Xbox Kinect Review

I know, I’m a little late to the party here, but we didn’t get one until after Christmas, and I wanted to talk about it after the newness has worn off. Last year Microsoft came out the the Kinect and sold millions and millions of them. This ingenious device allows your body to be the controller. unlike the Wii and PS3 Move which use handheld controllers to track movement, the Kinect scans a space in your living room and senses your movement without need of a one.

My kids loved it immediately. The sensor, which costs a whopping $150 by itself, or can be purchased bundled with a console, comes with one game: Kinect Adventures. The day we unboxed it, we played for hours. Even my dad got involved. Three generations were jumping around the living room in front o the TV. I wont review the game, other than to say it is fun and allows you to experience the Kinect right away. I will say that once we got Kinect Sports, the kids don’t play Kinect Adventures much anymore.

Like any piece of software driven hardware, the real test is in the software. The Kinect could be the most accurate sensor out there (it’s not) and have the highest quality camera (It doesn’t- VGA resolution) and still be a boat anchor if the games are not fun. We own three Kinect games, and have played with some demos. I can tell you, it’s fun.

It’s not Forza 3, or Halo Reach, or Gears of War. These games are pretty much for casual gamers. People who are looking to have a nice fun evening will love the Kinect. My kids love to play with it, and that’s after having it 2 months. There are quite a few toys we have that they have stopped playing with in less time.

The hardware is what you would expect from a first generation of device. It does sport a VGA resolution camera, and you can use it to video chat with your Xbox Live friends. I tried it, and was annoyed at the slow frame rate. But it does a passable job of showing you to the them and them to you while you talk. The camera will automatically zoom to where it thinks you are, so if the dog walks by, the image may shift suddenly.

The one thing you have to know is that you ned a lot of room for the Kinect to work properly. I mean, a lot. You need an eight foot by eight foot space to play most games with two people. I know people who have had to rearrange their apartment just to get close. We move our couch back when we play, and then drag it back up after we are done.

The biggest life-changing thing about the Kinect for me is the other game we own. A month ago I got a fitness game: Your Shape, Fitness Evolved. Suddenly, I am working out 3-4 times a week. I’ve been doing it for a month now and I can feel the results. I feel better. I’ve even started to drop some weight (not a huge amount, but I have not changed my eating habits.). Something about taking the act of exercising and tying it to a video game with achievements causes something to click in my head, and I want to work out now. I don’t want to go to the gym. I want to stand in front of my TV and look foolish as I move around during the virtual classes. I don’t know way, but there it is.

The Kinect gets video game players off the couch and moving, and in my case it even gets me exercising.

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