The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

Monthly Archives: October 2010

Let’s Kinect with motion controls

Ok, with Sony’s Move out….a few months ago (that one launched quietly…) all eyes are about to turn toMicrosoft’s amazing controller less fantasmo gizmo (technical term) Kinect, due out worldwide on November 4th, unless you live in Europe (which is quite a big portion of THE WORLD!), where you have to wait till November 10th. Now, obviously the big question on every gamers mind (other than “Are there any games that I’d like?”) is simply, “Will it fly or flop?” and whilst I can’t answer that question, I can at least take a look into what will surely be an eventful few weeks for gaming.

As we’ve established and I’m already bored of mentioning, Kinect doesn’t have a controller, you are the controller, which is pretty much gimmick that keeps on giving. Motion control was a lovely idea once, but the novelty has pretty much worn off shortly after it began. Wii has shown us that do much use can be just annoying, the best games on the console are the ones that use it subtely, or not at all (Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Brawl spring to mind)

Of course, I am a gamer and kinect has clearly made such an effort to advertise kinect as a casual gaming device that any alien would get the impression that every family is a citizen of Stepford, so why am I so irrate about this? Because I liked the niche. Remember when no-one except kids and teenagers played video games? Everyone who didn’t play them didn’t understand the fascination with plumbers going down pipes, a wise crakcing blue speedy hedgehog, a wisecracking gecko that…ok, a wise cracking Bandicoot…Ok, Sonic has a lot to answer for, but everyone who didn’t like video games just left us to it, but frowned upon it like we’d taken up smoking. I don’t want to say I miss people hating me because of a lifestyle choice, because that’s not true and I’m certainly not comparing gamers to other lifestyle choices, I just liked that there was a nice little community of fans that seems diluted since the expansion of the industry in 2006. Obviously, I understand the reason they’re doing it, but it’s not nice for me, now a University student who grew up with Nintendo to see on the first night of Freshers Week;

Chaplincy Wii Night

Remember when the church HATED video games? Anyway, I feel I’ve once again used an analytical oppurtunity to really take a deep and educated look at Kinect and ended up doing a therapy session, so here’s my main problem with why I don’t care for Kinect and it sounds childish, but I don’t like not having a controller and air-mimicing. It just looks un-natural for a grown man.

A feeling

There’s a moment in someones life, a realisation if you will, where they suddenly know that everything changes. When you left home, moved to University, your own house, how long before you realised that there’s no turning back. Child innocence is gone and you’ve grown up. Do you wish for the endless summer holidays, disliking your geography homework and to spend more time with the friend you grew up with, playing Mario Kart on your N64? Or do you look forward, seize the oppurtunity that you’re in a new location with a job or the last of your education?

Maybe you’ll get lucky, find a beautiful man or woman. Get married, have kids, die happily in your old age on a sunlit island. Maybe you’ll get the job of your dreams and be succesful in your career. Maybe both, I envy those who do, they’re the really lucky ones. When you realise all of this, thoughts rush through your head at an alarming speed that you can’t think straight. You regret your childhood and your time prior, wishing to do things you never did. kissing that girl at Homecoming, saying no to that first cigarette, not having stage fright in your first year nativity play, not having stage fright in your final year production of Hamlet.

But then you come to your senses, your heart relaxes and you’ll wipe away those tears and you’ll smile, smile like when given an ice cream as a toddler after grazing your knee. Those things have made you who you are and no matter what you think, it’s made you a fantastic, important and beautiful individual and that whilst that chapter of your life is over, another exciting one is about to begin.

This probably sounds far fetched and I imagine none of you have felt this before, but one day, you will.

Casual Film watching

Ok, that title is pretty bad and probably doesn’t sell my point very well, so hear me out. I’ve recently moved to university and we almost religously watch films, I’ve seen more films in the past 2 weeks per average than…god knows. Of course, I’m actually studying film studies, so you know, why not? But then I thought about it, this is a short list of films we’ve watched (because I’ve probably forgotten a few)

The Hangover
How To Lose Friends And Alienate People
Hairspray
Wanted
Mamma Mia
Iron Man

Now, I think you’ll all agree that although many are very good films (Mamma Mia being the obvious exception) the thing is, they’re very mainstream. I haven’t a problem with this, but then I realised all the people I’m watching these films with are, as I’ve just made up, “casual film watchers” and all the films I brought with me to Uni, are not causal filmwatcher suitable movies. What’s a casual film watcher? Well, let me make it up, explain;

A casual film watcher is your average joe. Before you go, “You watch movies, you’re a casual film watcher,” Well, yes and no. I was a casual film watcher, these are people who we all start out being, but then sometimes one film comes along all innocently like a girl who secretly has an STD and attacks one unlucky person, making them decide “fuck it, I want to do this as a living and spread it like a disease” making them more suspectible to films in general, ripping them apart and analysing every last detail and getting a sexual thrill out of it when they find out they were right about the foreshadowing in act 2. You find someone who either makes films or is ridicously into films and if they say they don’t watch film critically, they’re lying.

A casual film watcher is someone who will go to the cinema and will just watch a film. That’s it. They’re not that fussed about what they see, as long as
1.) Someone else has seen it and liked it
2.) it has that big name actor in it
3.) they can escape their horrible job watching it.
4.) They can understand what’s going on.

They’re the reason why certain films are popular and because they’re the people who buy the bulk of ticket sales, there’d be no movie industry about them, so saying anything remotely negative is completely dumb. But my main point here is this; Can you imagine someone who has spent most of their movie based lives watching
He’s Not That Into You, Happy Feet, The Notebook and Dear John to willingly sit down and watch Citizen Kane, Blade-Runner, American Beauty or even Star Wars? No. Because they just wouldn’t enjoy it as much as a film fanatic would.

And that’s my dilemna and why my films won’t be appreciated by anyone but me. (If you’re interested, the films I bought are…)

Citizen Kane
Star Wars III-V (don’t have VI on DVD yet)
Serenity
Grave Of The Fireflies
THX 1138
Juno
Moon
The Simpsons Movie
Blade Runner
There Will Be Blood
American Beauty
Hot Fuzz
In Bruges
KiKi’s Delivery Service
My Neighbour Totoro
The Shining
Zombie Land

So yeah…