Last week I took a drive, ride and fly through virtual reality courtesy of a new peripheral from startup Virzoom. It was not my first trip through virtual reality, but it was fun and reinforced my belief the VR world will be vast someday.
Virzoom is essentially a stationary bike that in VR land becomes a race car, horse or other moving object with game controllers built into the handlebars. I tried it both on the Sony Playstation VR with its Morpheus headset and the Oculus Rift goggles.
I am a novice in virtual reality and in videogames generally, so take my experiences with a grain of salt. That said, I found the Virzoom racing and horse riding apps both exhilarating and frustrating.
I tried three titles. I rode a horse in the Old West lassoing bad guys in one app, I was a race car driver in another, but my favorite was a game where I flew on a Pegasus.
All three got my heart pumping with the thrill of VR. I also sweat a fair bit pumping the bike, though I admit I failed to try adjusting the knob that controls resistance on the magnetic flywheel.
I’m not much of a gamer, so I’m used to some frustration navigating even with standard game controllers, let alone a Nintendo Wii. These frustrations were magnified in virtual reality where there is the added nuance of steering with slight head and shoulder movements.
In the racing game, I routinely slammed into the wall, cringing each time as if there would be some hard crash. Thankfully they haven’t built in the sort of violent haptics for which my body instinctively braced. Similarly, I had trouble controlling my horse, bumping into a hillside several times. Navigating through immersive VR menus to set up a game also left me feeling both in awe and awkward.
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