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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Moving and shaking

A week ago tonight, Elvi and I attended the Montreal launch party for Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox 360. Held in La Mouche on lower St. Denis, the party had free drinks and four playing stations (but no Playstations).

Kinect, of course, is Microsoft’s answer to the Wii, taken a step farther. The Kinect uses video and infrared sensors to detect the motion of your entire body. Through your motions, you control what happens on the screen.

We were able to try out a number of games. I shook my booty to “Funkytown” in Dance Central, which is the sort of game that benefits from the technology. The Kinect accurately tracked my smoov moves despite the gawkers around me as I tried and mostly succeeded in following the fly girl’s moves. Tremble mortals, and despair:

Another success was the beach volleyball, part of the Kinect Sports game. We got into it, and it was a blast to jump up and spike the ball, even if it sent my iPod flying out of my shirt pocket and skidding across the floor.

Unfortunately, there are deficiencies. The tracking was occasionally wonky. There may have been a finer resolution than the Wii, but it was less reliable overall. You need to stay in front of the Kinect; with the Wii, you have more freedom to roam.

Kinect’s biggest drawback is its allegedly best feature: the lack of a controller. It sounds freeing, except it’s actually more limiting. When playing Kinect Joy Ride, you had no way to brake or accelerate the car, the way you could with buttons on a controller. You could initiate a temporary speed boost by pulling back and pushing forward on the imaginary steering wheel but that felt awkward, like you were trying to induce whiplash.

And if you do buy Kinect? Forget Kinect Adventures. That was dull.

Bonus moving and shaking:

Child Three’s guinea pigs seem to fight quite a bit, with lots of shrieking, but Groucho recently took to flailing around on his back and shrieking. The vets tells us they have mites, which burrow under the skin and cause severe pain. They’re halfway through the course of two injections and we expect them to recover completely.

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