Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Kinect Better Be Freakin’ Brilliant…

Today at the Amazon.com warehouse, we started shipping the Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360.

By that I mean, the entire warehouse was thrown into chaos trying to handle the massive number of orders for the Kinect while simultaneously dealing with the daily volume of shit to ship out.

About 90% of the packages I handled today were Kinects, slim Xbox 360s, or Kinects packaged with slim Xbox 360s.

It was a fuckin’ circus if I ever saw one.

Apparently, I haven't seen one.

Things got so crazy in the morning that I was demoted from the cherished and admired position of “shipper” to that of the lowly (and mostly made up) job of “Xbox Thrower.”

While I may have made up the name myself; I assure you, it’s very much self-explanatory.

That being said, if you ordered an Xbox, Kinect, or Xbox with a Kinect; there’s a good chance it may arrive on your doorstep smashed, pissed on, or set on fire; ’cause I tell yah’, I was in one helluva’ hurry, and no force on Earth, managerial or otherwise was gonna’ stop me.

Whoops! Sorry about that!

Anyway, sometime during the “festivities” of “Kinect Day” at Amazon; it occurred to me that despite the hoopla and hype; I personally didn’t feel much excitement about the Kinect.

Sure, I’m a casual gamer at best; and I did just jump ship to the Playstation 3, but as someone fairly in-touch with the gaming world, I felt like I should be feeling at least something about the Kinect.

Truth be told, I really don’t know much about the Kinect.

I know it’s a hands-free motion-control device that can’t track motion from people wearing skirts.

I approve.

 

That’s about it though.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have exactly 1 friend that owns a Playstation Move.

Pictured: Said Korean. He made this, not me.

Before the release of the Move, I took the time to read an article or 2 here and there, and from what I read, it seemed like a decent idea.

“Decent,” but not great.

Having handled the Move awhile back, I can honestly say that the motion tracking is quite accurate, and left me feeling that the peripheral could indeed be used for some interesting gameplay mechanics.

That still doesn’t make it any more than a “decent” idea for the time being.

Though I really don’t know much about the Kinect, it sounds like more of a lifestyle accessory as opposed to a gaming peripheral.

What I mean to say is, based on the rebranding that Microsoft that been slapping on all of their products in anticipation of Kinect’s release, (18-24 year olds, and green and purple “swooshes,” anyone?) it genuinely seems that their aim is to get people goofing off in front of their TV as part of their daily life, as opposed to getting people to goof around in front of their TV for the purposes of playing videogames.

Now, you too can stand alone in your living room and wave at your TV to update your Facebook! Microsoft, bringing you only most crucial of lifestyle innovations!

It’s a sound idea, and indeed one that appeals to the same broad audience entranced by the mystifyingly simplistic motion-control scheme of the Wii; but personally I just don’t see it working.

Yet…

I can’t speak to the quality of the Kinect’s motion-controls, as my only exposure to it came in the form of watching a bunch of kids in a mall test it out; (the rafting game didn’t work so hot…) but the general feeling I get, is that the technology needs a little more time to grow.

Maybe I’m just being curmudgeony and cynical, but lifestyle altering, gesture-activated living room technology just doesn’t seem to me like something that Microsoft could get “right” on their first swing.

Hell, now that you mention it, this doesn’t sound like the kind of product Microsoft could manufacture without it having a failure rate of, oh; 99%.

Anyway, after chucking around the Kinect all day, I figured I’d post my thoughts, well; actually lack of thoughts, on the Kinect.

Seriously, this thing was so off my radar until today, you don’t even know…

For the record, while I have exactly 1 friend with a Move, I know exactly none that have shown interest in the Kinect.

Must be all the “swooshes”…

SWOOSHES!!!!!!!!

 

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Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Playstation Move + Sports Champions Review

Today I spent a good portion of my afternoon kickin’ it with my Korean buddy from up the street.

Pictured: Said Korean. He made this, not me.

Being as he’s a gadget oriented person, he saw fit to purchase the new Playstation Move on the first day of it’s release.

I was fortunate to be invited to christen the mighty motion control device along with him.

Color me surprised when I discovered that it was actually kind of fun to play.

Bear in mind, my impressions are, of course; derived solely from the Sports Champions disc packed with it.

Azn chick with a bow. Now that's not cliched imagery...

Like most gaming peripheral pack-in games I.E. Wii Sports, Super Scope 6, etc., Sports Champions could be viewed as little more than a tech-demo for the device, however in the case of the Move, it just happens to be a surprisingly deep and full-featured tech-demo.

FUCK. YES.

The game contains 6 different styles of play:

Archery, Ping Pong, Volleyball, Bocce Ball, Disc Golf, and a sword and shield Gladiator Duel.

I leave it to you to guess which game I insisted on playing most often.

"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?"

While I didn’t have the opportunity (nor desire) to try the Volleyball game, I was pretty impressed with most of the others.

The Archery was pretty straightforward, and definitely favored speed over accuracy.

Much like how I favor this Robin Hood over any other.

I have to say, requiring the player to actually have to reach over their shoulder to pull the next arrow from their quiver was a nice touch.

Other than that though, the Archery game was definitely lacking without the use of a second Move controller to properly simulate the tensile strength on the string of the bow.

The second controller tracks the distance between the 2 to determine the strength of the shot. SCIENCE.

My friend is a gadget guy, but he’s also Azn, so I don’t expect he’ll be shelling out the cash for another controller any time soon.

Moving on, Ping Pong was definitely a standout among most of the games.

Ping Pong was the first game I was privy to trying my hand at, and as such, it served as my introduction to the technical capabilities of the Move.

TECHNICAL.

My first action in the game was to turn over my wrist before the serve, just to see how well the Move could track my motions.

I have to say, it was quite satisfying to see my on-screen avatar (some douche in sunglasses named Dallas) actually match my wrist gesticulations move for move.

Here’s a video of someone (who sucks) playing the same character:

Once I started the game, I found the controls to be quite intuitive and surprisingly true to life.

I was perhaps most impressed by the controller’s ability to keep up with my movements despite my wonky style of playing Ping Pong.

I play right-handed, but in a Southpaw stance… And I also play back-handed with the racquet held at my waist.

Pictured: The Azn Badger playin' Ping Pong.

Goofy yes, but effective against lower-tier players like myself.

Despite all that goofiness, the Move managed to keep up just fine, allowing me to actually get a win in Ping Pong before my friend, the owner of the device, even got a chance to.

Bocce Ball was kind of a mixed bag.

I played it hot-seat style with my 2 other friends, and we found that:

A): Bocce Ball is a game that is probably more fun when someone in the room knows the rules/objective of the game.

And B): Bocce Ball is a game best played in the presence of old people or feebs.

Pictured: The correct people to stomp on in Bocce Ball.

While pretty fun, especially whenever someone managed to accidentally make a nice shot, the real problem with Bocce Ball was the Move’s inability to simulate the weight of a Bocce Ball in your hand.

Trust me, when you’re trying to determine just how much man-force behind your Bocce throw, more often than not you’ll find yourself overthrowing.

This same problem was present when playing Disc Golf with the same 2 friends.

Thankfully, no one I know owns one of these.

Although in this case, the problem was much more pronounced.

Disc Golf was kind of like the Wii Bowling of the Sports Champion disc.

Once you “get it,” that is, figure out how to position your wrist and how much man-force to put behind your shots, for the most part you’ve pretty much figured out the game.

Though my friends and I didn’t come close to mastering Disc Golf in the short time we played it, I can say this:

Those of us who could straighten their wrists properly (not me) were consistently the victor in every match we played.

That being said, let’s cut through the bullshit and get down to talkin’ about the only game in Sports Champions that really matters:

GLADIATOR DUEL

I’ve played Gladiator Duel for about 4-5 hours total now, and I’ve gotta’ say, at least against the computer; it’s pretty fuckin’ fun.

The basic gameplay of Duel is that of a motion controlled sword fight.

Yes, you do in fact look THIS dorky when playing.

Remember how utterly weak-sauce the controls of Wii Boxing were?

You know how he landed that shot? By flailing around for 5 minutes and getting lucky, that's how.

Well, Gladiator Duel blows that shit outta’ the water.

Remember how every swing you performed in Wii Tennis, regardless of power or direction, would always result in a canned animation?

Pictured: Steven Spielberg spite-killing Shigeru Miyamoto at Wii Tennis.

Well, Gladiator Duel spreads it’s cheeks and drops a log all over that shit’s face.

Remember how Rocky successfully ended the reign of the communist reign of the USSR using only his fists and the magnificent man-force of his man-fists?

BOW BEFORE YOUR GOD.

Well, that has nothing to do with Gladiator Duel, but it was fuckin’ awesome…

Anyway, when playing Duel, swinging the Move controller results in any number of attacks, while doing the same motions while holding the trigger on the controller results in manipulation of the player’s shield.

Parries, that is defense using one’s sword are possible and indeed recommended, as are the use of lateral movement and backsteps.

There are numerous context sensitive actions available in the game, so many in fact that I found myself wondering how fun Gladiator Duel would be to play online with human players.

Here’s a clip, I don’t feel like fishing for pics right now:

Trust me when I say this, the game is far more intense once you step up the difficulty level.

I was quite impressed by the sheer volume of content available in Sports Champions, well, at least the Gladiator Duel portion of it.

Near as I can tell, there are 10 racially diverse player avatars to choose from, with apparently an additional six unlockable after completing all of the challenges for each sports event.

Pictured: The 2 Azn characters. Both are Japanese. Go figure.

My buddy and I managed to unlock Titus, the Roman gladiator-garbed boss character of the Gladiator Duel game.

Pictured: Titus and his trident wielding friend.

In addition to this, different weapon skins and costumes are unlockable for each character, but perhaps most importantly, many characters possess their own movement animations, with only a few being reused here and there.

Thankfully there wasn't a whole lot of this in Sports Champions...

Little details like that were certainly not necessary for the developers to release Sports Champions successfully, however they are ultimately what kept me from holding all that much against it.

I can honestly say that I’ll probably never invest in a Move, (I’d need a Playstation 3 first now, wouldn’t I?) however that doesn’t stop me from having a lot of fun playing it at a friend’s house.

A few words to potential purchasers:

My buddy was telling me that he tried using the Move in conjunction with the game Tiger Woods 11, only to find that the motion controls were stunningly inaccurate.

Also, the same buddy is still trying to find a game that stands out as being a must purchase for the Move.

To top things off, as mentioned earlier, many games seem to need a second controller to work properly, so that’s an extra $40 if you seriously wanna’ get the most out of your experience.

Oh well, that doesn’t stop me from pestering my buddy to buy another controller so we can try The Fight: Lights Out

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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