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Michael Phelps' video game for Kinect 'a perfect fit'

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Michael Phelps' video game for Kinect 'a perfect fit'
02-02-2011, 04:19 PM
Post: #1
Michael Phelps' video game for Kinect 'a perfect fit'
In an interview with USA Today, Michael Phelps - an outstanding swimmer who won a record eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008 - unveiled a bit more about his Michael Phelps: Push the Limit game for Kinect. To play the Kinect video game, players will have to stand upright and work their arms (legs are not included in the routine). The player will explore a number of swimming stroke motions when going from introductory swim meets to tournaments and championships.

In addition to recruiting players to his game, Phelps also hopes that some might dive into the actual sport.
A goal of mine since I started was really to grow the sport of swimming, and having the ability to come up with a swimming game; it shows that my goal is actually occurring.
Read on to hear more about how Phelps aims to achieve this goal with his first and realistic Kinect game for swimmers.
Michael Phelps Pushes the Limits of simulation

As with normal swimming, Mr. Phelps explains that technique is crucial in this game.

"The better stroke technique you have, the faster you go," Phelps says. "It's extremely realistic. If you had asked me five years ago if I ever thought I would have a video game coming out with swimming in it, I'm not sure what I would have said. I would never ever have thought it would be like it is. It is cool and fun."
Based on actual swimming moves
It's all based on moves and actual strokes [...] They're trying to pretty much make my stroke look as close as possible in the game as it is in person.
The website reports that Phelps' techniques were captured with special high-speed, high-definition cameras for incorporation into the game. Pete Matisse of publisher 505 Games explains that Phelps teaches the developers proper swimming technique:
He is breaking down the dive component, the swimming component, the turns, all the key aspects [...] Michael is actually mentoring you through that process. ... But the ultimate goal of the game is to swim against Michael and actually beat him.
Diving in

First, the dive of course, to get you 'into' the water. To start a freestyle swim race, you bend down as if to touch your toes, and at the start of the race, move into an upright position to trigger your swimmer's dive into the pool. That sounds pretty intense, and close to realistic if they pull that off right in my view. As with the distance in Kinect Sports' long jump, the velocity with which you enter the water is determined by how quickly you transition from bent over to being in a the swimming position.

Swimming on Land

Once you're upright, you do "the swim" and wave your arms to speed up.
Literally you are standing there, you feel you are swimming on land [...] It's kind of a workout in itself.

Michael Phelps to USA Today, on his Kinect game Michael Phelps: Push the Limit
'Kinect is the perfect platform'
Furthermore, a focus group between publisher and developer made clear that at first there was an initial barrier when creating a swimming experience. Luckily, the Kinect controller proved to be a perfect fit in designing a compelling swimming experience. Or as Pete Matisse, from publisher 505 Games, puts it:
There's an initial barrier: How are you going to make a swimming game? The takeaway was when they actually experience it, it's like, 'Aha, I get it.' [...] The Kinect controller has proven essential in the design of an immersive experience [...] We couldn't have done it on any other platform. [...] This is a situation where we have the right guy in terms of history of the sport, we have the right technology with Kinect, and we think we have the right game-play mechanic to really deliver on that competitive swimming experience."
You are probably familiar with some of the swimming games of the past, which sort of left you with a broke controller if you played too much (because of the repetition in bashing the buttons). I guess this will be breaking with that habit, leading to possibly a very fun and active game - or even a new genre - for swimmers. Push the Limit is set to be released in June and requires an Xbox 360 with Kinect, but no swimming pool though. Be sure to check pricing and availability information of this game in your country.

Looking for other Kinect games and their reviews? Check our Kinect Games page.
Thanks Arjan for the tip!
Source: USA Today

From 123 Kinect Article: Michael Phelps' video game for Kinect 'a perfect fit'
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