After standing in line for nearly two hours (only the second to the 3DS for the longest wait time on the show floor), VGChartz finally went hands on with one of the most highly anticipated hardware showpieces in the industry. The Kinect line also wins the award for the most circuitous on the show floor as well, because every time we thought we had made it to the end, the line took a sharp 180 degree turn in the opposite direction to continue even further. All of this made the anticipation to experience the device that much worse, but thankfully, all of that time standing in line was met with the reward of playing two different Kinect demos of our liking.
At the end of the line awaited what seemed to be about a 10x10 foot room enclosed with glass partitions so other attendees could watch the Kinect experience firsthand. The first demo we had the privilege of playing was the hurdles minigame in the as of now confirmed Kinect launch title, Kinect Sports. We were given the option of playing the game with four player multiplayer or taking turns sampling the single player experience, the latter of which we chose.
Before we began, the two Microsoft reps that were showcasing the game stated that in order for Kinect to read us, we would need to stand about four to eight feet away from the television for best results. After briefly explaining the mechanics of the game to each of us, the demo finally started, which is actually where we discovered our biggest gripe as far as Kinect Sports hurdles gameplay functionality is concerned. And what may come as a surprise to many, I'm actually talking about the pointing and clicking of the buttons on the screen to start the demo. The game had a rather difficult time reading our outreached arms as we attempted to point at the onscreen button displays. It felt a bit unnatural, and it would have been nice if the game could given more of a response when we had our reticule over the button, either with the reticule changing a bit more visually, or a well placed audio effect.
As I'm sure you already know from gameplay screens and videos, everything in the title was designed to match the now famous cartoon-Avatar art style accordingly. When it was time for each of us to play, we all had our own unique Avatar to embody, complete with their own track get-ups. Before the race began, we were surprised to see that if we raised our hands up in the air, our Avatar would copy our movements and waive their hands to the crowd. A short countdown then proceeded, and then boom, we were off to the races. The reps stressed that we needed to raise our knees as high as we could in order for the Avatars to replicate our in place jogging movements.
Eventually, we would encounter placed hurdles, and a well placed in-place jump would usually register, although rarely we had the occasional issue with that as well. Finally, when we made it over the finish line, the game would show off a comically sped up replay of us that the Kinect unit's camera captured. Microsoft stated that these videos could then be uploaded to your Facebook to show off your mad Kinect skills to your friends.
We came away neither too impressed with the short demo of the upcoming sports title, or too disappointed. Aside from the pointing malfunctions, there wasn't much that stood out. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft uses their time before their November launch in relation to Kinect.
Lastly, in the Kinect booth right next to us was the famous "The Guild" television actress Felicia Day. We managed to snap a few photos of her and the event below!