Eye Toy: Play


posted 11/21/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Every so often I get this inane craving to move around from killing people, blowing stuff up and school my friends at sports games. That’s when I need a good wholesome title that will make me feel a little better about myself, something that I can show my family members to prove that video games aren’t all about violence and mayhem. For this, I’m thankful that Sony has released the long-awaited Eye Toy and while it doesn’t have its share of problems, it’s still an amazing piece of technology that has plenty of potential for the future.

While the PS2 is probably the farthest away from a family gaming device as you could get you’d be surprised as the amount of parents and grandparents who like to play along with their children. It’s these instances when games like Grand Theft Auto and True Crime: Streets of LA aren’t really an option. For moments like these you want a device like the Eye Toy that will not only cater to the entire family but will also literally put them into the game.

Instead of the Dual Shock 2 the actual on-screen player is the controller. With the use of your body you can fight ninjas, head soccer balls, ignite fireworks, clean windows and much much more. Because the Dual Shock 2 is taken out of the picture it opens up the system to a much wider array of individuals. Grandmas and Grandpas who have a difficult time managing the eight buttons on the controller are now able to use their own two hands to control the action. Likewise, younger children who have a difficult time wrapping their tiny mitts around the Dual Shock 2 are also able to play with the Eye Toy. What makes this so accessible is that the movements are so natural. See a ninja coming at you? Swat it away. Want to clean windows? Well use your hands and wipe them off. It relies on natural instincts and none of the games are really all that difficult to play.

Not just a gaming device, the Eye Toy is capable of recording up to one minute of video messages as well. Via the lens and a built-in microphone you’ll be able to record and leave messages onto your memory card for loved ones to view at a later date. Although it’s improbable to fathom that my father would boot up my PS2 to search for a video message it’s still a nice feature for people who want to leave something more personal than a Post-It note. It also works as a screensaver of some sorts where you can add some effects like bubbles and snowflakes.

Working on motion sensor technology, the USB camera is a wonder within itself. It does an amazing job of sensing and keeping up with the player’s movements. What’s more is that the video quality is amazingly sharp and clear. I was expecting something similar to your traditional web cam but I received a device that was very quick and sharp. There’s very little delay (if any) between the time that I perform an action and the time that it is depicted on my television screen.

Installation is as simple as plugging on end into an available USB slot, placing the camera atop the television set and positioning it so that the player is visible on the screen. While the unit looks like one piece it’s actual two pieces, the camera and the base. This allows you to swivel the device and adjust its elevation so that short and tall players can join in the fun. Also on the front of the camera is a manual focus that works the same here as it does on any home video camera. The device also has two LED lights on it, a blue one similar to the PS2 power light to let you know that the device is powered and working and a red one that lets you know when you’re out of focus. Its actual construct is engineered to look like the PS2 so that others can immediately recognize that it’s a Sony device.
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