Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Disneyland Adventures preview: Virtual Imagineering


Much like the real theme park, Disneyland Adventures isn't so much a game as it is an attraction. To be sure, the Kinect title has available mini-games, but the real meat of the experience seems to be the recreation of the park itself. Frontier Developments' David Walsh informed me that the park has been painstakingly recreated. Players can navigate the entire park using the Kinect, meeting Disney characters, visiting attractions and even collecting coveted hidden Mickeys (which I admit I'd never heard of before this preview).

The only things missing are the actual rides, which have been replaced with what appears to be a series of nearly identical minigames.

Gallery: Disneyland Adventures (E3 2011) | 13 Photos

I was able to try out the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, one I remember fondly from a childhood vacation. The Disneyland Adventures version of the attraction has players careening through a waterlogged cave atop planks of wood, steering by leaning to the left and right. By swinging my arms as though holding a bat, I was also able to use my oar to deflect bombs tossed by some of the nastier pirates. Apart from avoiding hazards and deflecting bombs, the primary goal of each minigame is to collect golden Mickey icons, which can be used as currency in the park.

Granted, putting the actual Disneyland rides into Disneyland Adventures might be a little boring -- akin to watching them on your TV, perhaps -- but I was still a little miffed by their absence. When asked about the change, Walsh said the attractions were turned into minigames in order to leverage the abilities of the Kinect sensor. In Disneyland Adventures, the idea of each minigame is not to recreate the ride, but to put players into "the world" of the attraction. If Disney's Imagineers had possessed technology like this when the park was built, said Walsh, they might have built something similar. I'm not quite sure about that, but I can understand why a direct recreation of each ride might not translate very well.

Still, the real meat of the game seems to be exploration of the park itself. Movement is handled simply by pointing to a location -- like to a child pointing where he wants to go, said Walsh. Players are able to meet various Disney characters and receive quests. The one quest I witnessed wasn't terribly complicated: give Goofy a hug. As I watched a fellow journalist mime a hug, Goofy responded, "I like you too!" I have to admit, it was kind of adorable.

Park exploration is driven by "a spirit of collection," according to Walsh and, as such, there's plenty to collect, ranging from costumes to special interactive items. One such item was a magic wand, which could be used to make certain objects in the park "more magical." Waving the wand at a Dumbo topiary, for example, caused it to spring to life.

Again, Disneyland Adventures doesn't really seem to be a game, per se, but I get the feeling it's not supposed to be. It's aimed squarely at children -- and the young at heart, I suppose -- for whom pretending is an everyday part of life. It's easy for adult me to write off Disneyland Adventures as a minigame cash-in, but I'm fairly certain childhood me would have positively flipped out. Think about it, all of Disneyland, right there on the TV, just waiting to be explored. What kid could say no to that?

Now, where's my Captain EO DLC?

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr