a peek inside the fishbowl

26 Jan, 2012

Welcoming a new patron: Xbox Canada

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Fishbowl patrons

I wear my nerd girl badge with pride. I like computers. I tinker with code. I think it’s cool to be smart. My nerdyness, combined with Mark’s geekyness, has combined to create a family that is deeply ensconced in nature and science and technology. And games.

That’s why when I was offered a new Xbox/Kinect gaming package I had no choice but to accept it. Xbox Canada is a new patron as well, which I’m pretty happy about. Great family gaming is something I can really get behind.

My family recently received an Xbox Kinect bundle, which, when you buy in the store, comes with one controller and one game called Kinect Adventures. We also received three other games: Kinect Sports: Season Two, Dance Central 2, and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012. (You can read more about those games on the Xbox Canada website).

I will be reviewing and posting about our experiences with each game (please note: opinions are my own), but I want to begin by talking about the Kinect itself and our experience with it.

The Kinect is unique in the fact that your body is the controller. You don’t have to hold anything in your hand in order to play Kinect games. It’s really cool, in fact, as a person who remembers playing Breakout on a Vic 20, it’s pretty awesome to see how far gaming has come. The future of gaming is here, in our living room! I never thought I’d live to see the day. It’s so JETSONS. You navigate the screens by waving and holding your hand over on screen “buttons.” It’s also voice controlled, which is kind of neat too, and works remarkably well.

It’s simple to set up and get started. Our particular bundle didn’t come with hard drive space. The internal memory is referred to as 4G of flash drive space, but I think hard core gamers or people who crave extra content (like games or movie rentals, which is something you can actually do though the Xbox Marketplace) would appreciate the 250GB version so they can download additional content and games. The 4G is fine for our purposes. For now. :)

The first game we tried was the one that came with our unit: Kinect Adventures. It is a great game and we all enjoy it very much. It contains five different mini-games, all of which will have you jumping, ducking, dodging, leaping, crouching, and laughing like mad at yourself (and other members of your family).

I liked all the mini games but my favourites were River Rush and Rallyball. River Rush has you standing on an inflatable raft, jumping and leaning to collect tokens as you speed down a river. Rallyball is a cross between handball and racquetball on steroids. Or maybe my favourite is Reflex Ridge. I truly can’t decide.

ObstacleCourseWidescreen

I had fun, and I must have burned a lot of calories playing these games. It’s fun, it’s exercise, it’s … Funxercise! Ha. All kidding aside, here’s the product page. Click on the trailer to see what I mean.

One of the neat things about the Adventures game is that the Kinect sensor bar snaps photos of you (often mid-leap) while you’re playing. I thought this was a great addition to the gaming experience and we all got a big kick out of it.

Do note that Kinect games require quite a bit of space. They recommend 6-8 feet in front on your TV, and a similar width is a good idea too. We had to move some furniture around, but it wasn’t a big deal. It’s an ideal game for the basement rec room, and I was reminded again and again how much I am looking forward to having a semi-finished basement. :)

There are a couple of things I really like about the Xbox/Kinect game system:

  1. 1) It REALLY gets us moving. My advice: wear gym clothes, or layers, because you will be sweaty and out of breath in no time. I ask you: what other games (other than being outside and playing them in real life of course), will have you huffing and puffing in the same way? My eldest’s legs were sore after we played together last time. (I was glad to hear that, especially now that it’s winter and we’re not getting out as much as I’d like to!)
  2. 2) I find a lot of video/computer games to be solitary pursuits. Ordinarily I’d never hang around and watch someone play, but the Kinect is truly a social game. The whole family will want to join in, and even those who don’t play will get a kick out of watching, even grandma and grandpa (!) … but more about that later. :)

That’s it for part one! Other game reviews will be posted in the coming weeks.

Thank you Xbox Canada for your patronage!


11 Responses to "Welcoming a new patron: Xbox Canada"

1 | Chantal

January 26th, 2012 at 9:06 am

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We got an Xbox with Kinnect as a family Christmas gift and we love it. Just Dance 3 has me sweating and it is fun to be dancing with the kids. We have the 250GB version and so far we have been downloading sample games and playing those. So we have yet to buy any more games. The sample games give you a few levels and it is a great way to try out game before you invest. My only issue (and it isn’t the xbox’s fault) is that my 2yo won’t sit still when others are playing which can mess with the kinnect sensor.

2 | Jennifer

January 26th, 2012 at 9:24 am

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We’ve been playing the one you show the picture of above at the downtown Y. The Kids Zone has Kinect games. I was never a big fan of video games, because of the solitary pursuit you mention and also because you generally sit on your butt and don’t move. But these make you move a sweat and I love them. So do the kids. I especailly like the bubble popping one. Have you played it? So much fun.

3 | Julia

January 26th, 2012 at 10:14 am

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You have got to get Dance Central one and two! What fun games for kids of all ages. My 3 year old loves Just Dance 3 too. We just got our Xbox 360 with connect and already it’s our favourite gaming system. I really love that with the Kinect your body is the controller. No more worry about the kids tossing a remote through the TV while playing. LOL.

Have fun and congrats!!

4 | Giulia

January 26th, 2012 at 12:26 pm

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mhhh, sound like fun. We have a Wii we never use ( I think my kids are still too young) and we have a PS3 that we really use as our media server and hubby uses for games and guy time once in a while. Not sure I want something else in the house, but this does sound really fun.

5 | Wendy

January 26th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

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I WANT one!

We have a Wii, got for my Grandaughter 2 yrs ago, she loves it.

Her Dad purchased a kinnect last year, she loves the dance and some safari? She is the tiger if I am correct.

I know I could really get in to the kinnect because I am a clutz with remotes…lol.
That’s my plug for the giveaway…….hee hee.

6 | Alison in Ottawa

January 26th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

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We have a Wii which gets some use on weekends by my daughters and husband but it hasn’t captured my interest that much. I think that this would be more of interest for me, I have been looking at them and thinking about getting one Possibly a good birthday present for my husband which we could all use…. Hmmm.

7 | Emma

January 26th, 2012 at 5:16 pm

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I just want to say that the kinect is super awesome and we play with it all the time!

8 | Lindsay

January 29th, 2012 at 10:49 am

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We have a Wii and love the bowling, baseball and tennis. I was wondering if you have played the Wii and how the Xbox stacks up against it? I realize the difference is remote vs. no remote- which would be cool, but the price range is also verry different and I’m wondering if its worth it? We aren’t gamers, I just love the Wii for the indoor movement it promotes, as we are a family on the go! It’s nice to have a back up for rainy days! Love to hear more from you. Great read!

9 | Sara

January 29th, 2012 at 8:28 pm

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Watching ds5 bust a move to Just Dance was one of the highlights of the holidays. For a kindergartner he’s got some wicked rhythm!!

10 | Xbox Kinect con’t - Let’s dance! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

February 9th, 2012 at 6:08 am

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[…] a previous post I wrote about the game that came with the bundle called Kinect Adventures. (If you’re keen […]

11 | Can you get fit with a video game? You be the judge. >> a peek inside the fishbowl

February 28th, 2012 at 10:56 am

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[…] pared down, with lots of white and negative space, whereas Kinect Adventures (which I wrote about here) has a much more colourful game environment. And I think the calorie burning is on par. […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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