EA Playground Hands-On Preview

I don’t know about you, but recess time for me was always the best part of the day in school (to the chagrin of my parents and teachers). Oh, I still did my work, but the clock would never move fast enough for recess.

I could hardly wait to go out and play kickball, handball, tetherball, fly paper airplanes (which would get me benched) and an assortment of other childhood favorites. 

So when I saw EA Playground for the first time, I was more than happy to find out what it was all about.


I met up with Dave McCarthy, the executive producer for EA Playground over at EAHQ in Redwood City, California and talked to him first hand about his game. He said that "It’s about being a kid again…a collection of classic playground games with over-the-top fantasy stuff."

What sort of games are included? Tetherball, dodge ball, wall ball, kicks (a soccer and volleyball hybrid), slot car racers, toy dart shoot out, and a flight simulator with paper airplanes. The controls for these games are easy to understand and Dave’s goal of making this title user friendly has definitely been achieved.

A flick of the wrist, a push of the button will get you into the swing of things. Although there is a single player mode, Dave said that the game was aimed at multiplayer fun.


There are lots of mini games and activities to do besides the seven main games, too. If you see a basketball hoop, it isn’t there just for looks — you can shoot some baskets and test your skills. See that butterfly net over there? If you catch 50 butterflies, you’ll get some cool rewards for your efforts. The playground is meant to be explored and interactive, so if you just play the main games you’re missing out on a lot of the other fun you’ll have by just walking around.

How would you like to become the king of the schoolyard? All you have to do is defeat the schoolyard boss. Easier said than done. In this challenge, you’ll have to prove your mettle in all seven of the main games to claim the crown.


Interestingly enough, EA Playground only uses the Wiimote. According to Dave, his team originally considered a dual controller configuration with the nunchuck and Wiimote, but later decided to incorporate just one controller to make it friendlier for new and casual gamers. He said, "We were surprised at how much control we could get into the Wii remote."


The coin of the realm for EA Playground is marbles. You can use these to unlock the playground world, get enhanced abilities to help you in multiplayer and unlock new locations and characters.

I asked Dave if there were any possible plans for future sequels to Playground. He smiled and said "…there’s a richness of content [in this game idea] that we’ve only scratched the surface," with a sparkle in his eyes.


EA Playground is due out this October and will be available for the Wii and DS.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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