I’m finally at the point where I’m going to write about the world premier of Project Natal. The official retail name – Kinect – was revealed during the premiere. I must say that this was one of the most highly anticipated gaming launches that I have ever seen.
As a guest, I was invited to take part in a Drum Beat Ritual created by Cirque Du Soleil to mark the countdown to the Cirque du Soleil “Project Natal” for Xbox 360 world premiere. Basically, I beat a drum that was beat every hour on the hour from June 9th – 13th. In theory, each person beat the drum once. I won’t say how many times my small group that rang it together actually hit the drum, before it made a loud enough sound to be picked up by the cameras. Not once, not twice, but ______ times. I would blame it on the child (Heidi’s super adorable, dinosaur-obsessed son) who was a part of our group BUT it was when everyone else let go of the stick that he was able to beat the drum loudly. Oh, well…
Drum Beat at the Galen
Photo courtesy of Heidi
Soon after, we all attended the debut. The Galen Center was packed! There was a mix of people in attendance including celebrities and media of all types. We were not allowed to take photos and images once the show started, but below is a glimpse (in photos and video) of what the performers were doing outside and what the initial setting looked like inside. (No, we were not in a cult initiation ceremony. Everyone just had to put on some crazy looking white ponchos with huge shoulder pads that lit up Xbox green at various points during the performance.)
Suffice it to say, the world premiere of Kinect (formerly known as Project Natal) as imagined by Cirque du Soleil was a smashing success. It was a very surreal, artsy experience. Although the Cirque performers were very talented, the images from the Kinect game play made me forget the performance at times. The “Star Wars” sword play was the most popular by far. Any man, woman or child who has ever imagined being a Jedi fighter is going to love it! Many of the women really enjoyed the yoga game also. I thought that it was really smart that Xbox showed a family of four playing various games as individuals and in groups during the performance – especially since Xbox has been looked at as a “gamer guy” type gaming system. During the performance, there was an actual family playing the Kinect games in an elevated living room cube that (literally) turned upside down. Hours later, we were still trying to figure out how they made a ball bounce upside down, because it seemed to defy gravity!
In any event, if the Kinect system works the way that it appears, we will become a two game system family this holiday season. As I have repeated before, I really like the fact that the player is the controller. By the positive response, I am sure that we will not be the only ones adding to our existing gaming lineup! As the line in the performance that stood out the most to me said: “The future of humanity is humanity itself.”
Disclosure: Thanks to Xbox 360 for sponsoring my Los Angeles trip to the launch of Project Natal/Kinect.