Over my extended holiday break, I acquired a Microsoft Kinect for my Xbox 360. I picked one up along with Kinectimals, arguing that the kitty-based title would be more relaxing then the activities in Kinect Adventures and allow more people to try the technology out. I was wrong.
First off, the Kinect tech is really fun – when it works. I’ve had quite a few play sessions botched by the Kinect losing track of me (even after rearranging the room to allow for a full eight-plus foot play space) and it occasionally refuses to recognize me despite repeated ID calibrations. I also swear that Microsoft is probably storing pictures of all the dumb poses we make during the calibration and Kinect Adventures for future blackmail.
The games themselves are hit-and-miss. The delay between your movement the Kinect’s response can be a killer. Rallyball, the most straight-forward game I’ve tried so far, requires you to start your swing prior to the ball reaching you, which can result in a complete whiff if the ball happens to ricochet along the way.
Kinectimals, however, should come with a freaking warning label, something about how it’s NOT a relaxing, Nintendogs-like experience. Seriously, I had to jump and “star jump” – meaning jumping and extending your arms and legs out in a star pattern – so many times while training my stupid cat that I took way too much pleasure in running my lion cub over with my RC car again and again. If only I could have trample Bumble, that fairy/cat freak job that acts as your constant nag – I mean, guide.
Last night I pulled out Wii Sports Resort for a change and I can tell you that the difference is marked. While I always felt like I was flailing randomly on the Kinect, I felt a close tie to my Mii while he bowled, played table tennis and shot baskets. For my money, Nintendo has Microsoft’s motion controls beat, hands-down. Since I lack a PlayStation 3, I cannot compare either of them to Sony’s Move at this time. Does Sony best Nintendo, or can Mario’s Makers keep their crown? Only time will tell.