Augmented reality is gaining buzz, tickling imaginations and will eventually enter the mainstream zeitgeist.  Eventually, many companies will wonder if they should take advantage of this new technology. 

Some should jump in with both feet and some should stay on the sidelines

I would like to present 10 franchises from the previous decades that could use augmented reality to reinvigorate their brand with an AR game:

1 – TRON

Tron has a new movie coming out in 2010 so its sure to get a huge boost from that, but I’d like to see an AR console game following the movie.  Let us control mini-lightbikes in our living room, or play the Tron-pong game against other opponents with the “disc” being an AR marker and controller all-in-one. 



2 – Smurfs

Smurfs?  Yeah, really, smurfs.  If you’re not familiar with this 80’s cartoon, then you won’t get it.  But smurfs in your living room battling Gargamel and Azrael amongst the toadstools in a RTS game would be an absolute blast.  Plus, when you win a smurf vs. smurf RTS match, you get to tell your opponent, “I smurfed you real good.”



3 – The Ultima Series

The Ultima series is one of the more storied RPGs in video game history.  Lord British aka Richard Garrette created a franchise that kept people up at night exploring his vast worlds.  One advantage that console AR could have is bringing the action into your living room.  I’d love to see a landscape drawn onto my living room floor that lived and breathed with the stories of Ultima.  Controlling my avatar and fighting miniature battles would give me and millions of other nostalgic gamers joy. 


4 – Lemmings

 Lemmings = crack.  Enough said.  Watching these little head bobbing mammals cavort through your living room to their potential deaths, while trying save them from themselves equals pure gaming gold.  Lemmings were the original tower defense game. 


5 – Minesweeper

Getting blown up on your living room floor can be entertaining right?   

6 – Scorched Earth

The game, while simple, was played heavily by my friends and I in college.  I remember it as an early, and great, shareware game that had wide appeal.  Using my living room as the play field, I’d love to sit on opposite couches and blow someone up (or play a computer). 


7 – Risk

Imaging playing the board game, but when you make moves on the board, it relays them as battle scenes on the TV.  Cameras can easily track both the dice and the chits that represent your armies.  Generals could stand behind you and offer suggestions or mock you for your infantile tactics.


8 – Jenga

Who needs real blocks when you could play Jenga with all sorts of crazy items: lolcats, buses, rubix cubes, giant dice, meat sticks or Hulk Hogan lunch boxes. 



9 – Pictionary

Pictionary is a game from the 1980’s involving making drawings and having your teammates guess what they represent.  The game could use a huge upgrade with augmented reality.  Having 3D objects to interact with and drawings that come alive could make the game a smash success.


10 – The Price Is Right!

Since 3D objects can be brought into your living room, why not bring in the wacky and wierd games of the Price is Right! like Plinko or the big number wheel.  Part of the fun of the game show is the tackiness, so why not be able to play at home.


And as a bonus, because I’m a huge fan of AOTS, I’m throwing in this video “The Girl at the Video Game Store” by Parry Gripp with Kevin Pereira and Oliva Munn.  Its here for two reasons: one, I’d like to see some AR games on AOTS, and two, I’d like to see some AR games on AOTS.


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

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