Retro Monday: “EyeToy: Kinetic”

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Title: “EyeToy Kinetic”

Developer: SCE London Studio/Nike Motionworks

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Released: September 2005 (EU), November 2005 (US)


Last week I talked about the EyeToy, Sony’s PlayStation 2 USB camera peripheral that spawned the likes of Microsoft’s Kinect. I also said that I would talk about an EyeToy game and that game if you haven’t noticed already is the exercise game, “EyeToy: Kinetic”.

There is always the stereotype that people who play computer games are rather rounded people. Of course this is bollocks because, like reality, some are and some are not. But that hasn’t stopped game companies and developers creating the genre I bet no one has heard of called ‘Exergaming’, better know as exercise games or fitness games. Exergaming is a word by the way. I checked. It was entered into the Collins English Dictionary in 2007.

Exergaming back in the gaming days of yore was exercise equipment connected to the gaming device of your choice, like the “Puffer” exercise bike connected to your Atari console. These sorts of equipment are now stupid. They can be in gyms because there it would make sense. People now would just get normal exercise equipment that doesn’t require a £300 electronic box to work.

The better sort of fitness game is dance games, like “Dance Dance Revolution” (“DDR”). You are bound to see them in most arcades. But you can also have it in your home by buying a plastic roll-up mat. My sister has one and by that, I mean it is roll-up under my cupboard. Me, dance? How absurd. I don’t dance. I sit in the most distant corner, staring at those who do while getting rather drunk. It’s more fun, and it makes me look moody.

EyeToy Kinetic” is sort of like ‘DDR’. Well it was back then. Now it more like “Just Dance” for the Kinect. Like “Just Dance”, Kinetic has you follow someone that resembles but is not quite human in waving your arms and legs about and sometimes jumping and stepping about in the small section of floor where the camera can see you.

There are four different types of games called ‘Zones’ in Kinetic. ‘Cardio’, which more dancey then punchy, ‘Combat’, which is more punchy than dancey, ‘Mind and Body’, i.e. Tai Chi and yoga, and Toning, consisting of sit-ups, push-up and the like. I always did the Combat and Toning, I was a runner back then and punching things is fun. I would do Cardio every now and then but Mind and Body was simply useless. It was meant to improve your hand-eye coordination but using the EyeToy tested your hand-eye coordination because you were staring at a reflection of yourself while doing things.

I am not the sort of person who likes being outside or using machines that make you chaff and make me look like I’ve been with a ‘lady of the night’ in a bright room with mirrors on the walls, so this seems tailored for me. Except for two things. The first is that you need a wide-angle clip-on lens so your whole body is seen by the camera and so you can’t cheat and negating the whole exercise thing. But the clip-on was only sold in bulk with the game. So if, like me, who has everything but the lens has inexplicably disappeared, it can’t be replaced. Especially now considering the PS2 is now long dead. EBay is an option but frankly, it is too much hassle because…

Like the Kinect, the EyeToy with the wide-angle lens on needs a lot of space and light. More then most people have as a house let alone as a totally empty room with studio bright lighting.

Nike is plastered all over this game. They even get association credit as a group called ‘Nike Motionworks’ but searching for more information about them online only brings up Kinetic and nothing else. Not even a Wikipedia page. With the amount of Nike product placement, all I can think of is that Nike signed a big cheque to Sony for the game but the game didn’t sell that well so Motionworks faded into the aether as quickly as it had appeared.

The 12 week ‘Personal Trainer’ mode, a mode where the game plans a 12 week exercise regime, is nice and it could make you somewhat healthy and the games by themselves are good for quick bursts of exercise, but the EyeToy is just to awkward to use. With the dated EyeToy camera technology I would say go with Kinect, but the closest you can get to it is “Just Dance”.

I am surprised that no companies or developers have tried to do Kinetic again. Well, there is “Just Dance”, “Zumba Fitness” and there always will be DDR. There is the hardware like the Kinect, Wii, Wii Fit Board, Playstation Camera and their wavy stick Move controller. Maybe we just don’t like exercise games. Or we just don’t play games and have the consoles in a large, empty, studio lit room with a large TV to see what the hell we are doing. If I try doing it, I’d break bones on the bed, desk, or sofa depending where I was stupid enough to wave about my appendages.


Retro Score: 4/5

Modern Score: 2.5/5

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