Microsoft allowing developers to get their hands on $3,000 devkits of HoloLens has rendered some interesting results from the independent development community. We've seen a number of creative projects pop up and one of them happens to involve Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.
The video was put together by N3S, experimenting in his bedroom with the HoloLens and a modified version of Super Mario Bros.
According to N3S, the game is actually reconfigured in an editor to allow for the 3D effects showcased in the video above to pop out at the user. In the description of the YouTube video, N3S explains that the HoloLens right now has a tough time running some apps at full speed...
[...] the HoloLens won't run most games full speed, especially when the editor is built-in and people make more complicated 3D meshes for the sprites. I've also had to hand-tune and optimize the app for HoloLens in a way that won't work with many games to get a consistent enough FPS.
Some of these frame-rate issues and performance hurdles that developers are running into is exactly why HoloLens is only available as an expensive devkit at the moment. There's absolutely no word from Microsoft if or when they plan on releasing a consumer rendition of the HoloLens, but given the issues regarding performance, compatibility, and usability at the moment, it sounds like it still has a long way to go before it becomes anything more than novelty tech.
The video itself doesn't have any sound, but it does highlight some of the ways that the HoloLens can be used as a virtual reality headset for augmented reality experiences. Most of the tech demos have been small projects like Pokemon Go running in an office space, or Halo 5 being played on a screen space that could be moved anywhere in the room.
The Donkey Kong demo looked pretty cool in action but there wasn't much value added to the overall experience other than what you would get from playing the arcade game or the original 8-bit version on the NES.
The video also showcases Tetris and Asteroids in action, along with The Legend of Zelda II. The added depth perception to the games is pretty neat... being able to walk around the game screen and peek behind the curtain, so to speak.
As far as practical application is concerned, we haven't really seen it yet. So far there are just some cool demos with some cool effects, but nothing that would make the HoloLens a must-buy device. The closest thing that I've seen that makes HoloLens really cool is the Minecraft demo, where the 3D environment could be manipulated using gestures, and the game world itself could be viewed from a bird's eye perspective. Turning Minecraft into an augmented reality version of Legos could actually be kind of cool. Plus, there would be nothing to clean-up afterward when the kid is done playing.