Stars Edge Redux
Augmented reality (AR) games involve players interacting both with events in the physical world and with augmented reality imagery that recasts the people and objects the players see. For example, instead of seeing another player in a splicer morph and ordinary clothing, a player of an AR game might see a horri c rotting zombie, a bizarre alien life form, or a well-armed soldier. These games tend to be locally focused within a particular habitat or city as they allow players to interact when they are within physical proximity, but some games link habitats within the same cultural region.
The nature and intensity of these games varies widely. Some are long-term games involving people imagining that they are deep cover spies or some other exciting and unique role. Players may pretend to be anything from time travelers attempting to prevent some horrible disaster to covert agents attempting to uncover plots by TITAN-infected people on their habitat—who happen to be camou aged as snack designers, personal assistants, etc. During their daily lives, players exchange messages with each other as well as with the people running and maintaining the game. Some of these long-term AR games have gone on for many years, with the oldest being almost twenty years old.
Short-term AR games, on the other hand, last between several hours and several days. The people running these games typically rent out a hotel or a park and various public buildings for the duration. These games are almost always highly dramatic and consist of everything from the players having to deal with a massive zombie attack or alien invasion to them participating in some simulation of an event on Earth, like the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. While such AR games can be considerably less detailed than VR worlds or vidgames, many players value the “realism” of being physically present during the game.
Since participants in AR games take actions in the real world, including actions that could be disruptive or even dangerous, designers of AR games take great care to prevent problems. In some early AR games, most of which took place more than twenty years before the Fall, players were occasionally seriously injured. A few unscrupulous AR game designers used their game as a cover for an actual robbery or act of terrorism that was abetted by unwitting players who thought their actions were simply part of a game. Since that time, law enforcement observation drones have kept careful track of people playing AR games. In almost all habitats, people running AR games must register their games with local law enforcement or face serious fines.