Geek Mom Reviews: Kinect for Xbox 360

Kinect for Xbox 360

Kinect for Xbox 360

My family loves it when I get free geek stuff to test and review. You can imagine how excited we were when our new Xbox 360 and Kinect system arrived. It was like Christmas in November!

You may know that we’re already fans of the Wii, and that I spend a lot of time playing online Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 via the PlayStation network.

Although we don’t need another reason to sit on our butts and push buttons, we do enjoy video games! The Kinect system, however, facilitates physical activity during gaming. So you don’t just get to sit on the couch with a controller in your hands. In fact, there is no remote controller needed for the Kinect games we tested. We found the games engaging and entertaining, and frequently worked up a good sweat without even trying.

Our family tested several Kinect games, including Dance Central, Kinect Sports, and Kinectimals. My husband’s favorite seems to be soccer. The Kinect sensor is able to detect whether the player is kicking or heading the ball, and which direction the ball should go after it’s hit. I won’t pretend to understand how it all works, but it’s pretty amazing.

My five year old daughter loves her Kinectimals pet lion cub, which she named “Jump.” She can feed, groom, and play with Jump. When a new user stands in front of the sensor, the Kinect bar tilts up and down to find the person. This is a nice feature, because sometimes the Wii is frustrating when it doesn’t “see” her if the sensor bar is up too high.

Speaking of “too high,” one thing you have to be aware of when playing Kinect games is the space around your body. Not just the couch, coffee table, and carpet. Beware of overhead ceiling fans, lamps, etc. You might end up with a broken fixture during a particularly vigorous Dance Central move, or Kinect Sports volleyball serve.

There is definitely a “WOW” factor when you use the Kinect to play games and navigate the Xbox 360 system. Waving your hands in the air to control a computer device has a very cool, sci-fi movie feel. However, there are times when you’ll want to pick up the plastic controller, because the sensor does take a bit longer to register your commands than a quick click on the remote. If you’re expecting lightning-fast, precise control, you might be disappointed.

All in all, the Kinect for Xbox 360 is a fun way to play video games. If you’ve been using the Wii for exercise, you might want to find a place to try out the Kinect sports and workout games. You don’t have to hold a sweaty controller while you jog, or strap it to your leg to record your lunge repetitions. Once you get started, it’s easy to lose track of time, which is a much more enjoyable way to exercise than counting minutes on a treadmill.

We enjoy gaming with the Kinect/Xbox, and are looking forward to seeing what other games are developed for the system. If you’re considering a new gaming system for your family, and want games that will get everybody off the couch, the Kinect and Xbox are an excellent combination! For more information on Kinect and safe family gaming, check out GetGameSmart.com.

Disclosure: I received a free Kinect/Xbox kit.