It’s time to d-d-d-d-d-d-d-duel!
Coming in at the height of what we’ll call the "2000s Japanese Collectible Toy Tie-In Anime Boom", Yu-Gi-Oh! has taken its place as a proper nostalgia touchstone, emerging from other Pokemon-like pretenders as a compelling universe and a genuinely fun CCG along the way. One of the main innovations of the original anime series is the way that they made what SHOULD be a boring strategic card game into a television spectacle by the various systems they invented to project massive holographic versions of the monsters during the matches. Every gratuitous draw of Pot of Greed (which allows the player to draw two additional cards from their deck) was imbued with dramatic flair thanks to technological magic of the Duel Disk.
While we haven’t quite reached that level of advancement in solid light constructs, the past few years HAVE been really good for people interested in Augmented Reality. While some companies were experimenting with simple cell-phone applications (like that option in Pokemon GO that everyone turns off), Microsoft has been slowly building hype for its HoloLens platform, which combines advanced spatial sensors and camera feedback to project 3D objects onto a clear visor, allowing the user to see "holographic" graphics interacting in the real world.
In a recent video published by fledgling AR game dev MicrowaveSam, a pair of early HoloLens adopters showcased their prototype fangame that brings us tantalyzingly close to the dream we all had as youngsters, glued to our TVs watching the latest 4Kids localized adventures of a reincarnated acient Pharoah and/or bishie motorcycle gang. They found a way to have a virtual game of Duel Monsters with honest to goodness projections of Kuriboh and Blue-Eyes White Dragon battling in 3D space.
Watch the video in action to see how the game uses hand gestures and speech commands (yes, you actually have to announce your attacks like in the show) to make what looks like a faithful (though admittedly VERY unofficial) adaptation of the classic card game in the virtual reality. If you like what you see, maybe consider taking a look at the MicrowaveSam Patreon page to support the creators’ efforts to make more AR games in the future.
Janky or joyous? For a small fanmade effort it’s kind of amazing to imagine a future where duelists may one day declare games in public, and strap on their bulky technology, and make real life just a little bit more cartoon-like.
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