kinect sports XBOX360
is a yardstick for measuring the potential for Microsoft's new motion tech. Sports collections are ideal introductions to motion control because of the wide variety of activity they approximate. Every motion control device, from the Wii remote to this year's PlayStation Move, has launched with this kind of game. But, Kinect Sports is a little different: it's the first sports game collection to track your entire body -- and its position -- within a 3D space. This sets it apart from its competitors and makes it something special.
Kinect Sports casts the Xbox 360's avatars in a sort of Olympic festival of looking really silly in front of other people. The graphics are cartoony but slick enough in their own way, and there's a very particular kind of inoffensive friendliness everywhere. Most importantly, the visuals and menus are designed to make sure you always know what you're doing, and in that regard Kinect Sports usually succeeds.
Kinect Sports is fundamentally different in practice than any video game you've probably played , including on the Wii or the PlayStation Move. The reason? Your feet. Where other sports collections have been exercises in moving your arms while standing in place, Kinect Sports requires real, physical movement , tracking your position within its active area while also monitoring exactly what your limbs -- not just your arms -- are doing.
Table tennis is awesome.
In some events, this movement is a little abstracted. In track and field events for example, you aren't going to be running through any 100M living rooms, obviously. These events will have you running in place, and sometimes jumping in place. Bowling also loses a little bit in translation, since you don't have anything to actually let go of, though Kinect Sports makes pretty good guesses as to when you'd want to.
Kinect Sports really comes together when you're playing an event that requires you to move around within Kinect's designated play space. This is where Kinect Sports goes from something kind of interesting to something you need to play. This isn't you waving your arms and expecting things to get done – Kinect Sports requires pretty close approximations of actual physical activity. You'll be moving. You'll probably be sweating. And I can almost guarantee you that after about 45 minutes of Kinect Sports, you will be sore in places you may well have forgotten you had. Kinect Sports is labeled "Very Active" on the back of the box, and you can doubt that at your peril.
And I was crawling back for more. Once I realized that minor changes in technique and style for kicks in soccer, or paddle technique in table tennis yield big results, Kinect Sports really clicked. I was lunging across a table that wasn't there to catch fast serves in table tennis, and bringing my arms down hard to spike a ball that never existed into virtual sand in volleyball. At its best, Kinect Sports sort of makes you forget it's there.