Kinect Isn't the Only Game In Town: 3 More Innovations in Gaming

Filed under: Toys, Video Games

Microsoft's new Kinect system, which lets players control Xbox 360 games with nothing more than their own bodies, has justifiably made a big splash in the gaming world. But it's far from the only gaming innovation popping up this holiday season. Check out these three other games/devices that make playing a video game a wholly new and different experience.


uDraw
The uDraw tablet, from game publisher THQ, works with the Nintendo Wii and lets you control the onscreen action by drawing on a touchpad with a stylus. The actual Wii remote sits tucked into a slot on the side -- and can register the movement of the tablet, which actually comes into play in certain games -- but your main control tool will be that big, chunky, pencil-shaped stylus. The stylus is actually very nicely designed for young hands to hold and manipulate easily. The tablet comes packaged with "uDraw Studio" ($70), art software that lets you use the tablet as a virtual canvas for all sorts of creative expression. It's a neat little bundle of artistic tools that allow you to turn the stylus into a crayon, piece of chalk, paintbrush, airbrush, and more. But the utility of that table is really on display in the new uDraw-compatible "Pictionary" game. Why play virtual "Pictionary" over the real thing? Because the offline version can't slam you with insane challenges like drawing while the screen rotates in circles or sketching with a limited amount of ink that will slowly run out as you draw.

The only thing to watch out for is the fact that you need to learn a new skill in order to use the uDraw tablet: Most of us, even those confident in their artistic abilities, are used to looking at our hands when we draw -- this method requires you to look away from your pencil and stare at the screen. But it's something you can get accustomed to with a little practice.


PSP Camera
This tiny camera (about the size of a cheese puff -- and just as light) attaches to Sony's handheld PSP game system, and it can take you into the world of Enhanced Reality Gaming. These are video games that incorporate your actual real-world environment and surroundings. The PSP camera comes packaged with a game called "Invizimals" ($40). It's a Pokémon-esque creature collecting and battling game, but the awesomely cool part is that you will see those little monsters duking it out right on your coffee table. The camera essentially makes it feel like you're looking through your PSP and seeing animated monsters scamper about on the surfaces of whatever room you're in at the time.

Another camera-ready game for the PSP is the virtual pet sim, "EyePet." You will not only see your Monchichi-like pet sitting in front of you on your desk or kitchen counter, but if you stick your hand within the camera frame, the animated monkey creature will react to it. It may be the closest you can come to feeling like you're in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (and any of you who get that reference should feel as old as I do for using it).


Babysitting Mama
Seeing this Wii game sitting on the shelf of a store, you may not even realize it's a video game. All you'll see is a big, plush baby doll. When you pop the "Babysitting Mama" disc ($50) into your console, you'll be instructed to slip your Wii remote into an opening on the back of the incredibly soft and cushy doll. Then you'll actually play with the doll as your controller. With different babysitting scenarios depicted onscreen (soothing a cranky baby, changing a diaper, and so on), you'll have to duplicate "Mama's" motions with your own baby, rocking it, bouncing it, playing games like blanky-tug-of-war with it, etc. It's quite obviously a game for very little kids, but that pro-plush audience should go gaga for it.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.