The growth of augmented reality technology over the years has a lot to do with the rise in AR gaming. Over the last few years, we have gone from seeing a small number of titles to a wider range of applications and options. Some are more successful than others, but they all showcase the potential to bring AR and gaming theory into exciting new opportunities. These aren’t games as we used to know them. There aren’t simple puzzles and platforms on your TV screen. Instead, the game is all around you and it encourages you to make more of a physical effort.
With this in mind, we also need to consider the impact of AR technology on physical education. AR gaming opens up new worlds superimposed onto the world around us. They encourage us to step outside and interact with the world in a different way. The impact on PE, therefore, could be substantial with the right application. Games that encourage physical activity to earn rewards can get kids fitter. Applications with a focus on anatomy give a greater sports science lesson with a fun element. There is room for schools and physio centers to embrace this for better outcomes.
Gaming is one of the leading industries taking advantage of this AR revolution. This is a chance for developers to take franchises and concepts in a whole new direction. We went from the flat pixels of the 80s, into the awkward 3D modeling of the 90s, to the motion capture of the 2000s, and then the AR of the 2010s. The industry is ever-evolving for the most realistic and immersive gameplay possible. VR headsets are a starting point in one direction. But AR headsets could be the true future. We have already seen a series of major games taking advantage of AR in recent years.
We have to start with Pokémon Go because it was such an incredible phenomenon with millions of players and downloads. Collecting and capturing these infamous little creatures became more rewarding and challenging as the creatures were scattered around the landscape in virtual maps. You had to physically explore your real environment to interact with these creatures. It led to a social and physical gaming experience like no other while staying pretty true to the concepts and designs of the original games.
Minecraft was an obvious choice for this expansion because of the basic premise of the original gameplay. In Minecraft, you manipulate the digital world to make materials and reconstruct the landscape. It allows for creativity on a different level to other games and is supremely popular. So, the idea of bringing this into the real world was a no-brainer. The ideas are the same as the generation of blocks and a manipulated environment. It is just happening in your living room, your garden, or anywhere else you choose to take the console.
Love him or hate him, Conker the Squirrel is back and causing havoc in the AR world. This is an interesting title, and not just because this rodent was one of the first well-known characters to branch out into this world. This game takes platform gaming out of the 2D experience and into the 3D world. The levels and obstacles are real-life objects in the space around you. It sounds complex but also highly engaging. You have to assume that other tech giants are looking at opportunities like this for AR versions of other games. How far could we take an AR version of Mario or Sonic with the right tech?
Then, there is Fragments. This is a crime-investigation game where players can use a device called the HoloLens to manipulate their environment. The HoloLens is able to scan the area and create a new game’s environment based on the room. Your living room becomes a crime scene. You can then manipulate the objects in front of you, talk to NPCs, and embrace other aspects of the software to handle the case.
Finally, there is Ingress. This transforms the world around players into the landscape from a sort of parallel universe version. Players can dive in and pick their side as they deal with a new energy in the universe. The gameplay alters depend on the player’s interactions with the energy and its influence. There are two groups of players. “The Enlightened” want to embrace the power and take advantage of it. “The Resistance”, on the other hand, isn’t convinced that’s such a good idea and wants to defend the world. The game takes RPG games and real-world concepts and combines them into something unique.
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