Article by Kevin Savetz

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Copyright © by Kevin Savetz


TOYSIGHT, Freeverse Games/Strange Flavour

This quirky software makes Apple's iSight webcam useful even when nobody you know is online. Like Sony's Eye Toy add-on for PlayStation 2, ToySight lets you play games by moving your arms and hands in front of a camera; its software interprets these movements as game controls but also superimposes your image on the screen, so you can see what you are controlling. Interpreting video movement in this way is inexact and often frustrating, but an uncluttered background, a well-lighted room and plenty of space to move around help.

ToySight's nine bundled games include an alien-blasting exercise called Marble Factory, a version of Pong, an unusual skydiving game and The Owl and the Pussycat, in which you, as the owl, must rescue your feline friend from a castle in his talons. Two video toys also come with the program; one adds graphic effects to your image and the other lets you pluck out a tune on an onscreen "laser harp." Even the program's menus are navigated with video: To play a game, reach in the air to "press" its button.

Once you get past the novelty of controlling the computer without touching it, some of the ToySight games reveal themselves to be little more than clever game demos. But others, such as Marble Factory and The Plank (a puzzle game in which you stack similar marbles), feel just right, offering fun for adults or kids.

Mac OS X 10.1.5 or newer, $35 at www.toysight.com


Articles by Kevin Savetz