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Microsoft XBox 360 Kinect Sensor System

Updated on March 22, 2011

Xbox Kinect - A Revolution in Video Gaming

Nintendo surprised everyone a few years ago when they introduced the Wii video game system, which was far less advanced than the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360, but it had a motion sensor control that became wildly popular, especially with children and older adults who had never played video games before. It took about 5 years, but Microsoft has finally come out with a serious answer to Wii Motion, and it's called the Xbox Kinect. 

The Xbox Kinect is far more advanced than Wii Motion because it does not require a controller. It's actually the first home system that allows you to actually play games without a controller or any sensors attached to your body. It works using a Kinect Sensor bar similar to the Wii Motion bar. You place that by your TV (since that's what you'll be facing when you're playing), and it sends out infrared signals that bounce of your body and it detects where you are and what motions you are making. It can detect your face and differentiate it from your friends faces. It can even do basic measurements of your body, like shoulder width and arm length (which is important for games like Your Shape Fitness Evolved). 

Unlike the Move system that Sony came out with for the Playstation 3, which is basically just and advanced version of Wii Motion, the Xbox Kinect is a true game-changer. Playing compatible games with Kinect will have you being far more active than just sitting on the couch and pressing some buttons on a controller or flicking your wrist around in a way of pseudo-mimicking a physical motion. You actually have to do real physical actions like kicking your legs or swinging your arms. For this reason, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the Kinect for a retirement home, where Wii systems are now commonplace. There are some games that elderly people might enjoy, but a lot of them are just far too intense.

Not all Xbox 360 games are compatible with the Kinect system. In fact, none of the games produced during the first 4 years of the Xbox 360 are compatible. How could they be; the Kinect is a whole different controlling system? Among the games that have been made for the Kinect, some are quite good while others are just junk. If you want a sports game, Kinect Sports is excellent. Avoid MotionSports: Play for Real made by UbiSoft. It only has a two star average rating on Amazon. Your Shape Fitness Evolved makes Nintendo's Wii Fitness look like child's play. Your Shape Fitness Evolved will kick your butt. It might not quite be P90x, but it's a real workout. No cheating here, because Kinect can detect exactly what you're doing. 

In general, the games that are good for Kinect are the ones that are actually made by Microsoft. The games made by third parties for the Kinect have not received very good reviews and you should avoid buying them until you've done some thorough research. 

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