2014 has seen virtual reality go from laughing stock of the ‘90s to the most exciting thing to happen to gaming in ages. Over the past month Facebook has bought Oculus VR for $2bn and Sony has revealed its first ever virtual reality (VR) headset. While journalists have been speculating on what this means for the future of virtual reality we’ve been more concerned by the present and created WearVR.com – a site that aggregates all the available VR games and organises them into convenient categories.
With over 100 games on the site already we’re profiling those we find the most interesting and fun. To check out the full list head over to the WeArVR website.
It had to happen and it has – Flappy Bird (or in this case a clone) has come to virtual reality. If the original game wasn’t impossible enough playing it through an Oculus Rift headset is an even greater challenge – although it doesn’t stop it being fun.
While we’re excited about the gaming opportunities for VR, film has been one of the most talked applications for new wave of headsets, and this VR cinema shows why. It’s quite bizarre watching a film from the comfort of your own home and looking around to find yourself in an empty cinema. This is also a great response to the criticism that VR headsets will struggle because they’re isolating – in this situation isolation is a selling point. It also means you can watch you Fast and Furious boxset and nobody will know!
Team Fortress 2
It probably gets more playtime than any game in the Dubit office so we’re going to love it on the Oculus Rift. Team Fortress 2 on VR shows how the technology could enhance already great games.
Spirited Away: The Boiler Room
Many early VR ‘games’ are nothing more than virtual rooms, but when those rooms are modelled on classic Studio Ghibli films we’re not so bothered. Many of us in the Dubit office have been fantasying about using VR to re-experience our favourite game worlds, whether it’s the beauty of Skyrim or the Grit of Liberty City, but what the Spirited Away room shows is how great it would be to experience fantasy environments that have never been games. Fancy walking around Springfield and going to Moe’s? Of course you do.
As with mobile gaming a new gaming device or peripheral allows us to create new ways to play games. In the case of Windlands it’s less about the dynamic of the game and its puzzles but the way it’s experienced. It’s already got us excited for Portal on Oculus Rift.
Minutes after it was confirmed that Facebook had bought Oculus VR, Notch, the creator of Minecraft, announced that he was no longer considering bringing the game to Oculus Rift. While it’s not a system seller Minecraft is currently the biggest thing in kids’ gaming. Fortunately there are plenty of developers ready to ‘pay tribute’ to Minecraft and bring a similar experience to Oculus owners, such as Minecrift from Mabrowning.
Don’t look Back
For a long time first-person horror games have been a great way to combine a fun game with nightmares and expensive counselling, and if Don’t look Back is anything to go by VR seems set to dial the fright factor up to eleven. Just have a look at the video below and imagine playing it with no view of the outside world.
VR Lemmings came out of a game jam so we’re going to ignore the graphics and the fact that the lemmings don’t look like lemmings and focus on the original methods of helping the suicidal creatures. We’re all used to clicking on the screen and building bridges for lemmings but a combination of VR and a motion tracking controller now allows you to reach out and build bridges in a 3D space. Here a simple project has shown how a game which has stuck to the same formula and control method for decades is changed by virtual reality and motion control.
The most enjoyable element to virtual reality is experience environments from new viewpoints – which is why we love swinging from webs like a virtual Spiderman in Spiculus. The puzzle element is fun but this makes the list for letting us feel like Spiderman and that fact alone.
We’re ending with a genre as opposed to a game. The majority of the coasters and rides in this category are based on actual rides, such as Tornado Coaster (based on a Dutch ride) and Twist and Shout which is the last standing coaster made by Anton Schwarzkopf and currently sitting idle in an abandoned theme park. Coasters are a great showcase for virtual reality but in these cases they also allow users to experience rides and places that they might never get to witness in real life, especially in the case of Twist and Shout.
Want to know more? Sign up for our weekly newsletter! Each issue includes our four favourite casual gaming articles of the week, along with great presentations to watch and Twitter accounts to follow. All for free and sent to your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to This Week in Casual Games here.