Late this afternoon, after I had just woken up (yes, I keep odd hours) I checked my e-mail and found I'd received a voucher code for a PS3 game I'm going to review.
So I stumbled to my living room, turned the requisite electronics on, punched in the code and started downloading the game. And as I was sitting and waiting to see how long it took, it dawned on me: Turning on the PS3 had turned on the PlayStation Eye camera hooked up to it.
It was on. It was pointed right at me. I wasn't dressed yet. And my living room wasn't exactly tidy at that moment.
I felt distinctly uncomfortable ... somewhat violated even, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure the camera wasn't recording anything, no secret video was being sent to the government or Sony or anyone else.
The rational part of my brain said not to worry about it.
The rest of my brain said of course I should worry. I don't know — can't know — if the Eye or Microsoft's Kinect are secretly monitoring me, beaming my life out into the void. If I start playing a game online, will other players be literally watching me? Why did I invite these cameras into my home?
I was suddenly itching for a tin foil hat. I knew I was being paranoid, yet I felt compelled to unplug the cameras and put some clothes on.
I know at least one other person is bothered by this, at least a little, if this Xbox forum post is any indication: http://forums.xbox.com/34953827/ShowPost.aspx.
I guess the lesson to come away with here is: don't have the camera pointed at anything you wouldn't want someone else to see, and if you're going to play while naked, unplug the camera first.
Shake your booty?
What's with all the dance games all of a sudden? "Dance Central," "Just Dance 2," "Just Dance Kids," "Dance Masters," "SingStar Dance" — what exactly is going on here?
Is this all a craze sparked by the success of "Dancing with the Stars"?
I mean, I understand the push to get Americans off the couch, but the sheer number of dance titles hitting shelves lately is somewhat overwhelming.
Don't read this to mean that I'm afraid to dance. Terrified would be a better word. Yet I was brave enough to dance with a very attractive "Zumba Dance Fitness" instructor during a game demo at E3 earlier this year, and she said no other journalists were.
Where am I going with this? Nowhere I guess.
Is it time to abandon normal TV?
In case you are unaware, all three current consoles — the Xbox 360, the Wii and the PS3 — are now capable of streaming live content from Netflix, with a Netflix subscription, of course.
And now the PS3 also will stream Hulu Plus content without requiring you to have a PlayStation Plus subscription.
Let's do a little math: Netflix ($8.99 a month) + Hulu Plus ($9.99 a month) = Lots of TV and movies ($18.98 a month). That's quite a bit less than what I pay DirecTV every month.
Yet even though I'd save beaucoup dinero, there are several big negatives to the plan. First, not all the shows I'm addicted to are available on Hulu, such as NCIS. Second, I wouldn't get to watch shows until several days after they'd aired. And third, all my programming would be limited to my gaming TV unless I bought another PS3, which seems a little extreme.
It's an idea in progress. Any of you considering that sort of switch?