Thursday, October 06, 2005

Eyetoy:Play2 (PS2)

The Eyetoy is a USB camera accessory for the Playstation 2. Amazon offers it bundled with the game "Play2" for about $50 here.


Play2 is a collection of silly party games. The two with the most exercise potential are fighting games: Knockout and Kung2. Knockout is a boxing game much like the arcade game Mocap Boxing except that the camera is facing an image of you in the ring. You can punch your opponent and you can duck his punches. It feels a bit like real fighting. It's better than Mocap in that you can try to punch the other guy whenever he looks open - you don't have to wait for a target area to be explictly announced and there's no boring/tiring "punch him 37 times straight" nonsense. The best part is how you shrug off being knocked down: a bunch of stars are swimming on the screen around you and you have to wave them aside. The worse the blow, the more stars and the more waving they require. Very creative and intuitive!



In Kung2, cute tiny ninjas launch attacks on you from all sides, which you swat aside with a convincing WHAP. If you have a martial arts background, it's a surprisingly good way to exercise your block and punch combinations.

The most generally enjoyable games in the set aren't necessarily the best exercise. I got a kick out of Secret Agent, in which you spend a lot of time standing perfectly still to avoid detection while you use one free arm to slowly and stealthily pick a lock. Mr. Chef lets you practice your short-order cooking skills. And Air Guitar is a nod to the music game genre - it lets you play a simplified Guitar Freak equivalent without a physical controller.

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