Augmented reality and the “Barely Game”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of play lately. Nothing linear or even cohesive; just ponderings and lots of what-ifery. Yet I took a couple of my thoughts and sent them off to a developer friend of mine, suggesting that we even consider building an augmented reality game for the iPhone platform.

We quickly realized we had neither the time nor the resources such an effort would require, but it created a good thought exercise for me in terms of play via the iPhone. That is, we touch things and take actions through such games—rolling balls, landing planes, etc.—but as adults, we rarely actively pretend. And pretending is crucial to immersive gameplay in any sort of augmented reality situation.

So then. How can AR be used through devices like the iPhone to create situations that require pretending as an active component of gameplay? How must good narratives and solid storytelling be constructed for such games? I have lots of questions in my mind about these things. Of course I have no answers, but I think Russell Davies has some great ideas—notably that of the Barely Game—from his recent talk at Playful.

posted 11/30/09 at 2:30pm to Uncategorized · 1 reply · »

1 reply to “Augmented reality and the “Barely Game””

  1. Rik said:

    Awesome link! Definitely got my mind spinning.

    The first thing that pops up in my mind after the virtual geocache scavenger hunt–which I totally love…big fan of anything “treasure hunty”… is Assassins Guild.

    As far as I know, the rules are pretty simple and require no story. Someone is assigned to hit you, but you don’t know who they are. With the iPhone model, you just need a way to communicate phone-to-phone to someone on the network that they’ve been hit.

    It’s interesting to imagine in a city of random people what interesting games we might play. And it’s not like some of us don’t pretend play A LOT. I mean “Internet friends”? Pretending that I actually KNOW these people? But there’s an interactivity there… an interactivity that I don’t really have with IRL “real people”. So playing out fantasy games with imaginary friends on the street doesn’t seem like much of a stretch… but does raise a whole ‘nother level of “virtual reality” issues when it starts crossing over. It’s kinda like we’ve for the last 10 years been right on the brink with Reality 1.9b… and things are about to change. What fun!

    Dec 1, 2009 at 1:31pm

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