The first Xbox 360 Kinect game I managed to get my hands on (it's going to take a while before we come up with a better phrase for this) was MTV Games / Harmonix' Dance central. Now, some of you may not care about dancing games...
I, speak as a very un-rhythmic boy who desperately wishes he could dance, well at all. So, love this sort of thing. I loved Dance Dance Revolution
. Last year when tweens the world over were going nuts for Ubisoft's Just Dance
, I was right there with 'em. Oh, sure, I could blame my girlfriend who bought the game, but my arm was never twisted. Dancing is fun, period. I'll never be a great dancer, but being a great virtual anything is kind of what video games are all about.
One of the things that immediately separates DC
from all the other Kinect games on show is that it doesn't actually show you, or your avatar on screen. You only see the fancy renders of dancers as you attempt to mimic their movements. This is probably the right idea as the last thing I want to do is actually see how badly I may or may not be doing.
At least during, there is a video of my “moves” at the bottom of this post. The game does a good job helping you learn quickly with its “break it down” mode where everything slows to a crawl and you repeat the same move over and over until you get it right, and then the song picks up where it left off. I would like some sort of more detailed information, perhaps an overlay of my silhouette on top of the dancer on screen to help illustrate the issues I may or may not be having. As it is I seemed to do very well.
I don't know how accurate that means Kinect is but I had a good time, so I think that's pretty important. I can say that when I played around with the menus it seemed incredibly, responsive. Although I struggled briefly to learn the methodology of the gesture controls, once I knew what they wanted from me I had no issues zipping around.
Some people worry that we will never want to use gesture control once the novelty wears off. I think that there is a lot of potential in accomplishing a variety of things in a menu with different movements. I'd hope that the menuing with Kinect will surpass the need to use a stick to select an item.. and then press a button. It's really all up to the software designers/programmers to make this hardware shine.
My time with the game was woefully, or mercifully if you were spectating, brief. But I came away laughing and smiling and wanting more. So, I'd say this looks like a winner. Dancing games are probably going to be a large component of the Kinect lineup when it launches so it's hard to say where to throw your money early on, but you could definitely do worse than to bank on Harmonix and Dance Central