Saturday, November 20, 2010

TheAngrySpark Bi-Monthly Feature - October

This month we took a look at the Move and Kinect, enjoy:

One of the biggest trends in the videogame industry in the last few years has been 'motion'. This started with Nintendo's little console that could, the Wii. Everybody and their mother had to have one- literally.

But once this new 'casual gamer' group had their Wii, what did they play? Wii Sports. Then Wii Fit. Then... uh- well... Once these casuals got their 'game', that was it, they didn't really any more. Sure the real Nintendo fans bought and played, and the hardcore got the occasional 'MadWorld', but the casual gamers that had ushered in a new era in gaming were still happy with their one or two titles.

And this is the conundrum- because now, Sony and Microsoft have their own motion controllers either on the market or coming very soon. As good as they may be, are they really even relevant?

Time to Move

The PlayStation Move uses the PS Eye (which is a camera & mic system). It picks up movement from the Move controller's glowing ice cream scoop, then translates it to the screen. There's also the Navigation Sub-controller, this little guy performs the same function as the Wii's 'chuck allowing you to play more traditional games. Although you can just use the standard controller one-handed style in place of the Navi, it does make for a much smoother experience.

It's when you have a pair of Move controllers that the real beauty of the system comes into focus. Two Move's can act together- Now with no navi, you can't play a conventional game this way, but in game's like  'Sports Champions', the Move bundle's pack-in game, it shines.

The bottom line is that Move is incredibly well made, and while the first batch of games might not be that great, the future is bright. Killzone 3 is natively supporting Move and is sure to be a selling point for many. I guess the best way to sum it up is that it's an add-on that doesn't feel added on. Thumbs up.

PS Move Bundle pack
1 Move, PS Eye, and Sports Champions - $99.99
PlayStation 3 Move system bundle
PS3 console, Move, Controller, PS Eye, and Sports Champions - $399.99
A la Carte
Move Controller - $49.99 PS Eye - $39.99 Navigation Controller - $29.99

Kinect With Your Games

Microsoft's Xbox 360 motion system, Kinect, is a camera and mic unit much like the PS Eye- but not at all like the PS Eye. Kinect senses body movement without help of ice cream, Wii-motes, or anything else- and that's not all. It also does speech, face recognition, video chat, menu control and more. It's an advanced piece of consumer electronics and something that got me very excited at this past e3. There were rumors that there would be serious limitations on the how you could play but most of these have been debunked and the Kinect is looking like a real winner in the tech department.

Much like the Move though, the games are a mixed bag. At launch there'll only be Wii-type stuff like Deca Sports (although Kinectimals looks interesting and Child of Eden looks outstanding) Next year though, we'll see the mech classic Steel Battalion make it's return, and a very Panzer Dragoon-ish flyer will debut as well. So 'hardcore' games are coming in 2011.

What's really great about Kinect is the stuff that no one's even discussing yet! Kinect used in combination with the 360 gamepad could be amazing. What if you actually made a 're-loading' gesture to put some shells in the virtual chamber in Halo, or crouched down to take cover in Gears of War- all while still using the controller to move and interact with the game world?

There's still so much untapped potential with Kinect that it's hard to grasp just how big a game changer it could be. I say could because this is all still out there in the ether right now.

*Kinect launches November 4

Kinect 4gb Bundle
Kinect Camera System, 4gb Xbox 360, Kinect Adventures - $299.99
Kinect 250gb Bundle
Kinect Camera System, 250gb Xbox 360, Kinect Adventures - $399.99
Kinect for Xbox 360
Kinect Camera System. Kinect Adventures - $149.99

So there you have it, my take on the new hardware? You really can't go wrong with either one.

The Move has met and surpassed the Wii-mote in terms of function while the Kinect has opened up a brand new door for interaction and gaming.
Both have a limp launch lineup that's really going to pick up steam in the next year.
Both run about $150.00 to get started with.

Choose wisely... Next issue we'll have a look at the NY ComiCon as well as our Holiday buyers guide! Yes it's that time already... In the meantime be sure to check out for all the latest gaming and tech news and notes and drop me a line at with any tech questions you may be pondering.