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VR Is The Future, And Resistance Is Futile

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Since the days of Atari, our engagement with games hasn’t fundamentally changed. It’s always been about some combination of keyboard/mouse or controller and peripherals. Immersion, in essence, is limited by our inability to engage directly with our in-game avatars. It’s a clearly defined logistical 4th wall that ultimately takes you out of the experience on some level. This, however, is quickly changing. VR is finally becoming a reliable control alternative in a medium that hasn’t seen real control innovation since my parents were kids. The idea that one can now control some games in first person with more direct interaction is a big step forward, and a step forward we’ve needed since the industry got all caught up in the “graphics or bust” wankfest of the last 10 years.

This is, of course, awesome. Virtual reality’s best innovation (porn) aside, this leap in interface technology will allow some interesting gameplay innovation to come out of the many talented studios embracing the tech. Immersive horror has been a big part of the early experimentation, though I haven’t had my hands on the developers kits for any of the VR options yet to test out if it would, in fact, make me shit my pants and cry like a small child. Considering how I reacted to the time I found a wolf spider hiding on the hanger my bath towel was on, all signs point to yes.

Despite this being a potentially revolutionary change, there has been some resistance. Not everyone is keen to first person their FPS gaming or literally take the helm of their Asp-class star fighter to raid space trade lanes. Also, as the tech currently stands, nausea can be a problem for people prone to motion sickness. This means the next Fallout could be more cleaning up vomit from eye-strain induced dizziness rather than killing every super mutant in sight.

New technology always has bugs, but I think VR is going to eventually get the kinks worked out and provide an experience the gaming masses have been yearning for since the dawn of gaming. Can you imagine an immersive, open-world RPG with one of those? With support for motion controls likely, you could literally do everything but be there. Hell, maybe if they combine it with a treadmill you could have an intense gaming experience that also gets you a great workout. ¬†Nothing says “motivation” like planning your runs around frantically fleeing from a troll with an attitude problem.

Ultimately, this is the next step for a new class of incredibly cool games to be born. Anyone who has read Ender’s Game knows about the game he played while at battle school. Immersive, responding to his input with procedural generation and eventually birthing an AI that essentially becomes god because apparently Orson Scott Card has weird ideas about the afterlife. Anyway, immersive “simulations” that respond to what we do in real time are the distant future of gaming, but VR is an important first step to getting there. Personally, I can’t wait to see how this whole wearable tech revolution we’re living through impacts the gaming scene. Honestly though, the coolest applications are in real-life situations where it could revolutionize training in fields from medicine to engineering.

All I know is I’m excited to see where this takes us, but mostly I’m excited to get the shit scared out of me playing a tense, immersive game where I feel directly connected to the main character thanks to the lack of one of those pesky screens.

About Whiskey Ginger

Whiskey Ginger is a scientist by day and comedy writer by night. Other than his passions for the nerdier things in life, he also writes for comedy sites dedicated to fraternity and postgrad humor. His parents just wish he'd write less dick jokes.

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