Eye-Toy: Play Review Feature - The Next Level

Eye-Toy: Play Review

We spend some quality time with the PS2's new toy.

Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
August 3rd 2004, 05:00AM
 

I need to get back into shape. At least when it comes to the multiple challenges I've encountered pitting me against ninja forces, balancing a fleet of UFOs and landing a TKO on a robotic boxer. Welcome to the world of Eye Toy, a revolutionary new device developed for the PS2. Using motion-capture technology, the Eye Toy gives a whole new meaning to the terms "immersive" and "interactive" by putting you (literally) into the games itself.

Unlike conventional party games, the Eye Toy is universally appealing to anyone - young or old. All that's required is…well, yourself. No controllers are necessary. Essentially, the Eye Toy is a USB camera which will project your image directly onto the TV. Of course, you'll have to hook it up first. But that's simple enough, just plug the Eye Toy into any of the available USB ports located on the front of the PS2 (bet you've been wondering when those were going to get put to use, huh?)

Before you get started though, there's a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make some room - All the Eye Toy games require you to be highly active; meaning your head, hands and feet will be required during any given time. Unless you hate your mother's coffee table or that treasured Ranma 1/2 figurine you imported from Japan, clear any valuables away from the "playing area".
  • Let there be light - Since the Eye Toy uses motion-capture technology, be sure to set it up in an area that's adequately illuminated. Unless you want trying to have a dark, uneventful gaming experience.
  • Objects are bigger then they appear - Well, o.k., not really. But you don't want to stand too close to the TV. You can easily determine the required distance from the TV by aligning yourself within the "frame" shown on the screen.
  • Eye Toy includes twelve interactive mini-games (available under the label aptly named Eye Toy: Play), each offering a unique gaming experience. Wishy-Washy for example, challenges the player to use their hands to wipe away the dirt filling the screen before time expires. Get your groove on with Beat Freak (note: some sense of rhythm would work best here), or unleash some high-knee action with Soccer Craze. Moreover, you can compete with friends and family to achieve the top score in any of the respective games. Keeping in the vein of interactive fun, there's also a feature called the Play Room, allowing you to apply a variety of special effects to their on-screen image including being immersed in a snow storm or swimming with a sea of fish. Additionally, Eye Toy: Play also allows you to leave a 60-second personal video for family and friends to play back using a PS2 8MB memory card. A visual indicator will notify others when there's a saved message (I wish it could talk.)

    Undoubtedly, Eye Toy offers potentially new possibilities that are bound to intrigue casual players and perhaps even a few non-gamers that normally wouldn't pick up a controller. I expect that Eye Toy will gradually establish a more definitive role within the PlayStation family which may include the PSP, Sony's forthcoming handheld unit. It may be a bit premature to consider this to become the next holiday attraction since Tickle Me Elmo; but Eye Toy certainly qualifies as an entertaining product that will last for the years to come.

    Think you're ready to "get into the game"?

    Specifications

    General

    - Plastic housing inspired by PlayStation2 design - Tilt swivel for vertical adjustment
    - Manual focus ring
    - No-slip base
    - Blue LED to signal camera power
    - Red LED for both visual effect and device tracking (high-intensity, wide-angle, 660 nanometer)
    - 6mm internal condenser microphone
    - 2 meter (6.5 foot) USB cable

    Lens

    Diagonal Field of View: 56.1 degrees
    Large aperture (good for indoor low-light applications)

    Electronics

    - High-sensitivity CMOS sensor for low-light operation - 640-column by 480-row active image array size
    - Automatic exposure, gain, brightness, white balance, band filtering, and black-level calibration
    - Formatting controls for color saturation, hue, gamma, sharpness, anti-blooming, and smearing
    - Custom compression chip for PlayStation 2 compatibility
    - Video up to 60 frames/sec at 320x240 resolution
    - Still image snapshots (JPEG) up to 640x480 resolution
    - Microphone sampling rate up to 24 kHz

    Score:


    displaying x-y of z total