Video games have come a long way since the days of “Pong” and “Duck Hunt.” The Nintendo and Dreamcast have been replaced with game consoles so sophisticated and advanced in technology that the footage shown on the screen almost appears life-like and real, rather than cartoon-like! Gaming technology has stepped up even more with controllers that are able to sense motion and coordinate your game play to that motion. The Xbox 360’s extension, Kinect, has taken this a step further. Instead of the controller sensing the motion and adjusting game play, you are the controller. That’s right! Using the Kinect extension for the Xbox 360, the game will adapt to your motions and movements, rather than the commands punched in or the motion of a controller!
The new Kinect sensor allows you to simply step in front of your console and instantly recognizes you and your actions and applies them to your game! If you have to jump, then you jump! If you need to kick, or move left, you do it and the game recognizes it through the Kinect sensor! The Kinect is a great technological advance that will hopefully encourage more physical activity in it’s players!
When we were setting up the Kinect, I was a little worried about how accurate the timing would be or if there would be a lag in the system that might affect game play, after all, games are often about speed and quick response, but to my happy surprise, everything was incredibly quick in response, with no lag time, and no delays, for the most part. The time between my actual movements and the reception of these movements in the game was phenomenal! I couldn’t be more impressed in that regard. I did notice there was some lag, especially if I moved incredibly fast though. My more normal paced and slower movements had absolutely no lag at all though.
Kinect doesn’t work with existing video games, however. Just as some video games for the Wii console require the nunchuk for play, certain games can only be played using the Kinect extension. The games have been specially labelled with purple cases, in order to help prevent confusion. You might be used to seeing the lime-green xbox cases, but the lime-green color of those cases has been replaced for games that are meant for the Kinect.
One thing I didn’t like, was using hand gestures to navigate through the Kinect menu. I found myself using the regular controller on the menu instead. After all, I feel kind of silly waving my arms around in the air as it is during the game, but I just felt ridiculous using it for the menu selections.
One of the neatest aspects of the Kinect extension is that it allows voice control over the system! If you’re watching a movie you can actually tell your Xbox to pause, fast-forward or rewind! Of course, if there’s other noise in the room, your command could get messed up, but for the most part, it did what we told it too!
The Kinect was overall a very satisfying purchase and although it’s not perfect, it really surprised us with how great it really was! The Kinect extension definitely makes a great gift idea for your favorite Xbox gamer!