Ali used to mock me because I liked “different” things: I like my hair blue, I’m an unashamed geek and I profess a love for Scotch Eggs. This mocking hasn’t stopped over the years, and I doubt it ever will, but I think that she now realises that this liking for “different” things is merely because I want to try something out of the ordinary and, maybe in the process, expand my mind.

When it comes to my leisure time this has manifested itself in a few ways; back-in-the-day I would turn my nose up at MMOs and RPGs, not even giving them the time of day, but since Pirate Steve tempted me into WoW all those months ago I haven’t look back and I am now more open to these and other genres that have previously escaped me. This month alone I’ve tried Battlestations: Midway and the console version of Command & Conquer, two areas of gaming that, whilst I’m not the biggest fan, I thought were worth a dabble in if nothing else. More importantly, I would have never tried Munchkin if I hadn’t decided to expand my scope a little and that has been a roaring success.

“Different” is probably the number one reason why I was looking forward to the Wii last year. Whilst everyone else crammed more of everything into their next-gen consoles, Nintendo took a slightly a different approach, a turn towards a different way of experiencing games, and one that has paid dividends. Admitedly, after the first wave of titles the Wii has been slightly lacking in depth but it’s still an experience I enjoy every time the sleek, white box is turned on.

All in all, this is my long winded introduction to me saying: I like the look of Eye of Judgement because it’s a bit different. It sees a card game where the Eye Toy can pick up the identity of every card and render on top of it an animated representation of it. In this case it sees monsters battling against each other and instead of a straight out “you’ve got more X than I do so you win”, the avatars will duke it out on screen for you.

Up until now I’ve considered the PlayStation 3 just uninspiring with lukewarm games and an unimpressive online experience. What Dr Mark Richards’s and his team have seemingly created something isn’t revolutionary in terms of technology, but they have utilised it in a way that could augment existing games and genres to give them an extra twist: why just play a card game when you can have a card game with real monsters? After all, augmented reality games are supposed to be the next big step in gaming.

Whilst motion sensing controls are great, realism and immersion are key; what is more immersive than you actually being in your game world and the game’s entities being rendered around you? After all this is only a stretch on what Eye of Judgement is doing, but you replace the cards and the game-world takes the place of the card’s monsters. I doubt the PS3 will embrace this but even if the platform is responsible for the mainstream’s first tentative steps into this area it will be welcome… and different.

For my this use of the next-gen Eye Toy isn’t something that is going to make me nip down to Woolworths and relieve them of one of their PlayStations, but it is good to see that Sony have their quirky side. What would make me do that is a Munchkin version. Oh, the mere thought of it…

I think I’ve rambled enough for a Friday afternoon. BIGsheep, out.

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