Right before Christmas I received an Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect. Wow is all that I can say. This is like the coolest invention ever. The accuracy with which is works is amazing. I have never owned an Xbox before, so getting one with the Kinect was fun to learn.

Of course the Xbox on it’s own even without Kinect has been a very popular gaming platform for a while. The first version was released in  November, 2001. It was later replaced by the Xbox 360.

Besides just awesome game play, the Xbox allows you to connect to Xbox Live for online game play, stream media by using it as a Windows Media Center Extension, or watch DVDs. I am disappointed that it does not do Blu-ray, but oh well.

The bundle that I received included:

The Xbox 4GB Console. Features include:

– Built-in Wi-Fi
– Xbox LIVE
– Xbox 360 wireless controller (1 included)
– The Kinect Sensor.  This is what makes this Xbox system so cool.  The Kinect sits centrally in your play area and is what detects the controller (you). That’s right, when playing YOU are the controller. You use your whole body to play. And controller the options is achieved by holding your hands in a specific pattern in front of the sensor. And, if one person is playing a game like Kinect Sports, another can hop in just by stepping in front of the sensor and being detected.

I also received the following games which I will be reviewing separately:

  • Kinect Adventures
  • Dance Central
  • Kinectimals
  • Kinect Joy Ride
  • Kinect Sports
  • Your Shape Fitness Evolved

I am embarassed to say that all games have been opened and tried out so far except the Your Shape Fitness Evolved. I really need to get on that. 🙂 I have a 20 year high school reunion next year on a cruise. Ahhh…

What I really love about the Xbox is the ease of use. My kids have really taken to it. Even the 4 year olds know how to start up a game and switch back and forth between different games on the Kinect Adventures disk. We also have a Wii, but there is just something about being able to hop around without dealing with a controller makes is all that much more fun. And I must say that watching them hop around is funny as heck. And when I do it, I feel like a fool. But it’s for a good cause. LOL!

Here is a short video of my girls playing Dance Central. Sidenote: I really need to remember to hold my iPhone sideways when using it for filming!

I mentioned before that I found out during CES that the Xbox is powered by AMD. Of course I thought this to be very very cool. 🙂 They even gave away a few systems via raffle ticket during the Evening with AMD event. I wasn’t lucky enough to win a 2nd one though. The web was recently a buzz with news that Microsoft has chosen the new AMD Fusion II Processor to power the new XBox rumored to be called the XBox 720 due out later this year. I have not read too much on it, but I am very excited to see what improvements will be made.

BTW, we have had absolutely no problems with the “Kinect Lighting Recognition” issue that was going around the web late last year. I wrote about it on Blogher, but after having a chance to test it for myself, it seems fine. We have even been able to use it with only the low lights on in the family room.

If I had to name cons, the only ones that I would name are the fact that the Xbox console cannot play Blu-ray, although the only gaming system that does right now that I am aware of is the PS3. Also, I’m not too crazy about the fact that you have to upgrade to a Gold Xbox Live account to take full advantage of some of the streaming options like Netflix. Seems unfair if you have to pay for a Netflix subscription as well. You can check out the comparison chart to see the different options and pricing.

If you did not jump on the bandwagon this past Christmas and get a Kinect, do it now! Family gaming time has never been more fun, or more silly. 🙂

The Xbox is available as a 4GB version with Kinect for $299.99, or a 250gb version with Kinect for $399.99. If you already own an Xbox, you can pick up just the Kinect Sensor with Kinect Adventures for only $147.

Disclosure: The Xbox 360 + Kinect and games were supplied by Microsoft for the purposes of this review and upcoming posts. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.