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STAR WARS: JEDI CHALLENGES Lets You Become an Augmented Reality Jedi

This November, be on the lookout for signs of disruption in the spacetime continuum, because if you buy Lenovo’s new Star Wars: Jedi Challenges kit, your 12-year-old self may travel through time to kill you and take it from your cold, dead hands. Retailing for $199.99, the smartphone-powered augmented reality device will let you fulfill your dreams of becoming a lightsaber-wielding Jedi without the dangers of cutting off a limb or fighting your asthmatic father.

Announced at Star Wars Celebration earlier this year, the Lenovo device will let you do everything from command troops in virtual combat to dueling some of Star Wars‘ most fearsome foes to playing Dejarik and beyond. While not available as part of Force Friday II—the massive event which has unleashed a cavalcade of awesome new Star Wars toys—pre-orders are now open for the AR playset. But rather than just telling you what’s making the Kessel Run to stores this fall, we wanted to show you, so we sent our resident scruffy-looking nerf herder, Jesse Gill, to a press event in Los Angeles where he strapped on Lenovo’s AR goggles and put his skills to the test against the worst son in any galaxy, Kylo Ren.

The system is comprised of three components: a lightsaber controller, a tracking beacon, and Lenovo’s Mirage AR headset. These three devices run in conjunction with Lenovo’s Jedi Challenges mobile app, which runs on an iPhone or Android device that plugs into the headset. The beacon rests on the floor and communicates with the headset to create positional tracking that will allow your lightsaber controller to accurately interact with the augmented version of the galaxy far, far away in which you will immerse yourself. And since this is augmented reality—meaning that you will see the world of Star Wars overlaid on top of our own world—you really will be immersing yourself.

The version we played came with three different modes in which to take your skills from Padawan to Radawan. (Please note: Radawan is not an official ranking…yet.) In “Lightsaber Battles,” players can fight holographic versions of Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, and other Star Wars villains, dodging and parrying their blows in an attempt to seize the high ground. In “Strategic Combat,” you take on the role of battlefield commander, building outposts and marshaling Rebel forces to defeat the Empire in a large-scale ground assault. Last, but not least is “Holochess,” the three-dimensional strategy game that Chewbacca seems preternaturally gifted at playing. You’ll need every bit of wit and wile in your grey matter to outsmart your opponents and make your tiny alien pieces march to victory. Whether or not you let the Wookiee win is up to you.

What do you think of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges? What other AR experiences would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.

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Images: Lucasfilm/Lenovo

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