FIRST-HAND IMPRESSIONS OF THE CIRQUE DU SOLEIL GALA PRESENTATION
Last night the world was introduced to the next evolution in gaming by Microsoft, now known as KINECT. This new sensor will plug into any Xbox 360 console and allow gamers to truly interact in a unique way never seen before. Kinect has a mix of amazing technology that features voice recognition, face detection and, most importantly motion detection. But we will find out a lot more at Microsoft’s press conference in just a few hours time. Last night’s performance was a world premiere featuring Cirque du Soleil.
Before the show even started I managed to have a quick chat with Alex Kipman, the creator of Kinect. He looked just as excited as the thousands of the people in line, and was looking forward to the show and the name finally being revealed. Whilst we were waiting there was some performers doing fancy yoga positions and a collection of ominous drum music.
Once the doors opened at the Galen Centre, we were treated to interactive ponchos that we all were happy to put on, especially when the shoulders lit up at the end of the show.
The arena was truly amazing to be inside of as there was a mix of colours and sounds all around you. As the crowd were getting to their seats, and some were escorted to the stage floor, we were entertained by several solo acts by the performers that was very impressive and focused on the concept of “connecting” people with each other.
This was a show that can’t be described and is not even worth trying to as it must be seen and experienced. The entire presentation for Kinect demonstrated quickly and easily just how versatile this new accessory will be and how anything is possible.
A young boy was showing us Kinect by playing several launch titles with his older sister and parents. “JoyRide” (announced at E3 2009) looked a lot better than what has been seen and has had a major shift in that 4 players can play and enjoy the game even with one driver, as you can jump in out out of the racing seat. “River Rush” is best described as JoyRide but on water as players stand up on a raft and control it going down a fast stream by leaning left and right and even jumping and ducking. Surprisingly the game looks like a lot of fun and will be a workout just to play for a few minutes. Finally Microsoft showed off a mix of several sports titles such as hurdles, javelin, soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, running and I’m sure there will be many more in this collection of games that will hopefully be bundled with the accessory.
One of the biggest surprises was when we saw a Jedi Knight appear on screen , showing how you could whip out your lightsaber with an army of Stormtroopers charging at you. By simply waving your arms appropriately you could easily and accurately control your lightsaber and, more importantly, use the Force push, pull and grab them. This as-yet unannounced Star Wars title already looks to be one of the biggest hits for the hardcore gamer as well as casual gamers as it easily got the best reception.
Finally, to end the show they demonstrated a replica of Just Dance for the Wii that actually used your entire body for controls. What was interesting is that it seems to have indicated that up to 8 players could be on-screen at once, looking to be a huge leap forward for dancing games in general.
Overall this was an amazing way to announce Kinect and I’m sure all those that attended will be talking about this event for years to come. This was the most impressive premiere I have ever seen at E3 (and my entire life!) and it really shows Microsoft’s commitment, dedication and passion for the Xbox brand and, most importantly, that this is not just a toy but rather a peripheral for all ages to enjoy.
(For an official rundown of the event – and for all new information released by Microsoft – don’t forget to check out the official Kinect page at Xbox.com.)