I tell you immediately and without too many preambles: I was a detractor of VR. I was deeply convinced that this technology would never really take hold (and in part I still am), that all games would be limited to mere "experiences", short and that they weren't worth the expense of expensive cable regurgitating viewers and complexity from each excrescence. The first time I got to try a viewer was at ViGaMus, a few years ago, inside a room where a Oculus DK 1 or 2, I do not remember well. We are talking about a "prototype", DK means precisely Developer Kit, a product not yet perfected and dedicated to a small slice of users, early adopters eager to throw themselves headlong into this world incomprehensible to me. Looking back today, my biggest obstacle has always been one: the view. I wear quite large glasses that clash with the space available inside the visors and, during that test, I was told to take them off and "try anyway". Needless to say, after a few seconds, I took away everything given the inability to see anything and with the immersion sent to that country. From that moment I became totally unresponsive to VR. A lover of technology and avid consumer of novelties, but totally impassive in the face of this stuff that is too complex and laborious for me to be able to guarantee truly satisfying gaming sessions.
In spite of everything, I've always been informed on the subject. Over time more and more articles were written and more and more videos were made about VR and, obviously, one of the points of reference became Fraws. Every now and again about the videos on Portal or the one on Ustica disaster, definitely less fun. Years passed and, occasionally, some game called "killer app" of VR was published, for example Astro Bot for PlayStation VR or something else for PCs whose titles I don't remember, which were promptly erased from my mind knowing that I would never have played them or interested myself in doing so. I was able to try again just a second time thanks to the courage of some guys in my city who decided to open one VR room. The HTC Vive Pro is paired with a Virtuix Omni platform but, again, nothing to do. The glasses enter the viewer but, not being used to it, after literally four minutes a strong nausea begins to come to me and, even in that case, an experience ended even before starting. After about a year and a half from this last test however, virtual reality is drastically and suddenly approaching. In short, a friend who loves the world of technology at 360 ° even more than me, buys an Oculus Rift and from there praises start on how beautiful it is, how much fun and things like that. For days, all the time, so much so that after a while he manages to slip the flea in my ear, leading me to think that maybe there was something I didn't understand about virtual reality.
So to get closer to VR I decide to overcome another huge obstacle: contact lens. I have rather sensitive eyes and it makes me (was) impressed by the idea of having a lentina attached to the eyeball. Paranoia of all kinds diluted then by several friends who, in essence, repeat to me that "it is nothing". Oh: I've been taking them for more than a week, but taking them off is hell every time, and the left one perpetually keeps turning inside the eyelid, forcing me to ask my partner for help. A mess, but I'm getting used to it. Yes, later I also saw that there are spacers to insert glasses and even supports that come with lenses, like such stuff, but for my gradation we talk about around 180 euros of lenses and I don't think it's really worth it. I buy everything I need and I finally go to try this blessed Oculus in a home environment, without time limits, in total and perfect tranquility, all of which were totally lacking in the first two tests.
So start with the basic tutorials, Dreamdeck e First Contact. And a world opened up in just a few seconds. The first is a simple visual experience that sets you inside different scenarios and allows you to get used, little by little, to the total immersion given by the viewer and the VR. If on one hand I had a slight jolt finding myself in front of a strange but friendly alien, a completely different impact had me seeing a giant T-Rex coming at me or looking through the window of a skyscraper of a huge Gotham-style metropolis. In this second case I was really falling, I don't know how to explain it well. Those who have tried it and suffer from vertigo understand what I mean. As soon as that scenario opened, my legs went limp and I was falling on the spot. Even worse when I tried Face Your Fears. Just below you can see the video, at the moment when the robot takes you and lifts you I crashed into the cabinet behind me in an attempt to escape.
I know, so far the games mentioned are part of the "experiences" mentioned at the beginning of the article, short and never to be started again. But now there is a good selection of games available that finally, in my opinion, justify the purchase of a viewer. The first title tested was Robo Recall, always started during this test at my friend's house, from which I left after about two hours. Hardly thirty minutes had passed for me. Shooter made by Epic Games, allows total freedom of action. Take a robot, use it as a shield against enemy blows, throw it at him, unload the shotgun on another enemy, throw it at him and take it back into the air, already reloaded while with the other hand take a bullet that arrives and send it back to the sender . Or take a robot, take an arm off it and use it as a bat to beat others. Fun and fast-paced, the race for the highest score is constant. After about three days I also bought an Oculus Rift complete with Touch and second sensor at a decidedly advantageous price and, by the way, if you're interested, this is the best time to buy one since so many people are selling it out to switch to Rift S or other viewers. Later I got to try it Lone Echo, title developed by Ready at Dawn which I almost finished and which I think is simply an essential experience for anyone with a viewer. It is an adventure set inside a space station orbiting around Saturn. The movement of our character is constantly affected by the lack of gravity and we are committed to solving the mystery of the strange anomaly that appeared near the planet. Also in this case I had to sit for a few moments, especially when you have to leave the station to wander around the space. It gave me a feeling of desolation and constant danger that I had never experienced before in a video game. I've been playing for about five hours and it looks like I'm about to finish it. Not an excellent longevity, it is true, but given the quality of the title I genuinely care little.
Another title I'm pouring into hours and hours is Beat Saber. On this there is little to say, rhythm game in which cubes are brought to the player to be cut with the lightsabers we hold following the right direction given by the indicators on the various cubes. You have surely seen it in some videos on Facebook or YouTube and the possibility to also download custom songs makes it potentially infinite. After I switched to Arizona Sunshine, FPS based on zombies with a story that I still have to discover, I played very little. Positive note: it is dubbed in Italian but in a simply horrible way, in full Dingo Picture style, you will have huge laughs. I had the pleasure of rediscovering Minecraft, which in VR takes on a completely different aspect (obviously). No Man's Sky left me slightly disappointed because of the too low resolution and I abandoned it after a while. And these are just some of the titles I've tried, I already have it in the cart Rez Infinite e Tetris Effect. Fortunately the time of the "experiences" is slowly being overtaken by real full games that can guarantee gameplay of several hours and that finally, in my opinion, fully justify the purchase of a viewer. If you have never tried it before it is really difficult to make you understand the level of depth in which it is possible to immerse without never completely getting away. You still have a cable to be careful of and expensive equipment all around you, for this alone I am quite convinced that the risk of alienation has been decidedly avoided. Different speech regarding the motion sickness. For example, I don't suffer from it, or at least I'm getting used to it very quickly; my girlfriend found out instead that she is sensitive to the thing and after an hour must stop playing. In short, if you have the chance to try it just to evaluate a possible nausea, do it and then seriously think about the purchase in case your hardware can support VR: you will hardly regret it.