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Technology

Kinecting the kids

I’m writing this while my daughter explores Disneyland – not the real one, the one that resembles Hell with cartoon characters, but the Kinect one. Kinect Disneyland Adventures is really rather good if your child is the right age for it.

I bought the Kinect motion controller a long time ago, partly out of curiosity and largely because I thought it’d be fun for my wee girl. She was a little too young for it, though, so what I’d hoped would be fun was just endlessly frustrating. It seems that, for us at least, five is the right age – so instead of wandering around, getting lost and frustrated as she used to, she’s currently dancing with the space monster Stitch.

Get the age right and Kinect really is brilliant for kids: titles such as Pixar Rush and Once Upon A Monster are fantastic fun, their jumping around assuaging any parental guilt about letting the children play videogames.

For grown-ups, though, it’s the same kind of thing as the Nintendo Wii’s motion sensing, with the initial excitement and wow factor fading until it’s gathering dust. That might just be me – voice control of the console needs more volume than I can risk when the family is in bed, which is pretty much my only gaming time, and it’s patchy anyway; I don’t use my console for video so Kinect control of that doesn’t matter; Kinect fitness titles require the same enthusiasm as a trip to the gym, but unlike the gym I don’t have anyone forcing me to do it; I prefer to do my gaming from the sofa, in low light, not standing in the middle of the living room until I get gorilla arms – but I do think it’s clever tech that’s of limited appeal to grown-ups.

For kids, though, it’s great. If you have an Xbox, children and spare cash – and don’t mind buying something that’s likely to be revamped next year for the next Xbox – it’s not a bad investment now that lots of good titles are really cheap. It’s a good time to get the kids Kinect-ed.