Tagged: ActiveMinute

Hole in the Gunstringer: A few Kinect demo impressions

DisKINECTed for what feels like months now, I had one fleeting day recently where I felt well and able enough to plug the motion sensing black box in and try out some demos.

Hole in the Wall
Based on the American TV show (based on the superior Japanese original) Hole in the Wall takes the perfectly hilarious concept of contorting your body to fit through holes in a rapidly-approaching wall and manages to make it lame. It doesn’t take much effort to fill the various silhouettes with enough of your body to get a Perfect score and the shapes were quick to repeat, even in the demo. Your Avatar is also poured into a skintight silver body suit which, while accurate to the show, gives me the creeps.

If you simply must have a game where you play human Tetris, this is the one to settle for. It’s one of the rare $10 games these days and it’s at the ready as an Xbox Live Arcade download. Your only alternative is the similar minigame packed into Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do. It’s a little more fun than Hole in the Wall but the rest of that package is a slow-loading and annoying pain. Sad to say, Hole in the Wall is the lesser of two mediocre human Tetris evils.

 

The Gunstringer
Much ballyhoo has been bandied about around Twisted Pixel’s The Gunstringer. The team are notorious for insane FMV and quality humor and this game was once the fabled first downloadable title for Kinect. Now it’s a $40 retail release and even bundled with a free copy of Fruit Ninja Kinect the value seems to be more in the experience than in the playing. Ultimately, Youtube may be the best place to experience The Gunstringer’s inventive marionette Western world without the hassle of controlling it yourself.

That’s a bummer to this retro-loving heart of mine because I get a surprising Sega Saturn vibe from the demo. The colorful visuals and 2.5D platforming sections remind me of Clockwork Knight and the on-rails target-painting immediately feels like Panzer Dragoon. Only every shot, jump and “surprise” is telegraphed well in advance to account for any lag and to not grow overly exhausting. The mechanics worked well for me and, as advertised, you can even play sitting down but that only made me wish this were a faster, harder and controller-based homage to those early 3D games of the mid-90’s.

 

Active Minute No.7: Public Sweat Show

Did Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do totally put me off of motion gaming? Not at all! I’ve just been so exhausted these past couple weeks to tweet because Katy and I have spent an impressive number of hours (and dollars, and calories) hopping around our local Pump it Up machine. Located at Dave & Buster’s, it’s the same old machine I’ve been dancing on pretty regularly since 2001. They’ve updated the monitor a couple of times and the software a surprising number of times given that only a handful of us regulars pump money into it.

The latest version — Pump it Up 2011 Fiesta EX — includes several songs from some of our favorite modern k-pop groups. In previous versions it’s been 90’s/early 00’s k-pop that I’m more familiar with leaving Katy without much context, or enthusiasm. I do like the new stuff but wept a single (but powerful) nostalgic tear at the sight of all my returning favorites. New modes, lots of custom play options and an insane 350 songs to choose from has us far too eager to throw away our money getting sweaty at a very public arcade.

Active gaming. Not for the self conscious.

Though the logo may be heavy on Kinect, ActiveMinute is my attempt to justify all motion gaming peripherals I’ve collected over the years and get a little more physical activity into my day. Sessions last for only a few minutes and are chronicled on Twitter with the hashtag #ActiveMin. I’ll post a frequent recap here but feel free to follow along, comment or join in yourself. Just use that hashtag!

Active Minute No.6: Kill me Carney

I knew my work schedule was leading me into a whole mess of physical labor over this past weekend so I put off #ActiveMin for most of last week. Early on I was hitting Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and pumping things up with 5lb hand weights on cardio boxing routines. It felt nice to play Kinect with some kind of physical resistance and it also got my arms a pleasant shade of sore by Wednesday. I also, finally, topped the high score in hula hoop-ing; turns out those hand weights were just what I needed to keep the centrifugal force up and my hips spinning. On the downside of Your Shape, the Zen stuff continues to work against its design. By the end of the routine I’m always swearing at the screen, waiting for Kinect to register that, yes indeed, I’m doing the moves right!

A few days later I was surprised to see GameFly send an honest-to-god new release my way in the form of Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do. Three tweets later I was pretty much finished with its passable entertainment and excessive waits between scripted animations and belittling dialog. I did go on to write a quick review for Nerds on the Rocks (now on GameLuv too) so I at least got something out of it. I’m currently recovering from those 13 hours of shin-splitting work but I expect to be hopping around in front of my TV again by the weekend, if I’m not being too Active with IKEA furniture that is.

Though the logo may be heavy on Kinect, ActiveMinute is my attempt to justify all motion gaming peripherals I’ve collected over the years and get a little more physical activity into my day. Sessions last for only a few minutes and are chronicled on Twitter with the hashtag #ActiveMin. I’ll post a frequent recap here but feel free to follow along, comment or join in yourself. Just use that hashtag!

ActiveMinute No.5: Part-time Zumbateer

I realize now that copy/pasting tweets isn’t all that interesting for you out there reading this. So I thought I’d cancel the scheduled weekly format for #ActiveMinute because I keep missing my deadline and just post something about what I’ve been up to; a recap of recent minutes of activity. So here’s this:

Despite it being a DLC machine and lacking a real workout program, I enjoy playing Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Ubisoft rarely falters on the aesthetics and the splashes of color among the whited out environments continues to look unlike anything else I play. I have yet to master the hula hoop gym game — I blame the rigid hips of the male physiology — but I keep trying after a round of cardio boxing or the zen yoga stuff.

I finally played Kinect Adventures online (I talked about it on this episode of the show) but to reiterate: it’s pretty impressive. Seeing my Xbox Live friend from the U.K. moving his Avatar right next to mine, chatting over headsets and swapping photos really was almost like having him in the room. I was suddenly aware of how disheveled things looked and, oh god, my pants are getting mighty low! Not now camera… nooooo!

The Zumba Fitness demo came out last week and includes two songs and a few tutorial segments. I see now why it’s a great full-body workout and why Zumbateers (assuredly the official term) are always dripping with sweat. The game works a lot like Just Dance in that it never reveals how or even if it’s tracking your movements but it never lets you fail and encourages you to just keep moving. This is also a pretty quick port from the Wii so the menus and extras are super sparse and I wouldn’t really advise paying full price even if you love Reggaeton and getting sweaty.

And then I got sick… again… and that put the brakes on the physical activity for the past several days. Once again I find myself recuperating and hoping that with more stable weather here in Cincinnati in the coming months I’ll have this feature written up more consistently.

Though the logo may be heavy on Kinect, ActiveMinute is my attempt to justify all motion gaming peripherals I’ve collected over the years and get a little more physical activity into my day. Sessions last for only a few minutes and are chronicled on Twitter with the hashtag #ActiveMin. I’ll post a frequent recap here but feel free to follow along, comment or join in yourself. Just use that hashtag!

ActiveMinute for the week of March 14th

Alright, we’ve got some ground to cover as I catch back up on my tweets. I missed a couple weeks there — sorry about that — but hopefully I can get this back on a weekly basis so these posts don’t get too long and out of date. For now, let’s go:

  • March 4th #ActiveMin is back with Kinect Adventures today. Rallyball remains a bummer too as the game that’s too laggy to be as fun as it should be.
  • March 5th Pump it Up fans need to be here for #ActiveMin (more like ActiveHour) today! Got the homebrew Xbox out with a few hundred classic songs!
  • March 5th #ActiveMin devolved into DDR with a controller, devolved into SSX On Tour, almost devolved into Dinosaur Hunting marathon speedrun!
  • March 6th Spent part of the day setting up the 2nd bedroom just for last gen dance games #ActiveMin to the next — err, last — level!
  • March 8th #ActiveMin tonight was going to be some more 2nd bedroom/last gen motion gaming antics but ran out of time… so Kinect Adventures it was!
  • March 9th Half of #ActiveMin was just setting up the Eye Toy in the other room. Then a few rounds with Eye Toy Groove. Still fiddling with lighting.
  • March 9th Finished the last set of challenges on Kinect Adventures for #ActiveMin today. All that’s left is the ultra challenge and then the grind.
  • March 10th Quick #ActiveMin with Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. New records in Virtual Smash & Stack Em Up! Only about 12 calories burned though.
  • March 12th Alright Kinect Adventures! I’m comin’ for you and your final crazy-long challenge for #ActiveMin today! Let’s see how this goes!
  • March 12th Ohp… turns out the ultimate challenge in Kinect Adventures only took 25 minutes.
  • March 12th And here it is! My final living statue performance from Kinect Adventures
  • March 13th Super quick #ActiveMin with DanceMasters demo. I really need to buy this game some day. I got AA on Geisha’s Dream… again.
  • March 14th Played a bunch of DDR songs with Pump it Up 5-way steps turned on for #ActiveMin. Awkward but awesome & getting more use out of 2nd bedroom.

Though the logo may be heavy on KinectActiveMinute is my attempt to justify allmotion gaming peripherals I’ve collected over the years and get a little more physical activity into my day. Sessions last for only a few minutes and are chronicled on Twitter with the hashtag #ActiveMin. I’ll post a weekly roundup here so feel free to follow along, comment or join in yourself. Just use that hashtag!