I Like to Move it, Move it

In Failed Video Game Peripherals by John Tebbutt

Fun (?) with obsolete motion-sensing technology

This week, Video Vulture takes a look at the ridiculous failed video game peripheral, the “Playstation Move”. For those of you who slept through this debacle, the Move was Sony’s attempt to compete with the arm-flailing Nintendo Wii. The controller is reminiscent of the famous Wii-mote, but with a glowing pastel-coloured ball on the end. It…doesn’t look dignified. In fact, if the 2014 version of RoboCop was a circus clown, the Move controller would look like his erection. (Ugh. I think I owe you all an apology for that simile.)
It never would have occurred to me to pick up a Move controller back when it first came out, but now that the device has tanked and bargain bins are stuffed with $5 Move games, things are different. Faced with a gaggle of electronic toys that are a) extremely cheap; b) a few months away from vanishing entirely; and c) utterly ridiculous; I find myself unable to resist. After all, failed game peripherals are kind of cool things to collect. Show me a working Nintendo Power Glove, and damn it, I’m impressed. In fact, I still kind of regret not picking up a Virtual Boy back in 1996, when Zellers was marking the device down to pocket change in an attempt to get those damn eyesight-ruiners out of their shop.
This is a very weird time to go shopping for a Move peripheral. They seem to have all but vanished from stores, but the few remaining ones don’t seem to be full-fledged clearance items yet. Having found a bargain-priced Move bundle in a drug store, I installed the Playstation Eye (basically a glorified webcam) and put on some pants. Normally I have no problem gaming in my underwear in my own living room, but now that my game console is…looking at me, it just feels wrong. Especially if I’m about to play something called Just Dance Kids 2. Surely, if a grown man wanders in front of a Net-connected camera while playing a children’s game pants-less, the next thing that happens is the police kick the door in.
Well, it’s a damn good thing I put pants on, because it turns out that Just Dance Kids 2 will snap photos of you when you aren’t expecting it. After my first dance (“Mah Nà Mah Nà”, obviously) I was prompted with the question “Save Photo?” Good Lord, no! Erase! Erase!
Moving on to Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest, I got to heft a broadsword and fight an army of skeletons. Awesome! Mind you, the game got quite pissy at me for not swinging my “sword” hard enough. I found myself tiring my wrist out just trying to get the game to stop shouting “Weak!” at me. Screw you, game; I’m not here to exercise!
Next up is the notorious Kung Fu Rider demo, in which a hapless office worker finds himself hurtling down an endless hill on an office chair, jumping over obstacles and kicking the occasional gangster. The premise delights me, but trying to control this mess by waving a magic wand is utterly maddening. If you could use a standard controller this would be fun, but as it is, it’s unplayable. Thank goodness for free demos!
And finally…Just Dance 4. Oh HELL yes! No weird button presses, no constant camera re-calibration, just do what the crazy dancer on the screen is doing, and you’re guaranteed a good time. The Just Dance games are just as fun on the Playstation as they are on the Xbox 360, and they single-handedly turn the Move controller into a worthwhile purchase for Playstation owners.
There are two other Move games I want to talk about, but they are both so utterly insane that they need a column all to themselves. Stay tuned…

First published in FFWD Weekly on July 10, 2014