option of this game will be a big hit with kids of all ages.
Li'l Boo LOVED bowling and the hurdles for Kinect Sports. He's actually getting pretty good at video game bowling, so I think I'll head to our local bowling alley with him the next terribly humid day this summer and teach him how to bowl in real life with the heavy bowling ball and all. He'll be incredibly excited for that!
I liked the Your Shape video game, in particular the yoga and boxing options. I LOVED that it included an on-screen calories burned count, in addition to the point score of the game. (Which I'm thinking the calorie count could just substitute for a point score on this game, because that's what I'd really be watching . . . though I know c2cDad was preoccupied with getting the high score while we were demoing the game ;-))
You do need some space to be able to comfortably play the games that will launch this fall for Kinect. Just like with Guitar Hero or Rock Band, you really need to be about six feet away from the Kinect sensor in order for it to track all of your movements accurately. I can see Kinect for Xbox 360 being used in school and team environments, not only to teach steps or moves, but for science experiments measuring reaction times and sensory experiences, physics class activities, or as cardio or warm-ups for physical education or sports teams...the possibilities seem limitless and I'm excited to learn even more about what's to come using this platform next year. Check out some of our video of these games:
Disclosure: Microsoft Xbox 360 sponsored the trip to L.A. to attend the world premiere of Project Natal as imagined by Cirque du Soleil, and have some hands-on time with the soon-to-launch Kinect games.