Sony Europes EyeToy series has made huge strides in the field of fun and accessible party video games. The games come packaged with a USB camera and allow the player to project his or her image onto the screen, and - facilitated by relatively simple digital technology - use their very likeness to interact with objects in the game world. Its a wonder nobody had thought of it before! The first iteration, EyeToy Play, featured a number of games, from 'keepy-uppy' to kung fu fighting, and its successor, EyeToy Groove, included a number of licensed popular songs and challenged players to dance to them in a pre-determined sequence. The American arm of Sony Computer Entertainment got in on the act last year, taking the series one step further with EyeToy: Antigrav, in which gamers must use their head and hand movements to control a futuristic hoverboard rider and guide him down a track.
Europe in March 2005 sees the release of a new game using the EyeToy peripheral, EyeToy: Monkey Mania. Those with a keen eye will recognise the featured monkeys from the Ape Escape games, two games on the PlayStation in which the player had to capture an escaped horde of monkeys using a variety of wacky methods, including nets, R/C cars and helicopters. In Monkey Mania, players use their hands to spin an on-screen roulette wheel, that determines the number of spaces they move on a game board. Depending on the space they land on, they are commanded to take part in one of 30 minigames, against up to four friends or just the CPU. These minigames are really diverse and innovative. One requires the player to arrange the hair of an enormous wig-wearing ape. Another involves eating a banana while your schoolmasters back is turned, and in yet another, the player must lift a dumbbell that increases in weight by the second. Good news for fans of the series, and those who dont want their living room to be a place for just watching telly.