Imaging playing a beat-em-up where your skill is not judged on how much your ability to master all the keys on a gamepad, but actually by how fast you can punch in real-life. Or take another example, say golf, where you could practice your swing in your living room and how you perform has a direct response on the screen.
The Gametrak is a console peripheral for the PS2 that allows you to interact with the game by putting on a pair of gloves attached to a base unit. The system is housed in a heavy unit that sits on the floor. From this, there are two fishing lines that attach to two gloves that you wear. Whenever you move your hands the unit tracks you and relays that information to the screen. Now rather than repeatedly pressing up and down on a gamepad, you can move your arm up and down to get the same effect.
Currently there is only one game available for the peripheral - Dark Wind (included), a beat-em-up that sees you fighting a number of different characters and learning as you go. The game is average, but nothing special compared to the wealth of titles that are currently available which have no Gametrak support.
That said, the interactivity of it is very good. After ascertaining your height, the game is ready to be played and you can throw and block punches any way you see fit by moving your arms around as if you were in a real fight. The moves, depending on how agile you are, can be endless.
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Fitness fans can also see how much of a workout they’re getting as the game is keen to tell you how many calories you burn off.
It's early days for the Gametrak. The single game that's available is good at showing what the unit can do but isn't so great when compared to other gaming titles currently doing the rounds.
Our belief is that this device will need a lot more titles to succeed. Most interesting however is the news that the killer application (in our minds) for the Gametrak will come at Easter with the launch of a golfing game. Just imagine being able to perfect your swing with detailed stats on your movement and play. It is worth the £60? If you compare it to the cost of a golf coach for an hour then definitely, but an hour down the gym, at this moment in time maybe not. Ahead of its time, the Gametrak is one to watch.