Oculus Rift – hands on

I got to try out Oculus Rift recently and I can see where the hype is coming from. The graphics look great and it’s immersive (by definition) but, and this is a huge BUT, motion sickness ruined the experience for me.

The first game I played was a racing game and the course was like a roller coaster. The up and down parts of the course made me feel very uncomfortable. It may have been my seating position, but after playing a while (we had 3 laps each) I had to release the accelerator for some sections to prevent myself vomiting. After my turn had ended, I stood up and I felt weird. It was like I had been spinning around on the same spot for a while. I relaxed with my friends for a couple of minutes and they also had a similar feeling.

When I was ready again tried out a horror demo. It was really a game. It was like an Incidious 3 trailer except it feels like you’re the protagonist. I love the horror movie genre so the usual jump scares didn’t get me. There was one bit however, that did make me dodge! A tea cup on a tray suddenly flew towards me. For a second I forgot it wasn’t real, but when my body started moving, I paused and thought “hang on, I didn’t need to move”. The best bit of this demo was near the end, there was a few figures covered by a long white sheet slowly walking towards me. They got real close and it gave me the feeling of someone standing too close to me. The sheet slowly falls off revealing some sort of ghost where they point to my right. I look and nothing is there, I look back and the figure is gone. At this point, I knew I’m supposed to look to my right to where the spot is and was ready for the predictable jump scare. The best bit was the part that made me think the ghost was invading my personal space. I think horror genre can work with this a lot more than the cheap jump scares that was poured into this demo.

All in all VR gaming isn’t for me. If I could deal with the motion sickness then it’s great. I would like some more movie experiences with VR though. Chase scenes and even eerie moments can be enhanced with VR but I wouldn’t want it to be peppered with jump scares.