The lights are on
Augmented reality is the next big step taking us away from the harsh truths of reality. Instead of escaping into an entirely separate world, as we have been doing in video games for decades, augmented reality lets us merge virtual and real worlds together into something that has yet to prove itself as being particularly fun.
Eyepet is a game that went insane and tried to combine two technologically advanced, but not necessarily fun game types into one with both augmented reality and PlayStation Move controls. You could interact with a blindingly cute furry creature against the backdrop of your livingroom from the viewpoint of a very low resolution camera. The HD creature against the non-HD background is a little jarring, and problems arise when your real cat gets in the frame and thinks you are playing with it (true story).
There was a PSP Eyepet game that closed the visual gap between the Eyepet and the real world, but its load times were incredibly long. Interesting fact: if you don’t bathe your Eyepet, it will run away.
Invizimals is Sony’s answer to Pokemon, with the added bonus of camera technology. The game gets you to stand up and walk around your house to find hidden creatures and capture them. Sometimes you have to shoot them, sometimes you have to sneak up on them while they are sleeping, and sometimes you have to yell at the Invizimals to surprise them while your wife looks at you like a crazy person.
Once you capture the creatures, you make them battle one another anywhere you can find acceptable lighting.
The 3DS Stuff (Face Raiders, AR Games)
Every 3DS comes packaged with a series of augmented reality games cleverly titled, “AR Games.” You can look at 3D models, play a version of pool that has you avoiding lava on your coffee table, and shoot arrows at targets.
There is also Face Raiders which takes a photo of your face, contorts into a nearly unrecognizable mess, and makes you shoot at it as it flies around your living room. Little Deviants for the Vita contains a similar minigame.
Kid Icarus: Uprising
A small part of the entire Kid Icarus 3DS experience involves the use of special cards that allow you to see Kid Icarus characters and monsters appear on your coffee table. Looking at the cards with your 3DS unlocks new items in your game. You can also join two cards at the base and watch the 3D models fight one another as you rotate the camera around the battlefield.
Double Fine Happy Action Theatre
I don’t know if it counts as a game because there are no goals or scores, but it is interactive, and it comes from a company that makes games, so it must be game. Participants stand in front of the Kinect and do a number of random things like play with balloons, escape lava, and clone themselves. And it all looks like it is really happening in your living room.
Nintendogs + Cats
The augmented reality offering here is limited, but it does exist. Basically, you can put your pet onto your desk and look at her. She can also wear funny Nintendo themed hats.
Axis has two augmented reality games. One is basically playing the original Tetris you know, love, and overcame your addiction to many years ago, but it plays in such a way that you have to move your point of view so you can see the well while it randomly rotates.
The other game is less Tetris, but more interesting. You are dropping Tetris pieces around a circular tower building a staircase for a small stickman to climb. Physically rotating yourself around the structure is your best bet to get the little man up to the top.
Spirit Camera isn’t out just yet, but it will be soon, and it’s a slightly more serious, hopefully more terrifying experience than any of the other games discussed here. In Spirit Camera, you will use the 3DS’ cameras to explore presumably your own home in search of ghosts. The game will release in North America on Friday.
Rabbids: Alive & Kicking
When the Rabbids came to Kinect, there were a few games that placed the Rabbids in your living room as you tried to stomp on their heads like Whack-a-Mole. It was about as exciting as the previous sentence makes it sound, which is to say not much.
Reality Fighters lets you take your battles to the street, or to the couch, or to the coffee shop, or to the bathroom – basically anywhere you play your Vita. The game superimposes your fighters onto whatever backdrop happens to be in front you. Mortal Kombat Vita features a similar feature in that it is exactly the same, only with Mortal Kombat fighters.
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That poor cat. Maybe video games are bad.
Invizimals sounds like a Benvention.
I see AR becoming a whole new, and very entertaining, type of gaming, eventually. With the technology we have now, it won't be able to surpass the party trick and tech demo, but I believe that one day, this will be a really cool way to play. It's just a matter of time.
My AR cards for Kid Icarus: Uprising never worked except one. What a rip off if you ask me...
AR is even further in the crapper right now than mo-control.
No mention of the Vita games? Cliff Diving is actually somewhat entertaining, the soccer game is a cool concept at least, and T@G looks freaking awesome, just wish it would come over to the US.
If life was a videogame, I'd play it more often, but for now, I'll just be spending life playing some REAL games.
Double Fine, Spirit Camera and Reality Fighters stand out to me the most.
I love my 3DS.
That double fine game looks like it'd be great for Replay.
It will get there eventually. A lot of companies are invested in this in one way or another, so it will eventually start coming together as something reasonably useful.