Next up in this year’s VR Awards: Mixed Reality! It’s very easy to confuse mixed reality with Augmented reality. Ultimately, the way to set them apart is pretty easy: Augmented reality augments only one reality, ours, for use as a game, whereas mixed reality takes a computer environment that we could already interact with and adds in our reality.
To demonstrate what I mean by this, I will use Microsoft’s HoloLens as an example. It produces an environment that we could play with on a computer screen, but it can also take elements of our environment and use it as a part of their environment while displaying it our environment. Therefore, if I had a small ball in my environment and an enemy in the computer environment, I could throw the ball and hit the enemy. With Pokemon Go, I throw an in-game ball at a in-game pokemon using our reality as a backdrop. As you can see, with Pokemon Go, I’m not actually using any items from our world to mess with the environment in Pokemon Go. There’s a lot of semantics, but that’s a very basic overview of what a mixed reality is. Essentially, both environments can modify each other and not just the user.
Now that you’ve got that all cleared up, let’s jump into this year’s best Mixed Reality experiences for the 2016 VR Awards.
The Nominated Games:
Can You See Me Now? Is by far the best game that exemplifies what mixed reality is. The game is centered around a physical model of an actual city while also having an environment of its own mixed in with it. Instead of augmenting just one reality, it takes our reality and augments its own to include ours. The entire purpose is to chase other participants in the game around the city until they are caught or the people chasing them lose.
Ingress is a game where you can modify a battleground with your position in our reality. It is considered by many to be an Augmented Reality video game, but it’s only half true. The game has an environment of its own and we are adding to it with our position in reality, which means it is mixing the two existing realities.
Zombies, Run! Is an auditory experience as well as a mixed reality game and it exemplifies why mixed reality is truly different from the other types of reality. Zombies, Run! Has a virtual encampment that you must provide supplies for and the only way to do that is to make a run, which is done in our environment.
Addictive Gameplay Winner: Ingress
While Zombies, Run! Is truly an enjoyable game, it doesn’t actually provide more than a few episodes a week, which means it cuts off a lot of people who want to play the game even more. Since Ingress is never truly over, the gameplay could be considered infinite, which is a great selling point when we considered it for the VR Awards.
Starting Requirements Winner: Zombies, Run!
Can You See Me Now? is only available in London, which means you have to be in London in order to play it. Ingress requires you to go to other areas that have yet to be conquered by your faction, which means you might need to go burn some fossil fuels just to get to an area to play in. Zombies, Run!, on the other hand, just requires that you be on the route you would normally run on a daily basis. It will randomly assign a location of where your home base is.
Low Price Winner: Zombies, Run!
Ingress is a fantastically cheap game if you plan to never go outside of your own area, level up often, and never want to interact with those of your own faction. People who play this game often buy plane tickets to other cities, and even other countries, so to say that it has no cost is a bit misleading. If you’re in a big city, this could be very different as there would likely be a lot more to interact with. Therefore, since Zombies, Run! is the same price wherever you go but Ingress requires some to go very far to get any worthwhile gameplay out of it at a rather high price, Zombies, Run! comes out as the more affordable application as it is also free (while it may be limited). Can You See Me Now? has no known price.
Overall Winner: Zombies, Run!
Zombies, Run! is consistent about the fitness in its application. In order to get anything inside of the application, you have to run and there’s no way around it. Ingress, on the other hand, doesn’t require such intensity as you only need to be in an area in order to fight. Can You See Me Now? is also only available in London and very little is actually known about the game beyond that.
The Mixed Reality genre is still very small and doesn’t receive as much attention from developers as VR and AR. If you think we missed a game, please leave it down in the comments below so we can consider it in our next round of the VR Awards!