My gaming journey began under the ill-conceived username of zoe_cool909, that I adopted at the age of eight. Under this username I traversed the libraries of Newgrounds, Kongregate and even became a veteran of the RPG Adventure Quest. However, after reaching puberty and getting over my obsession with otome games, I found Steam. Steam opened up whole new world of gaming to me and was where I first discovered immersive experiences.
From Facebook owned Oculus Rift to HTC’s Vive, many major tech players have been jumping onto the VR bandwagon lately. VR headsets are providing players like me a previously unattainable immersive experience with spectacular graphics and realistic soundscapes. Although VR tech is still fresh, with work to be done on functionality and UX design, many game developers and programmers are using VR to communicate a creative vision to an extent that’s never been done before.
Here’s my top 5 VR experiences worth trying right now:
#1 The Climb
The first game on this list is The Climb by Crytek. Although rock climbing may not be your first activity of choice, The Climb captures the adrenaline rush and thrill of scaling a 7,000m mountain. The game requires the Oculus Touch Handset to grasp ledges, powder your hands and leap to the next handhold. The thrilling part of the game can be found in its objective: not dying. The Climb provides an engaging experience through its photoreal graphics and authentic soundscape, making it one of the most popular VR games available.
This second experience does what many VR games forget to do: provides an engaging narrative. Invisible is a six-episode TV series and mystery thriller by director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) and screenwriter, Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club). Invisible confronts viewers with the initially jarring and surreal story of the Ashland family. The Ashland’s are as rich in wealth as they are steeped in secrets, the most notable one being the powers of invisibility held by some family members . The narrative follows Tatiana Ashland, granddaughter and sudden heir to the family fortune and the web of lies and intrigue that unfolds when her existence becomes known.
#3 The Lab
Not many games are able to reach a 10/10 rating on steam, but The Lab proves to be an exception. This free to play game positions you as a research subject for portal travel to different universes. You can travel to a number of different worlds, where you can play as a bowman defending your fort from attack, a human-robot repair beta tester, the assistant of an acclaimed magician and many others. The Lab’s vignette-style gameplay makes it one of the most popular titles on this list.
#4 The American Dream
The American Dream shows the potential for gaming as a medium to challenge and satirize the conventions of our society. The American Dream is a VR life sim by Samurai Punk, a Melbourne-based game developer. The game is crafted with a 1950s feel as you, the player, grow up from child to adult. You eat, socialize, play with your dog, date and even get married. The catch? You’re holding a gun the whole time. The game is set to be released this year, and I look forward to playing it.
#5 Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Star Trek: Bridge Crew by Ubisoft has been lauded for it’s true to franchise graphics, narrative and gameplay. In the game, you take on one of the four critical roles essential for the success of in-game missions. These roles can be assigned to AI’s but the game also has a multiplayer option where you can play with others. Regardless of choice, teamwork is crucial to the mission’s success. In the words of Star Trek the game is part of a “Five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
At our next workshop you’ll create your very own VR game with our friends at Zero Latency. Who knows, I may even be reviewing your game one day! Junior workshops are sold out but there are still spots available for senior students and adults. Book now.
Written by Zoe Finkelstein
Digital Content Intern @ Code Like a Girl