Your Favorite Augmented Reality Games Of All Time

Our inaugural post from early 2008: “Top 10 AR demos that will…” sparked huge interest. Since then, we have witnessed loads of AR games swarming the market.

Well, that may be an exaggeration – but the industry has certainly transitioned from delivering mere demos to actual games; from proof of concepts to commercial products; from “Yay” to “W00t!”

We have covered these AR games before, but Today is your chance to choose.

Vote for your all time favorite augmented reality games!

Our only rules for nomination:

1) It’s a fun game

2) It registers computer graphics on reality

3) It runs on commercial off the shelf hardware.

Here are the 18 nominees in chronological order (when first surfaced on the web):


1. The Invisible Train

2004 – Graz University (PDA, Gizmondo)

2. Catapult

March 2006 – Gizmondo (Gizmondo)

3. Eye of Judgment

May 2006 – Sony (Sony EyeToy)

4. AR Tennis

June 2006 – Fanta/HIT Lab NZ (Nokia)

5. WizQubes

March 2007 – MXR

6. Level Head

October 2007 – Julian Oliver (webcam)

7. ARis

July 2008 – Geisha Entertainment (Webcam)

8. Kweekies

October 2008 – Int13 (Nokia, iPhone)

9. Ghostwire

October 2008 – A Different Game (Nintendo DSi, Nokia)

10. Tower of Defense

December 2008 – Sergey Ten

11. Topps

March 2009 – Total Immersion (Webcam)

12. Scope

March 2009 – Frantz Lasorne (Goggles)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

13. Do the Dip

April 2009 – MacDonald’s (webcam)

14. ARhrrrr!

May 2009 – GA Tech and SCAD-Atlanta (Nvidia Tegra)

15. Candy Wars

May 2009 – GA Tech and SCAD-Atlanta (Gizmondo)

16. Art of Defense

May 2009 – GA Tech (Nokia)

17. RubberDuckzilla

May 2009 – Oasis (webcam)

18. InVizimals

June 2009 – Sony (PSP)


Which are your favorites?

Share with your friends and find out their favorites!
(share button at top right of page)

The winners will receive the lucrative –

“Games Alfresco Hall of Fame Award”

39 Responses

  1. As I reviewed the nominees, I realized that some of them are AR for the sake of being AR. The ARRRrrr zombie shooting game is style of game that works the same on a PC. The AR part of it, is you get to move around the table. I find the more interesting games to be the ones that you couldn’t play on a PC (or console). Invizimals and GhostWire have that quality because they force you to interact with your enviroment in ways you can’t do on a PC.

    Fun poll. :)

  2. Yes, I kinda agree with the above too.
    A lot is just a new way of altering the camera view without effecting the gameplay much.
    This can add a lot to the userability of a game, and add the “wow” factor a bit, but its not using AR to the full.

    Ghostwire and LevelHead are my favs for that reason; They use the AR as a more essential part of the gameplay.
    Of course, given I havnt played any of these games myself ( :( ) I cant fairly judge gameplay, so I’m more going by the concept/videos of the result.

  3. It’s unfortunated that there aren’t more immersive games in there, for example using HMDs. For example the WARGame demo that offers a much more immersive AR game experience:

  4. Interesting poll, Ori. I personally think it’s not yet the time to do something like this … most of these games are pretty simple and unfinished (including ours), more game prototypes or tech demos. A year from now, I would expect things to be very different.

    I agree with the comments that the more interesting games interact with the environment in interesting ways. But, if you use the “physical world” metric, you pretty much eliminate almost all of the games. In the “age of marker/map tracking”, that’s a pretty high bar. For example, most of these games take place around one marker or a fixed marker board. They don’t interact with the world, just with a prop.

    In Art of Defense and Candy Wars, we explicitly used multiple movable markers to try and make the tangible relationship to the real world somewhat meaningful. In ARghhhh, we had the camera (device) be something that could be hit (it “is” you, not just a lens on the world). I disagree with the “PC” comment above, since many of these games (including ARghhhh) rely on the fact that controlling the camera view is natural and simple and can be done WHILE you are doing something else; that’s a key feature of handheld AR games that differentiates them from PC games.

    For example, Invizimals uses “the world” in a trivial way that is entirely unexplained in the video; the game itself takes place around a single marker. However, it tries to provide interesting interactions via shadows, etc. Levelhead tries to leverage the “prop” (cube) in an interesting way. Some for a few of the other games.

    BTW, I personally don’t think games like Ghostwire are really AR, more “location based” 2D video mixing, much like the old Mozzies game on those Siemen’s phone; they doesn’t really register the graphics with the world, they are just situated around the player in 2D, and not really aligned with anything.

  5. When it first came out, Ghostwire spurred a debate whether it is a real augmented reality game. Here is more evidence suggesting it DOES register graphics on the real world, in fact by using a heavily modified version of Artoolkit:

  6. To those who are missing “more immersive games…with HMDs”, keep in mind that the focus on this poll is games that can be played on off the shelf hardware; games that have the potential to reach a large audience today.
    I personally like WARGame, but it seems to be limited to the setup built especially in the experiment.
    I’d be happy to be proven wrong…;)

  7. Re: Ghostwire (Ori’s comment). I didn’t think the final version of the game (at least the video I saw a while ago, which I assume is the one above) used markers.

    I’d be curious which version of the ARToolkit they used; if they used a heavily modified version of the open source (GPL’d) one, they need to make the source to their modifications AND game publicly available (to satisfy the GPL license). Much like Julian does with Levelhead. (The main reason I try to avoid using GPL’d libraries). :)

  8. Ghostwire for the DS clearly use’s some sort of tracking.
    It might not be fixing to points in 3D space, but from the trailer you can see the ghost moving roughly in sycn up/down with the camera.
    Thats good enough for me, imho, especialy with hardware like the DSi which isnt especialy powerfull.

    As for more immersive/HMDs, I think the key is to develope ways for the same games to happily run on many levels of hardware.
    Id like to see a lot of this stuff running on the Vuzix iWrap when it comes out, for example.

  9. […] if you haven’t already voted, stop by Ori’s poll on the best AR games (so far).  Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this […]

  10. @ Blair – I appologize if I gave the impression I don’t like the games like Arrrgghhh. The game looks like a blast. And you do make a good point, the difference from PC is that “you” become the shooter as opposed to using a keyboard/mouse combo.

    My thought on AR using the enviroment more was about differentiating these games from their PC/console counterparts more. From the expert eye, like yourself, you understand the differences more acutely. But to grab people’s attention that have never heard of AR, I think the difference has to be something tangable that people get right away. That “OMG!” moment that gets people to want to buy it because the game is so different from anything they’ve ever played before.

    Honest, I think a good goal for getting the word out on AR games would be to get it mentioned on X-Play or Attack of the Show! on G4. That would show they’re ready for prime time. :)

  11. Total Immersion are the best men in AR.
    They kill other firms, specially in tracking and visual effects.
    I think they would try some new exciting ways in all new brand of application.
    Search Total Immersion on YouTube and have fun in cutting edge technology.

  12. I know, personaly, I want to buy shares in TI, but they arnt on the stock market.

  13. Funniest interaction and game play I have tested so far, best way to add something new to an existing product.

  14. Nice plug for TI, Chrisalys … their tech is good, but the haven’t really done much interesting with it. That’s reasonable; right now, most AR interest is coming from advertisers who want shallow gee wiz stuff.

    I can’t believe the Topps game is winning; sure, it’s “real”, but the games are lame. I can’t imagine anyone buying baseball cards because of this.

  15. @Thomas No offense taken! I only commented because I feel it’s important to share the “expert eye” with others who care (that’s why I blog and comment on blogs). I don’t think AR will take off at all if people focus on the fluff and eye candy. More importantly, I think AR is on a cusp, and if people (real people, and people with the deep pockets) get flooded with shallow crap, AR will become the next VR (impossible to sell, negative connotations, etc).

  16. great post , replies and games. loved reading it

  17. […] the majority of them are variations on the theme of 3D characters dancing on top of live video, or games. As time goes on, however, creative developers will imagine new, creative, and useful applications […]

  18. […] Nice list of Augmented Reality Games […]

  19. […] reality poses all kinds of exciting opportunities for gaming and advertising alike. However, we sometimes like to ignore those and think about what can go […]

  20. […] for example, this siege game that can be played on a desktop: (There are more videos like this at Games Alfresco, a site dedicated to AR […]

  21. […] the dreams of many a nerd for years now.  Despite some ads, smallish research examples and other projects, its inclusion by major market companies has been limited or uninspiring (think: eyetoy). […]

  22. […] notable things that happened in June- Ori asks us all about our favorite AR games of all time, Noah breaks onto the scene with his Touchless Glove Interface, and Goggle presents their paper on […]

  23. […] Josh McVeigh-Schultz shared Your Favorite Augmented Reality Games Of All Time « Games Alfresco […]

  24. Totally digg your website thanks a lot for the info

  25. Very intereresting reading. thx

  26. Nice writeup, nice screenshots

  27. WOW

    Great amazing.

  28. […] 2009, we have seen many quasi-augmented reality (AR) games on the iphone, some fun concept AR games (on other platforms and devices with no real commercial […]

  29. […] and gaming – two lists here and […]

  30. Might also want to check out Pocket Jets (AR) available in the App store now. Here’s a promo video that explains what’s it is!

    www [dot]

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