Available in many formats and affordable for the first time, there’s no reason to not try out the hottest technology to have hit the gaming industry in recent years. Virtual reality consoles provide a great range of different experiences to cater to varied interests and gamer types. Whether you’re looking to have your socks scared off, or want to walk alongside extinct animals, VR gear from Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have you covered. Of course, gaming isn’t the only type of experience you can have through VR. Increasingly, this technology is being used for educational purposes, relaxation and as an aid in decision making.
Ever struggled to decide on your next holiday destination? The glossy paradise-promising photographs of travel magazines don’t always give the full picture. What if you could see, in real time, the outside of the hotel you were thinking about booking? What if you could check the weather at those exotic beaches before arranging an impromptu getaway? Vacations can cost a lot of money, and getting a taste for what you can expect in advance through VR will help tourists make better informed decisions.
The scenario may be virtual, but the fear is real. Exactly why humans are so fascinated by horror has long been a subject of debate but, regardless of the reason, the fact is that being scared is something most of us enjoy to some degree or another. Through VR, we can experience something that is halfway between walking through a haunted house and watching a scary movie. Choose a horror setting, whether it be an abandoned mental asylum like that in Catatonic, or a creepy dungeon labyrinth like that in Minotaur’s Maze, and let the adrenaline rush hit you with the comfort of knowing you’re actually safe at home in your own living room.
Most schools try to give their students an insight into different career paths – a task that’ll be made easier with VR job simulators. Even if you’re not planning on switching jobs, you may always have secretly dreamed of being a pilot or music producer. We know from the enduring popularity of games like the Sims and Second Life that simulations provide an enjoyable escape for most people; the chance to become their alter egos. VR simulations, besides being fun, could also become invaluably useful in the training of medical students, trainee pilots, or students in other fields where extensive training is required before qualification.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live some place where it’s possible to swim with dolphins, seals, and other majestic sea creatures – then you’ll probably love the realistic marine life simulations offered through VR. Get inside a shark cage, go searching for a Blue Whale or discover pretty coral reef at the ocean floor. Whether for relaxation or education, VR swimming experiences are thoroughly enjoyable.
Most people are attracted to the glamour and thrill of gambling at casinos – but not confident or good enough to bet with real money. Whilst a huge choice of online poker sites may have provided a solution in offering poker in the comfort of one’s own home and for a smaller budget, the experience doesn’t quite compare to that of being amidst neon, cocktails and an ecstatic crowd of social gamblers. VR will help bridge the advantages of gambling online with the appeal of being at a real casino. With games like Lucky Night, players can gamble online but still study their opponents’ body language and present their own poker persona to other gamblers from all over the world.
We’ve all questioned it – how long would we survive a zombie outbreak? Hopefully we’ll never have to find out, but we can feed our curiosity with an action-packed VR shooter experience in a post-apocalyptic zombie world. The best VR games for zombie lovers right now include Dying Light, Zero Latency and Arizona Sunshine. Choose your weapon and buckle up – it’s time to activate survival mode.
We’re living during an extraordinary time when regular space flight is a feasible prospect on the horizon. Unfortunately, even if we live long enough to see frequent and casual space flight become a reality, we’ll be unlikely to afford it in our lifetime. There’s another way for you to get closer to the stars though. You guessed it – virtual reality space flight. Go on exploratory missions to new solar systems, or command epic space battles in games like Farpoint.
Unless some scientists, ignoring the moral of Jurassic Park, take nature into their own hands and recreate dinosaurs using 200 million years old DNA – then chances are we’ll never get to walk with the magnificent beasts that roamed the planet for so long. Virtually, it is of course perfectly possible – and amazingly realistic. Games like Back to Dinosaur Island and Robinson: The Journey offer breathtaking experience such as watching stegosauruses graze or the less peaceful activity of running away from a hungry T-Rex.
An exciting and educational experience that will enhance history lessons and let nostalgia-lovers live out their time era fantasties; time travel is one of the most hotly anticipated experiences offered through VR technology. Go to the gunslinging Wild West or peace loving 60s and maybe even change (virtual) history through the far-spanning implications of your decisions.
Clearly there’s an array of experiences to be enjoyed through the ground-breaking advancements of VR, and the technology is only going to get more immersive in the coming years. Whether for leisure or study, there’s a title to try, or a developer working on one to release in the near future.