For the first time in a few months, I was playing around on my wife’s Oculus headset. I really enjoy the immersive experience that comes with it. Specifically seeing the scientific and space exploration. Those sorts of things aren’t readily available to most of us. Participating as an onlooker from the comfort of your home is the next best thing.
Having cleared a space for me to enjoy our VR, I ended up going barefoot on our super soft rug. This was an unusual sensation, especially when I was floating around the International Space Station at one point.
After about an hour or so of toying around the virtual world, I began to feel queasy. It was probably the Star Wars roller coaster simulation that did it to me. Then I moved on to trying a game, but nausea was too strong. I had to log out.
This was the first time I ever felt that way from VR. It reminded me of when I worked at IMAX some twenty plus years ago. My boss explained that the rollercoaster film that was made required a focal point for people to stare at in order to alleviate motion sickness. I think that was where I went wrong on the roller coaster. I was too busy looking around the virtual environment that my brain sensed movement elsewhere even though I was sitting on the couch.
No more games for a bit, as I have had to take a chewable Pepto Bismal and lay down. I’m not even going to turn on the tv. In fact, after writing this quick blog, my phone is also going away as I recover.
If you found out it wasn’t real, would that make it any less worth living? Or maybe you’re like me and want to walk that fine line of questioning reality and adhering to the rules.
Normally these thoughts enter my mind every September. Don’t ask me why. I think that’s just when the server gets rebooted. Or that reality gets shifted two inches to the right.
In all seriousness, I love the idea of VR. In fact, we have had the Oculus Quest 2 in our home for two years now. With The Metaverse starting to take shape, I think it’s an exciting time to be alive. Over the past couple of years we have all been more exposed to Zoom meetings and video conferences. Strapping on a headset is the next step. The current visuals alone are compelling and immersive. Soon there is going to be Haptic Gloves coming out. That will really change the usage of the Virtual and Augmented reality.
In the not too distant future, we may become fully immersed in a haptic body suit or some sort of chamber. We will begin to occupy a new level of interaction with one another. I do wonder if one day we will be so interconnected that we lose sight of reality.
Perhaps we already have. Maybe we are reliving aspects of humanity we once romanticized- the dawning age of computers. Or maybe we are an alien race playing a life simulator. Could it also be we are just a computer program that became sentient?
I have no idea about any of this. But it sure is fun to imagine that it could be the reality. And if the life we are currently experiencing isn’t real- at least it’s been a crazy adventure.
I will be the first to admit- I suck at most videogames. I love playing them. I rarely win. Put me in a First Person Shooter, and after a few moments, I’m usually the bait. Probably because I run full force into the middle of the game, guns blazing and not aiming at anything but the ground. Playing a racing game, and my thumb is on the gas the entire time. I often can’t judge the upcoming turns and end up off the track. Add weapons into the game? Chances are I’ll blow myself up. Fighting game? Hahahaha. I button mash with the best of them. When my daughter was aged four, she could beat me at my Mortal Kombat 4 upright arcade game.
Check out those graphics!
I generally succeed at puzzle games. Tetris, or gem matching style, even Pacman and side scrolling Mario Bros is more my forté. Maybe it’s the 8Bit simplicity. Maybe I just never matured in my gaming. Maybe I can focus on the repetition easier than figuring out the next move. Maybe it’s the pretty colors.
I began playing videogames in 1981. I was five and played my first arcade game. I was visiting my mother’s friend for a weekend and we went to get a pizza. As we picked up the pizza, there was a lone arcade game near the front door. I was awestruck by the colors, lights and sounds being emitted. She saw my interest and gave me a quarter to play my very first Pacman. Later that year, my family received our first home gaming system- The Intellivision. Since then, I’ve kept up with the newest systems, and the latest tech. My family has far surpassed my skills at gaming. But that’s ok, I enjoy watching them and hearing about the adventures they have. My son loves talking videogames almost as much as playing them.
Tall guy in a virtual world.
This weekend, my kids and I have had a chance to experience VR. The artificial worlds are fully immersive and bordering between cartoon and realism. As I played around in this world, part of my mind knew there were strangers watching me wander around waving my arms and moving my head. Gaming controls are no longer buttons, but your movements. Your goggles and headset block out sense of the real world. I could easily spend hours immersed away from reality. But as these VR games get more intricate, my button mashing skills won’t help me.
Next Gen Gamer.
I am at the point in my life that I may have to admit that it’s time to pass on the torch. The next generation gamer is my son. May he mash the buttons of VR and succeed.