VR is here to stay. It’s one of the fastest growing trends of recent years and it’ll only get bigger from here on out. But in the search for an actual practical use for VR headsets, are we going too far?Six Flags recently made a VR game that you play while on an actual roller coaster. Check out the ride in action here:First you think: sweet! But then the novelty wears off and you’re left there thinking, does a roller coaster really need virtual reality? Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely better than the dull demo apps where you explore a room or a forest the size of...a room. But does it actually improve the roller coaster experience or is it the start of a weird trend where we just put VR goggles on in the weirdest places?If any VR devs are watching, here are some ideas of places that don’t need Virtual Reality
4 places you don’t need a VR headset
First off, this would be the shortest VR experience ever. How long does it take, a couple of seconds of freefall, then a couple more seconds where you’re in the middle of a giant tug of war between a cord and our freakin’ planet, then the slow awkward descent to safety.Second, who could actually pay attention to a VR simulation under these circumstances? Much more than the two guys in the Six Flags video, during a bungee jump you’re going to be too busy screaming at the top of your lungs while your life flashes before your eyes.Hey, there’s a thought. Have a VR simulation of your life flashing before your eyes! Brb, I’m patenting this game right now.
Ah, the joys of nature. Being outdoors and practicing the least extreme of the extreme sports. Taking in the sights, the nature, the beauty of it all…Well, time to strap on my VR helmet. Right? Wrong. While it would be tempting to bring the wonders of future tech with us in the only two hours we get to spend away from a computer, this would actually be as cool as socks and sandals. Sure, you might use realtime VR to convert the “boring” landscape around you to another planet and explore Tatooine, but something about that seems just sad.
#3: Playing paintball
I won’t be surprised if in the coming years the tech gets so advanced that it will transform what we see instantly, with no lag. That’ll open up a whole new can of worms, and mark my words, something like VR paintball will be a thing.They’ll market it like “real war with no risk” or something along those lines, and we might get caught up in the media talk, but is it really a good idea? Do we really want PTSD from a casual weekend game? I know I don’t.
Another tempting VR application would be to blend real world sports with the stats and advantages we get from the sports we play on a console or a computer. Sure, it would be tempting to get a computer to calculate the trajectory of a ball and get a 3-pointer 10 out of 10 shots, but where’s the fun in that?In fact, of all the bad ideas for VR games and apps, this one is probably the most realistic, because it’s been done already:While it looks like fun, let’s leave it at that and not make this a thing. Instead, here’s where we can focus all of our VR energy:
3 places that desperately need VR headsets
#1: Waiting in line at the DMV
Is there anything more boring than waiting in line? Yeah, waiting in line when your phone’s battery is low. For now, we all use our imagination when we’re in line at the DMV, bored out of our skulls, but wouldn’t it be fun to actually wAnder around somewhere else?And not even that, just strap on a VR helmet and make the people around you have imaginary discussions, spice things up a bit. Even if the VR headset has no battery, a blank screen would still be more entertaining than waiting in line at the DMV.
Ok, for this one let’s just imagine that by the time this is actually invented we find a way to wear a VR headset on the subway without looking like a weirdo. But think about it: a tweaked version of the program IS currently in tests at Six Flags, only the train is moving slower (and more safely). You casually look out the window and instead of a dark tunnel you actually see something interesting. Maybe the forest I was talking about earlier, now that’s a change of pace.
What if chores became extreme chores? Instead of mindlessly folding T-Shirts, what if you’re playing a version of Hot Potato where if you don’t fold them fast enough, they get hotter?There can be plenty of ways to make chores around the house more interesting, and VR seems like the perfect environment to help spice things up.