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Kinect is like a Mario game? Really?

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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.

But what do you think? Does Kudo have a point? Is everyone being massively unfair to Kinect at the moment? Let me know in the comments, or via our red-hot Facebook and Twitter spots.

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Microsoft WTF

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24 comments

  • oufour - June 25, 2010 11:29 a.m.

    i think Mario is over done, as well as most of Nintendo. galaxy was the last innovative thing, since then it's just re hash over re hash. being like Mario doesn't seem like a good thing to me.
  • MediocreDinosaur - June 25, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    Lawl silly Kinect. Nothing at all like a Mario game. And I agree with the Mario games being hard after the first few levels. Galaxy was ridiculously easy, but some levels were hell. Goddamn Luigi's Purple Coins...
  • AlmightyFuzz - June 25, 2010 11:39 a.m.

    I think people are writing Kinect off as a load of crap too quickly. True, all the games shown so far don't appeal to core gamers, but that because they aren't supposed to. I believe Kinect has a lot of potential, and that it can be used to create great games. For example Child of Eden looks amazing, and Dance Central, while not my cup of tea, actually looks pretty good and can't have been done with Move or Wii. If people gave it more time, I'm certain developers will use it in more core-focussed games, because it doesn't just have to be used for "controller free gaming". It could easily augment the controller, because it can be used while sitting down, and it also has other features next to motion sensing that can be used. I just pray to the gods of gaming that it isn't used solely for wii game rip offs, and is sold at a reasonable price.
  • myguyfromthe80s - June 25, 2010 11:56 a.m.

    Sega Activator = Fail Virtual Boy = Fail Power Glove = Fail Dance Mats = Fail Microphones = Fail Buzz = Fail PS Eye = Fail Kinect = Fail Hardcore gamers are here to stay and they ALL sit down. 3am is not a time to be doing kung-fu kicks. These things are a fad which come and go, sure they may sell at first, but they just go the same way as all their predecessors. Pass me the pad.
  • thekeith82 - June 25, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    @oufour- are you serious? On what basis have you decided that the most successful company in videogame history is done? @myguyfromthe80s- Microphones=fail? Singstar, Lips, Rock Band and Guitar Hero would like a word.
  • lozarian - June 25, 2010 12:19 p.m.

    Guitar hero is good because of the... guitars. The mics are just something to give to your girlfriend so she'll shut up and stop complaining when you're trying to do > on expert again. "here honey, look, you can play too!"
  • myguyfromthe80s - June 25, 2010 12:50 p.m.

    @thekeith82 Singstar is the 21st century Karaoke Machine. People have been singing badly into microphones since the 1980's. My gripe really is the fact that at E3, both companies made them out to be life-changing products when they are about as original as the 32X *shudders*
  • beemoh - June 25, 2010 12:51 p.m.

    I don't like the 'core gamers only want shooters' argument in general, but especially when it comes from casual (or casual-focused) developers, because it's only ever used as a lazy way of undermining the discussion and shutting out any criticism, which is a terrible way for any alleged creative to be going about. The bulk of casual games, certainly those in the Wii [Whatever] mould, do not offer a lot of the things that core games do- that's the point, to a certain extent. So if you're going to come along with something like a Kinect, and almost exclusively show off a load of Wii [Whatever] knockoffs, then you're hardly going to endear your new hardware to the people Wii [Whatever] didn't do anything for, never mind the many more people that are a little gunshy towards casual following all the identikit arse we wound up with after everyone started chasing the Wii Cash-For-Shovelware Bandwagon- titles often exempted from criticism with a wave of the "but it's for CASUALS!" stick from their apologists. If people are complaining about Natal's lineup lacking 'core' content, then perhaps you need to do a better job of pointing it out. Maybe a shooter may have been necessary in the E3 show as a basic shorthand, the way Sony did with Move, with less shooty non-casual games on the floor- I'm not a marketer, I don't know. But just crying that people "Just Don't Understaaaaaand" isn't going to get Tsunoda anywhere.
  • myguyfromthe80s - June 25, 2010 1:15 p.m.

    Just wait for the re-hash title now with Move/Kinect controls! Yeah - I get to play Heavy Rain all over again but this time, wave an illuminous ball around! Cmon, who's tried Pro Evo with Wii controls? I nearly vomited all over my Wii-Mote. Gotta go - My Eye Pet needs me.
  • db1331 - June 25, 2010 1:24 p.m.

    I knew that Natal/Kinect was going to fail big time, but I never would have dreamed it would be as terrible as E3 has shown. It used to be laughably bad. Now I just feel bad laughing at it. This is why Kinect will fail: People who would like Kinectimals and jumping around in a pretend river raft already own a Wii. People that do own an Xbox have no desire to play Kinectimals and jump around in a pretend river raft. This is shaping up to be the biggest flop in video game history.
  • Cyberninja - June 25, 2010 1:42 p.m.

    db1331 has the right idea kinect is selling to they wrong people would a soccer mom buy a new $300 system plus another $150 in techology to do something they already own with a $200 system i dont think so.
  • Fiirestorm21 - June 25, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    It has nothing to do with whether or not they're shooters. It's the fact that you have to wave your body around like a retard to do anything that's the problem. In fact, as the article aptly indicated, if anything Mario is a great example of why Kinect is so stupid.
  • majorsuave - June 25, 2010 2:47 p.m.

    If Natal fails it is not because of the casual games or the lack of appeal to angry teens that want to shoot things dead. If it fails it will be because it is priced too high. 60-70$ is enough (and I doubt that 2 VGA cams, a mic and a motor make it cost much more than 30$ to produce.) and kinda expensive for most people and especially the casual market
  • FunkSoulBrother - June 25, 2010 2:47 p.m.

    Don't you just love when companies take crappy stuff from other companies? Oh, it is priceless.(I am not hating on mario)
  • thor0997 - June 25, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    Mario was a fine hardcore game until they made all that sport waggle bullshit on the Wii, so basicly no franchise is safe from the casual monster. It's like someone trying to get a badass dog and instead of getting say a Caucasian Shepherd or a fuck Wolfdog you get a annoying Chiwawa. "But it's still a carnivore!" Mister Tsunudo says.
  • 510BrotherPanda - June 25, 2010 3:22 p.m.

    Jumping in a raft is nothing like trying to finish the last level on Galaxy 2. I'm on Star # 242, and you have to get through 6 segments of bullet, mine, electric field, shock wave, fireball, hammer, boomerang and Goomba dodging without getting hit. I've tried 30 times so far, having amassed 70 lives to attempt it. I'm going to need someone to help play Co-Star for me...
  • 510BrotherPanda - June 25, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    Besides, for stuff like Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime, like Justin Towell said on TRUK, the Wii Remote is less noticeably a weird pointing instrument when you get really into things, other than the flicking motion for Mario's spinning. But even that becomes a normal reaction like a button press after enough time, and not caring that it's not a button enough.
  • xerroz - June 25, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    please...nothing compares to mario
  • IHateMakingUserIDs - June 25, 2010 6:01 p.m.

    @db1331 & Cyberninja: No A mom would most likely not go out and spend all that at once you are right. But what about all the young parents with 360's and kinds or are in the age range of 3-10? They could very well purcahse Kinect for thier children to use. More and more gamers are growing up and having families. And It might just be a nice way for them to spend time as a family, pretending to be rafters.
  • Rowdie - June 25, 2010 9:36 p.m.

    MS sold core gamers hard on xbox and they nailed it. They sold core gamers hard on 360 a launch and did another really good job. Live Arcade has some really good games that clear cater to the core. Kinect has exactly nothing that's aimed at core gamers. No wonder we feel a bit betrayed. Sony has wandered into it. They're way behind on getting the casual gamers so they now market to the core. It's a bit depressing that core is now second fiddle.

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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