ECTS 2002: PS2 Eye Toy unveiled

SCEE's London Studio was showing off its new USB camera-based game for the PS2 in the PlayStation Experience hall at ECTS.

Right next to the ECTS hall at Earls Court in London, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is holding its first "PlayStation Experience" event--an opportunity for members of the press and public alike to get hands-on with games that are due for release in the next six months or so.

One of the biggest crowd pleasers at the event was a stage showing off three minigames from London Studio's forthcoming USB camera-based game, which currently goes by the name of Eye Toy. The final game, which will consist of no less than 20 minigames, will be bundled with the necessary USB camera peripheral but according to SCEE will cost no more than an ordinary PS2 game.

The camera, which tracks movement rather than color, sits on top of the television set and projects whatever it sees onto the screen. The most popular minigame on the stage, which was called Kung Foo, had players' faces and upper torsos appearing in the center of the screen with a three-storey building on either side. When the game begins, small ninja characters start running and jumping toward the player at which point they must swat them away by moving their hands and throwing punches. For the purpose of today's demonstration all of the players were made to wear bright yellow boxing gloves, although the game will apparently play just as well if played with bare hands. The Kung Foo game also featured a bonus level where players had to move their hands very quickly to break through planks.

The second minigame on the stage was called Wishi Washi, and saw players armed with yellow sponges (again not actually necessary) waving them around in mid-air to wipe dirt off the screen the same way they would if they were washing windows. All of the dirt had to be wiped off within a certain time limit to reveal the players' stood on the other side of the imaginary window. Later levels of the game featured shorter time limits and more stubborn dirt that would need to be wiped over more than once.

The final, and easily the most difficult minigame on display was called Beat Freak. This rhythm game had the players' image projected on the screen stood behind a pair of record decks with a giant speaker in each corner. As the music played, icons resembling compact discs flew out of the record deck towards one of the four speakers, at which point the player was required to tap that particular speaker with their hand. To put it another way, Beat Freak is like a version of 2699724Dance Dance Revolution that requires players to move their hands rather than their feet.

Eye Toy (working title) is scheduled for release in Europe in March 2003, no North American release has been confirmed at this time. We'll bring you more information on this innovative game as it becomes available.

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