EA bringing recess home on October 23 with EA Playground

Finally, a game that gives kids one less reason to want to leave the house. Electronic Arts has announced that EA Playground will be shipping for the Wii and Nintendo DS on October 23 (or November 2 for Jim Sterling and the rest of Europe). Developed by EA’s Canadian studios (eh?), the title features a number of recess-centric mini-games, including dodgeball and slot cars. Wait … I didn’t have slot cars in my playground!

Executive Producer David McCarty says the game “expands the appeal of videogames to a market of non-traditional gamers” and “for kids it’s about indulging in the energy and magic of the playground.” How about they just go outside and play instead? This game is set to turn our youth into slugs, and I once had this nightmare about highly intelligent slug-beings enslaving the human race. It was awful.

Seriously, though — if this game were available to me as a child, I would probably have never left the house. It’s hot out there, and falling down on concrete hurts. Keep your Bactine away from my skinned knees, please.

But did I mention the Ninendo DS version of EA Playground has a game where you blow into the microphone to fire spitballs? I think that makes things a bit better.

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that EA Playground™, an all new intellectual property in development at EA Canada, will be released for the Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ on October 23, 2007 in North America and on November 2, 2007 in Europe. The game will ship to retail stores packed with a fun assortment of playground games including classics like dodgeball and tetherball, as well as some over-the-top, fantasy games like Kicks and Dart Shootout.

“EA Playground has been designed to be accessible and fun, making it the perfect game to enjoy by yourself or with your friends and family,“ said Executive Producer, David McCarthy. “Young, old, male or female, this is a game that expands the appeal of videogames to a market of non-traditional gamers. For kids it’s about indulging in the energy and magic of the playground; for parents or even grandparents, it’s about re-experiencing childhood thrills.”

EA Playground offers endless hours of entertainment for all-ages. It is the ultimate party play experience, where bragging rights are at stake as you take on your friends and family in fun and immersive playground games. There’s also a deep single player campaign that has you in pursuit of the coveted Playground King title, where you’re exploring the world, unlocking new locations and challenging colourful in-game characters in a variety of activities.

EA Playground features games that are easy to pick-up-and-play by fully capitalizing on the unique control mechanics of both the Wii and the Nintendo DS. Included are featured games that can be enjoyed in both the single player and multiplayer mode. There are also activity games that are played throughout the single player campaign to earn power-ups and collectables. Every game brings its own twist to the controls for the definitive, all-ages, gaming experience. See below for all the games that will be included in EA Playground.

Featured playground games on the Wii:

• Dodgeball – Take on your opponents in an attempt to knock them out of the game in this fast paced multi round experience. Up to four players can dodge, catch and throw lighting fast balls just like in real life.
• Paper Racers – Throw and navigate your paper airplane through challenging Playground courses, collecting power ups and other bonuses along the way in a race to the finish line.
• Kicks – Take on your opponents in this fresh new experience where Soccer meets volleyball and goals are the result of spectacular aerial kicks!
• Dart Shootout – Test your accuracy skills in this exciting game that has your shooting and ducking your way through the playground to the final boss battle.
• Wall Ball – Enjoy this fast paced game of wall ball where the speed of the ball increases with each powerful shot. Strategically choose where you want to hit the ball and watch it rapidly ricochet by your opponent!
• Slot Car Racing – Take on up to three opponents in this speedy slot car racing experience that has you flying through ramps, landing mega jumps and even getting a chance to zap your opponents off course!
• Tetherball – Go head to head against your opponents in this tension mounting experience. Try to wrap the tetherball around the pole before your opponent does.

Activity games for the Wii:

• Freethrows – While exploring the playground world, take some time out to shoot around and earn marbles.
• Bug Hunt – During your world exploration if you see a bug, take out your net and give chase. Successful swat and catch the bug and earn some rewards.
• Dribbling – Pick up a basketball and bounce it in rhythm for a defined number of times before the clock runs out on you! If you’re successful you’ll earn yourself some more marbles.

Featured playground games on the Nintendo DS:

• Dodgeball – Knock all the other kids out of the game (by beaning them with a ball) before they do the same to your team.
• Hoops – Become the master of the basketball court while you try and score the most points.
• Hopscotch – Test your rhythm and timing with this musical game of Hopscotch.
• RC Racers – Race mini cars around an action-packed track, picking up valuable power-ups along the way.
• Bug Hunt – You’re on a mission to collect as many butterflies as you can but watch out for those nasty bees or you’ll get stung!
• Kicks – A free for all Soccer match where the objective is to score more points than your opponent
• Skate & Sketch – Master these wacky tricks by connecting the dots as fast as possible.
• Spitballs – Search the playground for your target and when you’ve found them blow into the microphone to hit them with a spitball!
• Trampoline – The sky’s the limit in this game of balloon popping! Jump as high as you can and pop as many balloons as possible before your opponent

Nick Chester