‘Content is key’ as the saying goes and for Oculus Rift its was essential to ensure not only a decent launch lineup but also a continual stream of videogames and apps to keep customers entertained. Which is why the company setup Oculus Studios, to not only create first party titles but to also publish and nurture third-party offerings as well. Additionally setup was Oculus Story Studios, designed to push the frontier of immersive storytelling with animated shorts like Henry and Dear Angelica. While successful Oculus Story Studios closed last year as the company looked to reevaluate its efforts. As for videogames themselves, you only have to look at the Oculus Store or Steam to find that there’s not exactly a shortage of content, and if any naysayers do bring that argument up, slap them, put the headset back on and enjoy many hours worth of gameplay.
Now don’t start to think that this article is about to list every title on Oculus Store, that would take far too long. This is more of a summary of what you should be playing or merely highlighting those that you may have missed. If you where an early adopter of the Oculus Rift then you’ll likely have a sizable library of content with which to showcase the majesty and wonder that is virtual reality (VR). If you happen to be new to the platform its always worth looking at some of the older titles, not only to see how far development has come but also to grab a few bargains of the store.
Sure early titles were much shorter than many current releases, as developers experimented with what worked and what didn’t. Case in point: locomotion. Depending on the title VRFocus will mention this in reviews as it can make or break an experience. Early efforts were either stationary due to the lack of motion controllers at the time, while others tried smooth locomotion as found in traditional videogames, to limited success. One of the most popular then and now is teleportation, offering a comfortable mechanic to hop around the virtual world. As time went on players used to VR found it less immersive, choosing smooth locomotion where possible as it become more widely available.
Launch titles for Oculus Rift include Chronos, Lucky’s Tale, Defense Grid 2 Enhanced VR Edition, EVE: Valkyrie, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Pinball FX2 VR and many more. The reason VRFocus has selected these in particular is simply down to the fact that they hold up well, and are well worth a look when an Oculus sale comes around. Then you’ve got all the Oculus Touch compatible experiences which started appearing in December 2016. As the Xbox One controller is no longer supplied developers have been updating their projects to support the motion controllers.
So what videogames should you most definitely have in your collection? Well that’s always a double edged sword, as there will be titles VRFocus likes that you may wonder why we chose them, and vice-a-versa. Here goes (in no particular order):
- Lone Echo
- The Mage’s Tale
- Robo Recall
- The Gallery: Episode 2 – Heart of the Emberstone
- Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality
- REZ Infinite
- Killing Floor: Incursion
- Quar: Battle for Gate 18
- Preta: Vendetta Rising
- Star Trek: Bridge Crew
- Wilson’s Heart
- Space Pirate Trainer
- The Wizards
- Island 359
- Sprint Vector
- DiRT Rally VR
- Manifest 99
Right that’s your lot or we could be here all day. So they’re the best what about the worst. Well VRFocus isn’t going to name and shame some of the worst VR experiences out there, but you can find further details in the review listings. As with any videogame there can be a range of problems from bugs and glitches to poor design choices. These can be further compounded in VR, possibly leading to the dreaded simulator sickness in worse case scenarios.
One last thing and that’s apps. Some of these are very handy while other blur the lines with videogame content. You can create with Medium or Quill, explore the oceans in theBlu or the entire planet with Google Earth VR. How about heading into the stars with Star Chart or the Apollo 11 VR Experience, catch the latest news with CNN VR, learn about Dali, or just use your PC in VR with Bigscreen Beta.
There’s so much to take in it can be almost bewildering. What will be available in the next two years is anyone’s guess.