Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kinect Advice and Suggestions

We've been playing around with the Kinect for nearly a week now and I've compiled an advice and suggestions list for play and use.  These are just a few things you and your family might want to know and put into practice with your new friend the Kinect.

Make room.  Move any furniture, toys, people, pets, and the like out of the way when playing.  Kinect is designed to get you up and moving and you don't want obstacles.  Items and people in the play area can affect the Kinects ability to clearly see you and what you are doing.  We found this out when I tried waving at the Kinect with my laptop right next to my hand and again when we had two people in the play area when there should have only been one.  Remember if you rearrange furniture or relocate the Kinect you will have to run through some setup procedures again so the Kinect can recognize the layout of the room once more.

Wear Shoes.  When playing you are going to be standing for long periods of time.  You might want the extra arch support shoes can provide.  Also some games involve running and jumping in place.  Your feet will thank you.  At least mine did when playing the Track and Field portion of Kinect Sports.

Good Posture.  Again you are going to be standing and moving for a while.  Use proper posture when standing up and good form when moving so you don't need meds to help with those back and body problems later.

Take Breaks.  Whether you have an existing condition or not be sure to keep an eye on how long you've been playing and take breaks.  If you have an existing condition I suggest limiting your play time to no longer than 60 minutes to avoid over doing it.  Some games have a notification built in that recommends taking a break from long periods of play, I noticed this while playing Kinectimals.

Hydrate.  A throw back to my boot camp days but very important none the less.  Some games are involved and will have you working up a sweat, like Kinect Sports and Dance Central.  You want to make sure you have water nearby to keep your body hydrated and cool.  It'd be a shame to pass out in the middle of getting a Flawless score while playing Dance Central.

For Girls.  Ladies wear a bra when you play.  I know this sounds like a no brainer but you will hate yourself if you try to play Kinect Sports without one.

Wear Clothes.  Again a no brainer but the Kinect is snapping photos and videos of you while you play.  You don't want to the world to see you on Facebook, Twitter, or the like in your birthday suit if you accidently don't hide those photos or videos.

Be Courteous.  I mention this for 2 reasons.  One, the Kinect videos and pictures will capture a lot of stuff and I doubt you want photos of you or your teen in the background throwing up the finger plastered all over Facebook.  Two, the Kinect is sensitive as I said before.  Don't wave, step into the play area, or do other disruptions that will cause the Kinect to recognize you while another is playing.  Doing so may cause a sibling fight in the living room or a teen getting grounded.  Not that we experienced either of those things...

Play Area.  Make sure you are within the Kinect's playing area while you play or wave.  We found out that our couch is back just a few inches too far for it to recognize us waving.  Most of this is trial and error as you experiment but take it into account.  You want the Kinect to view you and not miss an action cause you weren't in the play area.

Kinect ID Often.  The Kinect ID recommends you run it in the morning, afternoon, and night to be recognized in all three lighting conditions.  I would go one step further and do this on bright sunny days, cloudy days, and overcast or rainy days in all 3 times of day.  The more you do this the better your chances the Kinect will recognize you all the time.

Scanning Codes.  If you're game has codes that can be scanned by the Kinect for use in the game read the game manual first to see where this can be done.  We purchased the Limited Edition Kinectimals game which came with a stuffed animal and a code to load a virtual animal for play.  After 40 minutes or so of trying various ideas, looking online for answers, and a short Alpha fight later we found the Scan Stone located to the left of the Bonding Circle.  All of this could have been avoided had we read the game manual to begin with (but who really reads those any way?)  Remember you have to be 9 inches away from the Kinect and your fingers cannot cover any part of the code to be scanned.

Use One Hand.  When interacting with the Kinect try to use only one hand to scroll through the dashboard, make selections, and the like.  Some aspects of game play do use two hands or a specific gesture to perform an action however for everything else try to use your dominate hand only.  It keeps the Kinect from getting confused.

Have Fun.  The Kinect was designed to get you and your family up off the couch and moving.  A child oriented game like Kinectimals will have you working out and moving around quite a bit despite the lure of uber cute baby animals.  Plus you never know, your surly Teen might put down the cell phone long enough to play Dance Central (while lip synching along with Lady Gaga) just to try and beat Dad's score.  Get up, get going, get a little competitive, and of course go have a good time with friends and family.


Did you pick up a Kinect too?  Share your thoughts and feelings about it in the Comments Section.
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