As a kid who grew up on Lazer Tag and the Killer, the idea of a compact, always-on live action RPG is very compelling. Dustcloud fits that bill.
Created by a designer named Howard Hunt, the game uses small, gun-shaped “Dusters” that have LEDs that register hits and damage taken. You can use your Duster in street to secretly hit other players and because it uses RF signals there you simply need to be in line of sight rather than aim directly at a small target. The guns use Bluetooth LE to communicate with your phone and notify you of hit statistics and the whereabouts of other players. You can play offline with friends or join in on a massive, world-wide networked game.
We tried the game at CES and found it to be quite fun. While it takes some set-up – Hunt himself initialized the guns up for us – he expects things to get easier with time.
The team, which includes Ota Fejfar and Hunt, is looking for $100,000. They’ve raised $17,000 on Kickstarter so far and offer a number of packages including a single gun kit for $55 or a dual gun kit for $90. The “aftermarket” proposition is actually kind of interesting: if you want to play online with players around the world (a prospect that would assume massive market saturation), you can buy bullets (called speks) for 5 cents each. You store your speks on your smartphone and when someone shoots you they gather up your speks. This would presumably encourage you not to die so much.
When we played the game in a dark parking lot at CES we had an absolute blast. Once you understand how the guns operate and how to hit other players it becomes easier to have a bit of fun. It also makes you a bit winded, which is always a good thing. Dustcloud sits firmly in the tradition of laser games of yore and that, I think, is a good thing.
[kickstarter url=http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/enter-the-dustcloud/dustcloud-turn-your-street-into-a-battlefield width=640]