Get your hands on this sophisticated USB-camera-enabled device that lets you interact with images that appear on the screen without the use of a controller.
Video game makers have been experimenting with live-action video in games since the early 1980s but EyeToy (a digital camera for PlayStation2) marks the first time it's been done right. The device magically superimposes video-game graphics onto a player's image and translates his or her movements into controlling elements of the game. It is the best improvement of video game controls since the joystick.
|The EyeToy camera plugs into your PS2 |
EyeToy has two components: a digital camera that plugs into one of the USB ports in the front of the PS2 and a disc of party games. In the EyeToy games--there are 12 on the disc, but some of them are little more than variations on the same theme--your image is at the center of the action. The game is totally controlled by moving your body in front of the camera. For example, in one game where the object is to beat back invading hordes of kung-fu fighters who come at you from the four corners of the screen, you must move your hands (or elbows, head, hips, whatever) to connect with the fighters onscreen and slap them away. Unlike most contemporary video games, EyeToy is so intuitive that most users will be able to play in a matter of seconds--even toddlers and senior citizens. Watching someone play EyeToy is fun: onscreen, the games are like the fanciful mix of live action and animation á la Who Framed Roger Rabbit
, and off-screen, the player's movements are almost as goofy as those playing Dance Dance Revolution
|EyeToy is best enjoyed by groups |
Setting up EyeToy is simple--just plug in the camera and drop in the disc--but fine-tuning it for your game environment takes a little effort. First, you'll need to have adequate, well-balanced lighting. We found that a bare 60-watt light bulb positioned behind the EyeToy camera worked pretty well. Next, you should clear away as many objects as possible between you and the EyeToy camera. Not only can extra objects impede the camera's function, they can present hazard when playing the game. A uniform background helps, too; we found that a light-colored wall worked better than a dark background. Before you drag the couch out on the lawn and pull pictures off the wall, try out the camera in different positions to see if you can find something that works without redecorating. The recommended placement of your EyeToy camera is right on top of your TV, but if your PS2 is situated farther than the 72-inch attached camera cord, you will have to get creative. We tried pointing the camera up at us from a coffee table and it worked fine.
The EyeToy games, while fun, are too simple to keep solo gamers interested for long periods of time. EyeToy is best as a party game played with groups of friends, or as a way to show off your PS2. And as a peripheral for future games EyeToy holds a lot of promise. Let's hope that Tony Hawk and John Madden find a use for this little camera. --Porter B. Hall
- Totally unique approach to video game design
- Great for groups
- So intuitive that anyone will be able to play it immediately
- Only the pathologically vain will find lasting fun in this as a solo game