Augmented Reality

March 4, 2007

Once, during a visit to the Fisherman’s Wharf or Pier 39 in San Francisco, I played a virtual reality game in an arcade place. I was equipped with a helmet, goggles, and a (and thankfully fake) laser rifle, and then I stood in a futuristic conical-shaped booth. And when the game was turned on, I was suddenly immersed in another world – a cartoonish world – where I could physically turn around and shoot monsters behind me, and even crouch and duck laser bullets coming my way. And I’d press a button on the laser rifle to stimulate walking (or else I’d be bouncing off the walls or falling into the water under the pier!). One of the most coolest experiences I ever had, and I thought it too bad I didn’t have one of those at home. (To play video games, I swear, and not for anything else!)

Enter Augmented Reality. Instead of creating an entirely new (and often cartoonish) world inside a helmet or goggle, augmented reality uses the real world around you — and overlays that with game objects. That is, you would still see your own living room, and at the same time you’ll be taking virtual shots at cartoon game objects coming toward you from the living room couch, from the TV behind you, from your cat, even from the neighbor’s house through the window and across the lawn. You’d have to turn around to take (again, virtual!) shots at objects trying to come in from behind, and don’t forget to look below and above you — they come from the ceiling and floors too!

What, “this is preposterous,” you say? “Too 2050?” Nope. It’s here. And it’s on my personal digital assistant — a Palm Treo 650 that has a camera built in. I’ve got a game on my Treo called Arcade Reality, by ToySpring. It is one of the coolest advances in technology I’ve seen in a long time. Here’s a link to a video of this game made by the developer (I tried to embed it into this blog, but for some reason I’m unable to do so.) (I finally was able to find out how to embed Youtube videos into this blog.)

Basically, I stand in the middle of the room, and with the game running on the Treo, I swivel right, left, and I look up and down, and I shoot Space Invader-esque aliens coming (or shooting) at me. And after a few shots, they burst satisfyingly into little pieces. Can even send out rockets to destroy stuff or bring back boxes with supplies. Gives my secret annihilation urges some outlet — good for the family, I tell you.

But, boy, does this game make me look foolish while playing. I’ve had friends play this game in front of groups of people — totally hysterical, I tell you.

playing arcade reality 1 playing arcade reality 2

playing arcade reality 3

playing arcade reality 4 playing arcade reality 5

Time for me to indulge my shoot-em-up urges. Bye.

Edit: another blogger just wrote about Arcade Reality, and gave a very glowing (and in-depth) review.


One Response to “Augmented Reality”

  1. Barry Says:

    That pix of you, yes very strange to watch you like that when you play the game here in the house. =)

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