It's all fun and games till someone shoots their eye out
// Jason Faulkner
The Delta Six controller is the latest entry in my inadvertent series on crowdfunding drama. Hot on the heels of news that The Stomping Land was abandoned by its development team, details have emerged of project mismana... read
Anthony Carboni explains it all
Number 56 on the master list of 235 "Things that I say that sometimes annoy people who play videogames" is that it's very rare for a game to have "bad" controls. Most of the time when people say that, they are focusing too m... read feature
A ratings board listing has outed the existence of Fruit Ninja Kinect 2. You cool with that?
Fruit Ninja was one of the rare titles for Xbox 360 that made decent use of the motion-sensing device, so it makes sense that the ne... read
The Oculus Rift is a great piece of equipment, and up until now you needed to use motion--based controllers to simulate your own arms in some Rift games. Myo looks to take things one step further by freeing up your hands, th... read
Apple confirmed that they bought PrimeSense, the company behind the original Kinect, for $360 million dollars. A spokesmen told the BBC that "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not ... read
Ever dedicated to evangelizing the usefulness of Kinect 2.0, Microsoft has released two tech demos showcasing the camera's improvements over its predecessor. The first video focuses on how the Kinect 2.0 interacts with your ... read
When Kinect launched for Xbox 360, it was immediately compatible with Windows PCs. When Xbox One's Kinect launches, that won't be the case.
Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox One's Kinect sensor was built specifically with the... read
Following the release schedule for the Leap Motion Controller and tease that Double Fine would have a game of its own for the device, more details have come out. This new title, "a music driven score challenge game" designed ... read
Some of us aren't so keen on using Kinect for playing most types of games, but that's not to say the technology doesn't have its applications elsewhere. Can you imagine Microsoft integrating Kinect with laptops or tablets? Ch... read
The Destructoid Show's 420th Episode Takes The High Road
// Max Scoville
As we do every Friday (except for sometimes) we did a live Destructoid Show.
CD Projekt Red announced some stuff about The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, and then dropped some new screens. Some stuff is being released in May... read
This isn't the first time that a scientific study has come up demonstrating the benefits that videogames can have on budding surgeons, and it surely won't be the last. It makes sense: spend time developing hand-eye coordinati... read
Interact with the digital world in a whole new way
// Taylor Stein
Controllers and keyboards are standard tools in every gamer's repertoire, but what if I told you that a high-tech armband could be the next step in control interface evolution? Built by Canadian start-up firm Thalmic Labs, th... read
The Leap Motion Controller is one of those devices that looks cool enough to buy even if it ends getting used, at best, infrequently. Thankfully, in this case, the device is $79.99 which is reasonable enough for promising yet... read
Sony has just officially revealed the DualShock 4 controller, which is pretty close to the photo we published last week. Mark Cerny, PS4 Lead System Architect, showed the controller during today's live stream event ... read
I hate to be the one to crush the hopes and dreams of the affable Jonathan Holmes, but it looks like the Wii U version of Resident Evil: Revelations will not offer a Wii Remote + Nunchuk option. Oh yes, we'll get lovely off-T... read
Feb 11 //
Daniel Starkey I started thinking about all of this a few weeks ago, wondering what trends and innovations would be influential for gaming. What will forever change the face of this industry as we know it? After some discussions with the rest of the staff here, we’ve got it down to a list of a few things whose impact will probably be with us for some time to come.
The Wii, Kinect and Move. If there’s one development that could really sum-up this generation, motion controls might be it.
It started back in ’06 with the release of Nintendo’s Wii. Instead of trying to keep up with the graphical race between Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo chose to use an innovative control mechanism, banking on the idea that developers would use it to create games that were compelling enough to draw in casual gamers and the core crowd alike.
It worked, more or less. At just under 100 million units, the Wii is still *technically* the most successful console from this generation. I say technically, because Wii sales have been largely stagnant for a couple of years, giving both the PS3 and 360 quite some time to catch up.
Early on, however, no one knew how the whole thing would play out. Initially, the Wii was selling so fast that it looked like it was a real contender to surpass the PlayStation 2. The other two companies, realizing the mass appeal of motion controls, Microsoft and Sony moved to produce peripherals that would give their respective consoles functionality that rivaled that of the Wii.
At E3 2009, Kinect and Move were shown for the first time. While each unit was met with different levels of success, they were indicative of something more -- a desire to simplify, to cut back on the growing complexity of traditional console controls.
For all of its imperfections, motion controls allowed easy translation of subtle, nuanced movement between player and the screen. Games like Wii Sports and Dance Central rode the wave of popularity and saw pretty substantial success. Kinect showed, for the first time, that a peripheral not initially bundled with a console could not only be financially viable, but see incredible mainstream acceptance, selling over 8 million units in the first 60 days and setting a world record for the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever released.
While it’s not certain whether the "Nextbox" or the PS4 will keep up with the motion control standard, but the Wii U, the first console of the 8th generation, has already taken the legacy of its predecessor and built upon it. Microsoft has also been unusually dedicated to Kinect, and I honestly don’t see them dropping that support anytime soon.
This is perhaps one of the most pernicious and frustrating new bits of tech I’ve seen in some time. I’ve written before about the need for games that are open and accessible to people who may be differently abled, and that sentiment hasn’t changed. Motion controls, indeed, can be very helpful for some individuals, but it seems that more often than not it is a restriction. Playing the Wii for example can be tiring, even if it just means holding your arm in one specific place for extended periods of time. Motion controls, more often than not place an additional barrier between the player and the game.
Standard console controls have been fine-tuned for years and it’s pretty rare to see even the worst games completely screw them up. Anytime a new Kinect or Move game comes out, however, the first and most important discussion that’s had is whether or not the controls are even competently implemented. The simple act of not screwing something up is now seen as an exceptional accomplishment because just being okay is the new bar.
Maybe I’m wrong, but within the past few years I haven’t seen anything pull off new control schemes quite as well as games like Wii Sports or Dance Central, and they are meant for very general audiences and are very liberal with what kinds of movements they will accept as being correct. This tech isn't really ready for prime time and probably won’t be for a while- not to the degree required to justify the cost.
When I was young, my mom told me that eventually all games would be controlled with the whole body. Even back then, I knew that was a bad idea. I’m not necessarily against change in the abstract, but at no point have I seen anything that justifies two expensive add-ons and an entire console that’s a generation behind.
Creativity on the part of the developers brings innovation. Messing with the most fundamental aspect of a machine (its interface) undoes everything people have learned since gaming has… been. People can say what they like, but this is one shift that gives me a lot more stress, physical pain, and hours of frustration than it should have.
At the end of the day, ask yourself- do you want Red Steel or do you want Portal?
[image courtesy of SlamDunk! Studios , I'm a Gamer Too, and Kotaku Australia]
Many embarassing Facebook images later If current estimations are to be believed, the current console generation will be the longest we’ve seen in the history of gaming. As of right now, just a little less than one-third of my life fits between November 16, ... read feature
I hope they come up with a better name than Kinect 2
// Jordan Devore
For all of Microsoft's commercial success with Kinect, the device still seems to draw a lot of criticism for its lack of compelling supported games, and rightfully so. Perhaps things will be different with the successor to th... read
I sprayed virtual bullets all over the CES game section today trying out the MAG II gyroscopic gun controller. This "wireless magneton induction" controller uses a gyroscope and on-the-fly calibration to let you aim in first-... read
Last week's Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) was a real instant friendship time. Douglas Wilson is probably the most down-to-earth, PhD-educated videogame developer I've met all year. There was no subject he wasn't willing to roll... read
We were live earlier today for The Destructoid Show, and if you missed it... Shame on you. But here's a recording anyway.
Sony patented a new controller that's kinda cool, but also stupid-looking. THQ's in the latest Humble ... read
A new patent from Sony has revealed a unique little idea that potentially hints at future PlayStation plans -- a hybridized controller that blends both the DualShock and PlayStation Move into one gestalt beast.
The quir... read
Fascinating send-off for Nintendo's most successful home console
// Tony Ponce
On the eve of the Wii U's launch, it's time to pay our final respects to the console its replacing, because unlike the PS2, no company is going to be supporting the Wii from here on out. The Wii was a treasure trove of potent... read
Over half a decade of frustration is about to be unleashed with glorious fury.
It's been six years, the tech has been demonstrated, yet still the tech demos come. So few games have found a way to implement new interfaces gra... read
Describing Johann Sebastian Joust is arguably one of the most difficult things I've had to do since I saw the game back at E3. The best I've managed to come up with is: "It's kind of like tag... But it's also got some elemen... read feature
No, I didn't come up with that hilariously horrid pun in the title. That one was courtesy of Nintendo themselves in this new trailer for Ubisoft's Sports Connection on Wii U. Oh, you think they'd stop there, but no,&nbs... read
The big news today is the newly announced voice cast for Sleeping Dogs, which includes Lucy Liu, Tim Wilkinson, Robin Shou, and oddly enough, Emma Stone. A video walkthrough of the E3 demo of Metro: Last Light is now online,... read
The LEAP is essentially a precision Kinect that senses various types of gestures in a 3D space, and can be used for a whole ton of stuff besides Fruit Ninja and dance games. The video on the LEAP's website makes it look... read
Jun 20 //
Hamza CTZ Aziz
First, I need to address my earlier hyperbolic statements. When I went hands-on with Steel Battalion just prior to GDC a few months back, the setup of the room was the most ideal environment one could have to play any Kinect game. Brightly lit, lots of room, and optimal spacing between the Kinect and player. When I played it there, Heavy Armor was functioning just fine for me.
So you can hopefully understand where I was coming from when I made what is now an obviously outlandish statement. I downloaded the Steel Battalion demo last night to see how the game would do in my living room. It was barely five minutes into the demo before I rage-quit after getting stuck in a loop where I was entering and exiting the cockpit view. I was sitting as instructed, with my hands and controller in my lap, yet the Kinect was just unable to process that I wasn't moving my arms at all.
It was then a realization dawned over me. I've been making excuses with every Kinect game up until this point. Every time a motion or voice command failed with any game, I would shrug it off until I got whatever I was trying to make happen. Why have I been so forgiving all this time? We would cry bloody murder if we had to press a button on our controller or keyboard multiple times to get an action working. Imagine trying to shoot a weapon in something like Call of Duty, where your gun would only fire on every third or fourth pull of the trigger. That would be unacceptable, and yet nearly two years since the launch of the device "Kinect forgiveness" is applied to every Kinect game released.
I'm done making excuses, as it's become grossly obvious to me that the device doesn't work, and I doubt it will ever be fixed in its current form. We've all just been test subjects, feeding the device data that will shape the next iteration of the Kinect. The rumors regarding the next Xbox console have been increasing since the start of the year, and this supposed leaked document detailing Microsoft's future vision proposes the Kinect 2 with higher accuracy, improved voice recognition, four-player support, and a dedicated hardware processor. Wait, some of that sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Oh yeah. All this and more was promised when the Kinect was known as Project Natal. Instead, what we got was a shadow of what was shown. As for the voice recognition, the whole feature is about as useful to me as it is to say "Xbox, open disc tray."
I think the main problem with Kinect is that seemingly no one in the industry is pushing the hardware at all when developing for it, with most attempts feeling like half-assed cash-ins. It's rather telling when a first party published title doesn't even try, as was the case with Kinect Joy Ride.
I say most. Like I said earlier, the Dance Central series is done rather well, and titles such as Twisted Pixel's The Gunstringer and Grasshopper's Diabolical Pitch have been fun, but they seem to be fun in spite of the Kinect features rather than because of them. The best Kinect-enabled games that really take advantage of the device seem to only be the ones directed at children, with Double Fine's Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, and Kinectimals being some shining examples. If anything, kids are the perfect target for the Kinect, as they're hyper little monsters that won't be fazed from having to repeatedly wave their arms or scream at their TV trying to make something happen.
The Kinect was designed for gaming, but the areas where it actually excels have nothing to do with games. Hacks of all sorts have been designed for the Kinect, from acting as a virtual dressing room, making autonomous flying robots, helping doctors in the operating room, to so much more. There's a serious problem when the hacks and mods do so much more with the Kinect than the games do.
I'm mad because Microsoft has been shoving the Kinect in everyone's faces since 2010 as if we need it, like Xbox 360 owners can't live without it. It is not an enjoyable experience at all having to repeat the swipe of your hand or voice command to do something as simple as navigate the poor layout of the Xbox 360 Dashboard, especially when it's far easier to do anything with the controller itself.
None of the motion controller experiences are flawless, but between the big three, the Kinect is the worst offender of them all. I can't help but feel all this is moot at this point. Microsoft has laughed all the way to the bank, selling 18 million Kinects worldwide as of January 2012. Perhaps my grievances with the Kinect are too little, too late. Still, there's this odd sense of peace knowing that I'm done with the Kinect this generation.
I owe everyone an apology. This past March, I stated that "Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor validates owning a Kinect." As it turns out, I was so, so wrong. We went as far as having the Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor review pass th... read feature
E3 is just a few weeks away. Everything that is going to be at the show already exists somewhere, right at this very moment. It's just a matter of time before wee see it all.
It looks like one surprise of the show may h... read
It was bound to happen. We're finally seeing the full capabilities of the Kinect motion sensor, and it looks like they've announced the ultimate in immersive gaming. Assassin's Creed: Kinect puts gamers back in the shoes of Ezio in what looks to be a motion-controlled remake of Revelations. Check out the trailer.
Obviously, another joke trailer. But wow, well done! read