May 01, 2012, 3:53 PM — I've got mixed feelings about this news, in which classic video game Dragon's Lair (one of the original laser-disc based games with Don Bluth animation) is getting a Kinect update. The update will let players move to the left or right or wave their arms as the "actions" as you guide Dirk the Daring through the castle to rescue Princess Daphne, avoiding traps, collapsing walls, snakes and other enemies. Here's a teaser trailer video for the game, in which an animated Dirk is using his Kinect to direct the video game Dirk (why they couldn't have used a person in this is unknown).
While I loved this game when it was in the arcade in the '80s, on every other system I've tried to play this game on, the game falls short. I've tried playing this on my iPhone, and even on a DVD player, where you use your remote control's arrows to move left or right. Success in the game was whether you could move in the correct direction in a very short time period (usually you had a one- or two-second window). If you moved too early, too late, or in the wrong direction, you'd fail, getting a funny "death animation" in the process.
In my video-game-obsessed youth, I eventually figured out the puzzles and the patterns in order to succeed, with the help of an older friend who also had lots of quarters to devote to this project. In addition to Dragon's Lair, we also figured out the patterns of Space Ace, a "sequel" that had you now doing an adventure in space.
I've long since forgotten those patterns, and with current versions of the game on different platforms, the timing window seems off, as well as the controller. So I have my doubts that with the Kinect, when I jump to the left, that the game will register quickly enough to tell the game that I did, indeed, jump to the left. If the game can do this as well as it did in the original, then I fully support this (and please, do a Space Ace conversion!). But if the delay is off, this will get frustrating very quickly.
Microsoft says the game will support controller play, so you won't need a Kinect in order to play the game. Now if I can just remember the final dragon stage pattern - was it left, left, left, right, sword? Or left, left, right, left, sword?
Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.