The Key to Kinect
The best games for the Xbox Kinect follow a certain pattern. Having played successful ones and terrible ones, I began to recognize what the pattern is. Take Dance Central for an example of a good Kinect game. Kinect works for the player and is forgiving; the dance moves just have to be copied fairly close. Dance Central 2 and Kinect adventures also respond well to the player and are forgiving in that they recognize what the player means to do more than what their actual body movement is.
Moving on to an example of a bad game, Wipeout 2 takes the cake. The game is clearly a shovelware TV show tie-in, and the choppy controls prove it. In order to make an avatar move, players have to contort themselves in positions that are awkward and uncomfortable, and they don’t work 90% of the time. The player has to work to make the controls function properly. The software looks at what the player’s body does, and doesn’t effectively recognize what the player means to do.
Forgiveness makes Kinect work. Only when the machine recognizes what is meant and not what is performed does the game retain entertainment value. The Kinect revolutionizes motion controls, but it has a long way to go. Hopefully Kinect 2 will minimize the lag issues and increase accuracy, to bring the peripheral to a new level.