It’s 2016 and Virtual Reality is finally here. It’s pretty big, colossal even, and it’s tough to avoid. Gone are the years of awkward prototypes, over hyped nonsense and that Murder She Wrote episode. Over a few blogs I’ll share my experiences (both good and bad) with the Samsung GearVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
So, where to start? Well, probably with the glaring admission that VR is now my reality. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit in the new world and it’s incredible. Whether it’s staring out a Dinosaur or meeting a whale or commanding a circus or challenging a fortune teller – I’ve been there and done it.
Firstly, a firm favourite and a must buy: Job Simulator (HTC Vive/PS VR). If you’re like me and enjoy doing everything badly in games for fun then you will love Job Simulator. Whether it’s being a fast food chef, supermarket assistant, general office worker or mechanic – you can singly handedly ruin everything. Possibly the best part is that the robots are always pleased with your work too. See, you could be the best mechanic in the land, but if you remove every tyre from a car, strip out the engine and send it away (scraping along the ground with a banana in the exhaust pipe) – only then can you describe yourself as the master. I am the master and I’ve nailed it. Nonsense aside, each section really does feel like you’re there and is even initiated by use of a games cartridge in a console – neat!
Job simulator and my real life. Different yet similar (or is it simulator?). Eurgh.
From one awesome game to another – Fantastic contraption (HTC Vive) is next up and it sounds truly mysterious… The premise is simple in truth – you have three things; two types of stretchy pole and a spinning cylinder (think Flintstones car). With these three things you can create a fantastic contraption, like the Flintstones car… but why you ask! Well, to transport the pink cube to its home. Of course! Where do all these poles and wheels come from? Well they come from Neko. Neko the cat. This is all great and harmless fun. Though I’m sure it sounds like a nightmare I suffered years ago. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic use of room-scale. Being able to walk around your contraption is both unique and realistic. Top game.
Whose a good Neko… Yes you are.
As tempting as it is to carry on with the incredible, it’s time to whinge and moan about a game I want to be great. It’s Garage Drummer VR. As a long time drummer, this is the title for me, though bizarrely my 100% real drum kit is actually in the same room as my VR, weird. Obviously it’s not in the correct reality for me now, so let’s forget about that oddity. So what’s the problem then? How can you go wrong with a drum kit simulator? With ease it seems. The true issue isn’t with the drumming it’s with the technology; as VR becomes more believable and realistic we expect it to react in the same way. So if I hit a drum in real life, the stick will bounce off the skin and thus begins the drum roll. BUT… in this reality there is no drum – because it’s not real, no bounce, realism broken – exit game.
Who hasn’t been there and done that? While wearing that?
I’ll leave with the parting gift of a fun fact. The true low of VR. Exiting. Take off the headset and you’re back in a room. Your beautifully wallpapered stylish room, and boy does it look lame. In fact, it looks like it needs hoovered, best go hoover it. That will provide some well earned time to think about VR and what I could do next, as Virtual Reality is my new Reality.