Augmented Reality (AR) Games Bring Your 3DS Experience To A Whole New Level

Augmented Reality (AR) Games Bring Your 3DS Experience To A Whole New Level

When you play video games, you’re either sitting with a controller in your hands, watching your television or holding your handheld and staring at a screen and, barring other immersion accessories like headphones or 3D glasses, that’s the extent of your interaction with the game. You get to press buttons and have your character on the screen follow your inputs. Well Nintendo decided that the gamer taking a passive role in the gaming experience just wasn’t enough and have added a unique feature to the 3DS’ gameplay in the way of AR gaming.

AR stands for Augmented Reality and, for you as a gamer, means that you have tons of all new ways to interact with your games. Whether directly as part of the game, or as a feature and function of particular titles, players can use the gyroscope and camera’s to play a game with the world around them. The best example of how AR gaming works is packaged in the box with your 3DS as a set of 6 AR cards called AR games. There are five AR cards of popular Nintendo mascot characters that you can set on a table and watch come to life through your 3DS screen. The last card, however, is a “?” block and this is where the magic happens.

You can use that “?” block card to play a set of mini-games and interact with the environment around you. Games like fishing, archery, and “AR Shot” (similar to pool) let you play games with the world around you, using your 3DS as a bow, pool cue, or fishing pole to play interactive games with an area around your card. Another unique game that uses AR functions is called Face Raiders, a piece of pre-installed software on the 3DS that lets you take pictures of yourself, your family, and your friends and then shoot their faces out of the sky by moving and aiming the 3DS using both the cameras and gyroscope.

Aside from those examples, there are lots of titles that bring you closer to the action with their unique features. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time gives players new control of their slingshot, bow, or just the first person camera by utilizing controls similar to Face Raiders to aim their projectile weapons. Another game with a unique AR function is Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir. This survival/horror game gives you full control over the exploration of your environment by using AR motion sensitivity to aim your camera and see the environment as though your 3DS were just a window for you to see into the haunted confines of the game’s setting.

Tetris Axis takes the classic puzzle game to new frontiers, giving you two AR based game modes to play with. AR Marathon lets you play Tetris on your table or counter space with an AR generated play area while AR climber lets you build around a 3D tower to progress a climbing man higher and higher up it. With each new 3DS game released, new AR functions are being utilized and that makes me excited to see the fun experimental ways Nintendo will give us to play their games.