Monday, November 1, 2010

Microsoft Kinect: The Justin Bieber of Motion Gaming?

You  may be wondering what Justin Bieber has to do with motion gaming. Stay tuned.

Don Reisinger posted an article on Slash Gear that explains his disillusionment with the new Microsoft Kinect, a new device that uses your body's motions to communicate control commands to the video game. He argues that he's not interested in games that make him stand up and act out what his character does on screen. Just because it might be more realistic to swing your arms than to push A or B on the controller, the gaming experience does not necessarily improve, he says.

I'm with you, Don. Sometimes the less "realistic" controlling systems--ye old classic controller--are best for breaking down the wall between the mind of the gamer and the mind of the character. For years I've been telling my kid brother that a turn-based RPG is in fact more realistic than their early "action" counterparts. If the goal of gaming is to make less obvious the disconnect between sitting on a couch while staring lifelessly ahead and slaying well armored fire ogres with my +50 sword of might, then selecting "Attack" and my hero swinging the blade are two actions both fluid, reflexive, and well controlled. Perfect. On the other hand, trying to master A+B << V > Start  X and wondering why my battle-hardened on-screen warrior can't draw arms in the face of danger doesn't make me think, "Now I'm doing it. I'm vanquishing evil."

Of course, Don is saying that this new technology works well, so maybe the intentions of the gamer won't as easily mismatch with the hero ("Swing the sword, dang it! No! Block! NOOOOO!!!"). What do you other people think?

And what does Justin Bieber have to do with motion gaming like the Microsoft Kinect? Both devices are used by major American corporations to connect with a younger audience by offering the illusion that the walls are coming down between themselves and their fantasies. And both try to make you dance like a fool on the living room floor. Well I for one will have none of it.

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