|CAN’T STOP JACKIN’|
I bought the thing skeptically, to be honest. I’d always been curious, but the sales for E3 (which is how I know it’s been like three months) pushed me over the edge. But like I said, skeptical. I put the money into the Skyrim set (because it came with the camera and two Move controllers) knowing full well that by this point it could be collecing dust. Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Why does VR appeal to me? A few reasons:
1: I AM JADED.
Right now, I’m taking a break from VR to do what everyone else with a Playstation is doing: playing Spider-Man. And Spider-Man is very good. But it’s also the culmination of every game I’ve played leading up to it. Even the indie game wold, occasionally a bastion of true innovation, all too often falls into the Thing You Like In A New Context mode. I love Cuphead, but it’s Mega Man in a Betty Boop Cartoon.
VR breaks through my old jaded gamer sensibilities. When a thing flies at your face, you feel it. This is especially true if that thing is gross. Like the spider-crabs in Farpoint. It retreats a feeling of true visceral pant-shitting startlement I first got in games like Rescue on Fractalus and later, Alien vs. Predator (Atari Jaguar version, motherfuckers!) It resensitizes you.
2: I AM BLIND
My eyes suuuuuuck. No, seriously. Take how nearsighted most nearsighted nerds are and triple it. With correction my eyesight’s maybe half as good as yours on a good day. VR puts a screen right in front of my eyebals, simulating better distance vision in 3-D than I’ve ever had in my life. That’s fuckin’ something.
3: VR MAKES TEDIOUS SHIT INTERESTING
One of the games I own is called Apex Construct. It’s basically an exploration puzzler with light content and moderate story. Part of the game involves hunt and peck typing on keyboards with motion controllers. A lot of the game involves opening doors. If I were doing this with a controller, I’d delete the game so fast there’d be a hole the shape of the game in my hard drive. I know this because, well, at one point or another I got all the Deus Ex games from the last generation for free, and they’re full of bullshit like that. In VR, I tolerate it because it’s more immersive and feels more natural.
4: VR MAKES MEDIOCRE GAMES BETTER
I mentioned Farpoint. Farpoint is an FPS with linear levels, average enemies, generally average mechanics, average story... it’s basically Halo 1 without the vehicles or other people and half as many aliens and the levels are mostly straight lines. And I played that fucker through to the end because it was full 3D and immersive and I bought the gun controller and you change weapons by lifting the gun over your shoulder like you’re putting it on your back and pulling another one down and GODDAMMIT THAT IS COOL.
5: BRAND NEW EXPERIENCES
Look, let’s face it. Most VR games are adaptations of existing game mechanics to VR and movement controls. Rez in VR is still just Rez, but you can look to the sides. Moss is a 3D puzzle platformer with a bird’s eye movable view of the levels. But then there’s shit like To The Top, of which there’ll be a separate post. Or VR Playroom, which takes the WiiU’s idea of multi-screen same room multiplayer and takes it to the Nth degree (something someone else should really be capitalizing on). Or even Rick and Morty: Virtual Rickality, which is the definitive “solving puzzles in a 3-D space” experience.
Clearly, VR isn’t for everyone. But since I’m not prone to motion sickness and it has certain bonus just-for-me benefits, I’m crazy hooked.