Over Thanksgiving, my hubby somehow conned his mother into giving him an early Christmas present. He reeeaaally wanted a Kinect for our Xbox 360. At the time, I didn’t even know what a Kinect was. I think I had seen a commercial for it, maybe. But I chalked it up to yet another technology purchase that didn’t really involve me.
Then, we set it up, got playing, and I realized the magic of the Kinect. And the magic fitness potential of the Kinect.
We already had a Nintendo Wii (I told you, yet another technology purchase…), which was revolutionary in that you could control the game by actually moving the controller. The Kinect? It’s even more fantastically revolutionary-er. You have to move your body to play the games. Any of the games. Often your entire body. And although the Nintendo Wii makes you move, you can cheat a little bit. A quick flip of the wrist is sometimes all you need to do a necessary function. Not with the Kinect. This piece of genius senses your entire body, and if you’re not using your whole body, you’re going to lose. Or get smacked in the face with a virtual volleyball.
The Kinect came with the Kinect Adventures game, an intro into all that is Kinect fun. In Rallyball, you hit balls that come at you. With River Rush, you raft down a river, jumping and moving side to side to control your raft and gain points. Reflex Ridge has you gliding along a train track, jumping, ducking and side-stepping obstacles. In this one, jumping will get you going faster and will seriously ramp up your cardio. Space Pop has you trying to pop bubbles, flapping your arms to fly up, and stepping left and right to control your avatar. The game 20,000 Leaks is a stand-up version of Twister—in an aquarium. You try to plug leaks with your hands and feet as fish and sharks try to bust through the glass.
We also got Kinect Sports, which has soccer, bowling, boxing, beach volleyball, table tennis, and track and field games. If you don’t want to play an entire game, you can try the mini games, which were some of the most fun and most addictive games to play. We got super addicted to Body Ball, in which you follow the commands to use your head, hand or foot to hit volleyballs that are coming at you. We got in a battle to get the high score, and it was brutal and exhausting. (I lost every time.)
I’m seriously impressed with the Kinect, both as a video game and as a piece of fitness equipment. The sensor is amazingly and almost creepily accurate. While none of these games are billed as a workout, they will get you moving. And sweating. And breathless. And needing a break. Table tennis had my arm about to fall off, and river rafting had my thighs burning from all of the side stepping and jumping I was doing. It makes you move your body and makes it truly fun to burn calories.
I’ll let you know what I think about the actual fitness games when I review Zumba for the Kinect! Have you tried the Kinect? What games should I add to our collection? —Erin