You may be surprised to know that I hold the world record for the 100m sprint and the hurdles…or at least I do on Kinect Sports, just one of the games you can play on the new Kinect for Xbox 360.
Revolutionising casual gaming, the Kinect is a device that works with the Xbox 360 gaming console by scanning your body and tracking your movements so that your body becomes the controller instead of having to use actual controllers. It features very fancy optical technology that works with a camera and…er…after that I get confused.
There is much to love about the Kinect because it’s very Matrix meets Minority Report meets several shades of awesome. Easy to use and setup, probably my only (minor) criticisms are that 1) unless you have a large gaff (lucky you), you’ll need to do a little furniture rearranging when you play and 2) it has its occasional quirks where it decides not to pick up your hand on the screen or something.
If you already own an Xbox 360 (I know a lot of parents who do!), the Kinect is a natural and affordable extension that will open up a whole new gaming experience. It comes with Kinect Adventures, a highly addictive journey through 20 different thrilling adventures – we recently hung out with friends competing to see who was the better rafter!
My absolute favourites are Kinect Sports which lets you compete in athletics, boxing, volleyball, table tennis, and football. I’m obsessed with the track and field which has you doing the 100m sprint, the javelin, long jump, discus, and hurdles. It’s automatically set to beginner which explains why it was a doddle to whup my opponents, but be warned, competing as a professional, particularly on the sprint and hurdles is excruciating! Volleyball is fantastic…it’s just a shame that my friend got carried away – she belted in our pendant shade!
Although I have a great love of the Nintendo Wii, I have to say that Your Shape, the fitness ‘game’ is fantastic. I will write an entirely separate post about it but this takes fitness to a whole new level and seeing your actual self on screen instead of an avatar is brilliant and motivating. Due to the way the Kinect scans and tracks over 50K points on your body, it’s very accurate at picking up exactly what you’re doing and how and not having a controller either in your hand or strapped to you gives you complete focus. Quite frankly it is exhausting, in a good way but it really puts you through your paces and has options for personal training (I’ve chosen to do post baby workout – I know…19 months after second baby!) where it has a lot of workouts for me to progress through, plus there’s yoga, gym games, muscle workouts and more. The detail and variety is brilliant. The pain afterwards is not.
Saria, 3, of course has managed to get in on the action and has been using Kinectimals (she’ll be showing off a video demo very soon), which is a dazzling, charming game where you make friends with cubs including the Bengal Tiger, Lion and Cheetah and after adopting the one of your choice, you teach it tricks and go on a host of adventures. Saria loves when hers licks the screen (scarily realistic), that it will roll over and jump at her command, and enjoys doing the challenges. She actually very quickly got the grasp of what the Kinect is about as it’s very intuitive although I would say that slightly older children may have a better concept of staying within a certain zone.
There is much to love about the Kinect for Xbox and we highly recommend it, especially if you already have an Xbox 360 as you’re missing out. If you’re thinking about buying it for a partner who is very into gaming, be warned that it’s more in the casual gaming vein rather than hardcore Call of Duty type of territory. That said, it does turn the Xbox into a gaming unit that a whole family can and will enjoy.
It’s also important to note – the Kinect requires so much energy out of a player, nobody is in any danger of playing it all day as it’s very active and interactive.
Other tips – wear a sports bra or at least one where it doesn’t have you feeling like your boobs are falling out. This game requires energy!
Check your circumference – I batted the wall when I went into Williams sister mode while playing table tennis.
The Kinect on its own has a RRP of Â£129.99 and comes with Kinect Adventures, or there are various bundles you can buy if you’re buying the Xbox 360 console. You can buy it in lots of places and that of course includes buying it via us on Amazon.