Augmented Reality and Rock Climbing? Yes, It’s a Thing

You love vertical arcade games, but your favorite upright arcade cabinet isn’t the only combination of the terms “vertical” and “gaming.” Thanks to a Boston-based startup, now you can scramble up a bouldering wall in the context of a fun, competitive video game, or rather, an augmented reality game. Randori Digital Climbing is taking rock climbing to another level, literally.

What Is Randori Digital Climbing?

Randori Digital Climbing launched their first game in October 2015 at Brooklyn Boulders’ Boston location. All you need to play the game is a laptop in order to run the program, a projector to display the checkpoints on the bouldering wall, a webcam to track player movement, and of course, a bouldering wall.

The checkpoints are located at certain areas on the climbing route, and the player climbs quickly, touching each checkpoint as fast as they can. Their time is recorded and added to the score leaderboard. Whoever climbs the fastest wins the round.

It’s easy to switch up routes and Randori Digital Climbing offers other types of games as well, besides the popular “Time Trial.” You can also play “Hex,” a game where you imagine the floor is lava as you scramble to avoid vertical rocks. Or you could try “Hold Chaser,” where a ghost chases you around as you climb – think “Pac-Man.”

Augmented Reality’s Widespread Appeal

“Pokémon Go” was the first augmented reality game to cause a widespread stir, but it won’t be the last. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook thinks augmented reality will be huge for smartphones going forward, leading some to speculate that the next iPhone will be the first AR-compatible smartphone.

The uses of augmented reality don’t begin and end with gaming. The Weather Channel is now using augmented reality to demonstrate safety tips. It’s a little bit easier to understand why leaving snow piled on top of your car is dangerous when you see a realistic demonstration of the consequences. Soon enough, augmented reality will no longer be a new addition to technology space – it will be a widely used application in everyday life.