Losing My VRginity: At The Verge

This week saw the launch of a brand new high-profile virtual reality (VR) meet-up in California, as VRLA saw it’s inaugural gathering. Hosted at Digital Domain, Los   Angeles, VRLA was a resounding success, and today one of the event’s organisers, Cosmo Scharf, takes a walk down memory lane with VRFocus to his very first experience of VR.

Many people’s first VR experience seems to have been with the wildly popular Half-Life 2 and the initial development kit for the Oculus Rift (aka DK1). Scharf was one such individual, however there was something particularly special about his introduction to VR: at the time he was interning at The Verge. Below is Scharf’s own recollection of his first VR experience, verbatim from the co-founder of VRLA:


My first experience with virtual reality was when I worked at The Verge as an intern for their video production team. I got word that someone in the office had a DK1 and I badgered them to try it out, waiting patiently for a week until it was set it up. I remember excitedly walking down the hallway to the upper floor where the Rift awaited me: finally I would get to try the Oculus Rift – it was something I had been looking forward to since I heard about the Kickstarter.

Because it wasn’t my computer and there wasn’t a lot of VR content available at the time, I loaded up Half-Life 2. The game started and suddenly I was in a train, slowly rumbling towards City 17. It was pure joy feeling like I was inside a game that I loved so much. The part that sticks out in my mind till this day was walking up close to a Combine soldier and feeling like he was really there in front of me. I played some more, felt sick, and took it off. But I knew right then that it would become something important.


Cosmo Scharf is the founder and organiser of VRLA, the first meet-up group for VR in Los Angeles. As a film production student at USC, Cosmo believes VR to be the ultimate form of creative expression and actively promotes it as the medium of the future.