Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Virtual Reality: The Giggle Chamber

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 27, 2016

ViveAdConsumer-level Virtual Reality (VR) is brand new, and still pretty expensive, which means its still at the “early adopter” stage… bleeding edge, unpolished, and expensive. But it also means that most people haven’t tried it yet, and so said early-adopters get the pleasure of introducing people to it. And yeah, it’s a pleasure. The first minute or so is often accompanied by giggles. Or shrieks, depending on the experience. Maybe both. And lots of comments like, “Wow!” and “This is so cool!”

Hopefully, it’s also accompanied by someone assisting the first-timer so it’s a relatively safe, guided experience. One of the problems with room-based VR is people might bump into walls or fall over. Or they might get feeling “uncomfortable,” to use the euphemism for VR sickness, especially if it’s lower-quality hardware or software. Assuming it’s handled with a modicum of responsibility, it’s great fun for both sides.

The expectation going in seems to be that it’s going to be a new, improved, bigger screen. Which sounds cool – 360 degree visuals! The reality (well, virtual reality) is that this stuff really plays with your brain and your perception of reality. With your audio and visual senses getting fooled, the Matrix pretty much has you. Throw in a bit more presence and haptic stimulation, and the gap closes a little bit more. While we’re still a ways off from the Star Trek holodeck, what we’ve got is still pretty remarkable, and it’s a (hopefully pleasant) shock to the system.

Others have noted that people often refer to VR games as being “in” a place, as opposed to “playing” something. That’s an interesting phenomenon. I don’t know if it will stick going into the future, but at first, it seems like that’s how our brains react to the experience. Is this “messing with our minds” a bad thing? I dunno, but humans are extremely adaptable. Within ten years, maybe this will be as natural and as common to us as watching television or riding in a car.

But for now, it’s fun to watch people experience it for the first time. Maybe not quite as much fun as experiencing it yourself, but close. The giggles are infectious.

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