Ever since I started this blog I wanted to include some reviews on products that you can use as therapeutic activities. This week I’ll finally start showcasing some of the products I’ve used in my work. But first off, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine: The Kinect. I discovered this little beauty during my internship and have found that it can work wonders. I have seen kids who were refusing to move start playing with the Kinect and suddenly they are different people. Nurses would stop by the playroom and express surprise at the children who were relaxed and having fun again because the Kinect could distract them. Perhaps it was the novelty of the experience, or perhaps it helped them visualize a fantasy world, but something about that game helped to take away some of the pain and fear.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Kinect, it’s a type of equipment that is used to play certain X-Box 360 games. Basically it’s a camera that can watch your movements and input it into the game console and effect the game you’re playing. In essence as the marketing team of Kinect will tell you, “You are the controller”. When you jump, your character in the game will jump. When you duck, your character will duck. Depending on the game, you do certain moves to clear obstacles or achieve a goal. Basic moves include kicking, swiping, jumping, ducking, and leaning.
Today I’ll be reviewing the first game I played on the Kinect and one that has helped young school aged kids get up and play when before they were refusing. Kinect Adventures is the game and I believe it comes usually comes with the Kinect when you buy the equipment. In this game, you get to go on different adventures to gain pins and become the expert adventurer. The different adventures vary from kickball, river rafting, and roller coaster ride.
This game can be played with one or two players at a time. Depending on the adventure you choose, you will play in a co-op mode or a competitive mode if you are playing with two people. The nice thing about the co-op mode is the adventure continues as long as 1 person is playing, even if the other person is standing still. This is great for kids who don’t fully understand how to play but still want to be playing. The competitive game is harder to play if one of the players doesn’t understand how to play. If you want to do this game with a preschool child, I recommend you stick with a co-op game and play with him or her. Another thing to keep in mind is some of the adventures require the player to jump. If you want to do this game with someone who can’t jump, stick with the adventures that involve kicking and reaching, such as 20,000 Leaks, or Rally Ball. You can play River Rush and not jump, but you need to have someone else play with you that can jump, or at least have someone jump to start the game.
A cool feature about this game is it takes pictures of you as you play it. So you get to see some pretty great freeze frames of you doing some of the moves, including jumping and ducking! Also you get to pick which character you want to be, and the Kinect is usually able to identify you even when you’ve left the game and come back. I’ve played the game where I’ve set my character and a few days later will play it again and automatically it will select the character I’ve played with before without me prompting. It will also let players leave and join the game as the adventure is playing which is cool too.
As a recap, remember these things when assessing whether someone will be able to play the game. If they aren’t able to fully participate, have someone play with them. If they want to play by themselves, they have to at least be able to lean left and right, as well as move their arms in a circle and/or kick their legs. If they want to fully participate in all adventures, they also need to be able to jump and duck. I recommend this game for preschool through school age. The older kids might get bored quicker with it because once you’ve played all the games, it doesn’t change much. But the younger kids appear to like playing the same games again and again. It’s also a great game to start out with if you’re new to the Kinect! Try it out and tell me what you think! Was this review helpful at all? Have fun!