Back in my day, (I’ve officially become old enough to say that, yikes,) my idea of 3-D was flimsy plastic red and blue cardboard glasses that gave you a headache in the movie theater. A lot has changed since the ’90s, and now all you need is a smartphone and an augmented reality (AR) headset to have a 3-D experience in your living room, at the park, or in Grandma’s backyard. The Marvel Avengers: Infinity War Hero Vision Iron Man AR Experience, by Hasbro, was my first time trying AR. ’90s-me would be super jealous.
I’ve never been much of a video game person outside of Mario Kart for Nintendo 64. Again, I’m old. That being said, AR just might get me re-interested in my bleak video game world, where my brother sold our N64 for $30. (None of which I saw a penny of. I’m not bitter. It’s fine.) For a video game-challenged person such as myself, it took a while to get the hang of an AR device. We don’t have to talk about the fact that it took me 10 minutes of confusion before I realized that my phone had to go in the goggles. That being said, if someone like me can figure it out, anyone can.
To use Hero Vision, kids will need to download the Hero Vision app onto a smartphone. From there, they’ll scan the Infinity Stone on the AR gauntlet to begin gameplay. The cool thing about Hero Vision is that it can be used with six different Infinity stones found in select Infinity Wars action figure sets. I was very concerned about removing my heavy-duty Superman case, (sorry, Iron Man,) but the phone stayed snug and secure in the padded slot of the goggles.
With vibrant blue hues and the robot-like aesthetic of the AR screen, kids will feel like they’re actually in Iron Man’s suit. In true AR fashion, while they’ll still see their actual surroundings, kids will also be met with notorious villains surfing into view, who they can blast away by raising their hand, thanks to the QR codes featured on the gauntlet. Players will also see clusters of buildings appear, and they must work to defeat the baddies before they crush the cities into dust. For kids who have better reflexes than myself, as they get further in the game, they will eventually meet Thanos, the big bad of Avengers: Infinity War.
There was a lot of crashing and burning when I played the game. I didn’t do Iron Man much justice and I’m sure Tony would have something sassy to say about my abysmal superhero skills. It was still a lot of fun, even when the in-game smoke started and the power levels kept depleting further and further until my phone died. It’s a good idea to play Hero Vision on a full phone battery because it takes a lot of juice to power up Iron Man’s suit. Extended gameplay might not be a good idea, either, as phones can get a bit overheated from being in the goggles and using so much battery.
This AR is perfect for Avenger fans or AR fans who have yet to discover the tongue-and-cheek joys of Iron Man. Kids will be excited to not only see their favorite characters and villains come alive in the very room they’re standing in, but the immersive experience goes a step further with the Iron Man helmet that holds the AR goggles. Fear not, adults—the helmet stretched out far enough to fit over my head with room to spare, so don’t let the kids have all of the fun!
While the Hero Vision AR experience will keep kids entertained for a good while, it’s also great for motor skills and coordination. Unlike most video games, it allows kids to move around, get out excess energy, and use the game to interact with their environment instead of isolating them from their surroundings. The game can only be played one person at a time, but families can enjoy taking turns and sharing tips on how to play way better than me. If nothing else, parents can enjoy taking a slew of ridiculous photos of their kids when they’re waving their arms around and defeating invisible villains.