Kinect For

I got a Kinect for my Xbox 360 for Christmas. It’s an amazing device to consider. It has brilliant potential, but right now it seems confined to the baby carriage of minigame collections.

I know there are some better games out there now. Even the improvement from launch games to current Kinect games seems tiny to what our imaginations hope for with an accessory like the Kinect.

Let me start with some of the flaws of the system before I get into the good stuff. Sure, it’s expensive and needs a lot of room, but those are the things you know going in. My first complaint is the new dashboard. It’s allegedly designed to work better with Kinect. I had it before I got the Kinect and hated it. Now I have Kinect and still hate it. It feels like a chore to do just about anything beyond launching your disk or quicklaunch games. Voice command helps with this but it seems pretty limited. Sure it can take me to the games tab, but that’s about it.

Next up is lag. The best games I’ve played disguise the input lag, but it’s still there. Sure ‘Minority Report’ controls are cool, but lag can kill it. I understand the need to keep costs down that resulted in pulling the processor and memory from the Kinect, but it could have been so cool if the had kept it.

Another problem is kids. Actually my kids love the Kinect. The problem is that either the games or the hardware have problems with the height differential between me and my kids. Two kids playing side by side is better than me playing with them. That’s too bad, and I hope they solve that one.

I suppose I could complain about occlusion, but that’s really nitpicking. There’s a reason the Kinect captures our imagination, and it has nothing to do with the hardware or software limitations. It’s all about magic.

Kinect can be magical at times, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. I’m saying Kinect works the way we think magic should work. We wave our hands and the world changes. As an aside, wouldn’t Google Earth (ok, Bing Earth) be a cool app for Kinect. Spin the globe with your hands. Lean in to zoom in, and lean out to go back. Anyway, everyone from Jedi to magicians make the wondrous happen with a wave of their hands. That’s why Fruit Ninja is such a great bundled app. It’s all about waving your hands to make the magic happen.

I’ll write some more later about the Kinect. I don’t know if everyone should own one, but everyone should try it out some time.

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