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Ok, so…being an 80’s/90’s kid myself, I remember all of the hype and the hoopla about the possibility of experiencing the concept of ‘virtual reality’.
Campaign after campaign. Promise after promise. And…of course, disappointment after disappointment.
I mean, the whole VR thing was just science fiction, right? As a youngster, I held on to the hope that one day, I’d be able to actually live inside a video game and go nuts as if it was real life. My friends and I were constantly on the search for it. More than ANY other tech than a kid could ever want (With the obvious exception of a “Back To The Future II” hoverboard, of course!). We were first in line to watch Stephen King’s “Lawnmower Man”, and were wide eyed at the thought of technology like that being just around the corner! Maybe in time for next Christmas, right?
But…despite many attempts to actually take those major leaps forward in video game technology…it was like it just wasn’t meant too be. Sure we had SOME arcade VR experiences with blocky graphics and limited gameplay. And we had Battletech at North Pier in Chicago. Then we had Nintendo’s ‘Virtual Boy’…and the less we say about that, the better. It got to a point when we just gave up on the dream, and put the idea of virtual reality games on the shelf with the hoverboard, the real life ‘light saber’, and the flying car. No big loss. Some things just weren’t meant to be.
THEN…2016 comes along!
Another promise made. Another potential disappointment in the making. But this time…the equipment being developed wasn’t just a pipe dream. This time, true geniuses stepped in, and I can tell you guys right now from experience…
…Virtual Reality is FINALLY here!!! Holy SHIT!!!
I never thought that something like this would actually be possible in my lifetime! I’ve never played anything like this before in my life! Add this one to your Christmas list! Now, I’ve only had access to the Playstation 4, PSVR, system…but this is an orgasmic experience for anyone who’s a fan of video games no matter what system you happen to be playing. (There are a few on the market at the moment, including the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift) If you’ve been holding off on trying these out or thought that this was some gimmick or a passing fad…I dare you to spend one day playing one! Jesus Christ! How does someone go back to regular video games after this???
Down below is an advertisement. And it exaggerates a few things (Because…commercials), but for the most part…that is actually what it feels like! You are inside the game. You get a second or two to prepare while it’s loading, and then you actually have to adopt a fighting stance and get ready to immerse yourself into a seriously hostile situation, forced to defend yourself. The weird thing is…you KNOW that it’s a video game. It LOOKS like a video game. But your brain refuses to rationalize things the way it’s supposed to. It won’t listen to you. When something comes flying at your head…your brain is telling you, “HOLY FUCK! Get out of the way!!!” If you think you’ll be able to play a VR game and not ‘react’ in ways you never have to a video game before…you’d be wrong. Trust me on this. This is YOUR body. Your hand movements. Your leaning and flying and bobbing and weaving…in real time. It’s so easy to forget that you’re just playing a game!
Honestly? You haven’t lived until you’ve played a game like ‘Super Hot VR’ and been able to physically lean back to dodge a freakin’ BULLET, only to pop back up and shoot that guy in the FACE for daring to mess with you! LOL! So satisfying!
But see for yourself! This is just a taste of what you’ve got waiting for you…
Now…one of the big questions is…can young children play games on this new medium? And that is definitely going to be a hot topic of conversation after this holiday season. Because I have a TON of cousins here…and the 10 to 15 year olds can handle it, no problem. But, for the younger ones? It’s a different story.
No little kid wants to be left out. And even if they don’t ‘like’ something, they want to play anyway. (Because…’kids’) So when it comes to someone who’s only 6 or 7 years old, you kind of have to use your judgement on whether they should be introduced to something so immersive. Especially since their sense of reality is so limited at that point.
To some youngsters…they think it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen! They scream and laugh and can’t get enough of it. However…to others? It’s literally like being trapped in a digital nightmare with no escape! It can be a terrifying experience. And NOT just for kids! But adults too! So you have to gauge what is inappropriate for whoever is playing. Because the human brain forgets that it’s just a simulation. We don’t want any trauma being caused here. Hehehe!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words, “Get me out of here!” Hahaha! Get you out of WHERE??? Just take the visor off. You haven’t gone anywhere, and don’t need a rescue mission. But, like I said…it takes time for the brain to cope with what’s going on.
So what might be a fun roller coaster ride for one kid, might end up being a descent into fear and madness for another! Buyer beware!
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That all being said…I have played many of these games myself, and I have picked out my absolute favorites for you guys to jump into if you ever get the chance! Seriously, go to your local mall while you’re Christmas shopping and see if they have one on display! It’ll make you a believer!
The one thing that you might have to look out for is ‘motion sickness’. I’m sure this is a problem that the developers are working on, but if you suffer from motion sickness, you may want to try a few games out before making any big purchases. I, personally, have never experienced motion sickness before in my life…but there were one or two games that made me feel a little queasy afterward. It happens. So, if you’re going to play, limit your time to an hour or so, and then take a break. Don’t think you can sit there with a World Of Warcraft mindset and spend twelve hours immersed in that world, or you will be tossing your cookies all over your lap. Moderation, people! At least until you get used to it!
But put this one on your Christmas lists! And if it’s too late, then buy one! Save up a few paychecks! Rake some leaves, shovel some snow, mow some lawns, sell some stuff you don’t need anymore…but GRAB one of these! It’s SO worth it!
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Rush Of Blood
Now, you guys KNOW how much I love horror movies! I really do! Ummm, but this is one of those games that really tests your limits. I was ok with the killer clowns and the dolls and the ghosts and the monsters and the zombies, etc….but the GIANT, 3-dimensional, VR, spiders??? Ummm…yeah. That is NOT ok! There are times when I had to actually quit this game and just leave it alone! If you’re looking for a fun time full of scares…this game is a must have!
It isn’t often…in fact, it’s extremely rare…that I would refer to a game a being ‘beautiful’. But I’m saying it here. Tetris Effect is friggin’ BEAUTIFUL! I can remember getting the old black and white Gameboy and playing Tetris for the first time, and it is one of the most addictive puzzle games that has ever been invented. To all of you who get hung up on Angry Birds or Candy Crush…trust me, Tetris crushes them all. But how does this play out in virtual reality? My God…you have no idea!
The game you’re playing is still Tetris, and still as addictive as ever. But the backgrounds…wow! It’s like being on some kind of weird acid trip. And the environment changes with your movements and achievements. Every time you turn or move a block, it affects the beat. It’s crazy! And the music is absolutely surreal! An original soundtrack made JUST for this game…and it is so incredible that I actually went searching for a download of it. This is one unhealthy obsession that I’m happy to nurture whenever I get a chance to.
The VR representation of the typical 90’s action movie, Raw Data is a total BLAST to play! You can choose from one of four characters, each with their own weapon of choice and special abilities. One has two pistols (Probably my personal favorite), one has a shotgun, one has a bow and arrow, and one has a laser sword. You go to war with a corrupt corporation with an army of killer androids, and you are going to LOVE turning these robot assassins to fodder for the scrap heap!
Fruit Ninja VR
Hehehe, who doesn’t love Fruit Ninja? This is one of those games that even the kids can play without being traumatized for life! The game is simple…cut the fruit, avoid the bombs, get the high score. But in VR, where you can actually see your ninja katanas…it adds an extra element of ‘wow’! Different modes are available to keep things fresh, and you’ll find yourself swinging swords until your arms and shoulders are too sore to go on. Ummm…yay?
This is filled with a whole lot of ‘NOPE’!!! That’s right. You start playing, and it puts you in a situation where it’s supposed to make you want to keep going, but you just pull the headset off, like, “NOPE!!!” And you walk away! Period. Not doing it. Not going there. Fuck this game! LOL!
You play the role of a police investigator and an actual exorcist. Looking at crime scenes and abolishing demons from possessed innocents. You have your manual, your holy water, your crucifix. You’ve got to now how to use them to expel the evil and win the day. Which is really cool sounding…but with demons and whispered voices over my shoulder and severed pig’s heads and babies crawling on the ceiling and snakes and roaches…NOPE! Just…just…NOPE!!! It might be a while before I can go back and play this one through its horrifying 5 chapters.
What would happen if you combined virtual reality with Guitar Hero, mixed it with Dance Dance Revolution…and made you a Star Wars JEDI, all at the same time??? Beat Saber is the answer! JESUS, this game is fun!!! You’re armed with two light sabers, one red and one blue. As the boxes fly directly at you, you have to cut them in half, following the arrow to hit them with a certain strike, all while staying in tune with the beat and swaying and dodging the giant walls coming your way.
It’s one hell of an experience! But be sure to start off playing it on easy. The difficulty level on this game is off the charts. And unless you’re actually a jedi master with a light saber…you’ll lose before you even get your first thirty seconds of play time in!
Space Pirate Trainer
A truly kick ass game! You’re standing on a platform, surrounded by hundreds of robotic drones, and you have to shoot your way out! You will NOT be able to walk away from this game once you learn how to play and how to get through each wave! You can reach over your shoulder and grab a second weapon that can act as a shield, a gravity beam you can use to slam your enemies into the ground, or to power up ‘back up’ from the giant blaster cannons behind you! I honestly feel like I could be a space pirate now! I wonder what a job like that pays. Hmmmm…
Creed: Rise To Glory
Hehehe, have you ever actually trained in a gym to be a boxer? Well, this is no different. Jump into the world of Creed from the movies, and stand toe to toe with a life sized opponent rippling with muscles and ready to knock you back on your ass. I should warn you, though….this game is a full body workout! Hehehe, you’re not just mashing buttons here! You’ve got to grab those controllers and use strength, speed, and stamina, to beat your enemies down. And you will be SORE the next day if you play more than a few matches at once! LOL! I speak from experience.
Probably the most fun you can have in VR! It’s like the perfect combination of Keanu Reeves as ‘John Wick’, mixed with Keanu Reeves as ‘Neo’ in “The Matrix”! Don’t let the basic graphics fool you. This will make you the biggest badass ever once you start playing it! Punch, fight, shoot, throw objects like bottles, ninja stars, ash trays, hatchets…this game is crazy! Dodge bullets by simply leaning out of the way! Kill an enemy, and catch their gun in mid air to use for yourself. It’s cool as shit to be the most hardcore assassin in the room!
You can’t have VR without playing this one! It’s the action hero game you’ve always wanted!
Resident Evil VII
One thing to remember about playing horror in VR is that it is much more intense than you think it’s going to be. Once you play Resident Evil VII this way, you’ll never be able to forget that golden rule ever again. Everything looks and feels so real. So from the extreme scares you get from having to fight and defend yourself, to the extreme chills you get from simply walking around a creepy old house in the woods, to the extreme fear you feel trying to crouch down and hide while a murderous man with an axe comes searching for you…you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with this horror fest!
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So, if you’re looking to splurge this holiday season, or want to give Santa a last minute challenge, pick one of these babies up and have a blast! The only thing more fun than playing it yourself is watching your friends and family play it for their first time! Hilarious!
Happy holidays, guys! I’m wishing you well!