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The Sad Truth About My Kinect

by William Schwartz

Kinect_Calibration_Card

With Kinect’s launch just two weeks behind us, early adopters of the product have had some time to allow the purchase to sink in. I am one of those early adopters and truthfully, My Kinect isn’t plugged in to my Xbox 360 right now and it hasn’t been for about a week.  And it’s not because the product isn’t good.

Kinect is extremely fun to play if only for the workout that you get from playing just about any of the titles that are out for it.  But Kinect is a truly frustrating toy for the core gamer.  Like I said, it’s fun to play with Kinect if your only intention is to just smile and make an ass out of yourself.

But as gamers, we have been trained to score points, earn powerups, avoid pitfalls, and not get tea bagged in the process.  This new toy and its applications takes those things and throws them out the window.  Instead of poorly coded glitches that cause cheap deaths you must now defer to “camera lag” or ” I need to calibrate this thing” or just “STFU the developers #%@$ this game up” as defenses for getting a volleyball spiked into your melon.

But it’s true.  No competitive game can ever be played on Kinect (allegedly).  There are far too many variables left unaccounted for. I gave up on Kinect Sports after throwing my invisible ping pong paddle and shattering it into a billion invisible pieces.  I thought it may be the calibration of the device.  Then I thought it might be the room I was using it in.  I changed the lighting conditions.  None of these things seemed to be able to allow me to play a game without some kind of technical hiccup that ultimately marred my experience.

In the end, I resigned to the problem being my condor like wingspan that cannot be recognized in a 20 x 20 office standing about 12 feet away from the camera.   I know.  We are just in the early innings of Kinect, and the best is yet to come. Coding will become better.  Games will get sharper, and developers will unlock the magical potential of Kinect.  And in the meantime we are having a fap-a-thon trying to shoot spells out of Harry Potters magic wand, on rails no less.

Maybe it’s just me, but is anyone else having a little buyers remorse for their new toy?  Or are you still enjoying it?

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