This is Real: Entering the VR Life

From skeptic to believer

Before our HTC Vive came in the mail, I realized how big of a deal having a Virtual Reality headset was going to be. I know it’s the “new frontier” of our times and that it’s not going away. However, for some reason, I couldn’t really wrap my head around (pun intended) how it would personally affect me.

Aside from the usual stress-busting puzzle games on my phone, the only games that ever took the most of my time were building games the likes of Sims, Cities: Skylines and Anno 2070. So, my initial thought was that there’s nothing in it for me. I thought I’d try it once or twice and never again, just as I did with Guitar Hero, and never pick it up again. Then, we finally had our hands on the unit. I said to myself, “We paid so much for this; I might as well try it.”

Seeing people (i.e. my husband) put it on for the first time, flailing their arms around, made me giggle a bit. They seemed so immersed and genuinely blown away by the experience. I thought I’d look “better,” and not be so engaged. “It’s just virtual reality.”

Then it was my turn. I thought, “Ugh, this is so bulky and uncomfortable,” and made such a fuss about the headset sitting on my cheeks. But, I gave it a chance. And boy, did I swallow my words! Needless to say, I had such a blast. I thought, “Wow, if only I could have everyone else try it! This is so cool.”

First few games

I tried Audioshield, even if my hand-eye coordination is questionable at best, ha ha. I honestly didn’t expect to like it at all. But, I ended up loving it. Then, I tried Valve’s The Lab, and spent a few minutes doing archery, which was another unexpectedly enjoyable game. I even tried Xortex 26XX and did relatively well.

Now, I look forward to outperforming myself every time I put a game on. I find myself absolutely changing my mind with games that at first glance would make me go, “Meh.” I flail my hands around, too, no more inhibitions. An occasional yelp when dodging lasers here, and frequent swearing at missed hits there – that’s the VR life.

A great workout

There are countless testimonials on different forums about how people are tracking their physical activity when playing in VR. And it’s true, you will bust a move. You will sweat, and you will like it.

You know that feeling of dreading the gym or a short jog? That feeling of having to drag yourself, getting dressed and actually start to exercise? That’s not how I feel before I put the headset on. In fact, I get excited for my turn. Also, after your first intensive VR game, you’ll feel the same muscle soreness you’d get from a good workout. And yep, a nice stretch before a game is recommended.

There’s almost no way to describe what it feels like to play in VR, especially with the HTC Vive. The best attempt at it would be different, surreal, and extremely immersive. Ultimately, it does feel like the future.

For a list of the most physically demanding Vive games, click here. If you need the list for the best Vive games right now, click here.

-shurl

 

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