A little while ago, my sister purchased a VR headset. I had never used on before. The only VR experience I had was when we purchased a Google Cardboard set that you place your cellphone in. While I enjoyed it a lot, I couldn’t play with it long until I would get so motion sick. I was wary to try the new set this evening for fear it would sent me to bed with a tummy ache.
When we had gotten here last night, Tim and C played on it for a little while and it was adorable to watch her interact with it. She laughed and giggled as she explored this brand new way of seeing the world.
Since she seemed to enjoy it so much, and Tim had really talked it up, I decided to give it a try. We started off with a simple game of looking around a coral reef. And then we did a game where you were in a cage and it descended down into the ocean to look at a sunken submarine. I was really impressed with the detail in the graphics and they way that it made me want to touch everything in my environment, even though it wasn’t real. The manta rays and the fish drifted around the cage, as you could turn around and explore. Towards the end of the game, however, a shark makes an appearance. It was the strangest sensation to have your eyes tell your mind that something is real, when you know in reality that it is not. I stood there watching that shark bust its way through the cage trying to eat me, and it caused a physical reaction of alarm. I kept backing up away from it, or trying to hit it in an attempt to save myself.
I remember the old story about how one of the first films that ever played in a theater was a train that drove straight toward the camera. The theater goers were so scared of this train approaching them that they panicked and ran from the theater.
I think what I felt tonight is what they experienced- the dichotomy of what your eyes see and your mind knows to be true. The immersive nature of it was exciting and a little unsettling. The really surprising thing about the entire experience was that it did not make me queasy. I think it was because the headset made it so immersive and the graphics were so well done. At the end of each game, I would take the headset off and let myself stand there for a few minutes with my eyes closed to ground myself again. I tried a few more games, and ended on a car racing game, which did make me a little nauseous, probably because I kept running into walls!
I don’t think it is something that I would want a steady diet of, but it was very enjoyable and I would recommend it!
As for the rest of our day, Tim and I went on a date to see the Black Panther movie, which I liked a lot and we ended our evening with a sushi date at a local restaurant.
I’m including a picture of C playing on the VR headset last night. 🙂