Gaming console, motion controlled mis-adventures

So here’s my cluster-f**k story of getting Kinect to work in our living room.

Over the past few weeks I’ve finally accumulated a Tri-Mount ($30) and a Nyko Zoom ($30). I became aware of both of these gadgets back during E3 but now they’re finally on the market. So today I was ready to set everything up when Angela made sad eyes at me because I was going to take away “her” Kinect (set up in the office on my old launch 360). So it was off to Best Buy to purchase another Kinect sensor.

Good news? $25 gift card if you buy a Kinect this weekend, and they now come with a code for the full version of Child of Eden. Bad news? Another $150.

Screw-up #1 is that my TV is too fat for the Tri-Mount to fit on. But just very slightly too fat. The Tri-Mount has a long screw fixture that you use to adjust the thing. We disassembled it and pulled the ‘tongue’ out just a tad farther and hot-glued it there and it now fits on the TV. Hopefully it’ll hold because it’s just a friction fit. When set up right you can tighten up the screw assembly to ensure a tight, secure grips.

So I set everything up, including attaching the Zoom, moved the coffee table and fired up the Xbox. Things were going OK until Kinect tried to look down at the floor and reported it couldn’t see it. Huh? I tried again. Same thing. I think that, because the Tri-Mount is so hyper-extended backwards, the Kinect is back so far that, with the Zoom (which is essentially a wide-angle lens, as far as I can tell) attached the top of the TV (and/or the Playstation Eye, which sits in front of and below the Kinect) is blocking the line of site of the Zoom.

Here’s the kick in the teeth part, though. So with nothing left to lose I remove the Zoom and guess what? Since the Kinect is now so far back…there was enough room in the living room for it to calibrate, if I stand right against the couch. /facepalm

So the good news is I have the thing setup. I have no room for leaping about but nor do I have any interest in that. I wanted it for voice commands, mostly, and whatever else they put into ‘core games’ that I can do sitting down. I played 3 rounds of a demo of Fruit Ninja Kinect to re-assure myself that flailing around in front of the TV is still not fun.

The other good news is that I fired up the PS3 and grabbed a Move controller to make sure that was still working. Popped in The Shoot since it was handy. And re-assured myself that the Move is still a blast to mess around with. I have that cheap-o Pistol thing and it turns The Move into a really fun light-gun game. Really fun for a few minutes anyway.

I still think a good old controller is the best way to play video games for anything more than 15 minutes, unless your goal is to get some exercise. But I’ll enjoy talking to the Kinect and will continue to dabble with the Move now and then, so at the end of the day it’s all good.

However, Microsoft really needs to work on making the Kinect small-room friendly. Or just make a voice-only model.

Playstation Move in this month’s Qore

In the run-up to E3 I was pretty excited to see what Sony was going to show with regard to Move, their new Wii-like motion controller.

At the end of E3 I was asking myself “Why was I ever excited about that product?” The offers on display were pretty mediocre. There was that Sorcery game which looked fun, and the possibility of playing Socom with it, but most of the rest of the stuff just looked like higher res Wii games.

Then this month’s Qore came out and I remembered why I’d been excited. Move at E3 2009 was more interesting than Move at E3 2010 (and I’d honestly say the same for Microsoft’s Natal/Kinect). The July Qore has the same boring games on display, but then a series of tech demos which we (or at least I) haven’t seen since E3 2009. They have me interested in the potential (at least) of Move again. Whether any game developers ever use that potential is a very big question.

As a worst, and most likely, case most gamers, having seen the dull E3 2010 coverage of Move, will stay away from it in droves, and so developers will see no reason to support it, and it’ll end up another withered branch of the Playstation tree.

But before I gave up on Move entirely, I wanted to share these videos. (We’ll see how long they stay on YouTube before Sony has them removed.) In video 1, skip to the 5 minute mark if you’re not interested in seeing Veronica Belmont spew happy marketing-speak about the Move. The rest of video 1 and first half of video 2 are kind of interesting Move tech demos. The 2nd half of video two is a developer visit with the people making Move Sports or whatever their Wii sports clone is called.

A lot of this stuff boils down to using Move as a 3D mouse, really. I just think about the potential for using it in strategy games or RPGs, rather than silly Wii Sports wannabe titles.

Sony gets down and dirty

This made me chuckle.

Look, I know there was immediate internet hate directed at Sony when they announced the Move. *waves hand dismissively* Whatever dudes, let’s wait until we see release hardware and software before we decide. I’m not a huge fan of “waggle” gameplay, but I am a huge fan of “pointing” gameplay and split controllers. Playing point and click-ish games on the Wii, stuff like Harvest Moon, is really comfortable for me. So I’ll probably at least give Move a try.

Anyway, didn’t mean to go on about it. I’m just loving Sony’s marketing department these days. Remember the creepy crying baby and stuff that we used to get for ads? Kevin Butler is so much simpler, more entertaining and, I think, effective.