I’ve always loved zombie (no, we’re not supposed to say that word!) films for some reason. There are ranges of interpretations of zombies, their motivations, what they say about humanity, but sometimes you just need to watch Brain Dead, or House of the Dead (yes, yet another poor game adaptation), and zone out. Zombies are escape-ism, and zombies are social critiques. Not bad for mindless hordes.
In any case, one day came the augmented reality phenomenon of Ingress. Sadly, no one really, until it was reskinned and combined with a Pokemon mini-game, and the augmented reality revolution was born.
I had many things in mind for the Pokemon game. I read articles, followed the Twitters, waited impatiently for the South African release. I even started playing (and still play) Ingress. Then it came.
And, you know, meh. This wasn’t augmented reality, this way location-based waymarkers, with some cameras included on occasion for the funny pictures. I mean, yeah, it was fun, and was/is a social wave combining the internet with the real world, but we could do better.
So I pondered, and I coded a bit, and I back-tracked, and I recoded.
And now, here we are. I’ve coded a zombie AR. But not like Pokemon – my dream was a game where the zombies were treated as in the best movies – they’re there, but the experience is the focus, and the zombies are just a means to an end (if a means soaked in its own sub-culture, being why the word ‘zombie’ is not referred to in the game).
I wanted something where you could walk to an otherwise uninteresting location, raise your phone, and discover that someone had built something amazing there. Where you could take a site that was uninteresting previously, and build it into something your own.
Where you could do that with your friends, with people you’ve never met. Something that wasn’t a game that dictated, but a platform that let you interact with your friends, and more importantly to interact with people around you in a way that would have never happened before.
I think I’ve done that, to a small extent. Of course, as the world would have it, I’ve launched the game on the same day as literally the largest zombie franchise in the world – The Walking Dead – have launched theirs.
But, although their game is admittedly slick, I feel that mine has a different aim – not where the AR is a gimmick, but where the AR is a means of interaction. I’m hoping everyone else feels that way too.
I’m not sure where the game will end, but it’s begun now. The iOS version is available on the app store, with Android to follow shortly. The game’s website, with some backing story and the player portal, is available here.
I hope it amuses you more than it’s frustrated me.