Gamers have been yelling at their TVs since time immemorial. We yell at tough bosses, missed jumps and frustrating game design. So when the Kinect actually made use of this, it was well overdue.
Now when yell at our jackass companions to do something, they actually do it. But what of the decades’ worth of games that missed out on this opportunity? What of the millions of times we shouted at in-game companions as the continued to walk into that damn wall? With the recent inclusion of Kinect capabilities in Skyrim, I had to think about some games of millennia past that could use a similar retrofit.
Chrono Trigger – SNES
This instant classic created a canvas on which countless other JRPGs were painted. As such, I will assume this covers the myriad JRPGs that followed, including the stalwart Final Fantasy series. With any turn-based combat system featuring allies and their respective moves, simply using your voice to command an individual to use a certain move would feel pretty awesome and save a lot of time. It would certainly make the game go quicker when dealing with repetitive, low-level baddies. After a battle, it would also be pretty sweet to simply access restoration items immediately with your voice instead of having to open up your menu and sift through piles of potions.
Pokémon Stadium – N64
We all felt like gods the first time we marched the handheld version of our too-powerful Pokémon onto the big screen (read: 21” screen) in 2000. Sure, we’d all beefed up our Pokémon to level 100 with entirely too much Rare Candy (which is disturbingly evocative of steroid usage; something that is neither here nor there) but we were there to show our friends just how badass we were. And what could have made that better than standing two abreast, yelling at our undoubtedly sterile Pokémon to strike each other down with furious and righteous anger?
Shenmue – Dreamcast
In an effort to achieve as much realism as possible in his game, Yu Suzuki included as much of the minutiae of our daily lives as he could. Coke machines, accessible dresser drawers, arcade games, you name it. Unfortunately, being a pioneer always has its downsides; like, vast portions of your game are unnecessary, mindless and boring. Now, no one was really pushing for more drawers to open, but because I’m a jerk, I would love to see the tortured faces of gamers if Suzuki was given yet another tool to bore them to death with. As the saying goes, “With great power, Yu Suzuki makes you drive a forklift.”
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – N64
I understand that any perversion of this beloved title would be sacrilege, but I’m going to go for it anyway. Kinect voice commands would make for easier weapon/arrow/boot selection especially in a boss fight where you may have not planned properly. Further, we’ve all been humming “Song of Storms” for over a decade, so why not just hum it to play it in game?
1080 Snowboarding - N64
This one is a no brainer. Everyone—even those not blessed enough to grow up with the Greatest Snow on Earth™—logged some serious hours with 1080. Now I understand the idea of getting childhood-me off the couch on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon is laughable, but bear with me. There is no activity better suited for the Kinect than snowboarding/wakeboarding/skateboarding. Plopping a Kinect into one of the greatest incarnations of any of the aforementioned activities would have some pretty awesome results. Worst case scenario, you get to watch your hot neighbor from down the street shimmy around in front of your TV.
Seaman – Dreamcast
You were playing a game called “Seaman.” God only knows how you convinced your mom to buy it. But there you were, bringing the game’s controller add-on microphone to your face, telling a virtual fish the day on which you were born. Needless to say, Seaman was pretty damned weird. Would Kinect support have made the game any more socially acceptable? Probably not. At that point you’d just be in the middle of your living room having a discussion with a snarky imaginary fish—and no controller to hide the shame. Then again, having a discussion with Seaman while you chopped vegetables would definitely add some spice to your life.
Kinect was initially praised because of the sheer amount of gameplay options it made available. Though most elements the Kinect uses were already utilized in small parts in other games, cramming them all together in one powerful package forced developers to change their thinking while making games. Had the Kinect’s features been realized decades ago, we’d be living in a very different world for video games.
So what do you think? What classic favorites of yours would be even better with Kinect support?