Sports Day…

Another two year old blog ported over from my old site so that I will eventually have everything in one virtual place. This one details the fun morning we had with a downloaded demo of Kinect Sports Season 2 just prior to the software’s official launch…

In readiness for its official launch next week my son downloaded the demo version of Kinect Sports season 2. The download offers two demos – a single game of singles tennis and one hole of golf – a bit mean, I thought, for a trial of a piece of software with a retail price of 30 quid, but hey ho.

Anyhoo, after downloading Ben played them this morning and thought they were ‘okay’ which is hardly the most glowing review I’ve ever heard but is par for the course (if you’ll forgive the pun) for him these days given that he is fourteen, sporting a fine down of bumfluff on his cheeks, has a voice that migrates from loud bark to almost silent high-pitched squeak in a matter of seconds and is in all other aspects generally slap bang in the middle of ‘Kevindom’. [NB: As an aside to this I would add that he has also developed what are undoubtedly the second hairiest pair of legs I’ve ever seen. The hairiest legs I’ve ever seen belonged to Miss Smith, my maths teacher at secondary school, whose legs were so hairy I spent the first and second years believing she wore woollen tights. It was only when she rolled up the sleeves of her cardi to reveal matching arms that the horrible truth emerged. I still have nightmares to this day. But I digress…]

miss smithNot wishing to add yet another title to the very large number of titles Ben has bought then got bored with after a couple of plays I thought I’d give ‘season 2’ a whirl myself to check out its play appeal. So, after pausing only to don my skin-tight, 70’s micro style tennis shorts and top, together with wrist and forehead sweat bands (we take our virtual sports very seriously in this house) I positioned myself in front of the TV and fired a blistering serve straight across the court and stepped gently backwards in full expectation of an ace. Got to say, I wasn’t impressed with the programming on the tennis game: there’s no way that spoddy little geek at the other end of the court could have intercepted that in real life, and even if he could have he still wouldn’t have been able to return it the way he did ‘cos it would have burned a hole straight through the strings of his racket. The umpire’s an arsehole too…

So. Having given up on the tennis I nipped off for a quick shower, popped on my red and yellow check plus-fours, matching argyle socks and a lovely pink (I’m comfortable enough with my own sexuality not to worry about such pedestrian constructs) Pringle™ tank top and set off for an invigorating hole of golf. Well, I’ve got to say it was a beautiful course (well, hole, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that holes 2 – 18 will be equally lovely): sweeping, well-tended fairways, challenging but not overly taxing rough, well positioned bunkers filled with soft white sand and ne’er a dog or fox turd in sight and greens as green as Erin’s finest, dusted with the softest, lightest, downiest blended fescue and browntop-bent grasses it’s ever been my pleasure to set spikes on.

Stepping up to the tee I slipped on a glove and firmly-but-not-too-firmly wrapped my fingers around the shaft of my Big Bertha (ooer) and gave it an experimental waggle (oh, no, missus, titter yeah not). It felt good, I can tell you, it feltright. Moving into position I adjusted my grip marginally to accommodate the weight of my mighty club (hush!) and eased my knees lightly to facilitate a smooth and controlled stroke (nay, nay and thrice nay).

And it was at this point that my avatar threw what can only be described as a standing epileptic fit.

Legs and arms spasmed in all directions at once – how he managed to keep hold of his club I’ll never know – while his body waggled, wobbled and jerked in a most distressing manner. Were I religious I might have inferred some holy significance – like God, he was certainly moving in a mysterious way – but being the agnostic (well, more ‘chicken’ atheist hedging his bets ‘just in case’) that I am I assumed instead some sort of human interference and barked at Ben to stop fidgeting in the Kinect’s peripheral vision. He did, but my little man continued to spasm uncontrollably (now stoppit, it’s getting ‘old’).

Had such a thing existed I would have rushed to slip his little plus fours down and insert a virtual stesolid before putting him in the recovery position, but to my knowledge rectal diazepam wasn’t one of the optional extras available from the Kinect pro shop and to be honest epilepsy didn’t seem the most likely explanation even if the symptoms did seem to imply it. Realising the Kinect sensor was covered with several week’s worth of dust (oh, come on: effectively we’re two blokes sharing a house – what do you expect, Aggie and Kim?) I advanced with a tea towel and a tin of Mr Sheen, but while that might, according to the eighties ad campaign (which was probably the same decade in which I purchased said product), ‘get umpteen things clean’ it appeared unequal to the task of calming my alarming avatar.

At this point Ben piped up with the observation that the onscreen instructions were instructing me to turn sideways to the ball. ‘But I am standing sideways to the ball’ I said.

‘Perhaps you’re so fat these days it doesn’t realise’ he said, making a break for the front door as I flolloped after him in luke-warm pursuit…

Oh how we laughed. Well, until I hit him.

At this stage we don’t know what’s causing the wee avatar fella to break dance and body pop like a Jackson possessed, but it is NOT because the Kinect doesn’t realise when I’m standing sideways, because he’s doing it now even when Ben tries to tee up. It may just be that our front room isn’t big enough for golf (we have a hole in the overhead lampshade where a remote struck it while playing Wii tennis, so space has been a problem in other console related situations), or that a simple recalibration of the sensor bar and/or adjustment to the lighting may see us alright. I hope so, ‘cos when Ben played it this morning before avatar guy went mental he said it was quite good fun, and, as I am to real golf what Nigella Lawson is to skinny jeans, I’d like to explore that further.

golfIf anyone else has downloaded the demo (or got an advance copy of the game) and had similar problems let me know if you found a solution.

Postscript: Two years on I can report that Kinect Sports 2 did provide us with a few months fun before being relegated to the ‘Party Games’ pile that only really comes out when old people (in Ben’s view that’s anyone over the age of 20) visit. Sadly, over the past couple of years, his interest in battling German Nazis has pretty much become all-consuming as far as X-Box time goes, to the detriment of the family friendly fun we would occasionally enjoy together. Ho hum.

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6 thoughts on “Sports Day…”

    1. The tennis was actually a favourite game for both of us for a while, and Ben quite enjoyed the golf and baseball. Sigh. Those were the (pre zombie) days… Thanks for comment 🙂

  1. Our family favourite was always Mario Karts when my kids used to laugh at me for moving the controller as if trying to turn the bends…ahhh look who’s laughing now, that’s exactly what you have to do on the Wii!!

    1. There you go, see, you were ahead of your time. In fact, it was probably ‘leaners in’ like yourself who gave the Wii makers the idea for motion sensor controllers in the first place – Without you, the Wii would never have been invented! Stick that in your kid’s (tail)pipes and tell them to smoke it! Thanks for comment 🙂

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