August 8, 2011: wallet threat level green

, | Games

At QuakeCon, during one of the panels, Matt Hooper from id mentioned the Kinect. A very vocal young fellow seated behind me barked, “Lag!” This guy in the audience had been saying things very loudly and very inappropriately, so for a brief moment, I thought he’d called Hooper “fag”. I think — no joke — he might have had Tourrette’s Syndrome. When someone mentioned Zelda, he declared, “Navi!” as if it were the answer to an unspoken quiz show challenge (i.e. “name the sidekick in the following videogame franchises…”). At a reference to Half-Life, he hollered, “Oh yeah!”, almost exactly matching the intonation of the Kool-Aid pitcher busting in through a brick wall.

But when the Kinect was mentioned, he announced, “Lag!”. That one word, that one syllable, is the chief characteristic of the Kinect for many of us. And now, this week, here is the Kinect resorting to a port of the iPhone game Fruit Ninja. Here it is, hoping to insinuate itself among better games in XBLA’s Summer of Arcade series, like NBC sticking episodes of The Michael Richards Show between Frasier and Friends. But the truth of the matter is that no matter how responsive Kinect becomes, the greater issue is that it’s solving problems that don’t exist. If I want to play a casual colorful finger slider like Fruit Ninja — I don’t, actually, but if I did — I’ll play it on the iPhone instead of waving my entire arms around in the living room.

So, anyway, not much of a wallet threat this week.

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