The Death of the Kinect – Reliving the Highs and Lows

The sun has finally set on a long-running trend in gaming. The last holdout from the motion-control era has sung its last song. The Wii U died quietly, the PlayStation Move never hit its marketing goals, and now Microsoft has taken their ball-and-chain Kinect out back for a personal meeting with the business end of a rifle. With the death of this heavy and awkward addition to the Xbox line of consoles, let’s take a look back at the best (and worst) Kinect exclusive games.

Best #5: Fruit Ninja Kinect

Like all of the few good games made for the Kinect, Fruit Ninja Kinect uses a very simple motion control scheme: Slash your arm in the direction that you want to slice the fruit, and you’ll be successful. It’s as addictive as its phone counterpart, and nearly as fun.

Worst #5: Kinect Sports

When Microsoft and Sony (mostly Microsoft) were gripping tight to Nintendo’s motion-control tailfins, the obvious pairing for the Kinect was a sports game. Unfortunately, Kinect Sports’ biggest flaw is that it tries to emulate the success of Wii Sports. An impossible task that was never accomplished.

Best #4: Fantasia: Music Evolved

A rhythm based game that doesn’t revolve around dancing, Fantasia: Music Evolved traces the player as they move in time with the music being played. While that sounds exactly like Just Dance or any other DDR title, Fantasia actually uses the music as a reward for the player doing a good job. More and more complex musical arrangements are unlocked as the player progresses.

Worst #4: Fable: The Journey

This trainwreck was the final nail in the coffin of the sad, sad history of the Fable franchise. Sure, Fable Anniversary was released not too long after this disjointed and uncontrollable nightmare of a game. But any hope for a new (and actually good) Fable title was killed off faster than you can say “motion-controlled rail-shooter.”

Best #3 Kinect Star Wars

Rancor Rampage. The player takes control of the vicious beast and terrorizes all in their path. It’s a wonderful experience that everyone needs to take part in at least once before the Kinects all mysteriously vanish from the used-game-stores.

Worst #3: Kinect Star Wars

I forgot to mention that this game was mostly a disaster. From unsatisfying lightsaber combat, to the mildly unamusing pod racing segments, and to the embarrassing dancing mini game, this game failed to impress fans dying to fully immerse themselves in Star Wars.

Best #2: Kinectimals

Designed for a younger demographic, Kinectimals had the player raising cute cubs by teaching them tricks and bonding with them. The adorable leopards and cheetahs and panthers were difficult to ignore, and the DLC addition of bear cubs made the game even more irresistible.

Worst #2 Hulk Hogan’s Main Event

With no physical responses or complex control schemes, the motion-control era of gaming had to simplify its games to achieve functionality. Let’s say the functionality in Main Event was a basketball. On its very first dribble, that ball deflated into a sad heap. A sad, unruly, beyond-all-hope, heap.

Best #1: Kinect Adventures

This game was truly what Wii Sports was to the Wii console: A collection of fun, motion-controlled mini-games that anyone could pick up. Total fun at parties, the co-op games made teamwork a key aspect to success, and you always had someone to blame if you failed!

Worst #1: Fighter Within

Launch titles are often hit-or-miss on a brand new console. The Xbox One launched about as gracefully at a drunken horse jockey who got lost on the I-95 and kept on asking why his horse wasn’t going faster, when in fact his horse was actually an anthropomorphized Kinect. Does that analogy work at all? No? Well, you know what else didn’t work at all? Fighter Within.


So, that’s it. The Kinect is dead, proving that all video game fads and gimmicks eventually come to an end. Game Sharks, Guitar Hero bullet hell games, Skylanders, motion-control gaming: all lost to the wayside. I wonder how this will pan out with virtual reality…

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