Has Nintendo Finally Began Using Augumented Reality Again?

If you’ve been reading Nintendo 3DS Daily for a while now, you may remember that I wrote an article about how the 3DS’s AR features were going ignored by Nintendo and how so few games seemed to make any real use of them.  If you missed it the first time, you can read that article here:

Has Nintendo Give up on Augumented Reality Article

But now that Mario Party 3DS and this whole ‘Photos Together with Super Mario’ thing have been announced, could it be the case that Nintendo are finally ready to actually do something with the feature.  I think so, and I think that the way Mario Party is implementing this whole Augumented Reality business shows that Nintendo have quite a bit more confidence in it than they used to.

How is this?  Well look at this Mario Party screen and tell me what’s different about the whole AR setup used:

Mario Party AR Mini Game

That’s right!  Actual moving characters and gameplay that seems like it’s based on button controls in an Augumented Reality generated scenario!  Prior to this, all AR stuff in Nintendo games was pretty much non interactive.  Oh sure, you could press buttons to shoot things or vaguely interact with the generated imagery, but every single game was basically done in First Person View with the 3DS itself being moved as your main control scheme.

This on the other hand seems to be different.  Mario and Toad are moved with the control stick and buttons on this net surface completely independently of how you move the 3DS.  Heck, it even seems like you’ll have to move the 3DS camera ‘around’ the virtual object to see them on the other side!  It’s seeming proof that actual GAMES can work with AR functionality, stuff that’s more than a cross between Pokemon Snap and a theme park shooting gallery.

So it could well be indication Nintendo is going to use AR for ‘proper’ games as well as mere ‘app’ like experiences such as Face Raiders or Pokemon Dream Radar. Something allowing you to controls characters seperate from the camera like the above mini game could be the preclude to all kinds of neat things.  Like making Super Smash Bros 4’s characters seemingly fight on your desk/bed/wherever like kid from the Nintendo 64’s game’s intro!  Or heck, use it for better versions of real life toys or something.  Can you imagine how cool it’d be to have a Lego game use this (or something like Minecraft)?  You could end up building virtual block structures and interacting with them like in a game world!  Complete with none of the mess or clearing up or awkwardness gained from the real thing!  Other great possibilities that await with this type of AR usage include a strategy game similar to Pikmin (seriously, can you imagine if someone used either Pikmin or that old Army Men license for something based around Augumented Reality?  Could be huge) and real life  Pokemon/Yugioh/whatever style battles that appear to be taking place in front of you in ‘reality’!  Just make both player’s consoles generate the same image through the camera and have what appear to be Pokemon Stadium style battles in your room/backyard/school!  That could seriously make millions…

But even ignoring the possibilities, you know the other great thing that having AR mini games in Mario Party 3DS and working on stuff like this Mario camera app proves?  That Nintendo haven’t given up on the feature like I’d feared.  That Nintendo might plan on implementing it in more of their recent games and actually try using it for some of the ideas listed above.  Either way, it seems my worries about Augumented Reality being abandoned may have been too premature and I’m very much interested in seeing what creative uses Nintendo can come up with for the technology!

Photos Together with Super Mario; More Footage

Remember that Augumented Reality app that was supposedly released in Japan and that let you have Mario characters and objects ‘in the real world’ via AR cards?  Well here’s some new footage of it courtesy of Youtube user Nintendaan:

It’s not exactly much (and to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t look like something that particularly warrants a download or more than one use at the current time), but it’s still nice to see Nintendo doing something with Augumented Reality these days.  Do you have any interest in this app?  It is free if that helps…

Has Nintendo Given Up on Augumented Reality?

Back when the 3DS was new, there was a lot of hype around the idea of Augumented Reality, the idea that you could use the 3DS camera and cards to make objects seem to appear in the real world. It was meant to let you see your favourite characters in real life settings, play games with the real world as the backdrop and all kinds of other neat things. And to demonstrate this, we got the likes of Face Raiders and the built in AR Games packaged with the system.

But since then, it seems like Nintendo have basically given up on the whole concept. Sure we got the half working horror type that was Spirit Camera the Cursed Memoir and the card battling extras in Kid Icarus Uprising, but where’s the AR stuff in other 3DS games Nintendo?

Heck, given that Pokemon X and Y are coming out later this year, wouldn’t it have been a great idea to make use of AR for Pokemon battles in some form? I’m sure people would be willing to pay quite a bit to experience their Pokemon fighting each other in the real world, making the battles play out in a way that’s almost similar to the anime series.

And it’d be an absolutely massive internet phenomenon too. Can you imagine how many awesome pictures we’d get if you could use the 3DS camera/video recorder in battle with real world backdrops? We could have people showing their Pokemon battling against their friends teams in school/work/homes/all over the world and it’d be absolutely fantastic feature.

* Not to mention the turn based battles mean that any ‘lag’ wouldn’t be an issue

So why hasn’t Nintendo announced anything like that yet? It’s literally an idea that couldn’t fail to make the series even more popular…

The lack of AR also brings me back to that point I had about WarioWare on 3DS. Where is it? WarioWare is pretty much THE Nintendo tech demo series, yet on a console like the 3DS with a whole bunch of cool tech needing a use, there isn’t a single game to be seen.

Just think about it for two minutes. You could do tons of awesome mini games with Augumented Reality technology and the 3DS camera. 3D ones like Face Raiders or Spirit Camera? Would be pretty cool. Ones like the built in AR games? Cool. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Imagine the toys/souvenirs. AR Paper Plane where you have to guide a paper plane through a maze generated on a real world background via the 3DS camera. AR Pyoro where you’ve got to eat fruit or insects or whatever while avoiding getting hit, all while the gameplay looks like it’s taking place on the desk in front of you. And they could do something akin to the Nintendo/Mii photos app and have it so WarioWare characters and scenes could be ‘projected’ onto the real world landscape via AR. Like a cross between this:

3ds ar

And the comic creator from WarioWare DIY. I’m sure people could come up with a lot of creative uses for this, right?

WarioWare AR


Above: Maybe one toy could let you make scenes like the ones from the Japanese WarioWare Smooth Moves website?

Source: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/wii/rodj/

It’s not just WarioWare or Pokemon either. Super Smash Bros? That could work quite well with Augumented Reality, like being able to view your trophy gallery/collection as if it really existed in front of you and pose them in different ways. Or just somehow have two to four characters fighting on your desk like in the Super Smash Bros Nintendo 64 and Melee intros:

Above: Having Super Smash Bros characters fight on your desk = what we’ve been after for years.

There are just so many fantastically cool possibilities for Augumented Reality, yet Nintendo seem to have given up using any of them. Did any new games come out within the last year or so that used Augumented Reality in any way whatsoever? Are any planned for the future? Or did Nintendo just decide it wasn’t worth the hassle and that they’ll now pretend AR never existed?

What do you think? Has Nintendo given up on the concept of Augumented Reality? Should more 3DS games incorporate it?