A Kinected Future, No Thanks. Day 3 – Pt1

Up early and bundled into a cab, we hauled ourselves over to the Galen Center for early o’clock for the first conference of the day – Microsoft.  This was the one that I was looking forward to the most.  *This is a message from future me to stupidly hopeful past me – “Don’t, just don’t bother getting any hopes up.  Oh, and you should have brought a chocolate bar with you.”*  We had purple passes, so entered the very short VIP line, while eyeing the other ridiculously massive queue with more than a modicum of relief.  It was a three quarters of an hour wait in the sun as the queues built up.  It wasn’t entirely wasted though, Lee was draining his phone battery already with tweets, while we all got excited about a bus which had a Portal 2 decal on the side.  Hey, we were bored.

We eventually filed in, and thanks to a floor pass, took our seats.  Cramped ones unfortunately, but we had a great view of the massive set of screens on stage.  The whole place was flooded with an ethereal green light and pumping music and we distracted ourselves by watching the avatars scrolling past on the screens and watching the extensive number of seat slowly fill up.  Up at the back was the area for broadcast media and it positively bristled with some serious looking camera gear as though Britney Spears was about to flash herself, falling out of a limo covered in glitter and cocaine.

The seats we had were great, but being non-raked and cramped, it would all go to hell the instant a ‘Lurch’ or someone who had failed to grasp the rudiments of deodorant sat down.

8:55am – Oh, dry ice.  The first tier of seating has filled considerably.  We’re all talking about what we want to see.  Hah.  Alan Wake Alan Wake Alan Wake.  That is all.  Everyone around us has phones, laptops, and i-Pads and is either writing or tweeting furiously.  Traditionalists such as Ben and I are using a notepad and pen.  We are cool, that’s why.  In your face technology. I brush off all concerns about how I will actually see to write.

9:10am – Nothing happening.  This thing was supposed to kick off at 9:00.  Lee and Mark are fiddling with Wi-Fi settings and moaning over various technological things.  My paper and biro are fine.  The battery hasn’t yet run out.  Oh wait… they don’t have one.  Hah.  Although… if my pen happens to run out, I won’t be feeling quite as smug.  People are now filming in the aisles.  More chat amongst ourselves about what will be coming up.  I want important people to come on and tell us that they are kicking Kinect to the curb, concentrating on pure games and not dicking around with ‘other entertainment’ like films and Facebook.  *my future self sheds a tear at this point and lays a ghostly hand on my shoulder*

9:14am – I have a headache incoming.  Have tabs but no water.  That was smart.  Lesson learned.  Must be the lights or maybe the dry ice.  I wonder what their electricity bill is like here.  Bet it still isn’t as much as ours.  Still, I’d throw caution to the wind for a dry ice machine too.

9:15am – Hurry up, before people start to smell.

9:16am – I want a Lion Bar.

9:17am – Mark says that it doesn’t start until 9:30am.  Bollocks.  Okay, no one smell for the next fifteen minutes and potential headache, kindly fuck off.

9:18am – Sudden craving for Um Bongo.

9:19am – There is suddenly an announcement about “not blocking the aisles”.  Sounds like a shit game.

9:24am – Why don’t the Cheesecake Factory take reservations?  I mean, come on.  Green scrolly stuff is still scrolling on the screens.  I feel tired and blame it squarely on US Airways.  I don’t know why, but it is probably all the stress from yesterday.

9:25am – Woman talking.  Five minutes until lift off.  Sit down aisle-hoggers, Alan Wake coming through.

9:27am – Content warning.  Intense scenes!  Sounds good.  Maybe it is Seal Culling 2000: A Kinect Adventure with free club accessory.

9:28am – Mark is filming Lee and asking what he is excited about.  Stuff that we don’t know about apparently.  And Halo.  With all the green light, we look like we’re all in night vision.  Reminds me of Most Haunted.  That was a turd of a show.

9:30am – Seats.  Stuff beginning.  Whoo.

9:31am – Wow!  COD: MW3 actually looks fucking awesome.  I don’t do shooters, but this has submarines in it.  SUBMARINES.  And boats and naval warfare.  Sold.

Is it? Alan Wake then please.

Writing in the dark is weird.  Still, it is the stealth agent with which I strike back at technology.  FFS, Lee is talking, can’t take him anywhere.  Can feel the on screen sub rumbling in my chest, it is that loud, they must have a killer sound system. Stuff like that is only usually strapped to the cars of very annoying people who tear down quiet roads at night.

Still drooling over the intense on screen action.  Water, boats, missiles, escape, burning city.  It looks stunning.  Is this actually a 360 game?  Weather effects are  great, gunfire is deafening.  Bloody hell, this screen makes it look good.  Well, it had water and boats in and a submarine, so I am now interested.  November 8th release.  Hmm, I’ll probably still be playing Skyrim by then.

Person comes on to give the run down: Kinect – boo, entertainment – boo, TV stuff – boo, actual games – thank you.

On to Tomb Raider, a dark origin story and I have to say that it looked fucking impressive.  Am now officially looking forward to covering it at the show. Ouch, I felt that fall.  So did everyone else who openly winced.  Very dark, gritty, and the fact that she’s covered in blood, injured and stumbling along is somehow far more realistic.

Sports stuff.  Kinect.  Kinect support… no thanks.  On to more Kinect support with EA titles such as Sims 3: Pets.  Yawn.   Suddenly Mass Effect 3 comes on and the crowd goes crazy.  Lee’s head snaps up from his phone so fast, I swear I heard his vertebrae click.  Bioware guys come on stage.  There is a good looking one in a tight black t-shirt.  Bonus.  Galactic war, new adventure, choices, etc.  All sounds good, despite never having played a ME game in my life.  Annnd… Kinect support.  Immersion, voice recognition, etc.  Okay, for once I’m actually impressed about giving orders during battle, but other than that, I can’t get excited about Kinect support.   The crowd actually seems pretty stoked by this innovative usage demoed during battle and show their appreciation.  They are alive.

Tom Clancy game demoed.  I can feel the explosions in my throat.  That’s what she said.  Or he.  Nifty operatic bullet-time trailer followed by another interesting use for Kinect, other than propping open a door, but still not one for me.

Next up, someone talks about XBox live and shows the new dash.  People get excited.  I don’t.  This is exactly what I was afraid of.  More of a drive to make it an all round ‘entertainment center’.  I want a games console.  Social stuff is confined to my PC.  My TV and DVD player do their job admirably, and I don’t want to use my voice to try and get a plastic box to switch off from playing whatever porn I have managed to store on the hard-drive when someone walks in.

I’m very underwhelmed, while those around me seem interested.  I suddenly feel quite alone.  I have a horrible feeling that this may well be the demise of the games console as we know it and it makes me sad.  Very sad.  This could well be the last console that I buy and I can suddenly see myself drifting back to becoming more of a PC gamer – something I never thought possible.

Next up, YouTube is coming to the Xbox.  Oh FFS.  Should make Lee happy though, but he’s already happy and doesn’t need it.  Take it back.  Bing is also coming, allowing you to search for films, games, etc to cut down menus.  So instead anyone with an accent will spend their saved time screaming at the Kinect to get to Saw 17: Massacre at E3.

Live TV on Xbox.  There’s something under my fingernails.  Oops, got it.  Oh, Stana Katic.  Love Castle.  Sports live… and oh, a game.  I sit up a bit.  It’s a fighting one.  No, it isn’t a game, but live fights.

Here come MS studios.  More games? No, TV and entertainment.  Someone says that the core of the Xbox will always be about games.  Finally.  Exclusives coming up.  Finally.  This is what I’m waiting for.  Gears 3 – loud and lots of explosions.  Looks good.  Cliffy B’s controller looks good.  Shiny cherry red from here.  Want.  Oh, big leviathan thing comes on screen.  Wonder if they affectionately named it Kotick?  Impressive action stuff happens and Kotick goes down for the count.

My arse is numb.  Seriously numb.  Ohh, Crytek.  Nice trailer, Roman stuff, dead bodies, blood, and brutal slayings.  The game is called Ryse.  Looks fucking stunning.  Oh, and I ran into that sucker punch.  Kinect sword-fighting.  Well, there goes the TV if I haven’t already burned it in despair by that point.

Halo.  Sport game. Kinect.  My arse is going dead I swear.  Peter Molyneux comes on and surprises no one with an announcement about a new Fable game.  I’m distracted by the worrying numbness in my backside.  Fable: The Journey seems to feature a young Theresa and a darkness which threatens Albion’s very existence.  Oh, and it has Kinect support.   Out in 2012.  I wonder if I’ll level up my biro by writing in the dark for so long.

Minecraft – something that a lot of people are excited about, but which I’ve never played is coming to the Xbox.  Wonder how much they had to open the purse strings for that one.  Kinect support.  Of course.  Suddenly someone has vomited Rainbow Drops over the screens – hold the squeegee, it’s just Disney.  A game in which you visit a virtual Disneyland.  Kat will love this.  Streets and castles etc have been recreated and through the magic of Kinect you can also be an annoying kid and fly through waterfalls collecting coins.

Kinect Star Wars.  Quality sounds effects, always top music.  Ohhh, Cloud City.  Shame about Kinect, natch, but it is Star Wars, so the crowd cheers.  My back is aching now in sympathy with my arse.  Other things happen, none of which I’m really interested in, having loathed Sesame Street, and the Kinect guy takes the stage.  He is the one responsible for all this.  I wonder if I sent a Terminator back in time, we’d be watching real games right now. True, some people called Sarah Conner may end up as casualties of war, buy hey, omelette/eggs and it is a small price to pay.  Something about avatars is happening but I’m far more interested in my Terminator plans.

My customised pass

How much of a Terminator would £3.50 buy me?  Maybe the eyeball?  I think I’ll go for the Robert Patrick version.  Some driving stuff is now happening on screen.  People seem excited.  Anyway, the Patrick Terminator. Definitely.  Anrnie would be too gropy.  Try telling a huge, tank like Terminator ‘no’ and see how far it gets you.  Get goosed by that and you’ll loose a buttock.

Scanning stuff is now happening on stage.  People other than me clap.  Wait!  *record player scratch*  Anything?  Boobs ahoy!  Cocks at ten o’clock and… well, the possibilities are endless..  I like this.

More Kinect.  More  Kinect sports.  How unrealistic are the darts?  Where is Eric Bristow?  Where are all the beer bellies?  Where is Jim Bowen?  Will there be a smoking attachment and realistic pint glass movement?  How about that crucial heart attack functionality?

Skiing.  Comes with free virtual leg cast for your avatar.

Golf.  The Trump DLC will smother half of Scotland apparently.

American football is demoed.  Basically Rugby with costumes.    Dance game comes on.  Sorry, but my arse is officially dead.  I’m thinking of buying it a wreath.  Or a shrubbery.  One that looks nice.  And not too expensive.  Dancing is happening.  I just had my retina burned out by a whirling spotlight.

Halo trilogy and trailer sends people away happy, but I’m left feeling dejected, let down, and grimly expecting to be planning a powerful PC gaming rig for the future.   MS were the last path for gamers between Sony’s entertainment device and Ninty’s motion control nonsense.  No Alan Wake?  You’re dead to me.  Better that then it have Kinect support shoved into it I suppose.  I feel very unhappy.  I blame it all, of course, on US Airways.

Last five articles by Lorna



  1. Rob says:

    The fact that everything is going Kinect now sadens me also. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I’m all about sitting down on the sofa and playing games in my pants with a controller (enjoy that mentale image). Gaming is a chance for me to relax, not do a full on work out flaling at the screen.

    Oh well least Halo 4 is been announce. Be pissed if that needs Kinect.

  2. Knikitta says:

    Admittedly, I laughed so loud to this that I was very close to needing another Tena Lady!

    [9:19am – There is suddenly an announcement about “not blocking the aisles”. Sounds like a shit game.]

    Fantastic piece as always Lorna! Although I think you might be pushing it in hoping for a whole eyeball for that price… maybe just the L.E.D.

  3. Rook says:

    I saw this on FB with Stana Katic mentioned and was reading through it waiting for the part when you stated you got to meet or at least see Stana and had forgotten about Castle playing as part of Live TV.

    I liked how the gun was fired in Ghost Recon using the opening of your hand but still uncertain as to how you would move around the gameworld affectively using Kinect. Lots of KInect support for games and if I had KInect and wasn’t such a laid back gamer I might be excited by some of it but the extent of my motion gaming is sittng forward or reclining.

    You say it, Xbox finds it – how about finding me a selection of controller based games. At least I’ll have the big titles to play, COD, Gears, ME3.

  4. Tania Tania says:

    Laughed my ass off all the way through this! Fucking brilliant! :D
    And Alan Wake 2 better NOT have Kinnect shit in it!

  5. Edward Edward says:

    I hope the rest of the conferences are covered like this, because this was probably the best writeup of a conference I have ever seen, ever.
    Need more.


  6. Richie rich says:

    You told it like I saw it.

    Microsoft had the worst conference out of the three manufacturers.

    MW3… bleh (it’s multi-platform)
    Kinect shit? (don’t want one, couldn’t care less about them – unless they make Child of Eden somehow better)
    Gears (oh fuck off)

    Awful, uninspiring dogshit. I’ve only ever liked one dashboard and that was the first one.

    Fucking Microsoft. The Gametrailers panel are slating them right now.

    Watch TV on your TV. FUCK OFF!

  7. Stu Stu says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that was a little less than overjoyed by what I saw. Hilarious commentary to the event though, Monty Python reference ftw!

  8. Dave (TeldurUK) says:

    All this Kinect hate, I feel like I need to stick up for it a little!

    I for one enjoy using my Kinect (yep, I bought one!) but have thus far not been blown away with the games avaliable for it. I’ve always had faith in the tech behind it, and it seems devs are starting to untap that potential.

    Alright, not everyone enjoys jumping around like a loony infront of the TV, and yes using your voice in Mass Effect 3 could be deemed gimmicky, but it is a step in the right direction for Microsoft as long as they don’t forget about their core audience (which with Gears 3, Halo 4 and a new Forza..I doubt that’ll happen). I’m by no means a casual gamer, but thats not to say I dont occasionly like a game thats a little more casual. Kinect + Friends + Alcohol = Fun Times (and a mess, but lets not talk about that.)

    TV on demand isn’t really justified for the 360, but having Youtube functionality is possibly something I’d like to use.

    Maybe the conference was too Kinect-y, but then we knew this years Microsoft conference was going to very Kinect orientated. Don’t forget folks, even though games like Forza, Ghost Recon and Mass Effect are Kinect-enabled, this does not mean you have to have a Kinect to enjoy them!

  9. Chris Toffer says:

    Great Write up Lorna. Top stuff!

  10. Mark Mark_S says:

    Nice write up Lorna.

    I think i’m with Dave on this though. As someone who has Kinect, i’m happy they are actually doing something with it. Sure the things they are doing may suck, Fable Journey, fuck me that looked terrible. I like that other games are using it to add functionality. Saying that ME3 isnt doing anything you couldnt do with a headset.

    I’m also all for them making the console a one stop shop for entertainments. Imagine the savings on your electricity bill if you didn’t have to plug in a sky box and a dvd player etc. :)

    I was pretty disappointed by the lack of games though. Halo remake and Halo 4. Meh. It was another E3 of remakes from the big three, and im getting so tired of that crap. I just know when I have kids, i’ll be taking them out to buy a copy of Halo 26

  11. FC360 says:

    Just because a game support kinect doesn’t mean it can’t be played with a controller. Sure there will be games that only support Kinect but there are also games that will support both kinect and normal controller. I have a kinect but can’t play it as I don’t really have the space to jump around like a lunatic, plus it says I’m too tall. I remember trying to cast a spell in HPDH where I had to hold my hand above my head but it wouldn’t work because I was too tall and couldn’t move any further away from the TV. I wish kinect would work while I’m sat down but for some reason it won’t :(

  12. SimonJK says:

    Great piece, Lorna. It perfectly sums up the way every suspense fill ‘great announcement’ from 360 has made me feel over the past few years. Yep I think the only specalised thing MS has done for me that I liked since NXE was removing zero gamerscore. Originally I thought I bought a Xbox 360 console for gaming, turned out (over the years) I was wrong. All I really want is a high precision controller and a frequent supply of game covering varied genres with a decent gameplay length. MS spend too much money concentrating in areas of ‘new fads’ and over costly advertising ( how many millions did they spend on Halo advertising – a game that sells itself) With Nintendo now pushing news of a Wii U, they better pull there fingers out and concentrate more on games and not PC stuff – don’t forget Xbox 360 is locked to hardwar 5 years old when it actually contains newer specs. Why don’t they research the possibilities of adding an option in newer games to increase it’s graphics and speed based on the model you are playing an OFFLINE game on? or at least gives us what all the other console have and even some TVs – a built in web browser?

  13. Samuel Samuel says:

    Wish I’d had you commentating on the videos I saw of the conference, Lorna. Would have been much funnier. Just underwhelmed by it. Kinect can get lost, I don’t want it. Microsoft don’t seem to care though.

  14. SimonJK says:

    Know what, I’ve just watched the ‘Steve Jobs does Human Centepede’ South Park episode and just couldn’t help but return to this excellent news peice. Between all the MS stuff we all sign and the tech. namely Kinect peeking into your front room, having a Windows 7 mobile, using MSN and having twitter and facebook on the xbox….. Time to wrap my head in tin foil and sit in a darkened room again!

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