Written by Joshua Potts
The challenge has been laid, from pretty much every angle. Virtual Reality gaming is becoming less of a niche and more of a thing we’re actively following. It’s taken two or three years, but we’re getting there – we’ve already seen game displays in our malls, netting people who’d otherwise be shopping, and putting them in a rocket ship. We’ve even seen the kind that puts you in a refugee camp, though it’s not a game per se, more of an art piece.
Look at the VR industry, we can assess – finally - what may be good enough to call a classic, or at least something momentous. These are four to enjoy with your headset.
Imagine a world where you are swarmed by enemies, with guns and bats and knives and stuff, and you’re looking to attack feeling crystal cool every time. Superhot is exactly that. The twist is, you can slow down so the bullets and stabbings miss you just slightly, with the ringing accomplishment of the fact that you’ll die if one finds it mark. The switch is controlled, so you’re in slo-mo on a whim. Beautiful.
Dogfighting is cool, a staple of some cinema FX budgets. Who wouldn’t want to pilot a ship at “the end of inhabited space”? This game’s website does some of the smoothest talking you’ll find for putting you in a cockpit, letting you strafe a galactic freighter, and knocking a mere £14 out of your wallet. The reviews have been glowing. There’s a story but it doesn’t matter, because you can change your aim on the fly and blast targets into space dust, which doesn’t need much more context if we’re honest.
The titles sounds so lazy it might be the moniker of a review show; a YouTube vid sizing up how craaazzzzy virtual concepts can be. Fortunately, VR Chat is absolutely nuts – a Reddit-fuelled phantasmagoria of all things weird, mad and memeable. You enter an avatar, your expressions mapping to its face. Then it’s only a matter of what you find around each corner, from skipping anime girls to a wall of Mickey Mouse posters, walking through one world after another luxuriating or hating (we’re looking at you, Knuckles trend) what’s been built there. As of now, it’s likely passed two million installs.
Lightsabers and drum n’ bass are natural pals in Beat Saber, the totally-unaffiliated-but-we’re-just-living-a-fantasy-here rhythm challenge, where you slice blocks that ride down to two glowing sticks in each off your hands. Chop before the notes pass you by. Grin. Assume absolute power over your life, the result of twirling Star Wars weapons to the dicing regularity of a dance song. Honest, you’ll never get bored . . .