Snapshot Gaming

QR Mario

Have you ever noticed the insane overflow of photo-related apps on the app stores? There’s the ever popular Instagram, as well as a digital ocean’s worth of photo editing, stitching, and panoramic software. These apps can be undoubtedly useful on the rare occasion, but there is an extremely small amount of interaction involved. You are literally gluing a few pictures together or simply slapping a filter over one of your shots. With the state of the app market, I for one am absolutely astonished that no one has created a game that emphasizes and fully utilizes the camera attached to a cellphone or tablet.

Here are some possible game designs involving the use of a camera:

QR Codes

QR codes are all over the place, but they generally only serve an informative function.

Scanning a QR code more often than not directs you to a website, usually serving no other purpose. How about a game where you collect puzzle pieces, pets, or items by scanning random QR codes that you see around the city?

Just a regular QR code.
Sweet, I got a new sword!

The Card Game

This one would be like a childhood dream coming to life for me. You could develop a card game centered around obtaining allies and items by scanning physical cards. Let’s use Yu-Gi-Oh as an example:

Picture yourself collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards and being able to scan the cards you come across into your phone to play with other people via cellular device. Although not quite as dramatic, something like this immediately comes to mind:

This also opens the door to an opportunity to grant more people to play with, since you can play the game with people using cellphone networks or Wifi, rather than having to schedule a time to meet them in person.

The Quest

This one is by far the hardest to achieve technically, but it would be incredible if it could be done. The idea is to create treasure hunt-style game with the use of pictures taken from the device. It’s easier to describe with a demonstration, so here:

You wake up in your bed to birds chirping from a tree just outside your window. – Take a picture of a bird to continue.

You gain 50xp!
You gain 50xp!

You could use some fresh air. – Take a picture outdoors to continue. 

You gain 50xp!
You gain 50xp!

As you bask in the wonderful morning light, you turn around to see that you’re being attacked! – Take a picture of something dangerous to fight the attacker OR Take a picture of a road to run away.

Really? You're going to fight it? You gain 50xp!
Really? You’re going to fight it? You gain 50xp!

…..And that would be the general template of the third and final design of my snapshot series. I hope this post will spur some minds into making a mobile game that can take advantage of a phone or tablet’s camera….. and here’s hoping it doesn’t suck.


7 thoughts on “Snapshot Gaming”

  1. These type of games will definitely be possible in the near future. We do have object recognition algorithms at the moment, but they’re not nearly as fast, accurate or intelligent enough to be used in a consumer friendly game. Take a look at the following links if you’re interested in this sort of thing. Also, search youtube for ‘object recognition.’

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