[Next-Gen Gamers is a feature where we explore the world of gaming through the eyes of our kids who really are the next generation of gamers]
I don’t play a whole lot of games with my daughter. She’s a little young to get fully adjusted to the basics of more focused games. Plus when we are together, I mostly like to focus on doing interesting things with her around the house or outside of it. Unfortunately, it happens to rain sometimes. So, what has become a tradition in the house is when it gets a bit damp out, we boot up the Xbox and play a little Kinect Party, which she affectionately refers to as “The Silly Game.”
That is indeed what she calls it and I have yet to correct her because I find it is much more fun to hear a child get excited over a Silly Game than something that sounds as droll as Kinect Party.
Kinect Party is, for all extents and purposes, a collection of mini games that pop up in 1 to 2 minute segments. There are 28 mini games that are on offer, which tends to be a bit much for a long playthrough, but the quick jumps from game to game offer up enough variety to keep my daughter focused and moving instead of tuning out, which makes for a lot of fun.
What this opened my eyes up to is the joy of mini game collections for people. As somebody that likes to sit down and actually beat his games, bite sized games don’t offer me much. This though, this is about just being silly. That’s what Double Fine did really well and it’s taken over my household like a virus.
This is why I hold Kinect Party to a higher regard than Double Fine’s Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster. What Once Upon a Monster offered was a setting where you could play as Elmo during one of his adventures. She’s a bit more attentive to what exactly she needs to do now, but earlier on, it was mostly me showing her what to do and her having to then come in and discover how it works.
Once Upon A Monster had to grab you and make you want to play it where Kinect Party just plops you down in a video world and lets you do whatever it is you are going to do. It allows you to create chaos. That’s something my daughter and I can get behind. Now there are a few mini-games that don’t cut the mustard, but as a complete package it is a blast. To show you what I’m talking about, I’ll use the Double Fine developers to showcase what this game is and what you actually do. Below are the best of the best for the game.
This is Castle Smasher, which arguably could be the pinnacle of this madness. In it, you get to lovingly craft an entire castle village by hand and inhabit it. Seconds later you are then tasked to smash your creation to bits in a fit of dragon rage while screaming “RAWR” at the top of your lungs. It’s a hoot with a young child. The game also offers up a similar King Kong black and white version, but that just doesn’t quite stack up to Castle Smasher.
There are actually two recording modes on offer that allow you to have some fun with. One captures a photo of you in 5 different positions, while the other records your body in 5 different movements. Probably one of the silliest modes, but my kid enjoys modeling as if she’s in vogue while she forces me to jump around like an idiot behind her.
Dub Step is quite simply the best game in the arsenal to put on loop. It’s a psychedelic dance groove that works to get everybody up and dancing. It’s fantastic for parties. Just mute your TV and put on whatever soundtrack you want in the background.
My kid doesn’t play a whole lot of video games in my house. She’s not quite at the age where she should be. One of the best games we do enjoy however is this crazy little Kinect game. In a world where my kid has touched my laptop screen to try and open a program, I’m not sure if controllers will be as active a part of her future as I once thought. Occulus Rift is now a multibillion dollar investment and the Kinect is being sold with every Xbox in the country. For all extents and purposes, this could be her Super Mario Bros. It could be that game that defines the genre for her when she gets older.
Whatever the future may hold, one game that has shaped the way my daughter plays is Kinect Party because there is nothing better to her than this silly game.