Remember is Shadowrun how your characters had 2 different versions of the matrix to deal with? Yea, sure, one was the Virtual Reality (VR) realm where hackers reign as gods, clad in icons to resemble all the deities of old as their meat body lays somewhere on a bed or floor neglected by the free-roaming mind. The other was called Augmented Reality (AR) and it is where you find the visual interfaces that allowed you to see what specials and sales stores have going that day by looking at the logo through the right pair of glasses. Nintendo was the first to really take advantage of this when they came out with the 3DS and its aptly named VR cards, which revealed a variety of simple, fun AR games that had my wife and I battling over who was the better virtual fisherman. These cards were cards you lay on a table and then look at with your 3DS in AR mode. Characters would then pop out of the cards or games would form out of the table. It was fucking awesome. Then there was this company that fucking decided to make a pair of computerized glasses, which hold the potential to plaster gaming all over the world. There is another company, however, whose scope is more ambitious than just playing with cards and more exciting than karate chopping at the air or shouting virtual “clay pigeons” to pieces with your fucking thu’um.
Estudio Antropo said “That’s fucking neat and all guys, but what about the goddamn devices the entire society has already invested in?” Not a direct quote, but one I like to imagine coming out of someone’s mouth. These guys have developed a game for the boARd format, a Kurzor S.R.O. concept, that allows you to use your mobile devices to play board games. Now, the trailers for this only show people with their iPads all spooled up and ready to go, but, the game is also scheduled to release with an Android element, as well. I don’t see it being long before Andriod and iOS players can huddle around the same boARd to play a rousing game of Monopoly, or something. Estudio Antropo currently have a kickstarter campaign up that ends August 1st. If anything in this article excites you nearly as much as it fucking excites me, go there and throw some money in!
First among the titles that will pioneer the fourth fucking dimension is Cartoneros. This title is one that has a kind of general appeal that plays out really cool. Not to mention, even those hippies with their goddamn iPads will love the concept. Cartoneros takes place in a world where people throw away vast amounts of fucking cardboard. EVERYTHING is cardboard, including your characters. Your characters then go out on their mission to clean up the world! Aw, yay! That is so special! Yippee! Love is magical! They then proceed to battle over resources like the humans that undoubtedly spawned them and battle to the death over cardboard. So yes, good intentions do pave the road to good gameplay.
In this tactical strategy, you control a small team of Cartoneros, these little guys that collect the cardboard detritus of the world. Each of your cartoneros has strength and weaknesses, too, so it is not all cut and dry combat. In your mad dash for sustaining cardboard, you will battle with other players. Now, this carboard you collect isn’t really something you’ll use in-game to pump your cartoneros up, but between plays is when it comes in handy. As you await your next round of play against your mortal foes (apparently your mom and little sister) you use the cardboard to beef up your cartoneros. You will even be able to shape the gaming environment by building maps, characters, weapons, monsters and robots! Its developers liken it to a combination of DoTA and XCOM. Granted, if you spend your cardboard too frivolously, you will not have enough resources to maintain a competitive team. This honestly looks like it could turn into a fucking sport.
Each game of Cartoneros will include 1 – 8 players, and the game style will change depending on the teams. If everyone is on the same team, the game is more like an RPG with players working together to fight monsters and get cardboard. If you split the players apart, it becomes a DoTA, XCOM fusion-style tactical strategy game. Monsters in this game fall in three categories. Little ones that flee, big ones that attack your characters and huge ones that make you crap your cardboard trousers. Each monster will have special abilities that can be obtained by killing the monsters and eating its heart like a ancient n0rse warrior. I might have made up that last part about eating its heart, but you really can get the powers of your foes for a limited period by destroying them. Apparently there are some really neat features to the game structure, as well, allowing you to create your own game. Maps can be created by arranging terrain on the board, missions can be created by designating objectives and stories created by linking maps. The game is going to be tough, too; if you lose characters weapons, tools etc. in-game they are gone forever. You’ll have to be careful how you spend your cardboard between games, but careful planning will pay off big-time in the long run. You can read about Cartoneros in greater detail on its Kickstarter page.
Does cartoneros sound too much like something that the family will enjoy and won’t be badass enough for your group of awesome buddies that only opt for the finest and most edgy of tabletop games? The guys backing cartoneros are also developing Espionag3: Berlin Files. If cartoneros’ strategic gameplay and winsome visuals don’t excite you, the dark world of spies and intrigue laid out in Espionag3: Berlin Files should.
It’s another strategic game where you control a network of spies and battle against your friends. Berlin files looks really fun and with pitched gun battles and tailing missions, this game looks awesome. I don’t fucking care what language the goddamn screenshots are in! The players take up the role of secret government agents in Berlin, who have discovered that the mafia has moved in and are expanding rapidly. It is up to players to utilize their stealthy spy tactics to overcome and eliminate their mafia enemies. This gaming format has a lot of possibilities, from the simple and fun ideas to adult level games providing intrigue and excitement. I could see a game like this taking place in 1930’s New York with players controlling a mafia family and vying for control of the illegal liquor trade. Want a historical piece? What if someone developed a game where half the players are the French Resistance fighters and the others are Nazis, and the players duke it out for control of Paris? See, only limited by your imagination.
So why does this concept excite me and why should it excite you too? Do you like tabletop games? Anyone who has ever played Shadowrun, Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer and any other such related games should be able to see the potential this poses for awesomeness. This format could easily be built upon by major developers to create a DnD game that works with ipads, android phones etc. so that you can sit down with your gaming crew and play some serious tabletop games. You could have endless customization options for your Warhammer armies, all explained at your fingertips by the software of the game. Terrain customization for Warhammer, DnD and Shadowrun games would be that much more detailed and the worlds you play in would, literally, just be a game screen away. You would be able to almost touch them. Super-nerdy niche games not your style? This format could be used to give standard boardgames the modern update off of console systems they so desperately crave. Instead of buying the whole box and all the pieces getting scattered by a rampaging dog, you could just play care-free on a paper-board! Granted, the animals might poke holes in the paper boARd, but it saves you a hell of a lot more time searching for tiny houses. Those fuckers are a bitch to step on at night, too. So support Cartoneros on kickstarter up through August 1st! It could really be the update of next-gen gaming that would really make people feel like they are living in the future!