Microsoft made a big splash at E3 this year with the demonstration of Project Natal, Microsoft's "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience" for the Xbox 360 console. It utilises a device which tracks a person's motion in 3D space without the need for accelerometer-based controllers.
The games that were demoed were:
- Ricochet: A game similar to Breakout where a player utilises his entire body to whack/deflect balls which hit blocks
- Paint Party: A game where the player is presented with a canvas and is allowed to paint on it by using hand gestures. Colours are brought up using speech commands and players can also pose to create a stencil.
For those of you who weren't able to catch Microsoft's demonstration at E3, here is a recording:
Engadget managed to score a hands on with the device and came out very impressed with it. They were allowed to have a go with Natal on EA's Burnout Paradise, a sufficiently 'hardcore' game. Unfortunately, they weren't allowed to tape the gameplay.
Do not despair, for Kudo Tsunoda made an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with a demonstration of Project Natal on Ricochet and Burnout Paradise, all in glorious detail for your eyes to feast on:
The demonstration of Ricochet was similar to that of the one at E3. The real highlight was the demonstration using Natal to control a car in Burnout Paradise. Here, players can imagine holding a steering wheel in their hands, turn it to control the direction of the car and use their feet to brake or acclerate it.
Jimmy Fallon was visibly excited and very impressed with the concept to say the least. While the gameplay may not be very smooth, do take into consideration the fact that Project Natal is still a prototype and will undergo significant refinements for a better gaming experience.