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Augmented reality gaming, a fad too far?

Submitted by on Tuesday, 20 July 20106 Comments

I like computer games as much if not more than the next person. There is nothing better than relaxing by switching on the TV, killing a few aliens or shooting a few bad guys from the comfort of the living room chair. I even partake in the odd iPhone game from time to time as I enjoy a spot of casual gaming.  However, is it just me or are augmented reality game developers going out their way to get me out the house?

There are a couple of augmented reality, geo-location aware games available across Nokia, iPhone, and Android platforms that require you to leave the comfort of your home to play them. Gigaputt for example is an urban golf game where your neighbourhood becomes the course. You make your way around the course by walking from one location to another using Google Maps to navigate, and to putt the ball in the hole using your iPhone. Fortunately for urban sloth’s like myself the game has a Snoring Mode where you can play indoors with out the need to venture into the great outdoors.

TagDis is another example of a geo-location game that uses augmented reality. With TagDis you drop graffiti at your current location in your bid to become the king of an area. It’s simple and addictive as you’re free to use it at anytime and anywhere. I have my lazy moments where I sit on the train seeing how many tags I can drop before we go in to a tunnel. As a result, I own pretty much all of East London now.

Nokia entered the augmented reality gaming market with a game called ‘Conspiracy For Good’. The game developed in conjunction with Tim Kring (the director of Heroes), sees players pit their wits against a corrupt company, using their Nokia device players can take on assignments in their city to help bring the company down. Rather than being a simple game where you wonder aimlessly to the end of the road and back, participants need to follow clues on the games website. These clues will require the player to travel to locations and point at objects and images in the real-world using the devices camera to discover the next clue.  The production values for Conspiracy For Good are high with lots of conspiracy type movies to engage players so full credit to Nokia for putting in the effort.

Conspiracy For Good

Personally I am not sold on the theme for this particular game, political thrillers, corruption and global self-awareness are not something I find interesting outside of a Tom Clancy novel, but that’s just me, I think if the concept and story is right it could be an interesting idea.

Are games like Conspiracy For Good where you need to actively travel your city to solve problems the type of games that you mobile/augmented reality gamers want to play, or are these games a fad doomed to have been a nice idea?

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  • AutumnalDusk said:

    I think that the gaming and social media-related apps are what are going to draw in Mr. and Mrs. Average Consumer to AR. Look at sites like facebook, where you now get more posts about your friend’s recent gameplay than their lives.

    If they can be brought in via gaming and social apps, then that will create the next market for the more ‘serious’ apps, I believe. Without a broad consumer base, AR will never truly realize it’s full potential.

    CfG is a great social media experiment, and I’m keenly interested to see how it fares. Will it catch on, or become the next layer of roleplay geekdom?

    Great writing, and keep up the good work!

  • lester said:


    I agree with you. Change for Good is an interesting concept, I’m not sure however if the future of gaming is travelling to physical locations.

    Perhaps it’s just because the theme for this game doesn’t appeal. Roku’s Reward, a concept game from 3 years ago (think of an AR/location based game crossed with Indiana Jones and you’re in the right area) hits just about every ten games list, so perhaps there is a big demand.

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