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Kinect anybody.... no not like that!

Posted by pseudoRequiem On 2010-10-22 4 comments

I made this post on gametrailers.com in response to MilitiaMan trying to get people to buy Xbox Kinect. I thought it was worth throwing around to get an opinion or two.

MilitiaMan makes a point by saying that all launches are fairly weak due to the new tech being hard to develop for until people get the hang of it. I get that. I just can't agree with him/her that as time goes by that Kinect games will get any better.

One of my favorite things about games is that the control schemes are usually familiar from game to game. This makes them easy to pick up and play. Since the original Halo, left stick to move right stick to look has been a first person and third person staple. I personally have strong resistance to learning a new way to do the exact same things on the same console. That 'gimmick' should not sell anyone on the validity of this new peripheral. I will repeat what I've said many times already. Don't buy this for the gimmick or you'll use it as much as you do your Wii (casually I assume, so if you're a casual gamer ignore this post). Wait to see if they can actually pull off some new ideas for games or if the integration of the new 'controls', for lack of a better word, into existing game templates actually works.

Before the argument begins, I have a little homework for you. Assume all the voice and motion controls work perfectly ( and by perfectly, I mean better than any other voice system before it and much better motion capture than I've seen so far in the demos of Kinect.

1. How would you play a platformer? Actually jump every time you wanted to make a move and walk in place the rest of the time? If not this then think of what other actions could be used to do this. Keep this in mind.

2. How would you play an RTS using Kinect? How would you select a single unit or a group of individual units, pan the camera, select a unit type to build...

3. How would you play a FPS using Kinect? How would you aim your weapon or PAN THE CAMERA? (ok, if it worked perfectly, the camera would detect where a finger was pointing but....) How would you signal that you wanted to reload (would it be a different reload gesture for each type of weapon or the same one for all types), open a door, disarm a bomb, etc.... All these apply to 3rd person shooters as well.

4. How do you find the balance between the ease of pick up and play vs oversimplifying games? For example, the demos show driving games. Ok fine. That would probably be great, until your arms get tired but that's just nit picking. Now try to make a game one step up from that, like a Mario Kart style game. What do you do to throw and item forward, or backwards? Easy answer, just throwing a hand forward or backwards. Now step up one more level to a twisted metal style game. So many more controls are required that controls become too complex for people to actually want to learn unless they are hardcore gamers. So what does this mean for the platform?

I feel that this means everything Kinect is destined to be mini games and at best mario kart style games because that's the most complex controls their target audience are willing to learn to play. Yes, there will be some attempts at hardcore games and they will fail horribly like the original 'Red Steel' for Wii.

Bottom line, it doesn't make sense to argue that you should buy a Kinect because better games will come out for it later because you'll have to suffer through 4 years (Red Steel 2006 - Red Steel 2 2010) of crap before getting a sequel to a game that sucked that plays adequately. Don't buy a system that doesn't have any games you're dieing to play, it just encourages companies to make crap. Let the discourse begin...

I love you all, this is only my opinion as someone who has gamed since his thumbs developed and who's mother broke her wedding ring in half playing Dr. Mario :)

After I made my post the thread was closed by MilitiaMan....

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