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Fantasy, action and questing returning with Enchanted Okotoks

Enchanted Okotoks to feature EarthMMO augmented-reality game to embark on an epic quest through the town on Sept. 16-17.
Enchanted Okotoks co-organizer Brendan Rose hold out the EarthMMO app that will be at the heart of the event.

Fantasy and wonder return to Okotoks once again.

After a popular reception in past years, Enchanted Okotoks will return for two days on Sept. 16 and 17.

“Basically, we’re turning downtown Okotoks into a live action fantasy video game,” said Katie Fournell, who is co-organizing the event with her husband, Brendan Rose.

“What’s going to happen is as players arrive – and players is anybody who wants to participate in the event – they start getting quests on their phone and they’ll be able to interact with the world around them to complete quests.”

Throughout Okotoks and the 29 businesses and venues taking part in the all-ages event, participants will find actors, quests and themed products, all linked together by a central quest, a new twist born out of a partnership with Calgary-based EarthMMO, an augmented-reality mobile game.

The game's concept may be familiar to those who have played or witnessed people of all ages playing Pokemon Go, Rose explained, where players load the game on their phone, and are dropped onto a map of the real world around them, albeit as fantasy characters.

“It doesn’t require any installation, it’s run through the browser, so you just go to the website, click on the button, and sign in,” Rose said, adding the game links to a Google account.

“Big picture, EarthMMO is meant to be an all-year-round global thing.”

Using the phone’s camera, an imaginary world and features are overlaid onto the real one, a technology called augmented reality (AR), explained Rowan Sommerfeld, who co-founded EarthMMO with Thomas Vu.

“This project has been in development for little over a year, we’ve been all over North America testing and meeting people,” said Sommerfeld. “You’re just playing a game on your phone that uses augmented reality, so you can interact with the world in a new way.

“You see a bunch of people in front of you on your phone, so you launch the EarthMMO game, and you look through the camera lens and you see that they’re adventurers and they’re fighting some goblins.”

It’s all in the name, Sommerfeld said.

MMO is a common gaming acronym for Massively Multiplayer Online games, such as World of Warcraft, however those games are often played on a computer or gaming device and in an entirely-online world, where EarthMMO will use augmented reality and the user’s location to root the game in the physical world.

The game saw recent success at Game Con Canada, Sommerfeld said, with hundreds of users interacting with dozens of participating booths, and Enchanted Okotoks is set to feature significantly more content.

“Okotoks is the next test; in those 34 quests, there’s going to be ideally hours of game play where people can really explore their own town through the fantasy lens,” Sommerfeld said.

Those quests will be largely rooted in the participating locations, Fournell explained, as well as in a market at Olde Towne Plaza where the EarthMMO developers and 'Guild Master' Rose will be headquartered.

“Around the plaza will be some fantasy vendors,” Fournell said. “A few of the shops really latched onto what we’re giving them in the game, because we’ve created the quests for all of the different stores, but some of them are going the extra mile and adding the fantasy in by actually creating a drink or something that appears in the game.”

As player do battle with goblins and other creatures in the AR realm, Fournell did say the game will feature mild fantasy combat, but will still be family-friendly, as the enemies are simply being ‘sent back to the fantasy world.’

While EarthMMO has potential for events held anywhere in the world, the Enchanted Okotoks quests are rooted in the community.

“The cool thing is the way it works and the way we’re writing the story, this game could not be played anywhere but downtown Okotoks,” Fournell said.  

While the game is still in its testing stages, with Enchanted Okotoks being a test run, the organizers will be building a tutorial into the event.

“They just want you to adventure every day, and so the entire game and the entire event is designed around making sure that you can go have an adventure right now in your hometown,” Fournell said.

For more information, visit Enchanted Okotoks on Facebook, and to try the game, visit on a mobile device.

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