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Kinect debut event recap (featuring Cirque du Soleil and LED ponchos)


Tonight we stood in a stadium wearing polyester ponchos (made in Canada) with LED shoulderpads. What did you do this evening? Below you'll find our account of Microsoft's "'Project Natal Experience,' imagined by Cirque du Soleil." As the event was a "technology free" show, we had to depend on our notes and exceptionally detailed (for a two-year-old) artistic sketches to convey the Experience (yes, capital E). If you'd actually like to see what we saw tonight in moving pictures, you'll have the chance on Tuesday, June 15, at 3:30PM on MTV and at 9PM on Nick at Nite, MTVu, MTV Hits, and Logo.

And here are our notes on the Project Natal Experience:

7:15PM - Entered into dark room, given big white poncho with pointy shoulder pads. Terror sets in. A massive amount of people adjust each others' shoulder pads. See, we're kinect-ing.

7:20PM - Standing around in waiting area. Ponchos are white 100% polyester and are made in Canada. These things are going to get hot.

7:23PM - We're escorted down a dark hall and step through a rectangular box into an African American family's living room. They smile and wave at this home invasion. We pass by them into what appears to be a rainforest.

7:24PM - The "rainforest" is a converted sports arena, roamed by dancing Cirque du Soleil performers. They are dressed like wood nymphs.

7:40PM - Still standing around. Poncho heat increasing. Almost accosted by gyrating wood nymph. If you don't look it in the eyes it won't approach.

7:45PM - A sheen of sweat is starting to appear on people's faces.

7:47PM - Geoff Keighley enters with camera crew and is also wearing "the poncho." Magazine editor yells, "Earning every penny, Keighley."

7:50PM - Every poncho wearer gathers in the center of the arena. Spectators watch from side through curtains.

7:52PM - French organ music starts playing. Cult members in middle are rocking back and forth.

7:55PM - Now there's a string phone going across the arena. "Can Telephone" confirmed for Natal?

7:57PM - There's a couch with major wiring and a family sitting on it.
7:58PM - Couch flies away with family on it 60 feet into the air.

8:00PM - Still standing around in ponchos.

8:02PM - Discussion: Are Cirque costumes from Fern Gully or Fraggle Rock?

8:05PM - Still waiting ... waiting ... waiting. Watching the new Avatar animations on giant screens up above and around the arena. Look like old Avatars, but a little differently proportioned.

8:07PM - We begin getting the idea that standing around in white ponchos is causing us to lose our identity. It's time to write our names on ponchos. We are individuals.

8:10PM - Despair setting in with all this waiting. A Frenchman nearby looks like he's about to have an existential crisis.

8:12PM - Richard Mitchell dips his toes in virtual pool on floor. We learn his former family name was Michelle and they were from France, but changed their name when they moved to Scotland and joined a clan.

8:15PM - Still waiting.

8:18PM - Major Nelson stops by and congratulates us on the new site. He's also wearing a poncho. We dance around the possibility of an Xbox 360 slim.

8:20PM - SHOW BEGINS. Fern Gully people come in carrying glowing staves. Son on flying couch is stolen by Fern Gully folks and parents on couch are lifted back into the air.

8:22PM - Tribal dancing going on stage at one end of theater that's shaped like a mountain. Then AN ELEPHANT (okay, not real, but looks it) walks in with boy on its back. Some voiceover booms about technology and humans. The boy begins ascending a mountain, playing Nuts & Bolts, The Maw and Kameo as he goes.
8:27PM - At the top of mountain, the floor comes up to reveal a massive sphere that glows like a giant Xbox guide button.

8:29PM - "Kinect" is officially revealed as the new Project Natal name.

8:30PM - The boy goes inside the living room, which has the ability to rotate. Before long, the family is sitting upside-down, with their couch mounted on the ceiling. Woman walks across the ceiling.
8:31PM - Joyride makes its first appearance at the event.

8:35PM - River Rafting. Also, some kind of cart-based game where you have to collect balls by waving about. This must be Kinect Adventures.

8:37PM - Joyride shown again. You appear to steer with your fists like they are on a steering wheel and activate boost with open palms or pushing forward.

8:40PM - A co-op sky level on a plane that appears to be from Joyride. The two kids appear to be on the wings of the plane and steering it by pointing.

8:41PM - Walt Disney's castle appears and Tinkerbell makes a pass around the screens surrounding the arena. Not much more than an announcement of Disney's support, it seems.

8:43PM - The Star Wars game is shown, it looks like the Clone Wars cartoon. The guy appears to be wielding a lightsaber and using force powers. If this games works as shown here, it could be really hot -- if it works like how it's shown here.

8:44PM - What appears to be an EA Sports Active Kinect game appears. It's not branded, so we'll just call it the Kinect yoga game for now.

8:47PM - Kinect Sports is shown off, featuring hurdles, javelins, bowling (sans approach), volleyball (mentioned as playable across Xbox Live) and soccer.

8:55PM - Kinectimals is shown with only cats. The pet tiger is adooooorable. Looks like a Black and White creature in its cuteness.

8:56PM - We notice almost all these games require you to stand the whole time.

8:59PM - Dance Central is shown off with No Doubt's "Hella Good." You have to mimic the moves on the screen. We imagine all those Just Dance fans collectively squealing.

9:02PM - Video chat between two girls. No, not as interesting as it could have been.

9:04PM - People are now dancing in boxes above the stadium. Ludwig asks, "How do we free them?"

9:10PM Avatars fly around screens, our shoulders flash different colors and the announcer wants us to dance like it's the Disney 2008 press conference -- they never learn.

9:12PM - Aaaaand scene.

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