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Eye Toy Play (With Eye Toy Camera)
Score: 100%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Media: DVD/1
Players: Variable
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics in Eye Toy Play are stylized and comical in nature, but the main 'character' in the games in Eye Toy Play is literally you (and your closest friends). With the aid of the Eye Toy USB camera, your image is injected into the game, mirroring your actions. Unlike a mirror, however, the PS2 can manipulate your image in a variety of ways and can determine where motion has occurred and use that as (mousing type) input to the game. Some of the cool effects that can be achieved using the Eye Toy can be sampled in the 'Play Room' selection. Play Room consists of several real-time video-processing effects that can be applied to the video. 'Nervous' causes anything that moves to jump around a lot by reordering the frames of video; anyone moving looks like a Bustin' Rhymes video. 'Copycat' simulates a simple mirror - well, a mirror with a time delay; as simple as this one is, it's bound to catch your friends off guard the first time they see it. There are several others, but the true fun of a playroom is to play, so I'll let you discover the others on your own. Some of these real-time video effects could make an interesting addition to a night club - have a PS2 running a video wall and the Eye Toy capturing people on the dance floor and processing the video in real-time...

The sound in Eye Toy Play is pretty decent, whether it be the 1920s music used for Wishi Washi ('When I'm Washin' Windows') or the cool sound effects that are cued by your movements in some of the different games.


Gameplay:
There are 12 different games to play in Eye Toy Play. While Play really is sort of a 'proof of concept' that shows how the Eye Toy can be used, the games do have merit as video games in their own right and prove to be quite entertaining as a party game. Eye Toy Play will get people who don't ever touch controllers to join in and try their luck.

As for the games included, Beat Freak and Disco Stars are basically rhythm games, similar to Dance, Dance Revolution, but without the pad. Kung Foo, Boxing Chump, Slap Stream and Ghost Eliminator are sort of fighting games. Mirror Time has you hitting appropriate buttons in the corners of the screen - but chops up and flips parts of your image, making up down, down up and left right... or not... (can you figure it out in time?) Wishi Washi is a one-of-a-kind game that has to be played to believe.

In Wishi Washi you have to wave your hands around to wipe the soapsuds off of windows. As hokey as this might sound, I've seen young and old play this for quite a while - competitively! I suggest finding a broom handle and using it as a squeegee. Soccer Craze has you playing to see how many consecutive 'keep-ups' you can get. Soccer purists will yell if you try to use your hands, but tend to resort to 'anything goes' when they get three soccer balls in play at the same time. UFO Juggler and Plate Spinner both use a 'waving' motion to spin objects (either balancing plates or flying saucers); Don't spin them too fast or neglect them too long if you want to get a high score. Rocket Rumble actually is reminiscent of the PS2 launch title, Fantavision, but with a much more 'hands on' approach; you wave at or 'touch' rockets of the same color to select them and then hit the plunger at a bottom corner of the screen to explode them.

It will take practice, cunning and perhaps a bit of teamwork to get a high score, but you'll fight to achieve a high score so you can pose for your picture. When a new high score is achieved, the game takes a picture and saves it to the memory card. This picture is displayed as the background for your saved high-score info.

NOTE: IF YOU HAVE A PARTY... WITH PEOPLE THERE... YOU SHOULD HAVE THIS GAME AT THE PARTY.


Difficulty:
One beautiful thing about the Eye Toy is that anyone can play - your mom, your son, your best friend or your hyperactive chihuahua. In fact, they can all play at the same time!

Additionally, Eye Toy Play has multiple difficult levels and a wide variety of games to choose from. That and the included in-game tutorials on using the Eye Toy and playing the games makes for an easy learning curve. It's easy to jump in and play, but high-scores will take work. Regardless, you're in for a workout - something not a lot of video games can say!


Game Mechanics:
This is not perfection. The lighting requirements for the Eye Toy camera may not be met by your entertainment room (since movies are best in the dark and entertainment rooms seem to be built with that in mind). This can lead to bringing in lamps from around the house and placing them in weird places. This can also lead to inaccuracy here and there. Solution? Fix the lighting situation a bit better. Other than that problem, the Eye Toy pretty much rocks. It's simple enough for young kids to get it and older friends and relatives to be able to jump in without learning what buttons to push to make something happen. Best of all, there's no reason for anyone to touch the PS2 or to have a cord draped out across the room for someone to trip over.

Eye Toy Play is not necessarily the end of the story for the Eye Toy, either... Developers can utilize the drivers for the Eye Toy in their own games, allowing them to include players appearance in games, or just use their motions (such as leaning) to control the game in part (for instance, looking around a corner)... The future of the Eye Toy remains to be seen, but for now, it's a party game to pick up. Now.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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