Zone – console gaming on the cheap

Everyone loves a bargain. Unfortunately, when that bargain happens to look like something more expensive with much worse functionality, people are bound to be disappointed. Enter the Zone 3D, 60 and 100.

Each of Zone’s products closely resembles a market competitor: the Zone 3D is Playstation-like, the 60 is all Wii (complete with accessories) and the 100 has a more-than-passing resemblance to the Xbox 360. Still, if you can’t afford any of the main consoles, you can always buy one of these and hope your friends are stupid. It’s a shame, because if they didn’t try to look like the major consoles, they’re not without some positives.


Zone 3D

Still in development, the Zone 3D should have between 20 – 30 3D games. This’ll be bolstered by around 80 bonus 2D games, meaning that everyone should find something to gauge their interest.

We played a skateboarding gaming, which responded well to the wireless controller. The graphics and gameplay were about on-par with a Playstation One. The 3D is powered by anaglyph – the old style green and red offset with compulsory goggles. It does mean you get 3D gaming without buying any special (expensive) kit, but it’s not the most impressive.

The system is available in the summer for around £50.

Zone 60

The sequel to the original Zone 40, the new system has bumped up the graphics to 32-bit. We didn’t see any 3D, so expect lots of SNES-style gaming. It didn’t look the best on the HD LCD TV was saw it on, but it’s not finished yet so it’s hard to pass judgement. There will be around 25, 32-bit games, the rest 16-bit ports from the old system.

We got to play a Table Tennis game on beginner mode, and thoroughly thrashed the opponent by simply mashing the A button. Although it looks like a Wii, swinging the remote was completely unnecessary for our victory. On the other hand, there’re plenty of accessories to tack onto the remote, which was half the Wii-fun. Summer, £50.

Zone 100

This one was out of batteries when we got to the stall, but simply it looked like a white Kinect. The benefit is that you can plug it into the TV without plugging in a power cord, so it’s highly portable. The downside? Running out of battery while gaming is frustrating.