Googling “Augmented reality RPG” (without quotes) returns about 150 000 results, for me, here in Québec. 150 000 results for an idea that catchy means crap. It says “it doesn’t exist”. And it’s a shame.
Social geotagging games, like Foursquare and Gowalla, are growing exponentially. I love Foursquare. I’m the Mayor of my workplace, of my favorite bar and of the bookstore where one of my friends works. I check-in at the library, at the restaurant, on the ferry. It’s useless but I enjoy it (hey, isn’t it the core definition of a game?)
What if someone takes the idea of tagging your hangouts and puts it fantasy? (The idea could go sci-fi or steampunk, but let’s keep it fantasy for now) One could build a STRONG real-time RPG on smartphones/handheld devices.
You could begin by giving your city a better name. Québec could become Fort Quebec. Now, you could remap the venues and give them a fantasy flavor. The shopping mall becomes the public market. The drugstore is an apoticary. The liquor store is a brewry. Your usual garage becomes a farrier house, and, well, you get the idea.
Now, adds some character classes and/or races. The fearsome wizard, or the sneaky ninja, or whatever. You start 1st level, and when you check-in somewhere, and have some free time, you could play some random encounters. Or buy some gear at the blacksmith’s shop. With cash you gain by checkiin-in at your job. (For moderation purpose, you could have that many “action points” per day) You could fight gangs of burglars in the streets, or boost your stats at the gym (eh, I mean, the training grounds) or study some new spells in the library of your local academy.
Now add some multiplayer capacities. What if you’d see some stranger beating the crap out of your favorite bartender. So you’d dash there, check-in, and make that felon pay. Or you could join a friend in a co-op battle against a dangerous necromancer storming the halls of the academy. What if another player noticed your attempt at stealing some gear from a scroll shop?
The possibilities of adding your physical location to a virtual world RPG are countless. I’d love to see such a game to life. What are you waiting for, indies?
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be at the inn. There’s a band of new bards in town, don’t want to miss it.
What are YOUR dream game? Any unresolved desires laying around? Any wish for a brave new game? Drop a comment!
UPDATE: A reader pointed this game to me, subject related.