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Tycho / on Mon, Nov 8 2010 at 12:00 am

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Full Circle

We believe, like every cognizant being, that progenitors should arbitrate the media consumption of the organisms they create.  In other words, parents should parent.  One sees this sentiment everywhere.  As an axiom, it’s incredibly compact.  As a life edict, especially for enthusiasts of interactive media, it’s somewhat more complex.

I’m curious to what extent a bias against electronic play exists.  I’ll show you what I mean:

This is how Gabriel the Younger invests his leisure hours - in the construction and demolition of imaginary worlds.  You can’t tell me, or at any rate I will refuse to hear, that this doesn’t have value.  I’m not sure that eight consecutive hours of it on a daily basis is entirely necessary, but placing it somewhere along the continuum of Play as opposed to “Wasting Your Goddamned Time” seems reasonable to me.

I just had a weekend that resembled, in many ways, the ridiculous and saccharine videos of happy families gathered around a Kinect sensor.  I wouldn’t describe the joy as absolute on my part, but for the people they’ve chosen to aim their weapon at, they’ve gained tremendous ground.

When my son hold his arms a certain way, and for some reason the Kinect thinks that he has mutated horribly and now his elbows have disintegrated and his arms are projecting backward from his shoulder blades, I shake my head.  I call bullshit on that: not only is it not tracking him appropriately, it’s chosen to interpret the data in a way that is frankly impossible for any human body.  You know what my son does in this situation?

He laughs.

Not only are its very real problems not problems, he thinks it’s funny.  I can’t really chart the importance of something like that on a graph.  I don’t know that it means.

Kinect versus Move is a media-driven false choice.  The Microsoft Kinect is a demonstrably, profoundly bad Playstation Move.  There’s simply no comparing the two devices, at least, no way to compare them that makes the Kinect look good.  For example, Child of Eden would be about a thousand times better with Move, a fact I hope is eventually absorbed by its publisher.  Tumble, one of the simplest games available for the Move, is founded on an absolute control of x/y/z movement that might not even be possible on the Kinect.  But that’s a matter quite apart from the Kinect being without merit, and at this juncture, it’s merit has to do with a philosophy that posits it as a core method of interaction as opposed to a peripheral.  Brenna and I have been watching an educational program in the evenings, and I noticed with some surprise that I’d never once considered using a remote.  This is very, very strange territory.  I think the entire Kinect Guide needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt, that’s true.  This is no Damascus Conversion, everything I said on Friday remains.  But there is something very strange happening in my house, and again - I don’t quite get it.

As it stands, my son splits his time fairly evenly between his EyePet and bowling on the Kinect.  He doesn’t know yet that you can only like one or the other - that allegiance must be staked out, and guarded, that something like chastity is at stake which must be defended from a gruesome and bestial Other.  I intend to prolong this state indefinitely.


i was made to believe there’s something wrong with me

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