Sony is gearing up to showcase its Project Morpheus at E3 this year because virtual reality is the next biggest thing in the gaming world. But what sort of games will really benefit from VR? We have seen a lot of demonstrations showing off the Oculus Rift and similar devices with shooters and RPGs like Skyrim, but without a way to approximate real life movement all you are really doing is fiddling with your controller in the dark and getting motion sickness. We can do better than that. Here are the types of games that we think will be improved by VR.
1. Cinematic Games
One of the most severely limiting problems with VR is that we can simulate vision without simulating movement. You’ll still be sitting in a chair holding a controller instead of actually running, jumping, and shooting. Luckily, cinematic games are simple enough that this disconnect won’t be as harsh. Games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead or Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain hinge their gameplay on quick time events, and that’s not so hard to simulate with our current day motion controls. While wearing a headset, you could be prompted to turn your head left or right, reach out your hand with a motion control like the PS Move, and sometimes press a button or two, but they would never be prompted to walk, thus avoiding the disconnect all together.
2. Educational Games
No one wants to think of gaming as an educational tool. However, VR might be the best thing to happen to educational gaming yet. Remember those days when you would be shown a video in class instead of getting a lesson? Those days were awesome. Well imagine if the same thing were done, but with a VR headset. Now, an entire classroom can watch, say, a nature documentary, and move around to get a good look at whatever animal the documentary is featuring. Since the movement area would be limited to a classroom, and each student’s movements could be tracked individually, letting the kids walk around in VR wouldn’t be that bad, though you would probably have to move all the desks out of the way first.
3. Synesthetic Games
Three words: Child of Eden. Tetsuya Mizuguchi has been looking to develop a truly synesthetic gaming experience since he developed REZ. Now, VR platforms allow him and others to get one step closer. You can be totally immersed in a psychedelic world brimming with colors flashing to thumping beats, moving inside it and purifying viruses or… whatever Child of Eden was about. Just be careful not to have a seizure.
4. Horror Games
The unfortunate problem with horror VR is that it still ends up running head first into the “walking” problem, in which almost every VR game will run into until we can all afford VR treadmills, but the amount of immersion it gives you is almost worth it nonethtless. Have you ever felt like someone was watching you, or that someone was just behind you on a dark and rainy night? Well now you can actually look behind you in the game. WHOOPS! There’s Slenderman. There’s something truly visceral about horror being all around you and not just on your monitor.
Former Contributing Writer