Kinect – Dashboard Overlord – Plus Other Microsoft Ranting

Microsoft has seriously been fucking up my perception of the words “gamer” and “console” lately. Kinect, while uber-cool and the self-proclaimed next big thing and a bag of Funyons, has taken over the Xbox Live dashboard on nearly every damn panel. They haven’t just overtaken 80% of the Live panels, they’ve also filled it with content that is so overtly sappy and safe that even your corpse of a grandmother is supposed to know how to do the Minority Report wave to watch flicks on Zune.

The Kinect Show <- WTF is this? We're being buttslammed with advertising already, with trailers for shite movies and Wendy's cheeseburgers (yeah gamers need more of those). Now we have to watch a "show" that basically asks "So...why haven't you bought THIS yet?" I know that's what all game trailers basically are, but I sorta feel like I can decide if I want it or not. At least the host is much less annoying than Trixie360. Anyone besides me actually remember her? When I hate something that much it's hard to forget. It's like the bitchy fat girl that was louder than everyone else in high school got a show about something you liked and ruined it. Another question...seriously, where the fuck is "SENTUAMESSAGE“, the best program on XBL or ANY of the 3 consoles? It did 3 things right:

SENTUAMESSAGE

SENTUAMESSAGE

1. It interacted with the community HONESTLY. Questions that might be avoided or skipped about quality issues or delayed release dates were attacked straight on. They treated the audience like many great gaming podcasts would, and for that they (and Microsoft in turn) earned some credibility and respect.

2. It was entertaining. There were genuinely laugh-out-loud (LOLZ) moments when the hosts would parody classic or current games. The live-action Mortal Kombat spoof where one host fumbled through a failed attempt at a fatality was a classic nod to how we all felt when we couldn’t remember the combo.

3. They weren’t loud, fat, unfunny Americans. I’m not saying Americans aren’t funny (90% of my favorite comedians are American). I’m saying Major Nelson, Tina Sumwhatever the Fuck, and new Kinect chick don’t know comedy. The two European hosts of SENTUAMESSAGE were funny, the end.

I speak in past tense about the show, but I hope that doesn’t mean Microsoft has permanently canned them. They need something that welcomes gamers to the Dashboard that doesn’t pander and makes them feel like the Xbox is for people that want the best all-around gaming experience. Please bring these guys back, soon. Kinect Saccharin Sweet Overload is starting to become a cancer (AND I HAVE A KINECT!!!)

OK, all the bitching is done. Now 2 things Microsoft did right this week for gamers:

1. OMG INDIE GAMES MOVED TO “GAMES” SECTION. Here’s the link, but basically Microsoft f’d up big time when they put out the latest Dashboard update last week. They moved the Indie Games panel to the Specialty Shops area, buried with the Avatard Clothes Mall Thing and Rock Band Store. Indie developers were pissed, and rightly so. But, what’s this? Microsoft responded in the best way possible. They moved them over to the GAMES section. This doesn’t often happen in the console space, so color me shocked. Now Indie Developers have a reason to be excited again. Hopefully they’ll respond in kind with less FUCKING MASSAGE/ZOMBIE GAMES.

2. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (the game) 50% off this week! Do you like River City Ransom? You don’t know what that is? Well do you like retro style beat em up’s with mini-RPG elements? Look, never mind. Just buy this game. It’s 5 bucks, probably to celebrate the release of the movie this week. But it’s a welcome change from the weird “18% off Assasin’s Creed Avatar Jock Strap” specials we’ve been seeing lately. PC Marketplaces have been stomping consoles as far as awesome deals go, and the results are all in the dollars. Steam developers, for example, have raved on and on about the bucks they pull in when their games are price-slashed for a weekend. Microsoft needs to pay close attention to this lesson. It’s like the old “Hot Dog Vendor” game I used to play on the old Apples in middle school (or lemonade stand or whatever). You lower your prices, you sell assloads. You don’t make as much per copy, but you sell to all those that NEVER would have bought the game to begin with. You also build relationships with your system owners, letting them know that you’re going to hook them up with quality products at a good price. WTG M$…

Bottom line… don’t forget the gamers (or the games!)

Oprah kinects the dots

Oprah’s super saiyan power was collected and unleashed upon her studio audience, as well as the entire viewing audience, when she praised the new Microsoft Kinect. Despite her inability to pronounce it right (what the hell’s a Keee-nect?) she still gave it a glowing review and gave awkward aunts a reason to run to the store next month.

After a shout-out to her homies at Microsoft, she did the Oprah thing and gave everyone in her audience a Kinect and a 360. Officially, the audience was given permission to lose their shit at that point. Check the vid here:

Wow. You’d think Hugh Jackman was offering these butter trolls a backrub with that Kinect. They’re a tad excited don’t you think?

So this means two things. One, that Microsoft has began the mega-million marketing blitz that they promised a few days ago. Two, Kinect is gonna blow up like the Godfather. I’m gonna call it here. Once kids see Skittles the Cat on TV parents will be having a Death Race (2000) to get to their nearest Best Buy. Sorry Sony Move, I think you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Can’t wait for the Kinect rhythm game, Dance… Masters?

I’m excited about Microsoft Kinect for the Xbox 360. I’ve got the pre-order, and I’m ready to either be sucked in or just a sucker. One reason I (and more so my girlfried) am excited is due to the hype surrounding “Dance Central“. It’s quickly turning into the must-have title for the new peripheral and has a ton of positive buzz surrounding it. I have also pre-ordered this fine title. Harmonix has a pretty good record for quality games. We’ll see, huh?

So to my surprise and confusion I get an e-mail from Amazon suggesting I pre-order “Dance Masters” with the Kinect and get a $20 bonus. Err…Dance Masters? Did I order the wrong game?

It turns out this is the “other” dance game made by Konami, featuring hit dance songs that you move to while the Kinect reads and scans away. Remember Konami? They made Dance Dance Revolution (another old favorite of mine) and of course infamously helped to create the music game craze and fail to make any American money off it. Konami has been an innovator in the music game biz, but has recently seemed to miss out. Well, since I’ve never heard of this game and Kinect comes out in just a few weeks, I have a bad feeling that history is about to repeat itself. Even the description from Amazon tells a tale:

Being the pioneer of the franchise that started the dance game craze Konami introduces a brand new way to experience music and rhythm. The next generation in full body dancing is finally here! DanceMasters utilizes Microsoft Natal to give gamers the ultimate dance club right in their living rooms, with no peripherals required!

“Hey remember us? Don’t let those fuckers at Harmonix fool you into getting the game that everyone is talking about! Try our game with an eerily similar name! Also, we’re still calling the new device the Natal, not the Kinect. But don’t let that worry you! Remember ‘Boom Boom Dollar’? We’ll still got it…let’s do the funky grampa!”

Poor, poor, Konami… I’ll be enjoying my Dance Central over here you guys…