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It’s Okay to Freak out with Xbox 360 + Kinect

I was sitting on the couch, laptop open, staring at my screen while trying to come up with something brilliant to write. I couldn’t focus on my task at hand, however, because my teens were playing a video game and I found myself constantly looking up at the TV.

“Are those zombies?” I asked, incredulously. “You’re killing zombies?”

“Yeah,” they answered as one of them shot a slowly advancing zombie in the head.

“I want to play!” I said excitedly, “I want to save the world from the walking undead!”

My teens gave me a raised-eyebrow, dubious look. You see, they know how I play video games, and although I’m actually pretty good at many games, I suck at anything with aiming and shooting, or racing vehicles. I mean, I SUCK at it. But knowing it would be useless to argue, they set me up and handed me a controller.

“Okay, you push this one to move. Push this button to jump. This one is to shoot. This one changes the angle. If you push this one, you can aim. This button lets you slash the zombie if you run out of bullets, but you can get new guns if you find them.”

“Whaaaaa?” I looked at my daughter, thoroughly confused. “You lost me after the button that lets you move.”

She rolled her eyes and went over everything again. I knew there was no way I’d remember it all, or have the coordination to use all the buttons at once, so I just concentrated on the buttons to move and shoot. That should be good enough, I decided.

It wasn’t good enough.

She started the game. I walked forward. And burst into flames.

“Mom, you’re on fire! You have to move!”

“What? Why am I on fire? Move where? Ugh, a zombie is coming!” I started shooting wilding, nowhere near the approaching zombie, until I ran out of bullets and died.

“You have to jump over the fire, Mom! And aim at the zombies! And don’t waste your bullets like that!”

“But I don’t know how to jump,” I whined.

Somehow, Savannah revived me and I was back to fighting zombies. This time, I saw a zombie and started shooting and slashing until Savannah yelled, “Mom, why are you shooting me? You’re supposed to shoot the zombies!”

“I thought you were a zombie!” I apologized. Then a zombie ate my brain.

I was determined to beat the game (or at least make it more than 60 seconds without dying) so I had her start it yet again. By this time all my kids had gathered around to watch, and they were laughing uncontrollably. According to my kids, I have this little habit of moving the controller and, well, my entire body, in the direction I want to go. Instead of simply pressing a button, I lean right, moving the controller a couple feet to my right. I lift it above my head. I kind of jump up if I want my little guy on the screen to jump. Apparently, this is not how you’re supposed to play and it causes kids to laugh at you. A lot.

Clearly, Call of Duty, Black Ops II is not for me. I think I’ll stick to Kinect Rush or Kinect Sports with my little kids. There aren’t any zombies in those games, plus I CAN MOVE ALL OVER THE ROOM and it’s not only okay, but it’s necessary!

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