Monday, January 17, 2011

Is There A Support Group For This?

I was never much of a video game junkie. I never had an Atari or Intellivision or Colecovision or Nintendo while growing up. I never coveted a Playstation or an Xbox or even a Wii. It’s not that I never enjoyed any video games at all. I could geek it up with the best of them playing Infocom text adventure games like Zork. I had a few simple video games on my Apple IIE. In college I logged quite a few hours playing Tetris and Brickles in the Mac lab. Let us not forget the Lunatic Fringe screensaver that I found so irresistible every time I turned on Abbey’s computer in our dorm room. When my brother bought a Nintendo set of his own, I’d clock a few hours in his room getting cozy with Super Mario Brothers. In short, video games were always a great diversion, but they were never really a compulsion. They weren't something I wanted to spend all of my free time playing.

What is boils down to is never saw the appeal of having a big expensive setup exclusively for playing video games. How many hours did I want to log learning game controls just to shoot something or beat someone up? None of it really seemed worth the effort. Either I thought it was dull to just keep shooting things or bashing them over the head with a vacuum cleaner, or I was too intimidated by the more intellectual games that required some problem solving. I’d rather read a book, take a walk, channel surf, post mindless crap on Facebook, or put together a puzzle to pass my unscheduled time.

My name is Rachel and I am a Kinect addict.

Is it really possible to have your life change this radically in just a week?

I’m not sure when the Kinect was first introduced. I only know the first time I had ever heard of it was when a friend on Facebook mentioned she had just acquired one. She provided a link so I could see what she was talking about.

I had to admit it looked pretty cool. A few days later I saw a commercial for the Kinect. The actor in the commercial was wiggling and jumping and gyrating. It looked as if she was having a blast!

I think I said it best when the Kinect came up in conversation a few days later. I said to Kevin, “I want one of those.”

He’s a good husband. He took me at my word.

So I received a Kinect for Christmas along with a dance game. My father also gave me an Xbox karaoke game.

Life has not been the same since. Kevin and I tried out the Kinect Adventures that came with the set. Neither of us could get enough of the river raft game. The next day I discovered Rallyball. Rallyball is like human brickout. You just wale on these balls with any part of your body to knock down the blocks at the other end of the alley. You’re in a constant frenzy.

Yesterday on my lunch break I drove over to the Sports Authority for some new sneakers. On the way I spotted the sign for Best Buy. It lured me in like a siren song. I walked straight over to the video game department and came out with Adrenalin Misfits and Kinect Sports (Kevin had his eye on the latter).

One thing I never liked about gaming was coordinating the game controllers. I think that’s why I always stuck to certain games. I knew how to operate them. I hated having to deal with new buttons for new functions with every game. The Kinect eliminated the guesswork. I just move. If I move incorrectly, the game won’t go my way, but I’m always moving. You’re not a zombie with Kinect. You’re as active as a participant in a video game can be.

The games don't have the greatest selection of female avatars, but it’s kind of fun to not have one who looks like me. Sometimes I’m a sweet blonde. Sometimes I’m a sassy black woman. Sometimes I'm a Latina boxer. The female avatars have great bodies (even if they are cartoons), so it's sort of inspiring to keep watching them while I play. If I keep playing, I'll look like them. I especially want to be Emilia in Dance Central.

It used to be if I had some time I needed to waste, my first instinct was to turn on the TV or hit Facebook. Now I want to get up and play with my Kinect. I'm getting physical activity when I'm bored. Only good can come of this as far as I can see.

I can't wait to start playing with my friends as well. My karaoke game ended up defective, but I'm investing in a new one ASAP. I think it would be a blast to have impromptu karaoke parties, or if no one feels like singing, play a little virtual bowling without having to wear ugly pre-used shoes.

Kevin and I haven't gone head-to-head on any games yet, but I think that's where the real fun will begin. We both love the boxing game. *evil grin*

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