E3 2010: Kinectimals PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Jun 18, 2010
Microsoft's Kinect-based contribution to the storied virtual pet genre, Kinectimals, teaches kids that it's totally fine to be friendly to baby tigers, panthers and other highly dangerous felines. Still, there's no denying the cuteness factor of this title, and I can definitely see it being used as a training tool of sorts for parents looking to test the responsibility level of their kid before throwing down money on a new family pet.
When you aren't petting your furry companion, you can make it jump by jumping or play dead by laying on your back with your arms and legs in the air. All of the actions are adorably imitated by your pet, and while it was too loud to try out, the voice recognition capability will definitely add a compelling dimension to the relationship between you (i.e. kids) and your onscreen pet. As will the fact that your pet will act favorably towards you when it sees you, but will be standoffish and suspicious if one of your friends steps in front of the camera in your place. It sounds simple, but when you consider that it means the AI is able to distinguish you from other people is rather remarkable.
The rest of my demo time was spent time running my future man-eater through an obstacle course. Running in place moved him along, holding my arms out kept him balanced as he walked across a beam, jumping caused him to leap over barriers and ducking made him crawl through a tunnel. The actions were responsive, and the animal animations were undeniably endearing.
I have a real dog, so there's little need for me to invest real time with a fake pet, but I can definitely see kids getting a real kick out of it.
Kinectimals tracks down and pounces on your heart this November.