The news of Pokémon GO has people barking like a pack of over-excited Lillipups. The prospect of "catching" Pokémon in the real world is exciting enough on its own, but it's also caused us to wonder: What other game franchises would benefit from the merging of the digital and tangible worlds?
We have a few suggestions.
Nintendo's dinosaur-raising franchise doesn't get nearly enough credit. You run around the world collecting prehistoric fossils, which you then revive in the time it takes to order a cup of coffee. Once these vividly-colored beasts ("Vivosaurs") are revived, they swear allegiance to you and immediately buckle down to the important task of ripping apart other trainers' dinosaurs. How is this not everyone's favorite game premise?
Maybe Fossil Fighters' similarities to Pokémon is what keeps people from regarding it with the same level of admiration, but that's also what makes it ripe for a Pokémon GO-style adaptation. You could scan the world for Vivosaur fossils and subsequently revive them. Maybe you'd find one in a playground. Or a potted plant. Or perhaps there'd be a veritable bonanza located in the gas tank of an average car.
Dragon Quest Monsters
Now's as good a time as any to join hands and pray that we'll see another English language release of Dragon Quest Monsters. Capturing and raising the monsters made iconic across decades by Akira Toriyama's artwork inspires a thrill that not even Pokémon can match.
Now imagine using your phone or tablet to hunt down those monsters and claim them as your own. From the lowly but lovable slime to the regal and imposing Great Dragon -- they're out there, waiting.
At the very least, just let us find and capture a sabre kitten.
Yo-Kai Watch is coming to North America in November, and Nintendo already has a huge marketing blitz planned for whimsical franchise about befriending and collecting monsters. It's not a stretch to believe Nintendo also has something Pokémon GO-ish planned for Yo-Kai Watch, especially since the series is built around the very idea of finding fantastic things hidden in seemingly mundane objects. See, in Japanese myth, many yokai spirits inhabit inanimate, usually unwanted, things. You could make a new friend simply by scanning that battered umbrella that's been sitting in the corner of your apartment for seasons upon seasons.
It's right there in the tagline. "Robots in disguise." Point your phone at a car and find an alien robot incognito. Other possible Transformers hiding spots: Construction sites, and zoos (pay special attention to the gorilla enclosure).
The 2004 animated series Transformers: Armada revolved around Mini-Cons, a race of smaller, power-enhancing Transformers that wound up scattered all over the earth. A "Mini-Con hunt" of this nature would also make for a fun Transformers AR mobile game.
Mega Man Battle Network
The digital Mega Man born and raised on the Game Boy Advance had his story wrapped up some years ago, but does that really exclude him from one last hurrah? After all, Battle Network was ahead of its time with its depictions of electronic companions, powerful mobile devices, and enhanced AR that blurs the line between fantasy and reality.
In other words, it's not hard to imagine a game that lets us scout for Navis and battle chips and sentient viruses that threaten to wipe out that totally benign and uninteresting folder in "My Documents" that you cleverly marked "work." Fight, Mega Man! For our ever-lasting shame!
Whatever entertainment you love these days, it's probably owned by Disney. So the House of Mouse could theoretically put forth at least half a dozen AR games based around the Pokémon GO concept. Imagine literally searching the world for more Disney Infinity friends. Or scanning random people to build up a Rebel alliance to take down the Empire. Or even going on a real-world "Hidden Mickey" hunt.
Or maybe an AR game is the catalyst Disney needs to inspire an American launch for Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. Popular in Japan, Marvel Disk Wars is a cartoon about kids who keep the trapped essences of Marvel's superhero roster in disks, which they can free for short periods of time to battle villains (primarily Loki).
Finding and trapping Iron Man would be interesting to say the least. Tony Stark probably wouldn't let you stuff him into your phone without a fight.