If someone would have approached me about ten years ago and told me that I would actually be trying out any kind of virtual reality setup, would’ve looked at them as if they had two heads and four arms. Throughout the past decade or so, I’ve always been personally against a VR experience for as long as I can remember, however, it was for a pretty trivial reason: Because I’m such a Star Trek nerd, I would often swear up and down that until we had the technology to build holodecks like those in 24th century Trek shows, I wasn’t interested….
I was at a friends house staring at his impressive PC/Console gaming setup as he handed me both of the hand movement peripheral controls for the premier VR system, Oculus Rift. Strangely, it felt like i was suiting up for some weird Ready Player One-inspired cosplay. After a bit of tinkering with the tracking sensor system, my friend placed the Oculus visor on my head and the first thing I see is a virtual apartment of sorts. Before I could get a chance to try and interact with any of the objects in that area, the home menu is brought up. Of course, there were different choices for apps, some were even games (we’ll get to one of those in a bit). I selected the video section of the Oculus home menu and decided to explore NBA TV game highlights. It felt a little surreal being placed behind various court basket set-ups while clips from different games in this current NBA season felt very up close and in my face. You know, stuff like Stephen Curry making shooting jumps shots from far beyond the three-point line, and LeBron James dunking on people and blocking layups. Next up, the ringside simulation of a WWE pro wrestling match and up-close view of a day in the life for a group of World of Dance competitors team were fascinating to interact with.
Then came a little game called Zero Caliber. A first-person shooter video game that is anything but conventional… well only due to the nature of its gameplay. It took a little while to get used to the controls and motion tracking, but once I got the hang of everything, Zero Caliber became a virtual thrill ride that made me work up a bit of a sweat… annnnd fogged up my glasses.
Moral of this story is all too simple: Sometimes, you shouldn’t knock something until you try it, even if you’re getting impatient with the speed of technology.
(photo cred: Warner Bros., from Ready Player One)