5 Places I Want Virtual Reality to Take Me

Apr 22, 2016

Hey friends! Today I'm bringing you my very first guest post! This post is by Daria Alexander, a freelance writer with a penchant for all things geeky. As you'll no doubt learn from this post, Daria is currently obsessing over VR, though she's not quite sure which device to buy just yet. Take us away, Daria!
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If you haven't heard about the rise of virtual reality in 2016, you've either been living under a rock or continually binge-watching and re-binge-watching the first five seasons of Game Of Thrones in preparation for season six (the latter of which is perfectly acceptable human behaviour). So just in case, here's the deal: virtual reality gaming is finally a real thing. It dominated CES 2016, and now you can actually go online and spend all the monies on your very own headset (or opt for one of the super-cheap sets of goggles compatible with certain smartphones for VR gaming).

Even though all this has been happening, we don't really have a feel for what the best games will look like, or perhaps more accurately, where they'll take us. Most people are focused on things like whether or not a first-person shooter can work on VR, or how Sony's Driveclub game will adapt from PS4 to whatever Sony's calling its VR headset these days (I swear it's gone by 17 different names already....). These are valid questions that will actually matter in the first year of VR availability.

But I'm more focused on the potential of the VR phenomenon to let us "game" in exciting environments—not just to adapt existing popular games as un-clumsily as possible. So with that said, here are my own probably-too-specific picks for where I'd like VR headsets to take me in the near future.

1. Hogwarts

If you don't think a virtual reality version of Hogwarts, Hogwars, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts would be incredible, you are incorrect, and I'm sorry for your incorrectness. But seriously: is there a more thoroughly imagined world in all of fiction than Rowling's wizarding school? Most of the people in the age range that will be buying VR headsets grew up on Harry Potter (this isn't an actual fact, but it seems about right), so whichever developer comes out with a game in which you can explore the castle and wave your wand around is going to make a killing. Accio Harry Potter game!

2. The Seven Kingdoms

I suppose I've already gone on about Game Of Thrones, so I may as well include the Seven Kingdoms. I'm slightly worried that even the power of modern gaming consoles can't quite handle the vastness that is Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. In fact, that may be why there isn't really a terrific Game Of Thrones video game out there just yet. Telltale Games' attempt certainly isn't bad, but for VR it would need to be largely about the visuals. And capturing the expanses of the Seven Kingdoms seems pretty difficult, but my goodness would it be fascinating to be there. Personally, I'd go straight to the Winterfell crypts to get a look at Ned Stark's bones. If you ask me, they're mentioned a little too frequently in the books not to hold some significance still...

3. The Fury Road

Since people seem to think racing games will be among the most exciting VR activities, I'm already imagining the action film with the greatest chase sequences of all time. Mad Max: Fury Road wasn't for everybody, but it's hard to deny that the chase that pretty much takes up 90 percent of the runtime was out-of-this-world from an action lover's standpoint. But is it wrong that I'd rather play as a War Boy chasing down Max and Furiosa than actually as Max or Furiosa?

4. Casino Royale

I'm not actually sure if that's what it's called, but who doesn't want to play a few hands at the Monte-Carlo casino James Bond bet millions at in Casino Royale? I've heard it suggested that poker would be a pretty easy game to adapt to VR, and there's actually some mild precedent for it. At Gala's live casino page, you can play Hold'Em and several other casino games face-to-face with a live dealer. You're still looking at a computer screen (minor detail), but the idea is to feel as if you're really sitting at the table. Slap that same concept into a VR headset and build a resort environment around the player, and you've got a Bond-based poker game to satisfy poker players and film fanatics alike. Really, I just want to stare down Le Chiffre.

5. The Matrix

Hey, we all live in the Matrix anyway, but let's not focus on such existentially crippling details. Picture this for a video game: On a normal console—say a PS4 or Xbox One—you control Neo and speak to Morpheus and Trinity, and moping around the depressing reality of the Nebuchadnezzar. Then it comes time to plug yourself in, either to the Matrix itself or a training program—and you put on your VR headset, to simulate actually leaving one reality and diving into another. From there, you can track Agent Smith, visit the Oracle, and, of course, learn Kung Fu.

Unfortunately, this is just my little wish list, and not a line-up of games to come. But thinking through these makes VR a little more exciting than imagining just another shooter or racing game. Or at least, I think so!
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