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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