Kinect Four!

I remember when the Wii came out. Wii Sports was the best game. I’m about as definitive of “hardcore gamer” as you can get (not in the misogynist way, but in the “I play 100 hour games and mod things and engage in spirited debates about games as art” way), and I thought Wii Sports was fucking fantastic. I can swing the remote and hit the ball! The future is here! It’s like we’re on the holodeck!

After a couple months, though, I’m pretty sure everyone but non-gamers visiting gamers’ houses and 65 year olds who think Pac Man is the future decided that Wii Sports was shit, what else does Nintendo have.

And that’s where we are with Microsoft and Kinect. It’s like trying to sell a kid on sitting on Santa’s lap a week and a half after Christmas.

The fundamental flaw with Kinect Sports is pretty obvious if you buy into my theory about who plays Wii Sports (Resort). Kinect requires a lot more activity than Wii Sports. Wii Sports required you to wave a remote around like a doofus, and maybe you’ll win. Kinect requires you to…run. And jump. If you are over 65, you haven’t jumped in 15 years, probably. You’re going to take one look at that and turn the thing off and go back to reading about the modern and still pertinent adventures of Philip Marlowe.

Additionally, while we gamers loved Wii Sports, if Kinect Sports isn’t free (and it might not be), a game about running like a doofus is a hard sell. Sure, we took to Wii Sports, but Wii Sports was a relatively low effort activity that was novel. Kinect Sports is a high effort activity, comparatively, which excludes a portion of people (gamers who don’t like activity, and people who already go to the gym and don’t need a video game to emulate running). Additionally, it’s not novel. If I’m paying money for something, I expect a novel experience. And…Kinect Sports doesn’t look very *new*. It looks like Wii Sports, but a little more active.

But that’s not all! Microsoft had more games in its parade of wonder, and, truly, this proved one thing: games cannot be serious without some sort of controller.

How did it prove this? Let’s take a look. Our “hardcore” games were a kart racer using an invisible wheel (wow, I loved the Wii Wheel! I am one of those French guys who use it to kick my ass online all the time!), a car porn game where you…looked at cars, or raced with your car accelerating automatically, and an on rails Star Wars game.

Let’s stop for a moment here. Let’s stop. The Wii gets shit, and can’t move games, because all it has are on rails shooters and shitty cash-ins. None of these three hardcore games are anything more than that. On rails shooters, and on rails racers.

When the Wii came out, I said that the thing that would redeem it would be a 1:1 lightsaber game, but…not like this. Not like this. Besides that, Star Wars (a working title, I imagine, since it needs a shit subtitle) is probably the worst looking game since the early Gamecube. How is this revolutionary? For that matter, how is Kinect Fit revolutionary? Why would a lonely housewife buy a new console and a new peripheral and a new game for something she has right now?

Who does this appeal to, is my question? Who is this targeting? Casual gamers are casual: they don’t need two systems. Hardcore gamers have been pretty universally negative about it (I highly recommend this video, even if it’s just people talking, because it is honestly Jim Sterling’s finest hour. Like, never before have game journalists talking been so hilarious, or had more fucks than The Big Lebowski). The target, therefore, is the tech nut, the guy who buys an iPad because it’s cool and futuristic.

I will, at this point, take a moment, before closing, to be positive. Adventure Studio looked like the game they should have led with. It’s a game that Natal can do well, and while it looks like an EyeToy game, it looks like a good one. As a pack-in, I’d play it. Additionally, while the moments of the conference were among the most awkward, Harmonix’s Dance Central, while not a game I would *ever* play (I resemble the really awkward white guy, except with a few additional pounds and bad feet), looks like it’s a pretty solid game, and someone might buy it.

But, I don’t know who would buy it. Any of it. And that’s the problem.


  1. Fernando Cordeiro

    At least Kinect is a name a little (just a little) better than Natal, with in Portuguese means Christmas.

    But then again, everything is better than “Wii” or, as the French call it, the Nintendo Yes.

    You hit the nail on the head, btw. Kinect and Move’s problem is simple: who are going to buy them? Are those additions meaningful for the non-gamer audience that is already more familiar with the Wii – a console with more motion-based games (especially party games) and that costs less? This has EyeToy written all over it…

    • Tom

      Move, I feel like, has an audience. It has Natal’s audience, but it also has people looking for HD ports of Wii games and more action based fare than the Wii can handle. It…has potential to be a gaming device, rather than something that can really only support rail shooters.

      And while New Rez will be awesome, and Panzer Dragoon *other weird word* would hypothetically be awesome, it looks kind of like Natal…doesn’t have games. It needed a killer app to sell it to someone, and it doesn’t have anything like that. I hope Move will. I think it will.

  2. Tom


    Spiritual sequel to Rez. Oh lord.

    • Um, unless you have a 3D touchscreen huge display, its not going to be quite as impressive in real life…at all. 😛

      • Tom

        You mean Kinect and a tv? Because that’s what it is.

        Also, Rez is plenty impressive on a shitball TV. Considering I played this on my awful laptop monitor and was impressed, I don’t see the problem here. 😛

      • Uh, things were popping out. He was interfacing with them in the air, which can’t be possible normally.

      • Chris

        Oh I can make it possible, you kids want some LSD blotters?