Tagged: Kinect

These Kinect-free re-releases are a little sad

 

These Kinect-free re-releases are a little sad

I don’t know if it’s liberating or disappointing for Frontier Developments to see their premiere Kinect titles retooled for controllers and re-released to puff up the Xbox lineup. For me it’s totally liberating as I was eager to start both games but quickly tired of recalibrating the Kinect and feeling my arms go limp after pretend petting elephants.

But Frontier was on par with Rare when it came to their dedication to Kinect. They weren’t just shoveling out titles to cash in on the fizzling motion control fad. Frontier put some real heart into the darling little Kinect launch title Kinectimals and expanded on it With Bears!. It was the wholesomeness of Kinectimals that I feel landed them the chance to combine their love of amusement park sims with the most beloved amusement park of all: Disneyland.

Again, they could’ve done the cashgrab and slapped a fresh coat of paint (and Mickey bars) on their Thrillville engine. But from what I remember they put as much love into Cinderella’s dress as they had the doe-eyed Kinectimals. Then they became one of the few studios going all-in on Kinect for Xbox One where they combined all their past experience and expertise for Zoo Tycoon.

Four years later, Microsoft has finally given up on Kinect and set their internal teams on Frontier’s founding titles to make them 100% less demanding to play. Now Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection (alongside Rush: A DisneyPixar Adventure, not from Frontier) are available for $30 and are Play Anywhere compatible on PC and Xbox One. Like I said, it’s great news for gamers — those who skipped the titles because of Kinect or are just now coming to Xbox looking for family-friendly fun — but I can’t help feeling a little remorse for all of Frontier’s efforts as well.

Is the Xbox One X hiding a built-in microphone? Also, here are the ports

"The rarely seen backside... of Xbox One X"

I totally missed the “Drag to rotate 360 degrees” part of the Xbox One X site yesterday. I thought they weren’t ready to reveal what was on the backside of the console but here it is, looking very much in line with the Xbox One S and the recently revealed Xbox One X devkit.

The most surprising part is that the HDMI IN port remains so anyone looking to upgrade their current Xbox-as-a-cable-box experience should be good to go. As an upgrade to the current Xbox One experience I suppose it’s not that surprising to see the ports remain the same. With the added promise that all Xbox One accessories and games would be compatible with the One X there’s not a lot of room to change things up on the ports.

Is the Xbox One X hiding a microphone?

Continuing to rotate the console, however, has led to my next tinfoil-hat speculation: is this tiny black hole on the console’s front left side a microphone? Will Cortana “always be listening” and sending privacy advocates into a panic? Privacy aside, the voice commands offered by the Kinect were the only way I could navigate the original Xbox One’s Dashboard. If that tech has hitched a ride as a low power, built-in component of the Xbox One X it may stand as a fitting legacy for the ill-fated motion sensing peripheral.

Like the Xbox One X Avatars, I hope we find out more on this mysteriously little port this week as E3 steamrolls right over my day-job productivity.

FRU Live Stream is Up

My setup isn’t great for recording Kinect games but they come along so rarely that I’d never tried before. Nevertheless, here’s a quick half hour with FRU!

The Last Great Kinect Game, FRU, is Out Today

071316-fru

It was E3 2014 when I first saw FRU in action and immediately fell for its mix of 2D platforming and Kinect integration. The bubbly silhouette of your body allows the main character to interact with an alternate version of the world. Your positioning allows the character to access platforms and bypass obstacles. Imagine if your body was the portal in Portal. And it’s finally out on Xbox One today for $14.99 or $10.04 for Gold members.

I will hopefully be streaming it this afternoon but whatever I do get recorded will be up on YouTube shortly after.

Boom Ball brings block breaking body bounding to Xbox One, today

Released amid the rampant consumerism and crippling food comas of this holiday weekend is a new Xbox One digital game: Boom Ball for Kinect. I know, it’s hard to think positively about Kinect’s motion controls but this $10 download is like a pleasant cross between Boom Blox and Breakout. It looks like a perfect low impact, low cost game to help recover from the festivities or show off that new Xbox One.