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8Nov/100

Microsoft Kinect Day 4: Lightsaber Dreams

So I have to admit, one of the reasons I bought a Wii on release day was the because I thought it would be a perfect platform to finally play a Star Wars game with a lightsaber. Ever since I flailed aimlessly with my mouse trying to play the PC game Jedi Knight, I've wanted to find a way to play a game that included lightsaber battles that more closely resembled a real battle. The original Wii-mote simply could not replicate anything in 3D space, so that Wii dream died sometime in cold winter of 2006. Last year, the Wii Motion Plus promised a real sword-fighting game, and we got a couplee...kind of, with both Red Steel 2 and Wii sports Resort. Will both were fun, but they were still not Star Wars.

Yesterday while playing "Fitness Evolved" on the Kinect, I stopped between exercises, and just for the fun of it, posed like a Jedi holding a light saber. No one was awake to see me (thank God). I swung my hands in sword fighting motion, and my swing was replicated very nicely by my on screen avatar. This got me thinking: would a Star Wars game really work with Kinect? How could it work without holding anything in your hands? Sony's Move's claims to solve this problem with the colored balls on their controllers, but that's Sony, and I don't plan to but another system any time soon. Kinect does such a good job of making you feel like you are "in" the game, and replicating your movements, it seems like a loss not not have a controller to "hold" while playing a Star Wars game.

A quick search of the interbaun found this: Kinect games will scan objects in the future. Here's quote from Microsoft Kinect guru Kudo Tsunoda:

It’s not like we’re trying to take controllers out of the equation [..] games that involve both controllers and Kinect as well are totally possible. [...] That’s one of the unique things about the Xbox platform: we can do controllers; we can do controllers with Kinect, which is more than just motion control, it has voice and human recognition as well.

- Kudo Tsunoda

So, does this mean we will get a lightsaber (functional or not) to swing with a Kinect Star Wars game? There is already a game on the horizon, could this be the holy grail for prospective Jedi? Would having an object to hold while playing as a Jedi make the game feel that much better? It's been 23 years since the Atari gave us the true feeling of destroying the Death Star for the first time with their sit-down arcade game. Now, do we finally get to be Luke, Obi Wan and Darth Vader too? It's almost too good to consider. Personally, I feel that the company that finally does a Star Wars game the right way with motion-control, will be THE winner. With Kinect's superior camera technology, and their ability to track objects and use controllers at the same time, I think Microsoft may just have the edge they are looking for.

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