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Microsoft Creative Director Kudo Tsunoda has been trying to justify Kinect. Weirdly. Well to be fair, his basic logic is sound, but the example he used to illustrate it? Not so sound. Read on, and I'll attempt to explain his crazy talk.
It seems Tsunoda was bemoaning the criticisms of core gamers levelled at last week's Kinect E3 line-up. His argument was that real core gamers shouldn't slate something just because it isn't a shooter. Instead they should be interested in experiencing and appreciating everything the video game medium can do. And I'm certainly going to back him on that one. In fact it's more a case of him backing me, given that I wrote this piece on that very matter weeks ago. Cheers Kudo.
Above: Just like a Mario game. The boat is even designed a bit like his hat
But the Kinect-based example he used to prove this statement? Less water-tight:
'If you think about a game like Mario Bros., would you say Mario Bros. is a core or casual game? That's exactly what we're doing with the Kinect products.'
'But if you look at River Rush, from Kinect Adventures, that in a lot of ways is like a platformer game. It's all the same things you see in platformer games. The way you summed up how you would feel about Mario Bros. is exactly the way we look at the Kinect games. There's the core gaming depth and skills, and the casual approachability that lets you get into it and play it right away'
Hmmm. I can understand why Mario games seem like a good, broad-brush example. They're known in the mainstream, everyone loves them, and their friendly presentation belies fathoms of depth. But as a Kinect metaphor? No, I don't think they really work at all.
Above: A pond. Also like a Mario game because they both contain toads
The thing with any core Mario game - except perhaps the first Super Mario Galaxy - is that after the introductory levels they get bitch hard and incredbly complex. They're not exactly an MMO, but the problems that need to be solved, the sheer creativity of those problems, and the razor-sharp twitch reflexes required to overcome them are desperately hardcore.
And the reason Mario's 'approachable' control inputs take away a lot of the stress of that stuff? Incredibly tight, precisely-implimented, digital button presses which make complex co-ordinated tasks easier to pull off. I hope I'm completely wrong, but so far neither Kinect nor River Rush seem to present either the design complexity or the control precision of the series Tsunoda is comparing them to.
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