When Apps Steal From the Real: Augmented Reality Games

When Apps Steal From the Real: Augmented Reality Games

Jeff Heaton
Nov 16, 2011

We don't know about you, but we're kind of tired of Angry Birds. With such a powerful computer in our pockets, and the bar set high by the aforementioned avian app, we've started to eye augmented reality games for our next escape. Here are some of the games we've been playing around with.

Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner ($2.99 | iOS)
As the video above shows this game is a ton of fun and a ton of public embarrassment if played outside. You are Luke Skywalker in the gunner's turret blasting away at TIE fighters to the sounds of Han Solo and Princess Leia's encouragement (or berating depending on how you do). Ships fly at you from all directions, prompting you to swing around and, depending on how immersed you get, bob and weave all over the place. Apparently the "Arcade" in the title means there's more to come. We look forward to it.

Droid Shooting (Free | Android)
Similar to Falcon Gunner, but for Android, Droid Shooting lets you enjoy yourself while possibly looking foolish. Green droids woosh by as you blast them. It's probably most safe to play this in an office chair. While the display isn't as exciting as Falcon Gunner, it's also a free app so we can't expect too much more and it's still a fun time-killer.

Parallel Kingdom AOT (Free | iOS, Android, Web)
Parallel kingdom is an MMORPG that uses your phone's GPS to incorporate your world as elements of the game. It's got everything you'd expect from an MMORPG, but with location awareness that lets you roam and rule the area you're in as long as it's got a map. This brings the MMORPG experience literally closer to home and lets you work with your true neighbors.

Piclings ($.99 | iOS)
Piclings is your classic augmented reality game (if there is such a thing). It lets you use your real life pictures as the game board for the adventures of a bulbous little creature with a leaf on its head. Regular photos are interesting, but drawings are even better. It's not a massively immersive or challenging game, but if you've ever wanted to create your own this is one easy way to do it.

Life of George ($29.99 for bricks, Free app | iOS)
While reality isn't quite as augmented by this game as it is by the user, we still love the concept. You're given a mat and a collection of lego blocks from which you must build and capture perfect replicas of what your iPhone shows you before the time runs out. If you've ever played with legos you know how wonderfully addicting they can be. This just takes that to a new level, and adds competition.

What's your favorite augmented reality game? Tell us what we should be playing in the comments.

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