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The Kinect for Xbox Event!

The Ripplevox crew were giving out free passes to the Kinect for Xbox 360 event at the Red Dot Museum, and without needing to put much thought into it I jumped right at the chance. I was going to bring a friend there, and was going to meet up with a few folk from Twitter, so it looked like it was going to be a fun time. And let’s not forget the whole point was getting some hands on (off?) action with the Kinect, and also getting a chance at winning one (we didn’t win).

In case you don’t want to read through a whole list of words and look at pictures, I’ll summarise the rest of the post here: The Kinect WORKS. Any lag is very slight (but noticeable if you look for it), but once you get the hang of the controls it becomes really fun (and tiring). I’m getting one! (For some reason I forgot to take a photo of the Kinect itself.)

A nice array of Kinect launch games were available at the event, and I did give a try to most of them. But before that we had the Starhub lady give a speech, followed by Erik Ford, senior marketing manager of Microsoft Singapore and father of triplets. He gave a quick overview of the system, showed us the adverts (something like this one) and then showed us some professional dancers having a go at Dance Central, the game by the makers of Rock Band, Harmonix. But enough of this razzmatazz – we want to see what we can do with it ourselves!

First game we tried was Your Shape Fitness Evolved, which promised some personal trainer stuff, yoga – you know, quite like Wii Fit. Except without a balance board. Sadly we only had the change to try out 1 challenge, which was some sort of kickboxing thing. Rather simple really, you punch the lit up boxes. Everything was running on development kits, so I guess they didn’t have the full builds with them.

Next up we made a beeline for the Dance Central booth (while the emcee was trying to distract us with a contest nobody could win with his constantly shifting rules) and man it was FUN. No photos of us doing it – instead we have a very enthusiastic Lady Gaga fan posing for us. I have videos, and I’ll announce them on Twitter soon. Dance Central was working since I saw a build at SDCC, and testing it out, it’s pretty darn fine. We only had 6 songs to choose from, and I dance to No Doubt’s Hella Good (which had way too many sexy moves for my poor body to handle). Pity the sound in the area was crazy loud with Timberlake blaring over the speakers and drowning out the TV’s sound, but Sexyback’s beat was exactly on beat with Hella Good, so I used that. You have to either try to follow the moves on the right hand side of the screen, but as beginners just following the lead dancer was way better. The moves were mindboggling half the time, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be dancing like… Lady Gaga? Or the Beastie Boys.

Next up was Sonic Free Riders. I’d heard the game was broken in some way, but in my limited testing it worked pretty ok. Basically you have to lean back and forth while kicking back (like a skatboard) to control your character. There’s swimming too, which only involves your arms, I guess just to spice things up? I won’t say the game was super fun, since it did feel like the swimming was just tacked on, and leaning back and forth with a dude behind you can get a little awkward. Just… don’t get too close. Still, it’s Sonic! It’s always fun to play as tails – once you’re at least able to get the character selection controls working (that ain’t so good.)

Now, Kinect Joy Ride was REALLY fun. It took a while to get used to driving without a steering wheel, but once you do, the game really takes off (pun! hoho!) You lean back to charge your boost, and push forwards to boost, and there’re stunts you can do in midair. It’s a very simple concept, but it’s done with quite a bit of joy behind it, so that works for me. And I got first!

We didn’t get a shot at bowling and other Kinect Sports, but went instead with Kinect Adventures!. There’s a rafting adventure you have to go through, and in 2 player mode you have to work in unison to sidestep or jump to catch coins or avoid obstacles. It was somewhat uninteresting given that your onscreen avatars looked pretty stable and bored, so you don’t really feel any sense of thrill. Maybe it’s an early build?

Sadly, no Kinectimals or Brain and Body Workouts there, but with this little sneak preview – colour me interested in getting one. Even for Dance Central alone I think it’ll be a hit. In the midst of the event there was a lucky draw and a mentalist… but man the mentalist was pretty, well, out of point. Points for effort! Xbox points, maybe?


The technological backbone of, Alvin’s machinist-nature also ensures that this blog remains alive when the unpredictable Murphy’s Law comes into effect.

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