Halfway through a game of table tennis with the PlayStation Move, I realize that I play better if I stop treating the wand-shaped controller in my hand like a controller. I’m currently playing with cautious restraint, flicking the controller tentatively every time the ball approaches my player’s side of the court. I’m losing more points than I’m winning, but the second I start treating it like an actual racquet, things begin to look up.
Move is Sony PlayStation’s answer to the Nintendo Wii, and soon, I’m delivering smashes, top-spin backhands and looping serves with none of the vague approximation one gets with the latter. Armed to the teeth with accelerometers, gyroscopes and a glowing orb that’s tracked by a camera placed on top of your PlayStation 3, Move detects tilts and slants with pleasing accuracy and in spite of my constant movement, doesn’t seem to require frequent recalibration.
Motion-based controllers are the Farmvilles of console gaming. Nintendo is the Zynga of this space, having successfully pitted the Nintendo Wii in 2007 against Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Now Sony and Microsoft are playing catch-up—Sony with Move, Microsoft with Kinect.
While the Kinect is attempting a dramatic science-fiction upheaval of how people play games, Move is a gentle, safe bet—a quietly efficient piece of engineering that delivers an evolution of what the Wii made possible.
This is, of course, not always a good thing. A lot of games (Sports Champions is the obvious analogue to Wii Sports) are derivative, and many of the launch titles feel like tired retreads of popular Wii games. Happily, there are exceptions—the endearing EyePet uses the bundled camera to project a furry creature into the room you’re playing in, allowing you to pet, interact and play with the thing. The wonderful Echochrome 2 puts the controller as a light source, allowing you to manipulate shadows to solve puzzles.
In motion:(top) Sports Champions; a still from EyePet
It helps that the PlayStation 3 is a graphical power horse—the visuals for Move-enabled games are top-notch, and the sense of immersion is stronger than Wii. Sony’s promised a much wider variety of Move games by the end of the year, including patches that will make existing PlayStation 3 titles such as Heavy Rain playable with Move.
Those who have a Nintendo Wii (with the MotionPlus add-on) should probably wait to see what kind of eclecticism Sony will bring to the Move library. But for those who’ve never jumped on to the casual gaming, motion-controlled bandwagon, Move is an excellent place to start.
The basic PlayStation Move controller costs Rs2,499, with the add-on controller at Rs1,899. A “starter pack” with a basic controller, PlayStation Eye camera and a disc of demos for Sports Champions, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11and EyePet is priced at Rs3,650.