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Can you hear that awful bawling racket from where you are? It's the sound of millions of kids whose parents didn't have the sense to buy a Wii back in September when stocks were relatively plentiful. Now the poor mites have to look forward to a Christmas without Wii Sports, Wario Ware and Super Mario Galaxy. Pity them, still tied to a last generation console and unable to experience the fun of motion sensitive gaming. How can it be a Merry Christmas without Wii?
But wait, say the guys at In2Games - there's a way you can experience some of those same Wii thrills using nothing more than a £25 bundle and that PS2 you were just about to leave for dead. Each Realplay set contains a game, a special wireless controller and an RF wireless interface module which plugs into a spare USB port on your PS2. Stick the disc in the drive, plug the wireless module in and pull the plastic battery protector out of the controller, and you're hooked up and ready to go.
Four packages are available right now, including Realplay Racing (with motion-sensitive steering wheel), Realplay Pool (with a motion sensitive pool cue) Realplay Golf (with pint-sized motion sensitive golf club) and Puzzlesphere - a Monkey Ball style roll-‘em-up partnered with a handy tilt-sensitive ball controller. Technical details are fairly short on supply, but here's what we do know: like the Wii remote, the units use accelerometers to sense the speed and direction of movement, though the controllers can't match the Wii remote's ability to sense 3D position via infrared detection. Power is supplied by a pair of AAA batteries.
The individual controllers are a bit of a mixed bag. The simple Puzzlesphere ball is probably the best - light and comfortable in the hand, with only a couple of small buttons and a D-pad needed to select menus, access power-ups and get the onscreen sphere to brake or move cautiously. The pool cue is a three-part plastic effort and feels a little toy-like, and it's clear that only the bottom section actually does any work. The Racing steering wheel is a little lightweight for my taste and suffers from horribly small buttons, but its usable enough in-game. None of them have the solid feel of Nintendo's Wii hardware, but if you're used to third-party peripherals you won't find them at all cheap and nasty.