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This week, a handful of Youth Radio students took the Xbox One for a test drive. Big shout out to our friends at NPR for lending us the new gaming system before its official release today. We played two games — Kinect Sports Rivals Rock-Wave Racing and Zoo Tycoon.
The racing game is about what you’d expect. A bunch of WaveRunners darting around a course trying to log laps faster than your opponents while avoiding mines. The thing that sets this game apart is Xbox One’s revamped Kinect Sensor, which allows players to steer, jump, and perform tricks using only their bodies as the controller. It was pretty well received. Fun to play with a light workout included.
Zoo Tycoon is more of a Sim style game with players trying to keep a zoo running, which in our play meant passing out fruit to furry creatures and riding a little buggy around while trying to mow people down — à la Grand Theft Auto. Alas, this family friendly game wouldn’t allow for any GTA-style carnage, instead it moved people out of the way just prior to a collision. It must also be said that simulation games often require a more serious time investment than we were able to spend, in order to really understand the nuances and complexity of game play. Our examination of this well reviewed game is more like kicking the wheels and taking her for a spin around the block. We have to admit that after doing that, most of our gamers said that the game felt slow and kinda boring. However the graphics are rendered beautifully. The wash of light across an elephant’s back and the detailed reflection of foliage in standing water elicited gasps from many here at Youth Radio. Also, feeding giraffes was a highlight. They’re undeniably cute as they lean down to grab fruit from players’ outstretched hands.
Youth Radio’s gamers include Rafael Ngozi Johns, Sunday Simon, Nkosi Richardson, V Hines and Salim Boykin.