So about a month ago I was pondering my pre order of Microsoft’s upcoming motion controller, Kinect. Luckily there were a few people ahead of me at Gamestop and I had time to rationally think this thing through. After months of watching videos for Kinect, I wanted it. I still want it..kind of. Then I started to really question the purchase. Was Kinect for me? Having not played with the motion controller I can only go by what the advertising has shown me. And it looks like I’m not a 9 year old girl, at least the last time I checked. In preparation for the purchase I did my research and looked at the launch title lineup and it left a lot to be desired. Even though Tokyo Games Show revealed some interesting games on the horizon for the controller, those have yet to be seen. Even with the visions of middle aged uncoordinated white Americans flailing about while using the controller surfaced this summer, I still wanted it for some reason. Controlling my xbox with both voice and hands free, plus the video chat. It’s like Back to the Future 2.
I’m up, the oily faced clerk at Gamestop asks me what he can get for me and I squeak out ” I would like to pre-order the Kinect”, I think I actually called it Natal, but that’s what a year of brainwashing will do to a man. The clerk replies back “We stopped taking pre-orders a couple of days ago, sorry dude”. At this moment a sense of calm came over me, I was actually kind of glad. Now, ask me why I would be needing to convince myself to buy something as expensive as Kinect. Well I am an Xbox fan. I beta tested Xbox Live 8 years ago, and fell in love with it. I like the brand. I want to like Kinect, but know deep down that I am not the target audience for this toy. I’m not gonna be busting moves in my living room in Dance Central, and I sure as hell am not gonna be petting virtual animals either. Going down the list not one of the launch games looks even remotely interesting to me.
I am at a crux, I have my money for Kinect and nothing to do with it. I start asking about used Playstation 3’s, which up until this point hasn’t even crossed my mind as a potential purchase. I owned a PS2 and a PS1 but for some reason, maybe it’s just poor marketing on Sony’s behalf or the utter stranglehold that Xbox Live has on gaming life, but I kind of just pretended that it didn’t exist. I had heard from some friends about some of the outstanding games on the console. Though I can remember thinking to myself at the time Xbox, Playstation, it’s all the same really. I didn’t purchase my PS3 from Gamestop, I don’t like their return policy and since I was now considering spending $300 instead of the arrangement I had with my wallet at $150, I wanted a backup plan in case I didn’t take well to the system. So where do you go in this situation? Wal-mart, where else?
The next part of this story, shocked me to my gaming foundation. Not only did I enjoy this new but familiar console, I loved it. Buh buh buh the controller I don’t like it, yeah that took about 10 minutes to get adjusted. Teh Xbox Live is sooo much better, well not really it’s not much different at all unless you really really like party chat. One thing that is different, is the games. The quality of the games is amazing. Of course, I am talking about the exclusives. I got to play for the first time, God of War III, Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid, Little Big Planet, to name a few and guess what I was impressed. But what took the cake, what really sold me, was how good Killzone 2 was. For a console that is not built specifically around FPS games Killzone 2 is one of the best First Person Shooter games I have played in a long long time, and then I remembered its old. Then I started thinking about the future, which really got me questioning if the Xbox 360 has run it’s lifespan as a console, and Kinect is just a way for Microsoft to squeeze some more blood out of it’s stone. It wasn’t all about the games though. The Playstation 3 doesn’t have that kiddie feel that the 360 has, I liked the layout of the dashboard and contrary to many opinions I felt it to be easy to navigate and unencumbered with advertising was a big plus. I also liked that everything I needed was included with my purchase aside from the HDMI cable which I already had. I was up and running in a just a couple of minutes and a Blockbuster games pass was all I needed to catch up on all that I missed.
Sony hasn’t completely taken me over, I still enjoy my old 360 just the same. Though, I couldn’t have made a better purchase to expand my gaming options and I didn’t need a gimmick to do so. So, thanks Gamestop/Microsoft/Supply and Demand Marketing I am ultimately grateful that you will be unable to fulfill my purchase of Kinect at launch and I will happily be playing some of the best games of this generation because of it.