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Christmas Gift Guide

Kinect event

Arriving

On the streets of LA

White smocks

More white smocks

Jungle-like set

Kinect

White smocks turn green

Hanging couch

Boy summoned

Jungle and living rooms

Coloful finale

Man vs. machine

Microsoft unveiled its controller-free video game system Kinect on Sunday night in Los Angeles, un-officially kicking off the Electronic Entertainment Expo, one of the world's largest annual gaming conventions.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Arriving at the Galen Center on Sunday evening, thousands wound past limber performance artists who resembled indigenous jungle people from another planet, a mix of Avatar and India, who wildly beat drums and summoned attendees into the hall.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Creatures greeted the crowd before the launch of Microsoft's controller-free Kinect gaming system, which Microsoft first announced at E3 in 2009 under the name Project Natal.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
As people entered the building, staff handed out white poncho-like smocks to attendees, saying only that the costumes were part of an interactive portion of the evening.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The white smocks, with stiff shoulder pads, felt like the costume for a low-budget sci-fi flick or a dystopian uniform for the masses.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The jungle-like set was crawling with a dozens of Cirque du Soleil performers, who crowded around the rocky base as a young boy beat increasingly modern versions of video games, before reaching the top of the hill, where he encountered the controller-free, motion-based system Kinect.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Kinect, the project from Microsoft formerly known as Project Natal, works with Xbox 360.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The white smocks handed out to attendees were dormant for much of the performance and briefly flashed green at the initial introduction of Kinect. Later in the performance, the smock shoulders changed colors and displayed patterns based on their location.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
A family sat in a couch suspended in the air (left) at one end of the Galen Center.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The performance began with jungle sounds and rhythmic drumming, as a village deity summoned a boy from the couch hanging on the opposite end of the venue, with the jungle creatures delivering the boy and a glowing green orb to the base of the monolith.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
In a performance that juxtaposed organic elements with technology, Cirque du Soleil dancers wildly climbed the rocky monolith and the center of the stage as dancers in cubes above mimicked the motions of Kinect gameplay.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
In a colorful finale, the white cloaks flashed colors based on their locations.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The relationship of humans to machines was a theme throughout the night, with a booming voice declaring that "...this time human beings will be at the center, and the machine will be the one that adapts."
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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