Over the last few months I have quite literally thrown myself in to the VR (Virtual Reality) community. As a newbie, who is still learning about the technology and developmental side (& quite frankly what is currently possible in VR), I am very grateful to those who put up with my incessant questions and excessive enthusiasm.
Attending VRfest in Vegas was somewhat of a different experience, as there were many people there from CES who were unfamiliar with VR. I had the privileged experience of being a VR-authority for the first time, a role I took on humbly of course.
The best part about VRfest/CES was the overall excitement surrounding VR and the exposure so many VR startups and companies received. The merger of those in outside industries with those in VR was both enthusiastic and rampant. It was a fascinating to observe and participate in various conversations with people whose interests in VR were so different than my own. I still find my mind being blown by the seemingly endless possibilities of VR/AR.
My own lack of experience within the field is both a blessing and a curse as I find myself self-conscious when reaching out to various VR people, yet graciously welcomed with enthusiasm that matches my own.
As mentioned previously, I have thrown myself into the world of VR, rather forcefully at times. Though I consider myself an outgoing person, it was a rather daunting experience when I attended my first VR event by myself this past summer. Though my knowledge and comfort level with VR has grown tenfold in the last few months (for example I now know the difference between the Vive & Rift), the thought of trekking to Vegas by myself was a little more than I could handle. Thankfully, my cousin rose to the occasion and acted as the perfect companion for the trip. Her only experience with VR previously was on my HTC Vive, which I invested in last month. Between the two of us, I am sure we made quite a few people laugh as our awe and admiration for each demo was borderline ridiculous.
A demo that left us speechless, in the best way, was Mule created by Dark Corner Studios. I won’t go into too much detail, as to not spoil any future experiences. But here is the cliff notes version:
You are seated in a coffin with the HMD on. I am sure you can guess the perspective you take during the experience. Hopefully you are quicker to consider the title of the experience, unlike my cousin and I who were oblivious to the overt clue…
It seems that a lot of VR experiences gravitate toward suspense/fear as accessible emotions to activate in participants. Yet, the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the Mule narrative set it apart from other VR shorts I have experienced (though I admit the list is not long). The vibe I took from Dark Corner Studios is similar to that of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. It is not so much the desire to inspire fear, but to inspire recognition of the darker aspects of our shared reality. Martin is quoted for refusing to participate in creating a fairytale or Disney-esque fictional reality, and I feel Dark Corner Studios has taken the same call to action. I am eager to see how their narratives evolve with the progression of VR technology.