Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Hal 9000 By Xbox

Dance Central 2 image from
My family has invested in an Xbox Kinect.  If that looks like Klingon to you, the basic description is that it's a video game platform (the Xbox) and another little gadget with a couple of cameras that does a rather impressive job of seeing the players.  The idea is that you get off the couch and engage in these games with your whole body.  It came with a game called Kinect Adventures.  They're straightforward, designed, basically, to help you learn to use the Kinect.  Most of them are pretty fun.  The avatar on the screen does whatever you do--waves when you wave, dances when you dance, etc.--except, whenever you're actually trying to accomplish something like kicking a ball or grabbing a handle, it's a bit like having some neurological disorder where your limbs just don't respond as precisely as you'd like them too.  It's only a little less disturbing than it sounds.

One of the Adventures games is called "20,000 Leaks," and the premise is that you're standing in a large glass tank under the ocean when all of a sudden blowfish, crabs, sharks, and other adorable but malicious aquatic lifeforms start breaking the glass.  Your job is to cover the leaks before the time runs out.  It must be hi-tech future glass, though, because once I place my hand over a crack, the glass heals and I don't have to worry about that spot anymore.  I'm not sure why I'm on the ocean floor in the first place;  I never receive any kind of mission to find lost treasure or obtain samples of the adorable but malicious aquatic lifeforms.  Perhaps I need to evaluate my career choices.

Another game involves standing in a raft and steering it around, over, under, and through various goals and obstacles.  If you launch yourself high enough, you can actually raft across the clouds before crashing back down to the rapids below.  So I guess my question is, If they've figured out how to make a raft that floats on clouds, why haven't they gotten the leaky glass tank fixed?

The game with which I'm having the most fun embarrassing myself, however, is Dance Central 2.  In this one, I'm a crew dancer with an attitude, and a snappy dresser at that.  I usually play as "Miss Aubrey" (pictured).  She's a good dancer, but she lets her boyfriend do the trash talking while she stands behind him and blows kisses.  Not nice kisses, you know.  Sassy, mocking kisses.  Kisses of death.  Anyway, the way I see it, in a few weeks I'm going to be the best dancer the world has ever laid eyes on.

The downside to this little toy is that it takes your picture.  And it can see you, so I've developed a theory that it waits until you look completely ridiculous before snapping the photo.  Contributing to this theory is that after you've completed a level, it shows you the photos it's taken, complete with snarky captions.  My sister has begun to combat this by watching for the onscreen camera, and abandoning any gameplay to strike a pose.  So her scores suffer, but she's probably the only one who cannot be blackmailed with the countless photos the Kinect (which I think we should affectionately name Hal 9000) has stored in its evil memory.

The bottom line is, it's a fantastic little toy (and it makes the Wii look like the prehistoric ancestor to modern gaming), but if I get wind of a robot apocalypse, that sucker is getting a sledgehammer to the processor.  It is smart and it knows where I live.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, but the girl knows how to end a good story: "but if I get wind of a robot apocalypse, that sucker is getting a sledgehammer to the processor. It is smart and it knows where I live." You have done 11 blogs this year to my none. I continue to be impressed.