September 26, 2021

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Kinect was amazing – in a museum

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Kinect is dead. Even its Xbox One adaptor is dead. And I mourn Kinect a little, because there are moments where I remember loving it. Crucially, though, in none of these moments was it connected in any meaningful way to an Xbox.

Kinect was a bit of a bust in the living room. In my memory, instead of landing you in a dynamic Minority Report future, with its hand-chops, air-grabs and dramatic pinches, you had this naff little pointer on the main UI, as if the goal for navigating menus was to make the experience akin to rolling a single grain of rice over a Scrabble board. And then with actual games, Kinect was magic, but the wrong kind of magic: the smoke-and-mirrors and five-aces-visible-up-the-sleeve kind. With actual games, there was always the suspicion that you weren’t doing very much – or you weren’t doing half as much as you were being made to think you were. Kinect looked great in the huge auditorium at the Galen Center when it was announced, but it never looked great at home.

But there is somewhere it really worked. And weirdly, that’s huge auditoria. The best day with Kinect I ever had, I had at the Barbican in London, stood before two pieces of installation art.

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