BACK TO THE PAST
But this is an important time for Kinect. Despite its failings so far, there's a flood of games coming out in the next six months that may finally push the industry in the right direction. Zombie-maiming romp Rise of Nightmares has been met with a less-than-stellar Metacritic rating of 51. If there's one thing almost every review seems to mention, it's that Sega tried to force unconventional controls into a blandly traditional game. The problem isn't Kinect; it's Sega's insistence on trying to force Kinect to work in an old-school, un-fun game. And it's still the closest thing yet to a good, hardcore Kinect game.
Rise of Nightmares' failure is a symptom of a bigger problem: what gamers want and what they think they want is rarely the same thing. In the past, the industry has had to look backward to move forward. The last decade's resurgence of side-scrolling platformers (Limbo, Braid etc.) went hand in hand with the the popularization of downloadable titles because 2D games are small in size and attractive impulse buys. Now XBLA and PSN titles are often as robust as their retail counterparts, but old school had to pave the way. The rise of casual games has only made it worse; "hardcore" gamers are obsessed with the past and unwilling to accept the change the future will inevitably bring.
The irony is that the hardcore, old school games everyone's clamoring for on Kinect will never really work without physical inputs. Playing Halo with Kinect is fun to joke about (see: the video above), but there are those who actually think that would be a good thing. One option is for developers to find better ways to implement Kinect with current genres without doing away with controllers; that's where games like Mass Effect 3 and Forza 4 come in. They may find Kinect's sweet spot by using it where it makes sense in tandem with a controller. And games like Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor and The Gunstringer promise familiar experiences, yet with carefully thought-out Kinect control schemes.
On the other hand, the Child of Eden school of thought would do away with recognizable genres entirely to create completely unique experiences. How well the upcoming slew of titles work will ultimately determine the direction Kinect development takes for the next few years. One of Microsoft's newest trailers, currently viewable from the Xbox Live dashboard, touts the motto "Nothing between you and the games," and while I'd like to add a snarky "except clunky, ridiculous control schemes," there's still a chance Kinect will win us over.