There are a lot of dead ends in technology, gaming technology is no different. A device often seems amazing and innovative in theory but when that concept gets put to paper the sheer logistics of it seem impossible so it ends up a being a buggy, bulky, broken piece of junk that slinks its way back into the shadows of history. This is what many imagine the Oculus Rift would be when they first saw it. Virtual reality is still a pipe dream after all, right? Seeing as many of the previous other virtual reality device attempts failed and spiralled into obscurity. However, the Oculus Rift has something those other devices did not--Games. The Rift has a surprisingly large amount of games that have already been created or are being created for the device. Some of these games are enough to make any sort of gamer, even the most skeptical, excited about the Oculus Rift.
Of course this system is still not up for general sale to the public (though you can buy a developers kit), but these games and videos thereof serve to wet one's interest.
Alone, which is being produced by Greenwood Games, is really what got me personally hooked on the idea of the virtual reality. Before I discovered these games, the whole system was particularly lackluster for me, another one of those technological pipe dreams that was doomed to fail. However, after watching a demo for Alone, it gave me hope for the horror game genre which has been a bit hit or miss in recent years. The concept is simple enough, Alone tells the tale of a gamer sitting on his couch playing a game, and in doing so embraces the potentially new genre brought on by the Oculus Rift of meta gaming. As the player goes through the creepy world of the game picking up notes detailing what is happening around them, those creepy things start to happen in the gamers' living room. For all one knows, they may be happening outside of the Oculus Rift as well, there within lies the thrill. You see a curtain move, watch a shadow skittle out of sight in the corner of your eye, hear a noise when no one is home, ect.
That is the thing about the immersion of virtual reality gaming, it can be the most terrifying thing possible if done right, and Alone does it right. Even the video of the game play is moderately terrifying; I couldn't imagine actually playing it with the headset.
Oh yeah! Bethesda, what with their first person RPGs, obviously has a bright future with the Oculus Rift. Many gamers are probably over Skyrim now, they've beat the game and done most of what their is to do (obviously not all because of the quest system that never ends), but the game will be completely renewed with the virtual reality technology. As gamers can see from the video, gamers essentially become the dragonborn. In which they can look around with the head tracking and such. This is truly a great showcase of what the Rift can do. There are some obvious benefits to playing games like Skyrim with an Oculus Rift, as you do not have to scramble around with the mouse or controller to get your line of sight back into order. You can turn your head and follow one thing, like a dragon, then turn back and focus on whatever is in front of you. Ah, hands free camera control. Now that is something to look forward to.
Not just Skyrim, but in fact most Steam games support Oculus Rift including games like Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, and Mirror's Edge are some of the most popular ones.
Also with certain hand peripherals like I will be discussing in Oculus Maximus, there is the potential for actual immersive combat.
Oculus Maximus takes players and places them in the shoes of famed Gladiator, Oculus Maximus in which they cleave through their opponents in the gladiatorial arena. The video shows a very rough version of the game that was created for Oculus IndieCade VR Jam 2013, so yes, it doesn't look great. However, the fact that they paired it with the Razer Hydra hand tracking peripherals that essentially made the game for me.
A game where one can actually hack, slash and block their opponents, that is something I have dreamed of since Duck Hunt, then Onimusha 3 with their majorly disappoint katana peripheral. Of course, this game would still have a long way to go in terms of performance and also realism. I mean who pits cesti against a gladius with shield, that's not even a challenge (or more importantly, an interesting show). Regardless, it shows that the Oculus Rift isn't just for controllers of mouse and keyboard, it gives what everyone wants it to give, a real hands on experience with combat.
Seriously, though. I need this. Like right now.
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(price as of Feb 5, 2016)
Euro Truck 2 Simulator
It's only natural there would be at least one driving game up for demo on the Oculus Rift. After all, what could benefit for an immersive experience more than a driving game? Alas there are no true racing games out yet, but Euro Trucker is as close as one could get at this point, I guess. Euro Trucker developers released the beta version of this game for the Rift in October 2013, in which there were a few features missing, mainly because they had not worked out the kinks of virtual reality simulation in them yet. The premise is simple, you are a European trucker who picks up their haul and takes it where it needs to go. Some things clearly need a bit of polishing like having North American players drive on the right, yet still having the speed limit in kilometers (which, I guess is fine for Canadians).
Regardless of how mind numbing the actual premise may seem, how often do people get to play a truck driver driving through Europe? It's like some sort of weird work vacation. I imagine once the graphics, and possibly the Oculus Rift's low resolution, are cleaned up a bit the game will be wondrously beautiful.