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Do you have space for Kinect?
With Microsoft's "game changer" now available nationwide, city-dwelling nerds like myself are more self-conscious than ever about having a small apartment.
How will we make room for the latest add-on?
To help find and answer that question - and learn about Kinect along the way - here's a New Yorker's thoughts on how to conserve space, keep quiet and still have fun with your new Kinect - or games in general - in a studio apartment the size of a Camry.
Warning: For those living in sprawling, sumptuous suburban palaces, what you're about to read will seem absurd, deranged and obsessive. For empathy's sake, take a moment to imagine living in your walk-in closet. Add a toilet, sink and dead rat and you've approximated a Manhattan studio apartment.
Space is an urbanite's most valuable commodity.
In Harlem, the average rental price of a studio apartment is $1,342. In Tribeca, $4,258. By choosing to live in the greatest city on Earth, we tacitly agree to be broke and cramped. Since we have so little space and spend so much money, what is available must be put to best use.
The recent trend in motion gaming - Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Move - has been an obstacle for us apartment gamers. Our hobby made so much sense before, back when traditional games required a couch and a controller. That was it. Suddenly, we're expected to surrender our precious space for 1:1 bowling.
And now Microsoft drops the motion gaming bomb, Kinect. You no longer need a 6" controller to play games - just 8 sq. ft. of space.
We're gamers. We solve problems for fun (think Tetris!). We can make this work.
Basic Tips for "Spacious" Urban Living
Closets, walls, and especially ceilings are all places to store things. Using them fully should free up the floor for gaming - and, you know, day to day living.
Buy collapsible or retractable furniture when possible. Foldaway furniture has become increasingly popular over the last decade thanks to apartment-friendly furniture stores like CB2 and IKEA.
Two of the biggest space-hogs in an apartment are dining tables and beds. Consider futons and transitional drop-leaf tables.
And don't forget to look up. The ceiling is generally the most underused space in the home. If you live in New York or another older city, you probably have a lofted ceiling perfect for storage. Ceiling storage is easy to install and though it may be an eye sore at first, can be concealed with ceiling drapes. Or don't conceal it, and use the floating storage to show off your book collection.
Okay. Your apartment is cleaned up. Every nook and cranny is put to great use. Now what?
Map Out the Playing Space
Remember, to operate properly, Kinect requires 6 to 8 feet of space between its sensor bar and the player. Before doing anything else, measure eight feet from the front of your television.
If your tape measure hits the opposing wall before reaching eight feet you have a tough decision to make: Reorganize the room around your hobby or take a deep breath and accept that Kinect isn't for you.
I suspect the majority reading will this have 8 feet between their television and the far wall, but the path might be obstructed by a coffee table or couch. This is my problem.
My room's current layout doesn't provide the necessary 8 feet of clear space thanks to an ugly ottoman and a love seat. My girlfriend, however, likes this layout. And to be fair, so do I. It has a pleasant feng shui, if you will. (The ugly ottoman adds charm.)
Thus, we concluded we need a default living room layout and a "Kinect living room" layout. You read me right: We designed an alternate "Kinect living room."
To accomplish this, we've planned an easy way to regularly rearrange the furniture. If it's a hassle to make room for Kinect, we're less likely to do so.