E3 isn’t just about video games, it’s also about the crazy stuff you need to play those video games, the peripherals. While years past have brought us such things as sad attempts at virtual reality glasses, an entire arsenal of light guns, and more controllers than anyone could ever use, this year’s E3 had one of the most varied selections of video game accessories ever.
Microsoft’s Project Natal
If you thought the Wii remote’s motion controls were too much movement for you, wait until you step in front of Microsoft’s Natal camera. With advanced movement tracking and voice recognition technology Project Natal captures your every movement as well as your voice and puts you in the game. While it is a creative idea, think about how embarrassed you were just waving your arms in from of your friends, and then multiply that by the number of other extremities that Project Natal can track.
CTA Digital’s Wi-Bowl Bowling Ball Wiimote
The Wi-Bowl Bowling Ball case from CTA Digital may be the most perfect blend of two of the world’s laziest sports; bowling and video games. This was only peripheral on the E3 show floor that’s going to help you work your way towards that perfect game in “Wii Sports Bowling,” and really, is there anyone that couldn’t use some help throwing a 300 in a two year old game? It’s basically a Wii remote trapped inside a plastic bowling ball – yeah you could totally make this yourself if you felt like ruining your seven-year-old brothers fake bowling set.
Wii Vitality Sensor
Almost cryptically announced at Nintendo’s preshow press conference the Wii Vitality Sensor was one of the most intriguing (if not confusing) moments of the entire show. The Wii Vitality Sensor is a tiny piece of plastic that connects to the Wii Remote, and slips over your finger, it can measure your heart rate while playing games. While no games were announced to work with the device, I’m sure you can imagine one or two (but no more than three) games that could actually take advantage of this device. Unfortunately, there’s no confirmation that it will work with the (too sexy for Australia) WiiWare game Sexy Poker.
DJ Hero/Scratch DJ Turntables
Plastic guitars weren’t enough, now we need plastic turntables. Not one, but two games will come with scaled down versions of a DJ’s best friend that you’ll use to play games in a manner very similar to, but not exactly like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. When the notes come scrolling, make sure you hit them perfectly with the keys on the “record” and mix them up with the cross fader. Oakenfold eat your heart out. As an added bonus, if you get both DJ Hero and Scratch DJ and you happen to have another game where you sing you’ll have two turntables and a microphone (as well as most likely a bunch of guitars and a drum kit or two).
Tony Hawk Ride Board
It was really only a matter of time before a game company came up with a way for players to actually fracture their clavicles while playing a game. The board that will be included with Tony Hawk Ride measures your movement, balance, and even hand placement which tells your in game character what to do on screen. From ollies to 720s the Ride board can make you freestyle, or hit the vert ramp like a pro, without the need for all those pesky pads. Hopefully it will cut down on the trips to the E.R.
Scribblenauts is a technological first that will allow the player to input their own ideas into the game to solve puzzles. It really needs to be seen to be believed, but let’s say you have to cross a stream you could input “boat,” or “bridge” to cross easily, or you could input “time machine” and travel back to the prehistoric ages, before Earth’s tectonic plates split, and simply walk across it yourself, and then time machine back to the present. Alternatively, if you wanted to see Zeus fight Chtullu with a shotgun while riding a skateboard, you could do that too. Yeah? let’s see Modern Warfare try that.