Kinect GEL Ride: The Full Story?

As I’ve said many times before, I generally try to keep excessively “bloggy” posts off this site. However, with one of my own videos going viral, I figured I’d give a little background. The video in question?

The video you see is indeed not a hoax as you’ll notice the on-screen flashes and photos at the end match up. So what’s going on here?

Well obviously I own a Kinect and had one hooked up while chatting with some friends on XBox Live. Knowing full well that chatting through the Kinect microphone is a mess (as it picks up the TV audio) I figured I couldn’t do much with it. Then I remembered I downloaded the demo of Kinect Joy Ride and decided to pop it in as I could probably still play it despite having a wired headset attached.

But as I raced I really didn’t feel like I was in much control. It felt like it was trying to automatically guide me along a track. So, I ran an experiment and tried just sitting there holding the “wheel”. To my amusement, it worked! So yeah, the next day I hooked up a camera and got the madness on film.

I figured it would make an amusing thing to show people on YouTube, but I didn’t expect it to go viral like it did. I should have known better.

You see, many gamers see the Kinect as a threat. Though Kudo Tsunoda has made statements to the contrary, the Kinect is being advertised as “the future” with Microsoft acting as though controllers are a bad thing. Obviously, nothing could be more wrong. While motion controls definitely have a place in gaming, it’s a place alongside standard control schemes as each has their strengths and weaknesses. But unfortunately, that’s not how Microsoft is billing the Kinect and that’s the problem.

Now, with the Kinect’s possible success looming on the horizon, gamers are scared and with good reason. The Kinect is not a very good controller. It’s an incredible piece of technology, no doubt about that, but it lacks functionality as a gaming device. It’s too sluggish and inaccurate for any sort of serious gaming application! Yes it works great for dancing games but beyond that it’s not capable of much else.

As such, the only other games that really work for it are very loose. Games designed so accuracy and control aren’t all that necessary. What this ultimately means is that, in an odd twist, the Kinect is only capable of playing casual games.

That fact annoys me greatly. As anyone who has seen my videos knows, I hold no grudge against the “casuals”. A good game is a good game and a bad game is a bad game. Ultimately whether you’re “casual” or “hard core” doesn’t matter in the end…usually. However the Kinect exists to change that. Many of the games on it, outside of the dancing game genre, are indeed bad games. However the technical wizardry of the Kinect makes them look much better than they actually are and can fool “casuals” into thinking these bad games are amazing.

That said, I wouldn’t hold my breath for the Kinect “destroying” the industry. You can only put a game on auto-pilot so much before people start to catch on and your gimmicky control scheme goes by the wayside. The story here isn’t how many Kinects sell before Christmas, it’s how many get returned in the following months.

Don’t get me wrong though, if you consider the Kinect “like Rock Band for dancing” then you’ll love it. Dance Central and DanceMasters are both great dancing games and are the reason why I am not completely enraged by my Kinect purchase.

Also, don’t go off thinking all motion control is gimmicky. I hate to act like such a blatant Sony flag waver, especially as I personally dislike the company, but the Move is incredible. Again, it shouldn’t replace standard controllers, but it does open up some tantalizing new possibilities. It’s responsive, accurate, and most importantly it provides more control than a regular controller and that’s what really matters.

That said, I have rambled too much and there is another element to this story. After the video went viral, many people wondered how I could be playing if I was sitting down. According to many people, the Kinect “doesn’t work” when sitting. That part isn’t entirely true. If all it has to do is detect hand movement, the Kinect works while sitting so menu navigation is just fine. However it did prompt me to try Kinect Joy Ride standing up and the end result was…odd.


So it automatically drives you when you sit down? Was this an intentional feature? This revelation raises a number of questions. Questions which can only be answered by the development team at this point. Regardless, you know my stance.

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22 Comments on “Kinect GEL Ride: The Full Story?”

  1. Anon Says:

    Great post. I completely agree with you. It doesn’t help that the Kinect has a lot of lag compared to the Move.

    • anonny Says:

      only no, no it doesn’t not for me or my friends.

      • Reality Says:

        Yes…not for you but for everyone else. lol

      • jurrabi Says:

        I think different people have different reflexes levels and detect lag more or less easily. That’s why some people are more skill playing foosball or ping pong than others ;)

        But it’s a fact that Kinect has lag in its design. You can easily do this experiment:

        Wave at you Kinect in the menus (when you see the small 3d video in the lower right corner of your tv) and synchronize your waving speed to make the image in the screen go exactly at the opposite pace (I mean when you hand is at the left the hand in the image should be on the right and reverse) You can do that with a little practice changing your wave speed smoothly.
        Now count how many waves you can make in a minute and divide 60 by twice that count to know the actual lag of your equipment. 60 waves would mean .5 seconds delay

        Now that I got you all waving like crazy! It’s small… isn’t it?

        I would say about 0.15 max in my system-
        This delay varies from set to set as different equipments can introduce delay in the signal, for example the TV.

        You can separate the lag from the kinect from the lag introduced by other devices with a game like Rock Band 3 that has delay measurement functions (audio and video).

  2. wolsmoth Says:

    Thanks for the post, I was on the fence about Kinect but now I’m definitely going to skip it.

  3. gamingdroid Says:

    It is likely auto-steering because Kinect thinks you are a child and attempts to make it more “fun” for the younger gamers.

    If you ever played, Mario Kart you will notice that if you fall far behind it will start giving you items that propel you back into the race. That is what makes the game so fun, because all these wacky things are happening causing intense moments.

    That is just a guess though, but it makes sense.

  4. BigRiz Says:

    Very well thought out and written.

  5. LaceySnr Says:

    My vote is that it’s simply being kiddy friendly. How about on your knees so it just things you’re short?

  6. xplayman Says:

    I’m going to say that it is in fact a feature probably because they figured people are going to play this DRIVING game and are going to feel compelled to sit down like they are actually driving. And since a lot of the moves require that you move forward/backward which isn’t all that easy to do when sitting down they gave those sitting down a steer assist. All speculation.

  7. […] not really registering my dance move. If anything, check out the dude’s (from the video) blog entry on this as he explains why he did this and his feelings about the Kinect. Tweet You […]

  8. […] O czym myślicie, kiedy słyszycie słowa „przyszłość gier”? Ja na pewno nie myślałem o tym, co zaprezentowano na tym nagraniu, ale niestety chyba będę musiał zacząć. No cóż, zobaczcie sami, jak wygląda zabawa z Kinectem i GEL Ride. źródło: Gamebabble […]

  9. jurrabi Says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    “But unfortunately, that’s not how Microsoft is billing the Kinect and that’s the problem.”

    I don’t think that MS wants to get rid of controls. Keep in mind that right now they are trying to shell kinect so that’s their focus now… but I don’t think they will ever get rid of traditional controls…

    • GEL Says:

      Oh exactly! Hence why I mentioned that Kudo Tsunoda (the head of the Kinect project) has said otherwise. I was just saying that the way MS is marketing Kinect at the moment has some gamers scared.

      It DEFINATELY won’t replace standard controls and if it DID? Well there’s two other companies who AREN’T that stupid who would be more than happy to take all that success off the 360’s hands! XD

      I LOVE motion controls but there will ALWAYS be a place for standard controls.

  10. jurrabi Says:

    “gamers are scared”

    I don’t think anyone is scared. That’s just a sentence for the press.

    Any gamer should know (I do) that both worlds can coexist in the same platform.

    In the same way that in a video store you can find comedy, drama and terror films I don’t think that any customer would get worried if the video store opened a Science Fiction area… that doesn’t mean they are getting rid of Terror films… does it?

    • GEL Says:

      Also very very true. Should have prefaced that with SOME…both times I used it XD A bit generalized, sorry.

      I say it because it’s the best way to explain the utter hatred the Kinect and motion control in general is getting from a large part of the gaming community. There are those that see that they can coexist, but from my personal experience they’re unfortunately few and far between.

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  12. […] you. Check out this video of a guy playing ride. Notice how he doesn’t move. And here’s more on this […]

  13. RegalSin Says:

    Why is a grown man reviewing a run of the mill, racing game?

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