Monday, January 9, 2012

gettin' down with kinect

I'll admit it. I ran from store to store. I stood with hopeful parents when less impatient people were snug at home. Most importantly, I gladly handed over hundreds of dollars just to get my hands on a Wii when few others could. It was new and exciting to play a game in such an unconventional way. Wii Sports, Mario Party and downloadable Nintendo classics reigned supreme for weeks and then suddenly, as though a haze had been washed away, my enthusiasm for the Wii vanished.

I cannot say if this was a fault of the system, myself or a simple differing of interest but needless to say, it left a sour taste in my mouth regarding motion gaming. Microsoft's Kinect and Playstation's Move were announced and immediately dismissed as mere gimmicks for "those kinds of gamers" and I never really gave it another thought. Until now.

Last month, Christmas brought not only a new shiny matte Xbox, but also a spankin' new Kinect. Still unsure of what to think of it, I set it up and jumped in head first. To avoid an exhaustive description of each games experience, I'll just say that to my astonishment, I was having a pretty good time with it. It wasn't because I was impressed with the tech or that any particular game tickled my fancy. The thing that really drew me in was how it had tricked my brain into associating Xbox with exercise.

Every game that we tried left everyone a tad sore the following day but we kept coming back. Since returning home from school with a few extra pounds attributed to a strict beer and Taco Bell diet, I've become more and more interested in fitness. The Kinect offered a great way to get my gaming in as well burn away a few calories. Since becoming a Kinect owner, I've added Fighters Uncaged (poorly reviewed but I have another opinion coming soon) and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 to my library, with much satisfaction.

Sure there are similar options for other console but losing the "controller", if you want to call them that, makes including the Xbox in my fitness route seamless. The games may not always pick up my movements perfectly and the system could be fooled into accepting seated gaming but that's not the point I am expressing here. The fact that I am working out, being pushed and rewarded while gaming is something that I never thought could feel so natural. There are still major improvements to be made, but these experiences have left me excited to see what's next for fitness gaming.


  1. So Miles,

    I too have been getting ready to get into the fitness thing. I've got a nice fitocracy competition running with our friend, Joshua. I was wondering, other than losing the control, what about the kinect makes it a more enjoyable work out routine? Does it give you more workout options/flexibility? Also, do you have fitocracy, if not, we should fix this!

    1. The real draw for me is the feedback you get from the Kinect trainer, if you will. With Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, it will tell if your form is off and how to correct it. It will also give you a mini pep talk halfway through if you are dragging. For some reason, that small amount of interaction makes a huge difference while working out.