Extra Credits: Kinect Disconnect

This week, we look back on the last year and a half of Kinect and offer some new observations about the device.

Audio Version:

Recent Comments:

  • Good episode guys, really liked it :D . But here's my input:

    Does Anybody remember the EyeToy, for the PS2? i believe that Sony already reached the uncanny valley with it. It didnt have a lot of games, and it kinda flew under the radar since it came out

    If you dont remember it, look it up :twisted:

  • For example, Street Fighter on a smartphone has the joystick and buttons are mapped onto the screen, forcing you to keep your big, dumb fingers in the way so it's hard to see what you're doing or at least distracting. Controller add-on can be purchased for smartphones if you don't mind making your phone bulky or carting around the accessory and attaching it to play games.

    Whereas with the touch screen, you can have as many buttons as you may need. Even have the controls change with different button arrangements in the same game. The touch screen is none of these controls, so it can be any of them.

    And, as you explicitly pointed out, when it tries to be a controller that it isn't - such as a joystick and buttons - it sucks horribly at it.

  • Sorry to necro a month-old thread, but I just watched this episode and was really intrigued by this whole "kinesthetic projection" thing. I didn't get it after watching it over a few times, so I came here to the forums expecting a discussion about it, and there's only a few posts to the effect of, "yeah, I've noticed that."

    I can't relate at all to the description of kinesthetic projection at 2:00-3:00 in the video, but it sounds fascinating. I know further reading was already requested by someone else, but all we got was stuff about traditional kinesthetics, not "projection" to things that are clearly not parts of human anatomy. So here's my double-check: if anyone has more reading materials, please share.

    Alternatively, since many posters have seemed to take this sensation for granted, perhaps you could write about your own experiences with kinesthetic projection? I think it would go a long way to hear this effect described in different contexts and words.

  • While this is bumped...

    ... one observation I have is that most / all of the remarks here are from the perspective of the enthusiast gamer. One issue that motion controls have had to deal with, is simply resistance from existing gamers who may intrinsically avoid accepting that there's a wholly new kind of interface they're being asked to learn.

    In other words: since the Nintendo Wii phenomenon happened, there have been no shortage of old grannies playing Wii Sports Bowling who took to it like a duck to water, and beat the pants off all challengers.

    In fact, motion controls in the form of the Wii at least (and possibly some Kinect applications, though public response to Kinect is less clear) were greatly accepted by the 'expanded audience', or people who hadn't previously played any, or many, video games. These folks attacked the situation with the beginner's mind - no preconceptions, no biases, no sense of authority on how things 'should work'.

    I have to admit, in the last six years I have seen quite a few gamers wrangle around with a Wii remote for 20 minutes, call it a piece of crap when it's not as "LOL casual" as they assumed, and go off ranting about how controllers and buttons were the only real vidya games.

    One of the biggest controversies in the entire subject happened last fall, when Skyward Sword hit the Wii. Despite everyone having several years' advance warning about what kind of game it would be, and what sort of interface it would use, it was a Zelda game... something many (perhaps too many) hardcore gamers pin their hopes and dreams on as being a religious experience. As a result, there was a huge amount of griping that the game was "broken and completely unplayable" because for the first time, a lot of gamers who had tried their best to ignore motion controls dived in and were being asked to play a motion control game that wasn't casual. Skyward Sword is actually rather hard core. It asked the player to actually manipulate the Wii remote with a great deal of skill - to learn how to pay well.

    But contrasted against the claims it was unplayable, were the experience of plenty of people who ripped into the game like champs and proclaimed that, within the hard technological limitations of the Wii, Skyward Sword was the most compelling game yet to 'sell' motion controls. Plenty of people, and plenty of professional critics, cited it as having the best motion control interface (overall) of any game to date, on any platform.

    So who was right? Were the people who threw the game down and claimed it was objectively unplayable correct? Was everyone who said it worked out fine lying?

    It -is- an objective truth that motion control technology is still in the range of 'version 1.0'. There ARE real technological limits on what Kinect or Wii-with-motion-plus are capable of, and these limitations enforce some rough edges to the experience each solution offers. Yet it is also true that, well, gamers can be lazy and a bit arrogant. How much of the "uncanny valley" theory as applied to motion controls is an attempt to create a cause to explain away a symptom that might not stem from it?

    I will say, there is probably more validity to the idea in conjunction with Kinect than Wii; having a physical device to hold brings with it a specific set of mechanics that can be understood. Kinect is, perhaps, too big of a jump this soon; the biometric concepts for interpreting the motion of the human body are still crude. A lot more development will be required before the entirely gesture based, hands free interface can be made intuitive.

  • For my part, the only challenging parts of Skyward Sword were a few of the overworld puzzles - the dungeon puzzles were always designed very tightly, but in between them there didn't seem to be nearly as much diligence about keeping the next goal from being too obtuse, or making sure that you could get a solid, relevant hint if you got stuck.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with the controls, so I guess that speaks well for them. I certainly find the controls a lot easier to handle than a vintage NES controller, whose ergonomics and button mechanisms would be completely unacceptable to the modern hardcore audience.

Join The Discussion: