EZi Entertainment Zone

Simon Lumb recently spotted an amazing(ly bad) looking games console in a motorway service station which, shall we say, borrows heavily from the design of of the Wii.

I couldn’t resist trying it for myself, and picked one up on eBay for a little bit less than £20 including delivery. Quite a bit less than the RRP you’ll see quoted in some places online. A games console, complete with 87 games, for £20. Bargain. Right? Well, almost.

EZi Entertainment Zone  EZi Entertainment Zone  EZi Entertainment Zone unboxing  EZi Entertainment Zone  EZi Entertainment Zone - 18 sports games  EZi Entertainment Zone - 69 arcade games

EZi Entertainment Zone

EZi Entertainment Zone - pingpong  EZi Entertainment Zone - Fish Story  EZi Entertainment Zone - Freestyle  EZi Entertainment Zone - Deformable  EZi Entertainment Zone - Javelin Throw  EZi Entertainment Zone - Santa Claus

Observations:

  • The graphics are sub-SNES quality and many of the games are barely playable. The knock-off design is laughable and the bargain basement price reveals itself at every opportunity.
  • The two stick controllers each include four red flashing lights at the bottom, a-la the blue lights on the Wiimote, but these ones don’t do anything except flash irritatingly and constantly.
  • The stick controllers do include a very crude motion control. Certainly nothing like the Wiimote of course, but simply a basic (and flaky) movement detection, presumably through something like a mercury tilt switch. It just about works for the Tennis and Pingpong games but it it painful in the extreme for any of the others, especially baseball and golf where it’s practically unusable. You can turn ‘sport’ mode off to disable the motion control and use the buttons instead (or just use the other game controller which you only get one of but is a much better bet for most of the games).

I have not tried all 87 games yet, but here are some highlights

Tennis

Bowling

Little Indian

While many of the other games I’ve tried so far have been predictably awful, other have turned out to be quite playable in a retro generation-before-last sort of way. Especially with the volume muted. The quality of the (18) games on the sports cartridge, while still quite mixed, is markedly higher than the (69) games on the arcade cartridge.

Some of the names are amazing. How can you not love a console that ships with titles including Cross Strert, Assart, Aimless, Polk, Grot Kid, Knocking, Ramming, Fish Journey and Girl.

I’ll try to continue to capture and review more of the games in detail. Rather than do it here, I’ve started an owners wiki where I’ve begun to document the EZi’s various games and hardware. It already includes the photos and videos used above, plus Pingpong, Boxing and others, and I’m sure it will grow as I (and others?) add more. I do hope anyone else who is brave/mad/foolish enough to buy an EZi Entertainment Zone will join me there.

7 Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Roo, too funny. A few years back I received an Atari console as a gift. The idea was there were about 80 games on it (all your Atari favorites) and you could relieve the joy of the old games. Well I must say, I never had an Atari as a kid, I had various computers, ending with a C64 before I went to PCs, and I didn’t miss any of these old games. Yes I used to play them at friends’ houses, but kinda glad I didn’t shell out the big bucks back then.

    Today I downloaded a Commodore 64 Game emulator for my iPhone, only $4.99, and even though the games on it are not good, I can see a much better buy in the long run when Load Runner and Battle Chess come to my iPhone (I Hope).

    Michael

    Comment by Michael Rowe — September 6, 2009 #

  2. I’m fascinated by this system; mostly I’m amazed that something like this would even exist these days.
    I was previously joking when I mentioned mercury switches – is the motion control really that bad (i.e. a binary “upright or not upright” level of motion detection)? I know the silicon-chip based accelerometers used by the Wii are only six dollars apiece – I could imagine a lower quality chip being used with some really crap handling of the input by the system would result in a control system significantly inferior to the Wii.

    Comment by bob_d — September 7, 2009 #

  3. is the motion control really that bad (i.e. a binary “upright or not upright” level of motion detection)?

    Well, it could be a very crude accelerometer of some sort. Brief experimentation suggests that it’s triggered, sometimes, by being shaken quite hard. :-) Of course, it’s not helped by ponderous delays in the gameplay. I’ll try to do a game-play video of baseball soon, to show how painful it is. I’ll also take one of the controllers apart to show the innards to help work out whether it’s actually an accelerometer or some sort of mercury switch.

    Comment by Roo — September 7, 2009 #

  4. The console itself reminds me far more of the SNES than a Wii? That bowling game is pretty funny – definitely Wii-inspired… looks like there’s a lot of variation in the style and quality / graphical effort put into the games. Hope you can inspire some more contributors to the wiki… I have to say, I won’t be one of them :-)

    Comment by Andy Piper — September 8, 2009 #

  5. Careful with the steps you take into cheap console gaming reviews, Roo. Stuart Ashen has got in way over his head and now reviews all kinds of tat.

    Comment by David Thair — September 9, 2009 #

  6. Awesome! Can you bring it in to work one day? I’d love to play you at something!

    Comment by Si Lumb — September 9, 2009 #

  7. I have gone even more retro with Winkles Wedding

    Comment by epredator — September 12, 2009 #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with GimpStyle Theme design by Horacio Bella.
The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.