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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 19, 2010

PlayStation's new wand gets into the game


By DERRIK J. LANG
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

In the shooter game "SOCOM 4," you can use the new Move control wand to target enemies.

Sony Computer Entertainment

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At first touch, the PlayStation Move feels awfully familiar.

Unveiled at last week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony's forthcoming wand-shaped motion controller and the smaller sub-controller handle similarly to Nintendo's Wii Remote and Nunchuck. There are differences, of course: It's lighter. There are fewer buttons. The batteries are rechargeable. And there's that big glowing sphere on the end.

The biggest difference seems to be in the games admittedly in early stages of development that were showcased for the PlayStation Move during the conference. There's another level of interaction and kinetic fidelity with many of these titles because the system uses a PlayStation Eye camera and can literally make players part of the game.

Here's a rundown:

"EyePet." Gamers can feed, clean and entertain their own virtual monkey-like creatures in this augmented reality title that's aimed at youngsters and relies on a PlayStation Eye camera pointed at the floor. The controller becomes different tools, such as a hairdryer or X-ray machine, to take care of and customize the cuddly lil' cooing critters.

"Motion Fighter." Controllers are required in each hand for this stylized brawler that's reminiscent of "Fight Club." Punches must be followed through to land on an opponent. Unfortunately, some of the more intricate pugilistic approaches, such as uppercuts or grabs, awkwardly require button mashing or a twisting of the wrist to register on screen.

"Move Party." This collection of silly arm-flapping amusements, such as swatting virtual bugs or creating digital paintings, is focused on projecting the action around players with the help of the Eye camera. Players are displayed on screen with the controller appearing as such cartoony tools as a giant bug swatter or oversized paintbrush.

"Slider." A one-handed combination of wrist movements controls virtual characters riding office chairs and other pieces of furniture through the streets of Japan in this quirky casual downhill racer. Players must drift, jump, duck and kick through obstacles, such as cardboard boxes, barrels and even a few mobsters, as they scoot to the end of the course.

"SOCOM 4." The upcoming third-person shooter sequel will support both the standard controller and the Move system. The wand-shaped controller is used to target enemies and look around the environment; movement is activated only with the analog stick on the sub-controller. Button taps trigger sharper aiming and lunging to cover.

"Sports Champions." An obvious challenger to "Wii Sports Resort," this assemblage of casual sport games, such as table tennis, flying disc golf, archery and beach volleyball, highlights the Move's increased precision. In a gladiator fighting mini-game, players use two controllers to wield both a shield and a sword against oncoming foes.

"The Shoot." This lighthearted arcade-style shoot-'em-up turns the Move wand-shaped controller into a blaster to strike down baddies invading Hollywood movie sets. The controller isn't just limited to simply pointing and shooting one particularly wacky maneuver involves spinning around in place to freeze time on the screen.

"TV Superstars." Here's another silly mini-game collection. This one uses the camera to create avatars of players, recording a catch-phrase and snapping their neutral, happy and angry faces. Users are then cast as contestants on over-the-top fashion, cooking, home improvement and Japanese game shows, with winners later popping up in phony commercials.