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Video: Tiny hands-on with Swinxs

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When this Swinxs RFID game console arrived at the doorstep of our European annex to test, we realized our dilemma: kids, we need kids, preferably the type who won't mind being tricked into a little physical activity. Fortunately, we always have a few 3-footers lurking around the Engadget "waste acre" scrounging for circuit boards to strip of their gold. Presumably then, in violation of several international child labor laws, we put Swinxs to the grueling challenge of entertaining three kids, city-hardened, and angry at the establishment after their respective 5-, 6- and 7-years of big city livin'. How did Swinxs fare? Click on through to witness the laughter and tears spilled during a typical Swinxs afternoon.




As you can see from the video, Swinxs was a success. Initial setup was very quick. Within 10 minutes, the kids were playing on their own leaving us time to consume the daily quota of whiskey and cigarettes required per editorial cycle.

There are a few frustrating points of course. For example, the RFID reader doesn't work well in games like Countdown where it must read several XS bands within milliseconds of being slapped down together on top of the console. The RFID reader would also be better served if it could detect the XS bands from a slightly longer distance away from the console.

Other interesting observations:
  • As veteran users of robots, the kids were often talking to Swinxs expecting it to respond to their voice commands
  • SwinxsLink software (Windows-only) is required to communicate with the www.swinxs.com website to download new games -- no games for you Mac owners (at least for now)
  • At one point, CircleSwinxs, a frenetic ring-around-the-rosie game, busted out with a plague-inspired, death-metal musical surprise which had us ROFLing

Bottom Line: The €150 / $235 Swinxs does what the Disney or Nintendo babysitter can't: it gets kids moving, really moving... and that's a good thing too, chubby.

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