E3 2011: The last Kinect preview you’ll ever need


Above: Scan objects to turn them into in game characters 

Hands down, the best thing at the Kinect demo, and it’s available now and free of charge! Thing is, it’s not really a game, more like an exercise room where folks can explore Kinect’s possibilities. The developers explained that the impetus behind Fun Labs was to get game makers familiar with all the things Kinect can do, and really experiment with its untapped potential and underutilized concepts in order to see how they can be incorporated into future games. And I’m 100% behind them on this, because that’s precisely what Kinect desperately needs right now.

Above: Everybody do The Dumbass! 

Contrary to the way all this reads, I’m not anti-Kinect, nor anti-motion controls. I think there’s a better future for them… somewhere, but almost nobody is thinking about what this thing really means to engrossing gameplay. Just like the Wii, developers haven’t really utilized Kinect any further than what was showcased during the press conference when it was first unveiled. Draw, Sports, Yoga, Dance, Repeat. Judging by the press conferences, didn’t it seem like it took everyone involved a year to remember that Kinect has voice recognition? I understand how difficult it can be when companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony ask devs to completely rethink how they make games based on new hardware, so I love that Kinect Fun Labs is like a Danger Room for bold new ideas, wrapped in an adorable, user-friendly shell that anyone can use. Facial recognition, real-time rendering, instant animation, voice manipulation – all stuff that shows off just how technologically impressive Kinect truly is, and just how little anybody’s bothered to utilize it.


Above: Just like park employees, there’s no facial hair allowed 

I’m torn on this one. As a giant Disney nerd, I’m batshit in love with concept. Unfortunately, the gameplay isn’t for me, nor many of our readers without kids. I mean, it’s fantastic to see one of the world’s foremost architectural marvels painstakingly recreated as an interactive, readily explorable environment featuring – SQUEEE! – huggable versions of our favorite costumed characters. But to that end, it’s more like a premium edition of Google Street View your avatar can stroll around in.

FUN FACT: The price of both Kinect and Disneyland Adventures would cost me more than a flight and admission to Disneyland! 

The rest of the gameplay, which allows players to enter levels inspired by real-world park attractions, is little more than a pretty marathon of mini-game waggle and coin collection we’ve all grown weary of. “No fail” gameplay doesn’t show me a lot of incentive to endure these uninspired asides; however, I’m positive kids’ll have a blast with it based on the license alone. And there’s certainly a place for that in modern gaming, but it’d probably be rude of me to attempt to parlay my enthusiasm for all things Disney into writing about Disneyland Adventures as if it were something the hardcore gives a rat’s ass about playing. Oh, but the dev told me it’s technically not impossible to have an in-game Splash Mountain! And there’s also a possibility of recreating retired attractions, and who wouldn’t want to jam out with The Country Bears?! Hello? Still with me, Halo fans….


Football: Are you ready for some? 

Regardless of how sad it makes me to see Rare, the developers who brought us Goldeneye, Donkey Kong Country, Blast Corps, RC Pro Am, pouring its heart and soul into a rip-off of the Wii Sports genre most of the world has moved past, I walked into my final demo with an open mind! Then they showed me golf, and my cynicism came roaring back with the strength of a thousand fiery horses.

Above: It’s all been leading up to this… 

Just what the world needs, a newly complicated way to enjoy a widely accessible sport that costs less to play in real life then the platform the game’s on. Switch clubs, practice shots, salute Kinect to view the course terrain, recalibrate Kinect, really want to leave the demo… Oh, there was a new spin on football, where you can play as a quarterback tossing timing-based passes, but the only thing I really liked about it was that you got to yell “Hike!” to start the play. Once again, the motion controls worked somewhere around 50% of the time, but I’m too bored to go into specifics. Whatever, if you buy the game I can guarantee you’ll play it when company comes over up to five times. And really, what more can you ask from a Kinect game?

Jun 22, 2011

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  • BlitzkriegBEAR7 - July 4, 2011 3:07 a.m.

    "...I'm going to try and choose my words carefully... This is the worst thing that's ever existed." I laughed so hard I couldn't breath.
  • mothbanquet - June 27, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Chris, that was a great article. You've confirmed what we've all known/feared for a while now and you didn't mince words. Score one for gaemz jarnalistic int3grity.
  • Azralph13 - June 24, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    Hardcore gamer-"MWWWWAAAAAHHHH baby want big game, baby not like Kinect" Microsoft-"Kinect isnt really for you mate, its optional in all our adult games" Hardcore gamer-WAAAAA! stop making games for kids, im more important, baby jealous!!" Microsoft-"We still have Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, Battlefield 3, LA Noire, GTA V, Gears of war,Halo and call of duty...we spent a lot of money getting those exclusive maps you know! We have loads of stuff for you! Hardcore Gamer-"But I like to feel more important! If kids can play the same console I can it means I feel less Hardcore.I hate Disneyland Kinect!!" Microsoft_"Why are you mocking kids games? do you spend all day making fun of Teletubbies, these games are for kids" Hardcore Gamer-"Screw you! we buy your games!! That means we own you!!" Microsoft-"It doesn't work like that.Anyway, just think where this technology will be in 10years, now we have put the research in." Hardcoregamer-"Fuck you!! Im entitled!! Do what i say!! Mwwwahh!!" Microsoft-"Why the hell do you we try and please these people!"
  • Xtapolapopotamus - June 23, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    God dammit, Chris. As an aspiring gamz jarnalologist, seeing your writing makes me wanna punch myself in the dick. Your writing is fantastic, always entertaining and damn good at getting a point across. I love that you were chosen to do this Kinect stuff, since you convey passive-aggressiveness so well in your writing. Dammit. Fucking awesome article.
  • Crabhand - June 23, 2011 7:43 a.m.

    I'm all for Chris looking ridiculous, but watching him flail around for the Kinect demos was painful to watch. You deserve a raise for what you had to go through :(
  • MercurialForce - June 23, 2011 3:13 a.m.

    More reasons why I don't plan on buying motion controlled things until we can make a Holodeck.
  • FunnyNameHere - June 23, 2011 2:59 a.m.

    poor Chris
  • Fiirestorm21 - June 23, 2011 2:21 a.m.

    Amen, GamesRadar.
  • peachguy - June 22, 2011 10:54 p.m.

    hilarious article. who would spend money on this crap? DO THE DUMBASS
  • Manguy17 - June 22, 2011 10:52 p.m.

    "if somone gets tired and jumps off to grab a beer" beer? BEER!? NOT FAMILY FREINDLY!!!!!
  • foxyexplosion - June 22, 2011 10:29 p.m.

    boy do these look bad, unsurprising! Just a thought, but it would be cool if you got a peripheral with star wars (which goes against kinect arbitrary branding I know) that had a dpad or some better, coherent way to work the guy. Wait, maybe just a controller would help a lot more. yep, nothing to see here.
  • Camberf - June 22, 2011 10:12 p.m.

  • CancerMan - June 22, 2011 9:54 p.m.

    Most of these look horrible, but I still like the technology somehow.
  • Letter11 - June 22, 2011 9:53 p.m.

    I don't have a Kinect but I've played enough of Dance Central to know it's a great game and I expect the sequel will be too. But man, Kinect Star Wars looks so broken... "I’m going to try and choose my words carefully… This is the worst thing that’s ever existed." Hilarious man, you looked so funny flailing you arms in vain. I think Fun Labs is a cool idea but it's sad that they need to create these tools hoping desperately that more developers will come on board the Kinect wagon. It seems they would be satisfied even if developers would just "throw in" some Kinect features. Somehow so many people own these things with really limited amounts quality software in sight.
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - June 22, 2011 9:37 p.m.

    Chris, I think you're forgetting the very, very unique ways Kinect is going to let you interact with advertisements. In light of that, Kinect is totally not a pathetic, glorified Eyetoy.
  • joedix88 - June 23, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    Is it me or is everyone tempted to scan their penis in that Build A Buddy thing. :P
  • Anderstmnt - June 23, 2011 4:14 a.m.

    I hate Kinect, I hate Microsoft, they took Rare Ware away from me, I was looking forward to Kameo 2, the Next Banjo game & the next Conker game, but nope, stupid Kinect was invented, I was planing on keeping my Xbox360, but nope, Kinect came & I said "goodbye Xbox, I know I will not need you anymore, I don't care about Halo or Gears anymore, because it's not worth going through this.", I am honestly heart-broken.
  • Darkhawk - June 23, 2011 2:44 a.m.

    You know what? Why don't we just call Lucasarts out for what they are: LAZY. What used to be a developer known for some of the best and most original titles now rests on the laurels of a few licenses and doesn't try anything new. Motion-controlled sword swinging (and force push, for that matter!) have already been proven in the excellent Red Steel 2. There's no excuse for their not to be a Star Wars equivalent. Hell, just get Ubisoft to re-skin RS2 and I'd be happy.
  • Yeager1122 - June 23, 2011 2:36 a.m.

    Looks so crappy and yet every kid still wants one just heard somee kid talking about how they want this more than a wii.
  • SideOfBeef - June 23, 2011 2:30 a.m.

    Hearts for the article in general, but isn't it kind of contradictory to say you'll never need to go to another Kinect demo, then say you think Kinect has potential that just isn't being exploited at the moment?