Each week in Play in Process, Richard Clark shares what he’s been playing and why it matters.
Recently I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about how games have the unique ability to emphasize where we fall short as human beings. I consider this a major strength – a tendency away from blind and misleading sentimentality is something to appreciate.
Kinect has that ability, too… but maybe not in a good way. I’m still a little bit on the fence on this one, but a lot of what I’m experiencing through the few Kinect games I’ve played is a hightened and skewed since of self-awareness. I explored a little bit of this in an article I wrote over at Kill Screen:
According to Lacan, our true selves are truly realized when we are interacting with others, giving us an opportunity to illuminate one another’s characteristics and personalities. This is the key component missing from Microsoft’s latest Kinect offering. Kinect Fun Labs offers a new technology, but fails utterly at helping us to understand why we would want it in the first place. What’s the point of creating a life-like version of myself, if all I can do is stare at it and scrutinize it? In games, I feel better when I am talking, cooperating, and competing with someone else. This collection of programs is indeed a fascinating look at the future of videogames, but it’s not a flattering one.
Kinect’s best experience so far is Child Of Eden, primarily, in my opinion because it takes us completely out of our own field of view. That game is very much about something outside of ourselves – I would like to see more of that.