Lemmings feels like one of those classic video games that just can't be improved. Then you see the adorable little wannabe suicides running around your apartment. Meet HoloLems.
This augmented reality version of the classic DMA Design game from 1991 was developed by Toronto studio Globacore for the Microsoft HoloLens and, if you're lucky enough to have one the headsets, is available right now.
"HoloLems was created as an experiment to understand the benefits and constraints of the new Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality HMD," says Ben Unsworth, co-founder and president of Globacore. "Before unleashing a brand new piece of hardware on our client's projects we like to run fun internal jobs like this first and have often riffed on our love of retro video games such as one of our favorite nineties' video game classics, Lemmings."
Globacore usually creates digital experiences for physical spaces like trade shows, museums, events and retail interactively, but has also experimented with games before. Just check out this Paperboy homage.
HoloLems uses voice controls like "blocker right", "blocker left", "build bridge", "build stairs". Globacore also had to work with the limited view of the HoloLens headset. "The field of view of the HoloLens is narrow when compared to modern commercially available VR headsets like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive," says Unsworth. "Clipping in the HoloLens can occur on larger graphic objects, distracting the user and cutting off part of the object. We addressed that constraint by focusing on smaller objects and characters – thus the use of small digital lemming dudes."
For those not blessed with a friend who works at Microsoft or the $3000 it costs for a HoloLens headset right now, here's another video of the game in action.
"While the market for HoloLens devices is currently small and mostly reserved for commercial applications we have already had hundreds of application downloads from countries all around the globe (including one from Uzbekistan) and many hundreds of thousands of view impressions on the videos thanks to the interest of the tech blogs and gaming community," says Unsworth. "We figured that at the least, the app will help demonstrate our capability of quickly learning the latest technology offerings and applying fun and quirky ideas to it, while also giving our current and potential clients some ideas of how to use the HoloLens headset in their experiential marketing campaigns."