I remember the first time I tried virtual reality goggles. I was a kid at Dave & Buster’s, and the experience left me feeling physically shaky and more than a little woozy. I refuse to confirm it, but I may or may not have reached for a trash can after that.
Virtual reality has come a long way since then. The Oculus Rift VR headset offers a mind-blowing, eye-bending virtual environment that gaming experts have been buzzing about, thanks to total immersion experiments like the Oculus/Team Fortress 2 project and the Mirror’s Edge Kickstarter campaign. And some devs are even figuring out how to make it work with motion controls, like the Razer’s Hydra.
It’s already being hailed for pushing boundaries, with a reputation for setting a new standard in responsive and immersive gaming. But maybe there’s potential for another utility — like giving house-bound or elderly folks a new lease on life. Here’s YouTube user Paul Rivot’s 90-year-old grandma rocking the head gear. (And, might I say, she’s doing it like a boss.)
There’s little doubt about how intriguing this innovation is, but even so, some early reactions to the headset include a mixture of both enthusiasm and confusion. Granted, some people have trouble getting used to a navigation system based on head and eye movements, but hey — if Rivot’s grandmother can get the hang of it, I have total faith that today’s gamers would be up to the challenge.
For a more dev-worthy look at the kit, including a demo vid, you can check it out — and its Team Fortress 2 gameplay — here at this link.
In related news, another Kickstarter campaign springboarded off its Oculus Rift connection to garner success on the crowd-funding site. Taking cues from Myst, The Gallery: Six Elements will offer a first-person adventure that has players moving through six painted portals representing the “core elements of life.” Though developer CloudHead Games notes that the VR headset isn’t required to play, it did design the game specifically for the Oculus Rift. And likely because of that, it exceeded its $65,000 goal ahead of its April 17 deadline. The Gallery will launch on PC and Mac, and is working on getting a coveted place on Steam via the Greenlight service.