Oculus Rifting while drunk
Last weekend I went to a really great party, we’re talking top notch partying. There was booze, pizza, video games and debauchery with a load of Microsoft employees. It was a great time. But I’m not here to boast about my excellent social life (That’s what my other blog Bourbonandshame.wordpress is for) instead I’ll be talking about my experience with one of the gadgets my gracious host (and all round top bloke) had to share, an Oculus Rift. Now be warned, much of my following thoughts and judgement I made on about the rift were made under the influence of alcohol, so take everything with a pinch of salt.
After seeing a few of my friends give the rift a go I was excited. Each had sat calmly with the head set on, before having their mind promptly blown. They were amazed at how the camera followed their movements in a realistic fashion, how in the demos we could play they were able to they could tilt their heads and have the rift react accordingly. The first game we played was called Baskhead was one that had the player take the role of a basket ball hoop who had to steer their head in such a way to catch the in coming balls. For each of us drunk party goes it took a few moments to grasp the game, but once we got it we were catching balls in our face like a pro.
Next up we was a game about punching things. This didn’t go so well, as one of the more intoxicated party goers really got into the game and had to be restrained when she started punching the actual monitors.
When i first got my head in the rift I decided I wanted to try something a little more advanc than taking balls to the face and punching screens. So I asked for Half-Life 2. My host looked shocked, he’d never tried Half-Life 2 with the rift. I was to be the first to give it a go. It didn’t work. This is where the ‘Still in development’ caveat must come up. We tried in vain for upwards of five minutes to get the dam game to work and to immerse me in Gordon Freeman’s early morning commute, but alas no.
Filled with rage I asked to be allowed to blow shit up and was given such a chance with Vox Machinae, a mech game like they used to make in the old days and made some what of a comeback in the last few years with games like Hawken and Titanfall. This was where I had issues. The game was incredibly blurry for me. This is mostly due to how drunk I was at the time, but also thanks to the fact I have one eye that is ever so slightly weaker than the other. As such I regularly see things in double for a brief moment before my eyes line up. Apart from that my vision has been pretty much perfect for most of my life, so seeing so much blur was troubling to. Powering through the blur the game itself was decent enough, it’s still in beta so i’ll refrain from passing judgement.
After getting blown up in a mech I decided to give another game a chance, one that would be a bit more relaxing. So I gave the Apollo 11 simulator ago. Calling it a simulator is a bit kind. What it really is a documentary segment with JFK’s famous speech, before having you sit in a virtual Apollo 11 cockpit as you lift off. I must admit that here was where the rift kinda shone for me, part of my brain really felt like it was lifting off, and while this feeling only lasted a few seconds it was still a remarkable feeling to have.
Overall my feelings of the rift are still skeptically optimistic. While I’m not sure it’ll ever be the primary way we game (At least in my life time) I do think that the Rift is certainly an fine first step on the way for VR to being part of every day life.