Unless you’ve been sleeping under a Geodude, chances are you, or someone you know, has been playing Pokémon Go. The new augmented reality (AR) game has had some surprising results: Nintendo breaking stock market records, trainers finding dead bodies and, maybe most amazingly, people exercising.
It’s a phenomenon attracting Pokémon lovers old and new, and giving the franchise watercooler cred it’s never experienced before (and we’re talking about games that have sold in the hundreds of millions). This is the kind of brand awareness companies would kill for, thanks to the combination of familiarity, ease of (addictive) gameplay and the most successful integration of AR we’ve seen. It’s only a matter of time before other franchises get in on the action.
And speaking of which, here are three games that should – and probably will – get made, like tomorrow.
Harry Potter GO
Imagine a Harry Potter augmented reality app where, with your phone, you scan your face or the face of friends – similar to Snapchat’s selfie filters. With the magic of AR, the Sorting Hat appears, ready to sort the “student” into one of the four Hogwarts Houses.
“Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There's talent, oh yes. And a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you?”
The anticipation would be excruciating, especially if it was a one-chance-only sorting; once you’re designated Slytherin (or, God forbid, Hufflepuff) that’s your house. No do-overs. No re-trys. JUST LIKE THE BOOKS. Once you’ve been given your colours – red and gold for us because, duh, we’re Gryffindor – there would be designated hot spots for Houses around the city where you’d hang with fellow classmates, collect ingredients for potions, practice spell-casting (Lumos would activate your flashlight, of course) and even duel. Players would gain experience, opening new, more powerful spells and discover rare items that would allow them to craft powerful wands.
The endgame? Once a year, all of the houses unite for TheOne Tournament, competing for top wizarding honours in the city. Witches and wizards from all over will duel until only one is left standing, bringing honour to his or her house and claiming bragging rights for the entire year. We’re as excited as a third year at Hogsmeade just thinking about it.
Zip up your flightsuit and strap on your proton pack, it’s time to kick some ectoplasmic ass. With the new reboot hitting theatres, now is the perfect time to capitalize on this beloved franchise. This would be an easy translation from the movies to AR, as you could crib 90 per cent of what makes Pokémon Go successful by swapping a squirtle for a Slimer.
Picture launching Ghostbusters Go™ on a dark, foggy night, hearing the pleasant thrum as you heat up your proton gun (doh, rey, Egon!) when a blazing ball of psychokinetic energy comes bursting from around the corner. Capture the ghoul (which can only be seen from your phone screen) with your proton beam, wearing out its stamina before throwing out a trap. Once the spirit is captured it can be traded for in-game currency, which allows you to upgrade your proton pack, strengthen your traps and buy new equipment like proton grenades, slime blowers and more.
You’ll need the upgraded hardware when you face off against boss ghosts, giant spectres who are too big to be contained by your screen – you’ll have to pan your phone to see the top of these lumbering apparitions. To tackle these foes, you’ll group together with three other Busters (yay, real-life interaction!) to wear down and eventually trap the biggest bogeys in the game. Just don’t cross the streams. It would be bad.
Men in Black GO
Wait, hear us out on this one. Yes, this franchise has seen better days (although a planned crossover with the 21 Jump Street franchise should drum up renewed interest). And yes, no one is on pins and needles waiting for a Men in Black game, and we know – anything associated with Will Smith at this point gets a yawn as big as Uncle Phil. But the MIB universe has some intriguing ideas that could translate fantastically to augmented reality.
MIBG could play out like this: players choose to identify as MIB agents or secret aliens. Agents would be notified when an alien player is “nearby,” and then use their camera to scan humans in the area (really, your phone would be communicating with the alien player’s device). A timer would begin, and agents would have a limited amount of time to flush out their prey. Alien players would gain points the longer they remained hidden, and, if the timer hits zero, perform sneak attacks that steal experience and items from the agents. If the agent discovers the alien before time runs out, a turn-based battle will ensue where players use famous weapons like the noisy cricket, de-atomizers and neurolyzers.
This game of cat and mouse would add a sense of tension and drama that current augmented reality apps lack, and would make for exciting real world scenarios. Plus, we just really want the Men in Black soundtrack to be a thing again.
Have an idea for for the next big AR game? Email us your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.