Kinect is released in the US; world sighs relief; I just sigh

November 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking about what to write about today, and truthfully I haven’t seen anything that interesting other than this wacky shit.

Oh, and Kinect came out in the US. And despite a bunch of gaming websites plastered with coverage on the device and its associated games, I really haven’t been paying that much attention to it. From a sales standpoint, and in relation to how well Sony’s Move does, I’m curious, but purely as someone who plays video games, it’s not something I’m at all interested in.

Daaaaaaisy, Daaaaaaaaaaaisy, give me your answer do...

Now, I was blown away when I first saw it at E3 in 2009, because it just seemed so crazy then. I was intrigued by the possibilities around voice recognition and motion-controlled UI navigation, the latter in regards to how it could be utilized in RTS games and on the 360 dashboard. The voice recognition apparently works but the UI navigation appears lacking from what I’ve seen and heard so far. There are also limitations, such as the distance you need to be for Kinect to pick you up properly, the notable latency issue and the lack of fidelity in the way that it can’t, as far as I know, pick up more precise movements. Can’t say I’m blown over by the current software line-up it has either, they being the usual proof of concept demos all gussied up. Regardless of all these misgivings, however, is a larger, more fundamental issue I have with Kinect: I don’t want to be jumping around my living space when playing a game for long periods of time; I want to slouch all the way back in my comfy chair, joypad in hand, and chill the eff out.

That’s just me, though, and I’m well aware of that. I’m well aware of the fact that Kinect wasn’t made for my benefit, wasn’t being targeted towards my gaming demographic, and is trying desperately hard to convert the Xbox 360 into a family-oriented product, directly against the Wii. From a business point of view it makes sense; it’s just that as player who enjoys teh Haloz [sic], Mass Effects and Mortal Kombats of this world, I don’t really care. Although, I do think that if Kinect picks up and becomes a Wii-like phenomenon – and early reports of stock shortages are somewhat encouraging – you can absolutely bet your car, mortgage and significant other that the next console iteration will include all, if not most, of Kinect’s features built-in.


Now is the time for a 'Road Avenger' HD remake

March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Back in 1997, when video games were super awesome and not totally lame, Road Avenger was released for the Mega CD, Sega’s ill-fated add-on for the fairly popular at the time Mega Drive (or Genesis, if you’re a yank). It was an FMV-based interactive movie video game, similar to Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. The plot was simple: you play a dude whose wife gets murdered by a biker gang; said dude then takes revenge by driving his big red sports car on a homicidal rampage, directly into the faces of evil crooks, thugs and, very probably, innocent people. (Collateral damage, y’know? Such a bitch.)

The gameplay was, what we would describe now, a series of Quick Time Events. No, really, it was literally just that. This isn’t the ol’ “Oh, Heavy Rain is just a series of QTEs, wah-wah-wah” line – this was the real deal. Honestly, it has to be seen to be believed (along with the intro):

It was a terrible game. But, to a kid at that time, who probably didn’t know any better, it was brilliant.

And now – I say – now is the time for a full-blown sequel/HD remake of the genre-defying, literary magnum opus that was the original Road Avenger. I present to you, the reader, a fully and completely rational, absolutely non-sentimental, three-point argument as to why this is the case.

  1. We have the storage space in our hands to make it possible: Think: PS3! Blu-ray! 50 gigs of empty space just dying to be filled by cheap, low-budget Japanese animation and god-awful 80s-throwback American rock! It’s the murder-filled, completely illogical and utterly nonsensical road-trip that never ends!
  2. Interactive movie-games are the new Wii Fit: look at how surprisingly well Heavy Rain is doing in terms of sales numbers. And then there’s Final Fantasy XIII, a game which is basically a movie with moving-game-parts soldered on in-between major plot developments, which surpassed the one million sales mark in the U.S. within a matter of days. The gaming public has spoken, and it has very wisely come to its senses and is finally ready to take that next revolutionary step forward – towards badly acted, poorly dubbed movie-games.
  3. Potential motion controller support: you can make car revving noises as you physically lean your way around corners while looking like an idiot in the comfort of your own living-room – and, really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, I implore you, e-mail G-mode, who now own the rights, and petition them for a sequel. Then, once you’ve done that, please let me know what their e-mail actually is (since their website’s written in Kanji, and I only speak the Queen’s English).

Chim-chimney cheerio for now, my lovelies. 😀

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