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Archive for the ‘Kinect’ Category

Be Kung Fu Panda and a Jedi? I. Am. SO. In.

In gaming, Kinect, Product on March 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I’m being honest here.  I saw this news on Facebook Kinect for Xbox360 and gasped out loud at my computer:

Kung Fu Panda 2 is coming to Kinect.  Aside from the obvious good news, the other good news is that my brother’s family has their own Kinect, so I won’t have to fight my nephew for Shifu time (see posts: A New Decade. Another Day of Kung Fu Panda and I Am A Bad Auntie).

Only slightly better than this (with a little more drool):  getting to be a jedi in Kinect Star Wars.  Ohhhhh….   My nephew and I are going to be bonding big time over that one.  Every time I hear the music or see the Kinect trailer, I get goose bumps.

John Williams, what a composing genius…such an iconic theme with emotionally swelling notes.  You could probably put that theme to a scrolling grocery list, and I would get a tear in my eye.  Two games to look forward to…

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Why Am I So Loud? Observations About Kinect Video Chat

In dance, Dance Central, dog, family, Kinect, relationship on January 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Kinect Video Chat.

Now we can talk to each other, much like a split-screen in a newscast – one person/several people in one box talking to another person/group, or an extension of the web cam experience.  Doesn’t seem super futuristic, but nonetheless, I heard about this and thought it might be cool to do it through Kinect.  I wondered how well it would work.   I tried it out with two parties in my Xbox Live crew:  my friend, a former TV news producer, and my brother, a computer nerd and electrical engineer.   Just for the record, these are smart people with a knack for communications technology (and then there’s me).

First attempt with my friend, the former TV producer, and here are my observations:

  • It was not intuitive where to go.  She and I had to get on the phone to troubleshoot how we accepted each others’ requests to do Video Kinect.
  • Just for the record, when you get a pop up “toast”, you have to go to the Dashboard and check your messages.  Via messages, you can accept.  Then you can Video Kinect.
  • I would really like it if you could just say “Accept” when you get the “Toast” and Kinect does the rest for you.  This would use the voice recognition and leave none of the thinking to the user.  IMO.  (More on my early impressions of “toast” in this post: “We Were Making Out On The Couch…”)

Second attempt, with my brother and his family.

  • Same thing, only he had been trying to figure out a bunch of things, such as how to add friends, for awhile, before we had to get on the phone.
  • Richard was with me, so he talked them through it.
  • My question is this:  If you don’t have a Richard, who helps you?  Normal people need fewer steps.

That being said, when we finally Video Kinect-ed with my brother, my sister and law and my niece and nephew, I have to say it was kind of entertaining.  My niece wanted to see the dog right away, so we sat the dog up to say hi.   Then, we talked about our experiences with Dance Central.  If you don’t think this is all terribly boring, here’s a peek at our Video Kinect conversation.

You might notice that I laugh really loudly.  My mother always told me this was inappropriate, but many years later I just can’t help it.  On video though, it does make me think why AM I so much louder than everyone else? Maybe my mom should answer this random question.

Kinect Saves a Manhattan Mom From Meltdown

In family, gaming, Kinect, relationship, workout on December 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Me to my friend Robin via phone:  “Are you having fun with Kinect?”

Robin: “Fun?  Kinect is not fun.  Let me tell you.  Kinect is saving our sanity.”

You see, the December 2010 East Coast blizzard has created cabin (or Manhattan apartment) fever for my dear friend, her sick husband and two little boys.  The older one, Gabriel, is a six year old with energy that could power the entire island of Manhattan in case of blackout.  When there’s a blizzard of this magnitude, the concept of containing kid energy of this magnitude in a two-bedroom New York apartment sparks…parental survival instincts.

The family has been snowed in for days; however, Gabriel has not been bouncing off the walls.  Instead, he’s been bouncing around in a 3×3 square foot space in the apartment’s living room… playing Kinect… instead of acting out and wearing out his mom.  (There are only so many snow angels you can make, you know?)

“Let me tell you how much Gabriel loves Kinect.  He doesn’t even realize there’s a box of Christmas cookies on the table.” (Robin again, who can’t stop raving about the Xbox in her living room, which was formerly devoid of any video game technology.)

Several months ago, Robin’s husband (the dad), a cerebral chap, was truly suspicious and dubious about having an Xbox and/or Kinect in their apartment at all.

This week, I greeted him on the phone with: “Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Kinect.”

His response?  “Yes.  Kinect is a Godsend.”

At the very least, it is a parental coping mechanism providing a little boy with exercise in a record-breaking snowstorm.


Kinectimals Quagmire: Bornean Clouded Leopard or Golden Retriever?

In dog, family, gaming, Kinect, relationship on November 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm

My obsession with Dance Central and Bust A Move leaderboard status was starting to get a little unhealthy, I guess you could say, so I busted out Kinectimals for what I thought would be a kinder, gentler game for my emerging Kinect addiction.

Little did I know that Kinectimals would be… so freaking adorable.

I proceeded to play frisbee and soccer with my Bornean Clouded Leopard, run around the beach with it, clean it and feed it.  I even bought it a bed for the island homestead.  I thought: my niece, a junior high school aged animal lover and aspiring veterinarian, is going to freak out when she plays this next month.

I was unaware that some time during my immersion, my real dog had snuggled up in the area near my feet, which is quite unusual when we’re moving around in the living room.  Usually, she knows to stay out of the way.

I stepped right to kick the soccer ball – and I accidentally kicked the dog.  Oh no!   Not hard, just a little.

Hugs, apologies and a treat or two later… I think she forgot what happened.

But I suddenly felt guilty… like my real pet deserved a little more attention.  She has been around much longer, after all.  My Bornean Clouded Leopard has only been in my life for two days.

 

 

Kinectimals Takeaways:

  • Make sure real pets are away from your feet or area of play.
  • Give them much love in advance of a play session.
  • Love your pet a lot after your play session.
  • For kids – some of the levels of play are pretty fast-paced, but the game itself is pretty encouraging and forgiving.
  • For adults – you may be surprised that this is a fairly active game for a kids’ game.  You might even break out in a sweat during the crab-booting on the beach!


Kinect brings a little “celebrity” treatment

In dance, Dance Central, Kinect, Product, workout on November 17, 2010 at 9:54 am

Just finished yoga.  Locker room.

Overheard around the corner: “Did you try Souja Boy?… How about… I thought… was so hard!!”

“Are you talking about Dance Central…?” (this is me)

“YES!!!” (Two women, in unison, with huge smiles on their faces.) “DO YOU LOVE IT!?!” (them, in caps, big excitement here.)

“I LOVE IT!”  (this is me, in caps, big excitement here)


“I can’t believe it, I’m number four on Bust A Move!” (me again)

(GASP!) (them, in caps again, big excitement here)

“NICE TO MEET YOU!! OMG!” (them)

More conversation ensues about which moves were hard, which songs were easier.

Consensus:  The Lady Gaga songs have the most simple choreography.

Consensus:  The sensor is a little picky on certain moves, but not others.  Curious about this.  Still investigating…

My tip:  More important than the “flava” is the exact mimicking of the dancer.  Trying to spice up the move with your own groove doesn’t really get you more points.  Having your arm/leg/body in the EXACT position as the dancer = FLAWLESS!

I have a few moves to work on to break 1,000,000.  Wish me luck!

I’m burnin’ calories along the way…

Two Ideas for Dance Central in the Name of Health

In dance, Kinect, Product, workout on November 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness for french fries.

One of the most appealing things about Kinect’s Dance Central is the calorie burn, which gives me an excuse to indulge every now and then. It’s harder to work it off as we get older… are you with me here?

So Dance Central, I’ve discovered, after working my butt off (Post: Young MC Made Me Sweat) to be in the Top 10 for Bust A Move (Post: No Way! I’m #6), has a WORKOUT MODE, with a calorie counter that earns you achievements, the more you work out.  Aside from the fact that I would have liked to know how much I’ve burned, I probably would have gotten another achievement by now.

So here’s my suggestion for Dance Central: create a feature that suggest to someone who’s been dancing awhile – or dancing on “hard” (the highest level) – to turn on workout mode. Something like a pop up notification:  “Would you like to turn on Workout Mode?”  with of their simple arrows which guide you to more info about this.  My answer would be: YES, DUH.

Anyway, now that you know this, turn on workout mode, earn an achievement and burn some calories.  Maybe save the fries for another time.

A Mom and a Pilates Junkie Walk into My House…

In dance, dog, fashion and style, gaming, Kinect, Product on November 13, 2010 at 4:47 pm

No joke.  Two girlfriends who have no interest in video games broke free from their Nordstrom jeans shopping (serious stuff here) and came over to the house for a super-fast sampling of Dance Central on Kinect before picking up the kids.

It all happened so fast that the dog got really excited and didn’t quite “stay”.  Out she went on the deck for the time being. (More on what happens with Kinect with a big dog in the picture in the next post.)

I pop in Dance Central. and the intro to the game rolls…

“I’m so excited.”  (the Mom)

“This is a good video.” (the Pilates Junkie)

I sign in.

“I love how it’s so futuristic… that you’re just using your hand for the commands.” (the Mom)

“Okay, which song?”  (this is me)

“PUSH IT.” (Both, almost simultaneously, after seeing a few songs)

I pick the Easy mode just to get started.  The Mom jumps in first.

“This is hard!” (The Mom, after a few steps to the music.)   “This is so much fun!”

Pilates Junkie is laughing at the nerdiness of it all.

“I’m totally sweating!” (The Mom)

Pilates Junkie jumps in, laughing at herself for getting about half the moves right.  She also lets out a little gasp when a move isn’t quite right, and the dude tells her, “That’s alright, everyone messes up on that one.”

And just like that, their inaugural Kinect Dance Central session is over.

Final thoughts from them?

The Mom: “OMG I’m totally getting this.  My kids will love it.  I love the no-controller thing.”

Pilates Junkie: “I don’t like the Freestyle so much… when they take your pictures.  I don’t really want to see that.”

I agree.  I’m not a fan of the photo Freestyle feature.  (Xbox – can we disable this?   Don’t mind the Freestyle, don’t need to see the sweaty playback.)

When they leave, I’m back on Bust A Move, trying to stay in the Top 10.  A few rounds later, I post my highest score yet (another blog post, another time).