So I was standing in line at a VR party the other night when the woman in front of me pulled a world from her bag. I was still recovering from playing a spoogey, eyeball-punching demo of the new Doom on Vive, but the world she strapped to my face was decidedly more serene -- a magic apartment in Paris full of mystery, clues, and surprises.
"Follow the White Rabbit" is an upcoming VR game designed by Nicole Lazzaro, who as it happens, also designed the iPhone's first accelerometer-driven game back in 2007. And if VR games have any chance of reaching a mainstream audience, I think "White Rabbit" and games like it stand the best chance of doing so:
Even from the 10-15 minute demo I got, I could see how much more accessible and frankly delightful "Rabbit" is from typical VR games that get far more coverage. Leisurely, dream-like, the game doesn't require copious movements or button-mashing -- you stare at an object until it's in the center of your vision and if it's an object you can interact with, it floats in the air, so you can "carry" it (by swiveling your head) to the place that it needs to be. (A key in the shape of a jewel, let's say.) Far as I can tell, that's the only interaction UI that's required, but that's more than enough to feel like you're in a world that responds to you.
I think even hardcore gamers who got into VR to play Doom and other FPSes will gravitate to adventure games like this over time. I love a good shooter myself every now and again, but in VR, careening through hallways and killing demons in a place where you can almost feel the heat broiling out of a nearby reactor and want to duck the entrails flying at you after a successful shot starts to feel too much like what genuinely shooting aliens on Mars would actually be: Not fun at all.
Oh, and the VR game that Nicole and I were waiting to see? Just the one from someone who proved how mainstream an adventure game could be:
That's right: Rand Miller, co-creator of Myst, whose spirit-of-Myst VR game, Obduction, is coming soon. Likely soon to have as many players as Myst once did.
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