Skyrim Kinect Support Coming

So as you may have heard already, Bethesda has announced that they will be releasing Kinect integration for Skyrim at the end of this month. This means over 200 voice commands, from Axe to Zun Haal Viik. Some voice commands are simply cool, more intuitive new approaches to old tricks: Now you’ll be able to actually sit in your living room yelling FUS RO DAH at the TV like the nerd you are and have your character fus her enemies down in response.

Other commands add not only the verbal dimension to the game, but also functionality that hasn’t previously been available on the XBox. Players will now be able to hotkey weapons or magic and then switch to them by simply saying their name. No awkward menu opening in the middle of battle (No word yet on whether the act of eating 50 apples while shooting fireballs at draugr will be streamlined at all). There will be other neat voice commands available, some seemingly more useful than others. You can see them all in the trailer posted below.

Some people may feel that the integration is lacking without motion detection, but I’m not convinced that that would be useful in a game like Skyrim. If Bethesda were to add motion detection to the Kinect support, they would have to switch all the controls over, or not at all. Having one hand on the controller to move while you have the other wielding an imaginary sword is just not a possibility. The voice integration seems elegantly done and makes sense. I think we’ve all been waiting for the option of yelling dragon shouts at the screen. Motion detection seems like it would just encumber the game unnecessarily.

Of course, as Jp said to me as we watched the trailer, this is the perfect opportunity for him to mess with my game. (Darn, I didn’t even think of that!) I exploited this to the best of my ability with the Kinect voice integration in Halo Anniversary, and I think I may have had him ready to wring my neck as I yelled GRENADE GRENADE GRENADE at the screen as he tried to play. (Though, due to the fact that the XBox apparently doesn’t like my voice, his character only responded by throwing a grenade about half the time.) I can just see it now: I will be deep in conversation with our great commander, Ulfric Stormcloak, when, from the depths of the dining room… FUS RO DAH! Aaaand I will watch in horror as my unwilling character shows Mr. Stormcloak the real meaning of “unrelenting force.” Still, despite (and perhaps in part, because of) the likelihood of this being used to troll me, I think this update is going to be a positive addition to the game.


Some Small Inconveniences of Being an Extreme Left-Hander in a Right-Handed World

Like some ever-increasing-yet-still-the-minority percentage of the population, I am left handed. Actually, I’m really left handed. I do hardly anything with my right hand, and most of the rest of my body follows suit. I hardly do anything with my right foot, and my right ear doesn’t work so well, either. I’m supremely lopsided, and this means that the inconveniences of left-handedness are somewhat pronounced in me.

Enjoying the view? You're welcome. (photo by Ciro Boro, Flickr)

Now, in some ways, this is a blessing. For instance, I think my left-handedness helped me develop a sense of altruism: As a young child playing with a jack-in-the-box, I was of course inclined to turn the crank with my left hand. This meant that when the little man popped out, I was on the wrong side of the toy and couldn’t see him. This wasn’t upsetting to me in the least. I just assumed that I was turning the crank for the entertainment of whatever little friend was facing me.

I’m also pretty over some of the day-to-day problems that right-handed people are always apologizing for. I have no issue using right-handed scissors and I simply turn can openers upside-down to use.  That mouse that you have on the wrong (er, right) side of your keyboard? Whatever. All mice are on the wrong side of the keyboard. I either cross my hand over and just use it like that or move the mouse temporarily if it really bothers me. No need to apologize. I’m used to using things upside down and backwards and turning myself into a pretzel in order to favor my left side. It doesn’t bother me. There are some things that do still get me though, and they are…. (one-handed-drum-roll!)

  1. Eating in the car. Ok, I guess I probably shouldn’t eat in the car in the first place, but sometimes I have to. And I’ve got my food on the seat next to me…and then I need to decide whether I want to use my clumsy right hand to pick it up to eat, possibly spilling lettuce and cheese all over myself in the process. Or do I want to take the wheel with my ineffective right hand while I reach across myself to pick up my food with my left? Which is it more important to have a good grip on, the steering wheel, or
    Boom!, I mean, paw shot! Um... Actually, you know what? I may have missed the bear altogether. Nevermind.

    my cheeseburger? I know it sounds silly (and it probably looks pretty silly!) but it is also a noticeable inconvenience in my life.

  2. Playing shooters. I do love to play video games but I have to admit, if the majority of the game involves long-range shooting, I generally get frustrated with it. Why? Because with the way the controls are usually set up, I am forced to aim with my right hand, which is never a good scene, trust me. The fine motor skills necessary to execute that kind of maneuver are just missing on that side of my body, I’m afraid. And yes, I know that you can often switch the controls to a “lefty” version, but here’s the problem with that: Right handed people teach me how to do things. So while I physically have trouble with the righty controlsmentally, the righty controls are what make sense.  So, I mostly stick to games that don’t require great long-range accuracy. Melee is much easier for me. If, when fighting enemies, I’m not close enough to reach into their thigh and grab their femoral artery with my glass gauntlets of stamina regen,
    My life is one spoiler after another.

    I’m just not close enough.

  3. Flipping through books. So here I am, with a nice new book that I picked up from the library. I’m wondering what it’s all about, so I pick it up and start flipping through it. But think about this: When a right handed person flips through a book,  they are using their right hand on the right side to flip from front to back. When I grab the right side of the book with my left hand to flip through it, I flip through it backwards. I end up browsing the book end-first. At the very least, this renders the content nonsensical. At the worst, it means I might see that a key character dies before I even get to the beginning and realize who they were.

Now most of these things I’ve either found a work-around for, or have just resigned myself to doing badly or awkwardly. It’s not a big deal (first world problems, anyone?) It’s just interesting (to me) how all these little things add up. The world isn’t made for people to interact with it like I do, and for whatever reason, I never really figured out how to use my right hand effectively. Oh well.

Oh, and Jp pretends to understand, but he doesn’t. “Look at all the photos of me doing things with my left hand!” he says (trying to prove that he’s ambidextrous enough to join the left-handed club of awesomeness with me, Bill Clinton, Bart Simpson and the Boston Strangler.) Ok, I’ll give him this. He does use his left hand a lot more than most right-handers. But take a look at this picture: Would a truly left-handed man use his right hand to hit on a bear so suavely? Yeah, I don’t think so either.