Thoughts on Microsoft Kinect

My house has become a very sweaty place.

No, my air conditioning is fine, I just picked up a Microsoft Kinect, their new motion control device for the Xbox 360.


The first thing I did after I set it up was play the TRON: Legacy trailer…with my voice.

“Xbox…Play Trailer!”

BAM! High-def Tron goodness.

That was a “future soon” moment for me. I hate voice control. I don’t really like babbling commands at my phone. I can’t imagine dictating something I’m writing.  I make great use of Dial-A-Human. Yet, talking to the entertainment center in my living room felt very natural. After a week or so of playing with the Kinect voice control, I’m wishing it could do more things, especially since using your arms and hands to control the menus with gestures is still a bit fidgety.

Rumor has it Microsoft wants to bring this kind of gesture and voice control to computers. I’m hopeful about this because I hate touch screens. After five minutes of fiddling with my phone at lunch, my screen is as smudged as a Macy’s window during the holidays. Pizza grease and touch controls just don’t work well together. Kinect makes me want to wave my device in the air, like a Harry Potter wand, to control it. “Wingardium dial-my-mom-um!”)

Games is where Kinect really shines. Kinect Adventures, the game that comes with it, easily equals the fun of Wii Sports. You jump around, wave your arms, have fun, and get winded and yes, extremely sweaty. The fact that Kinect Adventures takes pictures of you being a silly ass that you can then post to the Internet is a bonus.

The virtual puppet rewards are really fun, too.

Shark Award from Microsoft Kinect Adventures


Since my wife uses the Wii to work out, I also picked up Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Being able to follow along with a workout without having to hold a WiiMote, nunchuck, and some crazy fitness rubber band is a big bonus. Kinect gives you the ability to actually work out while holding weights.

It comes with an excellent  variety of workouts and some fun fitness games, though their confusing menu system makes it a bit difficult to find different things. While I like working out with it, I’m finding it’s kicking my butt and I can’t really create the custom wimp-ass workout I want to. How about I tell you how many lunges I want to do, Fitness Evolved?

Definitely some nice innovation here from the Microsoft folks. Looking forward to checking out some of the other games, as well as seeing what other neat hacks people come up with for the device.

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