Kinect games abound for Microsoft's Xbox 360 set-top console, given the motion control accessory's popularity, which has led to sales of more than 18 million copies of the 3D gesture-tracking camera.
Letting you use your body as the controller, supporting titles not only offer a more intuitive approach to gaming, as these outings aren't just simple to pick up and access. They also literally make it possible to swing golf clubs or leap tall buildings by performing corresponding physical movements.
Among the best entertainment options for video game players both young and old alike, the following software choices aren't just fun for all skill levels. For Kinect owners, they're also an enjoyable and easy way to kick-start any family game night, even for those who can still barely program a VCR.
Dance Central 2 (Microsoft, $49.99) - Love shaking a leg, or watching popular TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and American Idol? Rejoice: This bestselling dance simulation's soundtrack - containing mainly contemporary pop, rock and radio hits - can help you work up a sweat while bringing the whole family together. Using it, two players can dance side-by-side to over 100 tunes, dropping in and out as exhaustion strikes, or get footloose as customized dance crews. Happily for the uncoordinated, a full-fledged practice mode with voice commands also aids with the learning process. Just beware the coffee table, and remember: Only a fool tries to match their 12 year-old granddaughter step for step.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (Electronic Arts, $59.99) - While far from perfect, this comprehensive golf simulation comes in well under par by making one of the clearest cut cases for motion-controlled sports gaming yet. Credit enhanced handling that makes it feel like you're right there on the green, including new support for voice commands. A marginal improvement over last year's edition - and one that benefits primarily from a legacy mode that lets you relive its namesake's greatest moments - previous owners may see little reason to upgrade. But if you want to quickly learn why motion gaming makes better sense for certain types of titles, just try hitting Pebble Beach and hefting a virtual club.
Kinect Sports Season 2 (Microsoft, $49.99) - Who needs a gamepad? With this athletics-themed mini-game collection, you can play football, baseball, golf, tennis, darts and skiing without ever hoisting a controller. A simple, straightforward challenge, its user-friendly interface makes it effortless to use your voice or casual gestures to go for the touchdown or sink flawless putts. Letting multiple players compete in friendly match-ups, the title even offers the option to send challenges over the Xbox Live multiplayer gaming network. While it's not exactly rocket science, or liable to entertain long-term, come your next dinner party, don't knock the title's ability to serve as an immediate icebreaker.
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster (Warner Bros. Games, $19.99) - Among the best Kinect games for children, you can suddenly pick up this high-tech storybook for a song. Offering fun and educational activities for kids, all of which are playable with a gesture, grandparents will especially appreciate the way in which Cookie Monster, Elmo and other familiar characters encourage active participation. From playing instruments to solving puzzles, sprouts will find it a positive and eye-catching way to interact with characters new and old. But more importantly, adoring adults will be just as engaged watching tots take part - a refreshing break from the usual mind-numbing cartoons and talking plush dolls.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures (Microsoft, $39.99) - Part virtual tour of Disney's popular theme park, part original arcade adventure, one thing's certain here: The trip's much cheaper (and less stressful) than a real-world vacation. Recreating the layout and attractions from Disneyland Park (see stopovers including Peter Pan's Neverland, The Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.), this shameless ode to fandom nonetheless scores with its comforting and whimsical nature. Featuring cameos by Mickey Mouse, Snow White and other childhood favorites, what its simple swordfighting and skiing challenges lack in depth, they more than atone for in sparing innocent families the indignity of wailing toddlers and 3-hour lines.