Virtual Reality Gaming with the Oculus Rift

VRJam competition inspires hundreds of developers to create VR experiences.

I've been playing games with the Oculus Rift for about a month now, and I can honestly say the experience has been astonishing. 

Still in development by OculusVR, the virtual reality gaming headset I've been playing with is essentially a prototype, with planned improvements to the consumer version to include HD display and wireless capabilities. Despite this 'development kit' being non-HD, the depth of immersion this piece of hardware creates for the user is nothing short of mind-blowing.

This year, OculusVR invited designers to develop games and demos for the Rift in a competition that saw hundreds of entries. I've been working my way through many of them - games and VR 'experiences' alike - and not just the shortlisted few but as many as I've been able to get my hands on.  

Can I pick a favorite? Absolutely not. The sheer amount of great entries makes choosing one impossible, as I'm sure it did the VRJam2013 judges, but I will pick out a few and share some of my experiences with you. 

Linger is a horror game in which the players finds themselves in a haunted house. Armed only with holy water, they must set about cleansing the rooms of supernatural manifestations. The scares escalate over time, proving Linger to be a truly intense gaming experience. 

Please understand that, while graphics are currently rather basic, the Oculus Rift head-mounted display creates an environment that fully immerses you within the game. Coupled with a surround sound headset, any horror game is going to have even the most hardened-gamer trembling in their boots. 

Dumpy is a great example of the level of fun the Oculus can provide. Dumpy is a demo in which the player is an elephant in a constant state of forward motion. The objective? To destroy as much of the surrounding environment as possible by swinging your trunk, which is of course done by moving your head. I found myself giggling like a toddler when playing this and even my Vulcan-like fiancé couldn't keep a grin from his face when trying it out.  

The third program I'm going to tell you about is actually an 'experience' rather than a game. Ocean Rift puts you at the bottom of an ocean, swimming with fish, whales and even sharks. The sound of bubbles from your oxygen tank as well as whale song makes for quite a relaxing experience while exploring the seabed. 

I introduced my sixty-something mother to the Oculus with this very program, not realizing that in the depths lurked a megalodon so aggressive and hungry for human flesh it could rival Jaws. Fortunately for her, I'd taken over playing by the time it made an appearance and I was the one shrinking in my chair as massive jaws filled with sharp teeth came at me. 

The point is, the Oculus Rift is amazing and I firmly believe it to be the future of gaming. Not only that, but it could have so many uses beyond gaming, such as watching movies and therapeutic experiences. With that said, I'm sure you're wondering about the possible side-effects that come with virtual reality gaming with the Oculus. 

Probably the main problem is a sense of motion sickness, the intensity of which varies from game to game. This occurs when the brain thinks the body is moving when in actual fact, it’s not. Some games are worse than others, while some don't cause it at all (for me, anyway). The game Chicken Walk is a great example of this. 

Aside from this, I've experienced no other side-effects and am very much looking forward to the consumer version. Wireless will be great, with a wireless game controller for that untethered, full-immersion effect. 

Have you tried the Oculus Rift? Share your experiences below! 

Penny for your thoughts,


If you'd like to see the Oculus Rift in action, check out this YouTube playlist.


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Oculus Rift
# Oct 14 2013 at 4:06 PM Rating: Decent
I think that this device demonstrates just how quickly gaming has evolved recently. Although the first games were made/designed in the late 50s-beginning of 60s, it was only a few years ago that the Xbox 360 and PS3 came out. And before that the original Xbox-and so forth. And the Xbox One and PS4 aren't even out yet. Watching some of the footage is quite honestly mind blowing. And it takes a lot to blow my mind when it comes to gaming lol. And the fact it's already beaten Xbox One and PS4 to win Best Hardware/Peripheral in the E3 2013 Game Critics Award speaks volumes.

Not only on the gaming front, but it'll also change the way we watch movies in a major way. There's nothing I'd love more to watch Star Wars in 3D on it-would be absolutely mindblowing. But also what I love, are some of the games I've seen so far and some of the great original ideas. Particularly the Retro Invaders one. From standing at the arcade machine, to shooting them with a handheld weapon-I loved that idea and instantly appealed to the big kid in me. So I'm looking forward to seeing what appears in the near future.

Gaming/multimedia entertainment has never entered such an exciting phase right now. And if we have this now-begs the question what's next for the future?

Edited, Oct 14th 2013 6:10pm by Threnden
# Oct 14 2013 at 3:11 PM Rating: Decent
Amazing coverage as always! I can't wait to get my hands on one of these! Thanks for peeking my interest with the article and your great videos of the Oculus! I have dreamed of this day since I played the ****** Virtual Boy back in the day.
Oculus Rift
# Oct 14 2013 at 2:19 PM Rating: Decent
Well what can i say but "I want one real bad" :)
Watching all of your Oculus Rift videos and seeing just how much fun you are having with this amazing piece of hardware has me constantly looking for any news of a release date and im sure many other ppl are doing the same.

The Idea of having the feeling of actually being in the game is gabbing hold of ppl worldwide as every show that it has been shown at has had huge ques of ppl wanting to sample it. Looks of amazement on their faces after doing so is a good sign that it does what it says it can.

Obviously watching a video of what the user is seeing doesnt tell us everything but when that player fully describes not only how it looks to them but also how it makes them feel in the enviroment of each game plus seeing them on Webcam is a huge factor in helping to sell this product to the gaming community.

Look forward to seeing more Oculus Rift videos, so plz keep them coming Qelric.

Oculus Rift
# Oct 14 2013 at 2:44 PM Rating: Decent
18 posts
Thanks Brytac, this really is an exciting time for gamers and not only that, but VR can and will be used in many other areas of life too. Watch this space!
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