The title of this post really sounds like a Sci-fi kids book. I am not writing this to make you think how horrible the Xbox is or how much time it sucks out of the everyday life from all of our kids but to point out a silver lining in the dark cloud that seems to face us all. Our children are turning into techies at a very early age. I am not saying that they can write applications or build servers though some can. Kids consume technology like a 17 year old consumes burgers! It just keeps going in without stopping. As fast as it changes, they are using it. This is good right? They have young moldable minds that want to learn. I think too many times parents get too concerned that they dont understand it so they just let their kids figure it out. Not a good thing, I might add. Do you just let your kids watch Porn or Blood and Guts? When our kids are young we protect them from this. We tell them not to talk to strangers. We tell them they cannot go see that rated R movie. Well things like the Xbox and PlayStation 3 bring our kids to the world. Do you take some time with them and play these video games with them? Do you take the time and see who they are chatting with online? Take the time and learn what is going on with your kids and their online gaming. Ok so enough with the dark part of the cloud now on to the silver lining.
My son is thirteen and he LOVES his Xbox. I will admit I have one too and when I have the time, I enjoy it. Benjamin lives in Montana with his mother and we dont get to see each other as much as we would like, but that is just a fact of life. Since this past summer, Ben has been asking if he could get Xbox Live for himself. His mother as any good mother said not until he got old enough. Well he turned 13 this year and his mom agreed that he could have it. He got to use my online account a few times while he was with me so he knew what he was able to do. Now he loves to play till 2-3 AM on the weekends with his friends from around the U.S. My nephew here in Charleston and Ben got together for a weekend. Jonathan came and spent the weekend with myself and Rene and at night Benjamin and Jonathan got to play some video games together. They were talking over Xbox Live and playing against and with each other over the internet. I jumped in and played a few games with my son as well. I was never into the online game play. I got Live for the downloadable content mostly. But, this got me thinking. What a cool way to spend some time with my son! He got an Xbox Kinect for Christmas this year. If youre not too familiar with a Kinect, it allows for you to play games with no controllers at all. It has some VERY advanced electronics that track hand, arm, head and body movement. You basically play a game by jumping and moving around. I would say it is a bit more interactive than the Wii. Anyways it got me thinking how cool would it be to get me and Ben together to say hi or even watch a movie together over Xbox Live and Kinect. So I just wanted to share this one sliver of technology with you and how a dumb gaming system can bring a father and son a bit closer! If you want to know about some of the other really cool things other are doing with the Kinect check out http://www.kinecthacks.com. I think you will be amazed as what some people are doing with it. See if you can find the flying robot!
Clearly Nintendo did something right: Years after incorporating motion controls into the Wii, the competition is finally following suit. With the Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect, Sony Playstation Move and even the Nintendo Wii Remote Plus controller all landing during the same holiday season, its only natural to compare and contrast these three similar-yet-different systems.
Does evolution equal fun? Motion control might be the future, but the present three options all have their ups and downs.
Who is it for?
The Move is for hard-core gamers, according to Sony, and the button-covered design may come off as a bit intimidating for the Wii crowd. The Kinect is controller-free, and the motion-heavy gaming is perfect for fitness nuts, families, and casual players with luxurious living rooms. The Wii is still for nearly anyone, but mainly kids, casual gamers, and those without HDTVs.
The Wii is the most forgiving of the motion systems in terms of space, and the easiest to set up; all you need to do is attach a sensor bar, and even the Wii Fit board is self-contained. Its the best system for playing in cramped quarters, such as a dorm room or kids bedroom.
The Move is more complicated because it also requires a camera to be installed near the TV, which wont actually be used for most PS3 games. It requires a few feet of distance to use, but games only register the controllers motion, not yours. The Kinect, once installed, is controller- and hassle-free, but its also the most high-maintenance of them all to set up properly. Lighting and ambient noise need to be perfect, and your whole living room belongs to the Kinects playspace, since your whole body is utilized in many Kinect launch games.
Which is best for games?
The Wii has a clear advantage with the greatest software lineup, but many of the best Wii games dont really use motion all that much, and extra peripherals such as the Wii Fit board and the little-used but now integrated MotionPlus technology add up and begin to feel a little gimmicky.
Its too early to tell on the Move and Kinect, but so far their games have been a little lackluster and unoriginal, although theyre far better produced and feature stronger graphics. A few winners have emerged for both platforms, but theyre few and far between.
The dust bunny factor
The clear advantage here goes to the controller-free Kinect, which has nothing capable of gathering dust except for the camera itself. Once its plugged in, it never needs to be unplugged, even while playing non-Kinect Xbox 360 games. As to whether youll use it, thats another matter entirely, and the cameras not tiny, but its definitely the most compact peripheralplus it can be used to control (some) movies and ESPN.
The Wiis age and its abundance of plastic peripherals leave it designated as a gaming fad sooner than later. The Moves not needed for most PlayStation games, and it, too, could end up being relegated to Dustyland if better Move games dont show up. Plus, its two-part controller is bulkier than the Wiis.
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