It’s easy for one’s first moment in VR to be that #1 magical experience which trumps all others and sends you into that rabbit hole of the hobby and chasing higher and higher peaks to recreate that truly special moment of first donning the HMD. But while my first time in VR is still definitely one of my best and most memorable moments, it’s not my #1
I was constantly chasing more and more for the VR experience, which was difficult given I was on a more limited budget so most of my spare money went to the hobby or I sold some old figures I didn’t need anymore for it. But eventually, the stars aligned and I managed to get some amazing deals which left me with a Kat Walk C, Bhaptics vest, gunstock, and the trusty Pimax.
And when all of those came together in a game of Pavlov, where I was physically running over a large map, had the weight of my gun in my hands, and could aim it like a real one with the stock, felt the recoil and kick of it braced against my shoulder with every shot due to my vest, and totally lost the feeling of binocular vision alongside the good clarity of the 8k X?
I was more there than I had ever been in VR before, even more so than the first time I tried it. I was somebody who always felt like I was sort of ‘missing’ something as while I enjoyed VR games a lot, way more than flatscreen gaming now, I never truly felt like I was able to lose myself in the immersion. There was always that feeling at the back of my head it was just a game, which even my first time in VR sort of had due to the hideous SDE of the HTC Vive.
The moment it all really clicked for me was when I had to help somebody across the map and my first thought was “man, that’s a long distance to go.” But it wasn’t in the way where you wondered if you would make it in time because you can only move so fast with your thumbsticks, it was in the same way I’d think about any distance in real life I had to actually walk and how sprinting over to it would take some real energy, especially when suited up in a bulky haptic vest with a gunstock slung over my shoulder adding to the feeling of wearing heavier gear like a soldier would. It’s a ridiculously expensive setup few will have, and yet even with the early adopter compromises these had, the fact the bhaptics vest is just some vibrating motors when you get down to it and I didn’t feel the kick all over my arm, the Kat Walk C not being a perfectly natural walk and only possible to walk forward with it, how it was all clearly imperfect early generation tech, but, when it was all together? The experience was greater than the sum of its parts and I felt like I saw a glimpse of where VR could be in a decade or so when stuff like this becomes cheaper and more accessible, more accurate and true to life.
And boy it excites me.