Microsoft reminded us all that we live in the future when it demonstrated its HoloLens augmented reality headset at E3 2015. Using this nifty piece of hardware, representatives from Mojang demonstrated how a game of Minecraft could come to life on a flat surface. We watched a player character as she walked across the demonstration table -- not on a screen -- and gawped as the town itself was lifted up to reveal caverns and treasures below.
It was more than enough to get our imaginations racing. What other game franchises might be escalated to the next level with the help of the HoloLens? The HoloLens is still early technology and needs refinement, but we're still excited about what the future might hold:
A sequel to Halo Wars
Microsoft's 2009 real-time strategy game Halo Wars features a top-down view that would be perfect for HoloLens-sporting players to mess around with. War is hell, and conducing a war using a controller is likewise problematic. Even a mouse and keyboard arguably can't hold up to the literal hands-on experience of orchestrating attacks using your bare paws.
So it needs to be said: If there's any truth to the Halo Wars sequel that's been floating around for some time now, it ought to include HoloLens support. Or HoloLens support should be patched in later, once the tech is perfected.
Sad as it is to say, we might never see Maxis's city-building phenomenon on a console ever again. EA seems happy with the franchise's success on mobile, where the latest game in the series, SimCity BuiltIt, has been well-received.
But what's the point of a list if it can't record our hopes and dreams? If Minecraft looks phenomenal with the Hololens, and it does, we can only imagine how much fun it'd be to dig through our self-built city using the magic of augmented reality. Not to mention we'd get first-row seats for natural disasters and Godzilla attacks.
Though a sandbox game might be a bit ambitious for the HoloLens at this stage, we can't help but consider what it'd be like to actually romp through Rare's garden of riotous colors. Imagine interacting directly with Dragonaches, Chewnicorns, and Pigxies. Imagine busting open the piñatas and digging your hands into their candy-colored innards. Sweet. So sweet.
Blast Corps is on the upcoming Rare Replay compilation, which makes us wonder if maybe Microsoft would ever cook up some additional plans for Rare's celebration of wanton destruction.
In a 2009 interview with NowGamer, Blast Corps's lead designer, Martin Wakeley, said he believes the game is a "one-trick pony" that isn't in need of a follow-up. But to his credit, Wakely probably never envisioned a future filled with technology that would allow you to physically move obstacles out of the way of a careening truck carrying a defective nuclear missile.
Not much to offer here besides the allure of planning plays while looming over the players' backs like some kind of football god. That's more than enough incentive to combine EA's franchise with the HoloLens, right?
How about this: What if you could move players by pinching them by their collars and lifting them like unruly kittens? What if they kicked and squirmed while you shifted them? Licensed NFL players aren't likely to want to subject their digital marionettes to such indignities, but thinking about it sure is grin-inducing.
An RC Pro-Am Game
It's about time for Rare's venerable RC Pro-Am series to make its return, and the classic top-town RC racing game could benefit hugely from implementation of the HoloLens. The HoloLens could allow for actual hands-on track construction, and it could genuinely make us feel like we're participating in a professional-grade RC race.
Rare's answer to a Mario Party game
The HoloLens seems well-suited for a Mario Party-style game, complete with booby-trapped boards, wacky mini-games, and unwelcome boss drop-ins.
Rare has enough mascots to pull off a board game party (even if Conker would have to stagger from place to place), and they've certainly constructed enough infamously "Nintendo hard" scenarios that'd be surreal to re-experience in augmented reality.
Imagine scoring points by playing through the Turbo Tunnel from Battle Toads, or by performing the near-impossible ramp jumps in Cobra Triangle. Just don't smash up your HoloLens head set when you inevitably facepalm in frustration. That's expensive technology.