My Kinect Adventures – Sore muscles for old school gamers

Remember when Wii Fit came out and everyone was excited to start exercising?  I have always been one to embrace new technology, especially if it helps me get off my lazy gamer ass and start working out.  I got into the Wii Fit big time for a few months and in addition started a workout routine, jogged around town, and drank protein shakes; I actually started to get in shape.  Then I started playing Dungeons and Dragons again, and after many sessions eating Tim’s Cascade Salt and Vinegar Chips, Pizza, Italian Salami, and French Brie I was back to my former pot-bellied gamer state.

I again pulled out that old Wii balance board, now turning yellowish brown from wear and tear with a permanent set of footprints embedded in the plastic grooves.  I tried and tried, but I could not bring myself to again balance in strange poses while holding a wii remote on the balance board, do push-ups and planks where the majority of my weight is being held by my hands pressed against hard unforgiving plastic for hours on end.  I tossed the balance board in the corner and instead decided to burn calories by reading, writing, and thinking.  I found that wishful thinking doesn’t rid one of the gamer gut so easily.

Luckily, a kind relative has graced my son with a brand new Kinect Bundle complete with his own Xbox 360, Kinect, and Kinect Adventures.  It would be prudent to give you the break down inventory of what actually comes in the box since I was disappointed that a couple key items were missing from the bundle.  First, like most new video based technology, the newer Xbox 360’s have HDMI which is great since the picture looks a lot clearer.  Unfortunately also like most new video based technology, the Xbox 360 fails to give you a HDMI cable; Instead they give you the A/V cables- they’re not even component cables which I found CRAZY since the original Xbox 360 models at least came with component cables that can double as A/V.  Apparently, these are strictly the old school red, white, and yellow that all TVs have, even Aunt Bertha’s old clunker from 1992.  If you still have a UHF TV, you have bigger problems than getting the Xbox 360 to work with your set.

My biggest hands-down complaint about the new Kinect is that it DOES NOT come with a connector to connect it to older Xboxes.  The reason this was such a huge let down is that we have an older model which I adore.  For those of you in the “know” it has the highly coveted TSST Model MS-25 DVD drive.  Now, since this is MY Xbox kindly given to me by fellow blogger “Loveless”, I would like to be able to occasionally plug the Kinect into it.  The Kinect connector is this crazy new adapter which most likely if stripped down is just a USB connector but camouflaged in this new format so that Microsoft can charge a hefty price for a converter; Which they in fact did.  Checking out their website for the Kinect converter kit I find it is $40.  Microsoft, can you please stop being such assholes?  So, you have to go out and buy a Kinect converter kit for $40 plus tax AND a new HDMI cable in order to connect your old school Xbox & new Kinect to the TV.  So, on top of your initial purchase price you have to spend an additional $40 if you have an older Xbox, and $20-$30 even if you just got the new one in a bundle!  Boooo!

All of that complaining aside, the Xbox Kinect is everything I thought it would be and more!  At first glance it’s fun just to watch your friends and family making silly poses and jumping around the room like a madmen.  Once you get up and have a crack at it, you immediately get sucked into an alternate reality where a crazy avatar copies your every move almost instantaneously.  I actually think I could be entertained by a simple program where you can watch your avatar make crazy moves or walk around and bump into other avatars.  My avatar moves a lot smoother than I do, so his cheesy Michael Jackson moonwalk actually looks skillfully executed, not that I was trying to do that.

Plug in Kinect Adventures and you’ll find yourself diving off waterfalls in a raft, trying to plug holes in an oxygen filled glass case underwater, and bounding through jungles in search of excitement.  It really is fun, and after my first 30+ minutes of playing, I was panting and wiping sweat from my brow.  I was jumping so high I think I injured one knee from numerous high elevation impacts, and my muscles are all sore today.  It was probably the best workout I have had in over a year.

So, is the Xbox Kinect worth the price, hassle, and pain?  YES.  It’s super fun and you get a GREAT workout!  Think of it this way- Is it worth an extra $150-$200 bucks to get a REAL hands free workout and have fun at the same time?  I say YES! and I will let you know if it gets old like the crusty yellow Wii Balance Board in the corner gathering dust.

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA.

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