Things We Love: Oculus Rift

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The year 2012 was a landmark one in gaming. It saw the start of a Kickstarter campaign from a company called Oculus, which eventually culminated in the release of the Oculus Rift, a consumer virtual reality headset that’s poised to change the gaming and personal-entertainment landscape forever. 2018 was also a landmark year in gaming, because it saw me finally getting one! After decades of dreaming and impatiently waiting, I got to finally experience “real” VR, and I couldn’t be happier.

Oculus Rift VR Headset

From the moment the introduction/tutorial experience loaded, I was hooked. I was in a room trying to befriend a skittish robot and use a 3D printer to create objects with which to interact. I could look around the room in nearly any direction and it was jarring how quickly a well-done experience can transport you when using the Rift. Soon the intro was finished, my robot buddy was fading, and I got to see what the Rift could really do.

The game that got me to pull the trigger on the Rift was Star Trek: Bridge Crew. The idea that I can man a station on the bridge of the Enterprise with my friends, or captain her myself, just like on TV, was too good to pass up. Sure, it doesn’t sound flashy, but the Oculus Rift makes you feel like you’re there, because essentially, you are. I’m in the captain’s chair, or at a console I’ve seen dozens of times from the outside looking in. I can turn to look around a bridge I feel a part of. Once engaged in combat, I either barked orders to my crew in the hopes of managing the chaos and surviving the day, or I frantically carried out orders on my console while shouting back status updates. The exhilaration and realism of each role made me quickly forget that I was sitting in an office chair with a headset strapped to my face.

Bridge Crew is just one example of the Rift’s possibilities. In EVE: Valkyrie, my vertigo was seriously tested as I launched into combat, spinning and firing in deep space. Whipping my head around to look out of the top and sides of my cockpit, I tried to track a ship and turn into firing position simultaneously. The feeling was oddly natural and full of tension. The Oculus Rift excels at getting you to feel like you’re within the games you’re playing. Many experiences like this are available, including non-game content like Google Earth, where I could fly above mountain tops, or stand on the streets of Tokyo.

I’ve loved my experiences with the Oculus Rift so far and am trying to plot how I can move this from the office to the living room with more sensors, giving me an even larger, room-scale experience. Until then, I’ll keep playing and anxiously await what developers come up with next. I highly recommend the Oculus Rift to any type of gamer, for a taste of the future, and an insanely immersive gameplaying experience. You can pick up a headset of your own right now at B&H.

The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.

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