One Reporter's Ramblings: An extreme trust exercise

After several months with my Oculus Go, I’m still occasionally putting it on to explore new virtual reality worlds.

When VR is done well, it really does feel like the user is transported to another place.

Maybe you want to explore villages in northern England through 3D photographs and captured audio. I’ve done that. It’s pretty breath-taking.

Also breath-taking is a game that puts the player in a locked house as they investigate a murder and are pursued by the killer. I said breath-taking, not pleasant.

What really has the ability to take the wind out of you are the roller coaster simulators, though.

One of the first programs I tried makes the viewer feel like they are in a spinner (flying car) from “Blade Runner” that coasts through futuristic streets before ending up in a high speed chase that results in a crash before the vehicle hits the ground.

I’ve shown it to multiple people and it seems to be a good barometer for how much speed people can tolerate in virtual reality.

When I put it on for my mom, she jerked the visor off just as I heard the sounds of the pursuit starting.

Six Flags and other theme parks have also recorded immersive footage on some of their signature rides, allowing people to try the experiences from the safety of their couch.

Even if I was sitting on my couch, though, that didn’t stop my brain from scrambling to rectify the high-speed roller coaster that was covering my field of vision in three dimensions and high resolution.

I could feel my couch, but I also swore I could feel the wind rushing past. Just a little bit.

As someone who is prone to trying new things, I’ve learned that there is a unique form of trust that people have to give the developers of VR programs.

If a movie does something we don’t agree with, we can shut our eyes. I actually have one program that won’t continue unless the viewer is looking in the right direction. 

It’s easily one of the most effective forms of jump scare because it makes the viewers pace it themselves.

It doesn’t take much to suspend disbelief when a VR program is done well. Fortunately, people can explore the world or even fish if they want a calmer excursion. There are all sorts of scares and thrills for anyone willing to immerse their field of view in someone else’s vision.
 
Paul Gaudette is a staff writer at the Dublin Citizen and can be reached at 445-2515 and report@dublincitizen.com.

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