Kinect

07.31.12

LONDON -- After settling for silver for his 18th Olympic record-tying medal, Michael Phelps, 27, was golden again winning his record-breaking 19th medal anchoring the U.S. men's 4x200-meter freestyle team, which also included Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens. With the gold medal, Phelps broke Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's 48-year record of 18 total Olympic medals which she won between 1956 to 1964. Phelp's medal count now stands at 15 gold, two silver, two bronze. He also won silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay at the London 2012 Games. We sat down with Phelps in this exclusive video interview where he talks about what drives him and of course, his favorite video games.

06.27.12

Over the years, we’ve gotten used to understanding what a Fable game is supposed to be like.  Under the guise of Peter Molyneux and his team at Lionhead Studios, we’ve played through three games, all of which featured memorable quests, with different decisions to make and the ability to control your fate however you chose.  By Fable III, however, the formula was getting a little dry, so Microsoft began looking for ideas on how to expand it.  And one of those ideas was the previously announced Fable: The Journey, an exclusive project for Xbox 360’s Kinect device.

06.23.12

I am so glad I’m finished with Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor.  Everything that could go wrong in that game does, and does so quite valiantly.  Even operating something as simple as a window visor is impossible thanks to the crappy Kinect controls.  But, honestly, this isn’t the first time a developer has gotten a motion experience wrong with Microsoft’s device – and it certainly won’t be the last.

06.23.12

Years ago, I reviewed Steel Battalion for the original Xbox, a game that came with a huge, table-sized 40+ button controller and two navigation sticks.  At that point, I said it was a little too over-complicated for its own good, but those who made the effort to invest time with it would be promptly rewarded.  Now, fast forward to last night, when I spent hours trying to navigate through Capcom’s latest game, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, for Xbox 360.  Same situation, too over-complicated for its own good, but no matter how much effort is put into it, the rewards never come.  So much for forward progress.

06.11.12

The idea behind E3 was to showcase the latest and brightest games of 2012, but there are always a few games that disappoint us. Some games on our list made serious changes to their formula, and not for the better. Other games took center stage at E3 when they shouldn’t have. There were many games at E3, but here is our top five list of disappointments.

06.11.12

Ubisoft had a huge set-up on the E3 show floor this week, with a number of major sequels available for play, as well as two new Wii U titles coming out in time for the system’s launch later this year.  But one of its hidden gems, tucked away in a behind-closed-doors section in its offices, was The Avengers: Battle For Earth.  Based on the popular Marvel franchise of the same name, this game demonstrated some proper use of Kinect motions when it came to controlling some of your favorite superheroes and villains.  So, of course, we were eager to give it a test drive.

05.22.12

I love Dragon’s Lair.  I’ve been an avid fan since I was a kid way back in 1983, and have collected a number of goods over the years, including a lunchbox (yes, really) and a poster autographed by Don Bluth and his team.  And I can play the original game backwards and forwards, and even name all the enemies that appear in it, from the Giddy Goons to the Lizard King.  So, yeah, when I was handed a code to check out Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade, I was eager to give it a try and see if it held up as well as other versions of the game, like the ones for Wii (as part of the Dragon’s Lair Trilogy) and PlayStation 3.  But this time…something just doesn’t feel right.

05.11.12

First introduced at a Microsoft event in Tokyo a couple of years back, Crimson Dragon has been hidden in secrecy for some time, with Yukio Futatsuki, the creator of Sega’s Panzer Dragoon series, and his team toiling away on its spiritual successor for Xbox Live Arcade.  But recently, Microsoft provided us a hands-on opportunity with the upcoming release, giving us the ability to fly around with a dragon using body motions.  And you know what?  It’s not half bad.

04.11.12

When you create a game for a motion-sensitive device, you have to keep things not only interesting, but fresh.  Stick with the same ideal too long and mundane feelings set in, leaving the player wondering why they’re still playing an hour into the game.  Some games have avoided these pratfalls, including Child of Eden and, most recently, Star Wars Kinect.  However, Diabolical Pitch, sadly, doesn’t avoid this rut.

03.29.12

Even though not every Kinect game is what I’d call “user friendly”, I do have to admit that Microsoft has done a great job reaching out to make games that are accessible for all ages.  Kinect Star Wars arrives next week, bringing plenty of racing action and Jedi-powered action with it; and Disneyland Kinect Adventures turned out to be much better than I gave it credit for, and a decent alternative to visiting the real park.  Sandwiched between the two is Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure, a game that features mini-games based on some of the team’s best films.  While slightly flimsier than what Disneyland had to offer, I can’t think of a kid who wouldn’t enjoy this effort.

03.20.12

Dragon’s Lair is one of those games that could be considered an immortal classic.  It got its start way back in 1983, when laser disc technology was king (we’re talking the big flipper discs, not the Blu-Rays as you know them now) and Don Bluth’s animation shined down on arcades, ushering in an interesting new technology that took the gaming scene by storm.  Now, almost 30 years later, the game lives on through Digital Leisure’s re-releases, and the company has confirmed that it’s now coming to Xbox Live Arcade – with a twist.

03.05.12

Steel Battalion was a rather quirky game for its time.  Unlike any other?  Sure.  But it also came with the most realistic vehicle play you could imagine, thanks to a deluxe sized controller that featured literally dozens of functions, ranging from various settings to an eject button, when things got too hot under the collar.  It was definitely an acquired taste, especially with its $200 price tag.  But Capcom is ready to bring this series back for a whole new audience, as it’s doing away with the controller in favor of Kinect-supported controls.  Will that be enough?

01.11.12

Microsoft is front and center at this year's Consumer Electronics Show -- mainly because it's bidding adieu next year -- but it's definitely bringing the goods between its Windows stuff and the Xbox 360.  Among the 360 offerings are plenty of Kinect games, including Dance Central 2 and Kinect Sports Season 2.  But perhaps the one that's gaining the most interest in the oft-delayed Kinect Star Wars, mainly because Microsoft introduced a new component for the game at the show -- 3D.