Real World Tips For Using the Kinect in a Tiny Apartment

Real World Tips For Using the Kinect in a Tiny Apartment

Joelle Alcaidinho
Nov 10, 2011

During the course of our series of reviews of Kinect titles we were frequently challenged by our small living room in our tiny 600 square foot apartment. In many games our playing experience would suffer when the Kinect would stop seeing us, so once we heard about the Nyko Zoom we were eager to give it a try. In this post we'll talk a bit about our experience using the Zoom as well as provide some other tips we've found that work for small space Kinect playing.

5 Tips for Better Small Space Kinect Action

  1. Nyko zoom: Get a Nyko Zoom. For $29.99 it more than delivers on its promise of better Kinect visibility when playing in a small space. We found that for the first time since we have had the Kinect, the game was able to see our legs thanks to the Zoom. Make sure that when snapping the device onto your Kinect that the lens is clean as you don't want to get dust trapped in between the devices which won't help matters at all.

  2. Place the Kinect High: Prior to getting the Zoom we struggled to find ways to help the Kinect see us better. After the suggestion from another small space dwelling Kinect using friend, we moved the device from below our TV to above the TV. This higher than recommended position helped the Kinect to see us better and is an easy move that requires no new hardware.

  3. Let the Light In: While the Kinect manual advises you not to have too much light, we've found that it seems to operate much better in a bright room than in a dim one. If you are playing a two player game with folks of different skin tones having a bright room is even more important as the Kinect generally won't detect a black player next to a white player in a dim room.

  4. Cover the Mirrors: Do you have mirrors in your small room? Cover them up. Mirrors in the line of vision of the device confuse the heck out of the Kinect and will cause the device to have all sorts of issues tracking your movement. Because our room is so small, the Kinect was also having difficulty with our shiny laptops sitting on a desk against an adjacent wall that were in its line of vision as their metal covers were a tiny bit reflective.

  5. Mark the Floor: We cannot emphasize this tip enough, if you are having friends over to play the Kinect, mark out the boundaries on the floor. We like to use masking tape or glow in the dark tape to define the edges of the play space so that folks not used to playing the Kinect in our living room know where the boundaries are. It is very helpful especially in the heat of a game when you're more concerned about winning than making sure you're not too close to the TV.

What are your small space playing tips?

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)

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