This moment goes back to the beginning of the month when VRFocus was hosting its VR Challenge game jam (VRC). I was expecting to have a thought altering moment after trying out a title that had only been developed for 24 hours, but this was perhaps the closest I have been to taking off the headset out of fear.
Once VRC was all over with, we were all able to go from game to game and try out what had been made during the 24 hours, and the first one just so happened to be Catastrophe, the winners of the game jam. What they had created was a seemingly cute title where you bat the cats that are falling from the sky into safe baskets either side of you while you stand on a platform. Simple concept, but very much engaging.
It was one of those moments where the game could have gone on for a very long time, and the only way to get out of it really is to ‘kill’ yourself within the game in order to terminate it. What was the only method for this, you ask? Why, stepping into the revolving blades that were revealed from beneath the platform on which you stood if a cat just so happened to hit it. This was one time I can safely say I was frozen from fear of falling in VR.
Irrational? Yes. So very much so. But could I convince myself otherwise? No.
I don’t think people quite realised what I was making so much noise about, but I couldn’t look down. I was being urged to simply step out into the blades, but instead I was hovering about on the safe platform while looking up in the air.
The only other time that I felt anything quite close to this was when I tried out Ascend the Wall on the Gear VR, where you essentially just go up very high. I put my hands out in front as if that was going to block my view, but instead I continued to freak out.
This made me realise that gaming within VR is taken to a whole new level. This is something that people say, but until you experience it for yourself, there’s no way of knowing how it really is. It does bring up a rather scary thought – are we able to kill ourselves in order to end the game or play a level over again as easily as we have always experienced?
In hindsight I should have just taken off the headset and not bothered with the messing about I experienced, but there was something so compelling that it was the last thing I really actually wanted to do – even below falling to my death.
I don’t even want to think what it would be like in The Brookhaven Experiment.
Just as a side note for all of our readers – if you want to know more about Catastrophe and all of the entries to VRC, VRFocus will be posting hands-on pieces and even links to the projects that have been developed further.