Oct. 11, 2010

Cory Mensing

From motion sensor technology to banana collecting adventures, the gamer community has a lot to be excited for this fall. With PlayStation’s Move, Microsoft’s Kinect for XBOX 360 and new releases in classic franchises, a buzz of excitement can be felt here on campus.

According to gaming fanatic Todd Dionson, president of UCCS’ Game Developers Association (GDA), “There seems to be a 2D / Retro Renaissance in the industry and a lot of gamers absolutely love it!” Nintendo’s slate of holiday releases include upgrades to their “legacy” series: Metroid, Kirby, Donkey Kong Country and Golden Sun, among others.

Hoping to follow Nintendo’s lead, Sony and Microsoft are set to enter the casual gaming motion-detection market. Very similar to the Nintendo Wii, the PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect for XBOX 360 will be released this winter. The two companies will offer different approaches to the concept first introduced by Nintendo in 2006.

PlayStation’s Move is similar to Nintendo’s Wii Remote as it will be a one-handed motion controller that can replicate real world motion. “Anything from a sword and shield to a rifle to a set of clippers to give your best friend a silly haircut,” can be created by the flick of a hand, explained Dionson. “The difference is the device’s incredible accuracy and precision. Where the Wii Remote only sensed movement of itself, the Move can sense where it is in 3D space,” he added.

Kinect for the Xbox 360 takes an even different approach to motion gaming. “The Kinect is a 3D Camera capable of sensing the player him/herself. There is no controller involved at all,” said Dionson. An upcoming title for Kinect, “Dance Central,” “…teaches the player how to bust a move with a virtual teacher giving one-to-one instructions,” he explained. “Racing games task the player with pretending to drive with an invisible wheel. With Kinect, voice commands such as, “Xbox, Play DVD” are now possible.”

2011 marks further changes in the gaming world. According to Dionson, “In the first half of 2011, Nintendo will be introducing the next iteration of their Nintendo DS Family — the Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS, like the DS, features two screens, one of which is a touch screen which offers a great deal of interactivity and control.”

Video games cater to a diverse audience and as explained by Dionson, video games offer a sense of escapism from real life. Compared to other forms of media, video games immerse players in world courage, bravery and make believe. “All of a sudden, that fantastical world of “Harry Potter” becomes interactive, as if you yourself are inside of it. The world becomes yours” he said. “Not only that, but video games let you share these experiences with your friends and family easily. Pick up another controller and everyone’s having a ball – together,” he added. “Let’s face it, everyone is a gamer these days! Whether you’re a hardcore “Gears of War” gamer, a grind-loving “World of Warcraft” player, or a casual “Wii Sports” pick-up-and-play-at-a-get-together gamer, nearly everyone loves video games.”

The GDA is set to host the Child’s Play Charity this semester. The charity is focused on relieving pain through fun and games to children across the world. “We’ll host a ‘Battle of the Rock Bands’ stage competition followed by a screening of the video game-influenced ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,'” said Dionson.

“We will also be presenting at a lot of other campus events starting with SPECTRUM’s National Coming Out Day Celebration on Oct. 14 with games that help student organizations with their events.”