To many sci-fi fans, the holodeck from Star Trek represents the ultimate video game. Imagine a game which is so close to reality, that you can feel and touch your opponent. No game pads and no controllers, just you and a fictional world that's nearly indistinguishable from reality. A real holodeck is still far from reality, however the Xbox Kinect may bring us one step closer.
Video games have changed drastically through the years. Atari, which was the dominate video game console maker in the 70s and early 80s, has now given way to corporate giants like Sony and Microsoft. Once video gaming was a solo adventure. Occasionally it became a two player campaign, but for the most part it was a solo experience. Now nearly everyone is online playing and competing with thousands of other video gamers simultaneously. However, the one thing that remained consistent about gaming through the years has always been the controller. Sure the shape of the controllers have changed through the years, the single joy stick and button of old has been replaced by the control pad which can have as many as 13 buttons, possibly more. However, the game controller has always involved some sort of hand held device with buttons, pads or joysticks that you needed to use in order to control your onscreen character.
The Xbox 360 Kinect is about to change that. With Kinect, there is no controller, no joystick, buttons or navigation pad. The only thing you need is your own body. The technology behind Kinect isn't necessarily new, but it may just revolutionize gaming in a way that hasn't been seen since the original Atari joystick. Kinect essentially uses a video camera to record your movements in 3D. These movements are then mapped to an on-screen character which mimics your body's movement. With no controller to tether you to your gaming device the Kinect truly allows for an engrossing, interactive experience. If game developers are able to make creative games that are able to fully tap into the potential of Kinect we may just be taking our first steps into a virtual reality world.