Jack Hunter: The French Connection is the worlds first interactive augmented reality book, written by Martin King. This book is the second in a series of adventure books, aimed at children between 8 and 13 years old.
How does it work
Augmented Reality works by recognizing pictures or text, the process is very similar to a QR reader or if you are familiar with it, blipper. All that is needed is a smartphone or tablet with a camera to see scannable images or texts jump to life, producing i3d images right before your eyes, turning this book into a game in which the reader becomes a character of the story, solving their own puzzles and collecting inventory. Clues within the book help the reader decipher the code and direct them reader to www.jackhuntergames.com, where they can solve additional puzzles and unlock another chapter. It is possible to decipher the code just by reading the book, however the the full augmented reality experience is only possible by downloading the app, which is available via both the app store or google play for free.
The first 3 levels of the game are free. You can get the first chapters free by visiting the jack hunter games website. After you have completed your 3rd level and read the first 6 chapters, you need to unlock the rest of the game to complete your journey. With my book was a card to unlock the rest of the game. Additional coins can be purchased via the app, i however felt that it spoilt the fun of collecting them so did not buy them.
Heres a trailer so you can see for yourselves.
Jack Hunter Trailer from Jack Hunter on Vimeo.
3D virtual reality navigation:
This impressed me much more than the fact the images jumped out of the page right before my eyes. Whilst playing as my character i could turn left an right, look up and down and using the compass provided on the screen, zoom in and out, spin 360 degrees, making it easier to find coins and further my feel for being an actual character.
Multi - level functionality:
Just like the above, this makes the whole game more real. I could hunt for hidden clues or items, build my own castle using the blueprints i had found and solve puzzles in 3D.
The book reminds me of those choose your own path books i read as a kid. They fascinated me to the point where i was lost in them for hours, sometimes days and weeks, choosing different paths for my character to take and excitedly awaiting the outcome of my adventure. This book takes it up a notch and goes to a whole new level. The story itself is interesting and easy to read. It is easy to become connected with the characters from the beginning but the interactive aspect of the game which is played alongside the story just blew my mind. I was that character, if i moved, they moved. I picked up what i wanted and solved puzzles just like i would if i was playing any other game. I wanted to pop back and continue reading to find the next piece of the puzzle.
The app itself is fiddly to use at first but easy to get the hang of. My 8 year old found it fascinating that she could get a full 360 degree viewpoint while playing and spent a good hour randomly spinning on a chair. My 11 year old found it easy to use and navigated around, completing her quests with ease. Both myself and my kids felt this was an interesting story, the gaming aspect of it made it very desirable to my xbox mad 11 year old. Overall i think this is a fantastic way of bringing reading and gaming together and bringing todays children back to books.
This book and other available books in the series can be purchased from Amazon for just £8.99
It is fantastic value making it a perfect present for christmas or birthdays or just to give your kids another activity during the holidays.
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