Monday, September 10, 2018

An OLDNERD In THe Matrix

OK, as part of my effort to shift away from regular episodic posting and more into enthusiast stuff, I’ve spent, and I just checked this, about three months hooked on Playstation VR. So much so that I haven’t bothered to write about it.

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


  1. Should I assume Skyrim VR wasn't actually touched? And if so, why? (I mean, it's currently the running joke in my crowd that you'd probably have had to have bought Skyrim twice over before then, but...)

  2. Good catch - no, I haven’t popped Skyrim in yet. I keep meaning too, really I do, but then there’s always something else more interesting to play.

    I was never really an Elder Scrolls guy. I did try playing Morrowind back when it was the hot shit everyone was raving about, but I need a bit more direction in a game to enjoy myself. I really will play it at some point, since I own it and everything, but it’s not a priority, plus, now that I’m digital-game almost entirely except when a bundle makes me get a disc, there’s a weird new barrier of entry to a physical copy.