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The characters and stories in video games such as 'Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End' and 'Oxenfree' held VR at bay in 2016

Naughty Dog's "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" takes the series on a more personal path. (Naughty Dog / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Naughty Dog's "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" takes the series on a more personal path. (Naughty Dog / Sony Computer Entertainment)

This was supposed to be the year that virtual reality went mainstream, but a little game called “Pokemon Go” crashed the party. The mobile title became a sensation — albeit briefly — and brought augmented reality to the populace. That is, it used digital trickery to insert little Pokemon critters into the real world, no goggles required.

Of all the popular media, games are where technology continues to be a primary driving factor. And for all the flashiness of PlayStation VR or the Oculus Rift , mobile continues to dominate . In addition to “Pokemon Go,” another title associated with Nintendo, “Super Mario Run,” is poised to own December, with some estimating the game to secure more than 50 million downloads after its mid-month launch.

The virtual reality revolution will have to wait.

For now, the best games are still those that don’t require a headset. Today, three years into the current console generation of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, developers, as evident by titles such as “Mafia III” and “Dishonored 2,” are pushing just as heavily on character and social commentary as they are tech. Race, class and even cancer are now topics games have touched, if not yet fully conquered.

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